The Rules of Calligraphy

Posted on August 23, 2016

My calligraphy teacher made me memorize and recite the rules of calligraphy as they have been formulated in the Four Strength Method of Chen Xiang (陈翔四力法). The rules are rather cryptic though so I spent some time trying to coming up with a reasonable translation and some explanations. Note that I’ve translated the spirit rather than the letter of these rules. The rules appeared in print in 快速掌握汉字间架结构的方法 (语言文字报, 2014-11-10), and can be found in Chen Xiang’s books as well (see below).

Read more

Resources for Learning Chinese

Posted on February 15, 2016 (last updated Aug 2, 2016)

An exhaustive list of all the resources that I use and have created for studying Chinese.

Read more

ChinesePod dialogues for HSK 4

Posted on January 17, 2016 (last updated January 23, 2016)

I previously constructed a list of ChinesePod dialogues for HSK levels 1, 2 and 3. This blog post provides a list of dialogues for HSK level 4.

Read more

ChinesePod dialogues for HSK 1-3

Posted on October 17, 2015

ChinesePod is an absolutely excellent resource for students of Chinese. It provides tons and tons of dialogues at all levels, from Newbie to Advanced; each dialogue is accompanied by an explanation (in English at the lower level, in Chinese at the highest levels, and in a mixture of English and Chinese at the intermediate levels) as well as a vocabulary list, grammar exercises, etc. I can highly recommend it.

However, although the dialogues are organized by level, those levels do not correspond to the HSK levels. Coming up with a list of dialogues per HSK level is a non-trivial task; ideally such a list would satisfy a number of requirements:

Read more

Western Mind-Chinese Grammar

Posted on June 27, 2015

Chinese grammar hurts my head.

I have a rather classical education. Did Latin for 6 years, (ancient) Greek for 3; studied English, French, and German. The first two years of high school we had a subject that focused exclusively on grammar (albeit in the context of Dutch). As part of my computer science degree I studied formal (mathematical) grammar. I thought I understood language structure.

Then I started learning Chinese.

Read more

Studying Chinese with Pleco

Posted on January 16, 2015

Pleco is app with high quality Chinese dictionaries; it is an absolute must-have for any serious Chinese student. It also features a flashcard system, but although it is highly configurable I could never quite make it do what I wanted so I never used it. However, the integration between the flash card system and the dictionary finally tempted me to try again and I’m very glad I did because it works great; I only use Pleco now for study. On this page I will describe how I’ve set things up.

Read more