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Share Mourning and a sense of renewed purpose
2014-7-30 07:35
If you have not read it yet, please read this earlier entry first. August 1, 2014 will mark the one-year anniversary of my brother's death. That was a day that changed my life forever, because my older brother was no longer in this world as of that day in 2013. As the anniversary approaches, I find myself still mourning his death in some ways. It is finally starting to seem real to me that he is truly gone. I want to do something to strengthen my memory of him, to honour him somehow. I keep ...
3313 views|0 comments Popularity 1
Share Just a short note
2014-3-31 23:59
Hi everyone! I'm back! I was not able to access my account for quite some time, but I'm back and still studying Mandarin for the HSK. I'll post more notes about my study in the next few days.
5249 views|7 comments Popularity 4
Share What to do when things do not go as planned...
2013-8-30 21:29
"Expect the unexpected." That rather odd quote (how can you expect something if it is unexpected?) contains a great deal of wisdom. Make sure that your plans are flexible, and plan for problems even if you do not know what the problems are. Allow yourself extra time to do something. This applies to plans to learn a language as much as to anything else. This blog entry is about what to do when you fall behind in your plan for whatever reason. There are three main things that can happen to make ...
13430 views|5 comments Popularity 6
Share Steps toward reaching a goal
2013-6-15 01:40
In previous blog entries, I have discussed how to set goals (English) and a bit on how to help make sure you are making progress (Chinese). In this blog entry, I would like to spell out in greater detail some of the steps that have worked for me in working toward a goal. This will repeat some of the information in the second link I just gave you, but this time it will be in English instead of Chinese. As discussed in how to set goals, your goal needs to be measurable and time-bound so you ...
8545 views|10 comments Popularity 4
Share Setting SMART Goals
2013-6-7 03:51
I've written several blog entries about making progress toward goals, having help achieving goals, and persevering in pursuit of your goals, but I've never written anything really clear on how to set goals. What is your goal? Are you working toward a measurable goal? One of the amusing things about English (and other languages that use alphabets) is that we can create acronyms to help us remember things. An acronym is a word or set of letters where each letter represents a word. Several ...
12825 views|5 comments Popularity 5
Share Working without a net - Learning Chinese
2013-6-6 02:10
In a previous blog entry,, I talk about trying to learn Chinese alone. In English, the phrase "working without a net" means that you are working without any safety checks or any help - that is, if you make a mistake there's no way to recover from it. That's how I feel sometimes trying to learn Chinese. The audio CDs for my textbooks and workbooks arrived today so I can use the audio to do the workbook exercises. It's comforting to find that the ...
5257 views|2 comments Popularity 1
Share Success in individual goals - a team effort
2013-6-5 02:18
Yes... you read that correctly. Success in individual goals is often a team effort. While it is certainly possible to succeed alone in individual goals, it is usually much easier to succeed with help. Therefore, I would suggest that when you set a goal, especially one that is difficult or may take a while to achieve, that you tell people that you can trust. For the purpose of this discussion, we're going to assume that you have a goal and a plan to reach it. Some of my other blog entries discuss ...
5141 views|12 comments Popularity 5
Share A plan and a goal - HSK 汉语水平考试
2013-6-1 02:16
I just returned from China with some encouragement from my colleagues there and some very special gifts: study guides for the HSK (汉语水平考试). My colleagues there have been wonderfully helpful with my efforts to learn Mandarin and Cantonese, and they have appreciated my help with their English. Our current plan of action is that we'll use Mandarin for non-business matters (e.g. hotel, dinner, sight-seeing, etc.) and English for the technical matters since their English is better than my Manda ...
4596 views|10 comments Popularity 4
Share 学习中文 How do you know you're learning correctly?
2013-4-23 04:16
Learning a foreign language is a challenge. I've learned many languages in my lifetime and Chinese has been by far the most challenging. One of the biggest problems I have is making sure I am learning things correctly. The textbooks that are considered the best for learning the language do not have the answer keys available to students, so I cannot check my answers myself. I want to be sure that I learn it correctly, so I am rather nervous about working with textbooks where the answers are not ...
6502 views|24 comments Popularity 12
Share 学习中文 "Never give up, never surrender!"
2013-3-22 01:06
For those of you who have never seen "Galaxy Quest", it's a funny movie that pokes fun at "Star Trek" and the enthusiasm fans have for it. The "Never give up, never surrender!" is the tag-line from Captain Peter Quincy Taggart, the captain of the ship in the TV show. Sometimes wisdom can come from the strangest places. Studying Chinese, especially after having learned several other languages, is an exercise in patience with oneself. It is easy to become discouraged and consider giving up, espe ...
9235 views|10 comments Popularity 4

Ph.D. in Computer Science (Security) and also a physician, I travel to China on business a few times each year. I am learning Mandarin (and some Cantonese because I travel to HK and GZ) and intend to take the HSK in 2015 (before I turn 50).

      Recent comments
      • Just a short note 2014-5-10 10:24

        Vocabulary seems to be the hardest thing to learn. Chinese grammar is logical, but learning vocabulary (especially to read) is a challenge when I have few opportunities to speak the language. I really wish I could live in China for a while.

      • Just a short note 2014-4-2 12:16

        good luck to you.

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