We started a new blog a month or so ago to encompass all of our integrated learning through life…Being in Our Element. This blog was getting old, but will stay up as it has so much information and links for Mandarin learning used by lots of Chinese Teachers 🙂 Most of that stuff is from years ago, so feel free to browse for ideas for learning Mandarin in the class or at home 🙂
This week at our Mandarin Song and Story Time, we read 大卫， 不可以！(Dàwèi , bù kěyǐ!) the Chinese translated version of ‘No, David!’ by David Shannon.
It is a simple book with the ‘No!’ and ‘’Don’t!’ things that adults often say to children. The illustrations are fun and convey all the meaning needed for reading in a second language, will encourage lots of discussion in both English and Chinese, and lots of repetition in the text to reinforce some key Chinese phrases.
不可以玩食物！(bù kě yǐ wán shí wù) ‘Don’t play with your food!’
Chinese doesn’t really have a word for ‘No!’ So instead the translators have used the modal verb ‘Can’ to translate ‘No’ in this context as ‘You can’t’. When we say ‘can’ in English, it can mean ‘you know how’, or that you ‘are able to’ or that you are ‘allowed to’, all depending on the context. In Chinese, there is a different modal verb for each one…’会 (huì), 能 (néng), and 可以 (kě yǐ)’. It is 可以 kě yǐ that is the one used to say that you are permitted or allowed to do something. At pre-school in China, when teachers are telling kids what ‘not to do’, it is this ‘不可以!’ (bù kěyǐ!) that is used…No! Don’t! For English learners of Chinese, learning how to use these different forms of ‘can’ in Chinese can be tricky. So this book is also great for older students of Chinese to reinforce the usage of one of these ‘can’ modal verbs. It will only take a couple of readings and some fun discussion of the illustrations to remember that ‘不可以!’ is the ‘can’ that means ‘allowed’ or ‘permitted’.
不可以挖鼻孔！(bù kěyǐ wā bíkǒng!) ‘Don’t pick your nose!’
Of course the little ones at our story time will pick all this grammar up naturally just by enjoying the story!
Mid Autumn Festival (Or the Moon Festival) is on the 24th Sept this year. Who better than Groovi Pauli to give us a great song and video to learn all about traditions for this festival. You can purchase his ‘Celebrations in Chinese 4 Kids’ that this song comes from on album on iTunes. But here is a video for you, we will be singing this song every week in our Mandarin Song and Story Time till the festival 🙂 We will also tell stories and make some things over the next few weeks to help us learn all about the things in Groovi Pauli’s song 🙂
Is this a wooden cheeseboard?
It looks like one…
Drizzle white, dark and milk chocolate on the tray, like wood grain.
Scatter jelly beans, marzipan, fruit and nuts, and marshmallows on the chocolate.
Add more chocolate!
4 kgs of chocolate
Put in the fridge to set.
Grate and rub till smooth like wood.
Put cheeses, crackers and strawberries on the chocolate ‘wooden’ cheeseboard。 Share with friends!
This is the video that the kids followed to make their Chocolate Cheeseboard if you want to try making your own!
Ed Sheeran’s Chinese name is 艾德 希兰 (àidé xīlán) or 红头艾德 (hóng tóu àidé) ‘Red Head Ed’.
There are lots of Mandarin cover versions of his songs on YouTube. So if you like his songs, try searching and singing along to some of them in Mandarin. Singing along to songs in Mandarin is soooo good for Mandarin learners. You can study the lyrics, or just sing along without knowing word for word…either way it gets Mandarin in your brain!
Here is a cool video of one of his songs ‘Shape of You’, ‘疯狂的爱上你’ (fēng kuáng de ài shàng nǐ), by Echo Lee. Below that is a link to a Mandarin version of Ed’s ‘Perfect’ by Sophie Chen. The lyrics in both videos are in traditional characters, so I have converted them to simplified below the videos for those studying simplified Chinese. I have also converted to pinyin for your singing along convenience 🙂
Lucas loves making a ‘fancy weekend dinner’ for the family, so straight away he looked through the recipes, this is the one he picked to make this weekend for us. Lucas can follow an English recipe independently with ease now…so I have given him the task of making this dinner for us, with no help from me…from translation, to shopping, to cooking (of course I will go to the shops with him and monitor the stove top cooking bits :-))
‘Glazed sizzling chops with sweet tomato and asparagus lasgnetti’. So Lucas set to translating the recipe. Lucas can recognize about 75% of characters in a regular text. That doesn’t mean he will know 75% of all the ‘words’ in the text, just the ‘characters’ that will make up those words. His strategy therefore is to type the whole recipe out, using the pinyin for the characters that he knows, and looking up the ones he doesn’t know in a handwriting recognition tool. Once he has the whole recipe typed out, it is then easy to look up the words that he doesn’t know using online tools.
Recipe typed out in Chinese, with the English translation of ingredients written in pen for his shopping list
Lucas’s English translation of the recipe typed and printed for cooking
Some words just don’t come up in even the most updated dictionaries, because new words are being formed all the time in China. As western food products increase in the market, phonetic names are made up for them, and often different areas of China may have different names. For example 帕尔玛干酪 (pronounced ‘pà ěr mǎ gān lào”, Lucas knew ‘gān lào’ as cheese. But an element of common sense guessing had to be used with the ‘pà ěr mǎ’ bit…a word in an Italian Pasta recipe…a kind of cheese…it didn’t take long to work out that ‘pà ěr mǎ’ was a phonetic for ‘parmesan’. After spending some time in Kunming, Lucas knows that only a handful of very upmarket supermarkets with international sections would stock such an item as parmesan cheese. So words like these can take a while to appear in online dictionaries.
Next Lucas had to write a shopping list of the ingredients that he needed, taking into account the quantities/measurements and making sure it’s enough for all 4 of us. So he printed his typed out list and wrote the English over the top. His translation for a ten year old is pretty amazing I think 🙂 (Please note I don’t correct any work of my children as I believe they ‘improve’ without the need of a teacher’s red pen). A few mistakes like writing ‘kg’ instead of ‘g’ they realise themselves…it is much more powerful for kids to find their own mistakes than have a teacher point them out 🙂
The dinner was an absolute hit…and an amazing feeling of accomplishment for Lucas…not only did he prepare, cook and serve a really fancy yummy dinner for our family’s Friday night chill…he had to translate the recipe from Chinese beforehand…some pretty amazing skills being developed 🙂
Ok…the work involved to get this recipe translated, shopped, prepared and on our dinner table was more like 15 hours spread over the week… not 15 minutes 🙂 But who cares…in the moment, meaningful and rewarding learning 🙂
We will read this book this week: 听, 是谁在唱歌？ (tīng, shì shéi zài chàng gē ?) ‘Listen, who is singing?’
It is full of Onomatopoeia, or words that make a sound like the sound they are trying to describe. They are called 拟声词 (nǐ shēng cí) in Chinese, or literally ‘imitating sound word’. These are great for young learners of Chinese, because just like in first language acquisition, these words can allow children to explore the ‘sounds’ of a language. You will notice that most of the characters in the table below for these ‘sound’ words, have the 口 radical on the left side of the character, which is the ‘mouth’ radical…often giving a clue it is an onomatopoeia word!
The children will have to try and guess which animal is making the singing noise!
Below is a table that has a list of the animals in the book, and the animal sounds that the children will enjoy, but till Story Time enjoy this song! The words to the song are far too long to post here, but this link will take you to them 🙂 You will note some of the animal sounds in the song are a little different to some of the animals in the book…like the Rooster goes ‘ wowo’ in the book and ‘o o’ in the song…but just like animal noises in English…there is no law!
here are the animals in the book:
Here is another more familiar song to help us make those animal sounds! The first sound in the song is a chicken, which is not in our book (we have a rooster in our book crowing ‘wōwō!’. The chicken says 叽叽 ‘jījī’, more like the ‘cheep cheep’ sound of a baby chicken. Lyrics to the song are under the video. Old MacDonald in Chinese is 老王先生 lǎo wáng xiānsheng, the ‘lǎo’ is a polite address of a senior, the ‘wáng’ is his surname, and ‘xiānsheng’ is the word for ‘Mr.’ In Chinese we say ‘Wang Mr’, not ‘Mr Wang’ 🙂 Enjoy!
wáng lǎo xiān shēng yǒu kuài dì yī yā yī yā yōu
tā zài tián lǐ yǎng xiǎo jī yī yā yī yā yōu
zhè lǐ jī jī jī nà lǐ jī jī jī
zhè lǐ jī nà lǐ jī dào chù dōu zài jī jī
wáng lǎo xiān shēng yǒu kuài dì yī yā yīyā yōu
Literal English Translation:
Farmer Wang had a plot of land, yiya yiya yo
On his land he raised little chicks yiya yiya yo
With a cheep cheep here, and a cheep cheep there,
Here a cheep, there a cheep, everywhere a cheep cheep
We will read all about family over next few weeks. We might start with this one for our next story time 袋鼠也有妈妈吗? (dài shǔ yě yǒu mā ma ma?) ‘Does a Kangaroo have a mother too? ‘ by Eric Carle. Some vocab from the book is at the bottom of this blog post.
Here is a video Aurora made for our ‘I love my family song’ that we sometimes sing in class. We have included this song for many years in our story times, the kids learned it when they were little from the ‘Better Chinese: My first Chinese Words’ series. Hope you like Aurora’s production of it:
Here are the words to the song:
wǒ ài wǒ de bà ba
wǒ ài wǒ de mā ma
wǒ ài wǒ de gē ge
wǒ ài wǒ de jiě jie
wǒ ài wǒ de jiā
I love my Dad, I love my Mum, I love my older brother, I love my older sister, I love my family.
The second time around the words 哥哥 (gē ge) big brother’ 姐姐 (jiě jie) big sister’ are replaced with 弟弟 (dì di) little brother’ and 妹妹 (mèi mei) little sister’.
Here is a little bit of the Kangaroo book for reference of vocab:
dàishǔ yě yǒu māma ma? yǒu！ dàishǔ yǒu māma
jiù xiàng wǒ yǒu nǐ yě yǒu.
Literal translation: Does a kangaroo also have a mother? Yes (has), a kangaroo has a mother, just like I have and you have too.
This is the same each page, just replace kangaroo (red highlighted) with following animals: 狮子 shīzi lion 长颈鹿 chángjǐnglù giraffe 企鹅 qǐ’é penguin 天鹅 tiān’é swan 狐狸 húli fox 海豚 hǎitún dolphin 绵羊 miányáng sheep 熊 xióng bear 大象 dàxiàng elephant 猴子 hóuzi monkey