The most spontaneous Chinese I’ve spoken was to a Laowai

By Confused Laowai | Date: March 13th, 2011 | Category: Language

I don’t know how to feel about it. Yesterday, I met friend of my older brother who has been staying in Taiwan for 9 years. He coincidentally was in a band in Taiwan. I wrote about them last year. Here is the video again. We were a rock gig in my home town and started talking Chinese to each other. Although it was loud, I understood most of what he had to say and he […]

The strange abyss of Chinese Characters

By Confused Laowai | Date: March 7th, 2011 | Category: Chinese Characters

Yesterday, a friend of mine contacted me, saying he was doing a project for his Computer Science degree. He was playing around with encryption. He encrypted the sentence, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” and then subsequently decrypted it. He apparently did the coding wrong and the program spit out this message: “周攠煵楣欠扲潷渠景砠橵灭敤癥爠瑨攠污穹⁤潧” He contacted me out of interest, asking if I understood what it said. Especially the final character: “潧” which […]

If you want an SRS program, Skritter is the way to go

By Confused Laowai | Date: March 2nd, 2011 | Category: Learning Tools

I knew about Skritter for some time now, but never really got around to actually checking it out. After Sara’s recommendation I couldn’t resist anymore and signed up for the trial. Another factor was that the lab that I’m working in now had a Wacom Bamboo tablet lying around. I installed it and never looked back. I’ve used Anki before as a way to learn some extra vocabulary while I study. Now that I don’t […]

Your Mandarin Learning Experience

By Confused Laowai | Date: February 4th, 2011 | Category: Language

So, 2011 is in full force. I’m back at University, however it is a bit different this time around. I’m doing a Master’s degree in Hypermedia for Language Learning. For info on my degree you can go read this page. The interesting thing is, I have no classes. All my assignments are done online. However, I got a nice bursary and am working at this lab. It is filled with awesome people and awesome opportunities. […]

2010: A Year in Review

By Confused Laowai | Date: December 28th, 2010 | Category: General

So 2010 is almost over. I’d like to reflect this past year on my Mandarin. I graduated this year with a Mandarin (+ General Linguistics) degree cum laude. But, to me, it speaks more than my actual abilities. I have learned how to score really good marks, but doesn’t really reflect my knowledge of the language. One of the biggest things that helped me this year, was the choice of our teacher to give us […]

Quick Social Mandarin Update

By Confused Laowai | Date: December 22nd, 2010 | Category: General

Social Mandarin has been growing steadily over the past few months. This is one my first big web projects and it is an interesting experiment. First I had opened up the blogging section to people who want to post blogs there, but unfortunately it has not been too quick on the uptake. It also clashed withe main purpose of the site, for people to share resources and links. This has led to a bit of […]

Cui Jian’s Greenhouse Girl (花房姑娘)

By Confused Laowai | Date: December 12th, 2010 | Category: Culture

Last year, I took part in the Chinese Bridge competition, which is a Chinese Proficiency competition for foreigners. My Chinese was a bit bad back then, but part of the competition included a “culture” section. You could do anything Chinese really. Sing a song, say a poem, tell a story, do calligraphy or dancing whatever. I decided early on I’d sing a song. I didn’t know any Chinese songs back then, so I Googled quite […]

Is Chinese a good choice for your first foreign language?

By Confused Laowai | Date: November 15th, 2010 | Category: Language

Now that I’ve come to the end of my formal Mandarin studies, I am starting to reflect on Chinese. I am now thinking of starting another foreign language – Spanish is in my sights. Chinese was first! Mandarin is my first foreign language, I speak two other languages, Afrikaans and English, but I grew up with them bilingually. So, Mandarin was my first active effort in acquiring a new language. I have come to learn […]

Interview with La Loupe

By Confused Laowai | Date: November 15th, 2010 | Category: Culture

These two laowai, fronted by Maia and Jordan, have quickly risen in my chart of the best tunes I have heard in a while, never mind Chinese tunes. I ordered their CD some time ago and have been listening to it non-stop! Cleverly written acoustic folk vibes… but in Chinese. The lyrics are easy to understand and very relate-able. For instance, in the song Pengyou, they sing 朋友真的不想你走, among many other excellent lines. So, I […]

Critical Frequency Experiment

By Confused Laowai | Date: November 14th, 2010 | Category: Language

I recently found this interesting blog post on Ajatt. A new kind of way of learning languages. It is not the quantity of time spent learning it, but rather the frequency that counts. This has piqued my interest quite a lot. I now officially done with my formal Mandarin studies (waiting for the marks to come out) and looking for ways to continue my Mandarin studies. I have become a lot more confident in my […]