Feed of posts from useful sites

Cool World Language Stats Graphics

Laowai Chinese - Wed, 04/29/2015 - 22:08

(I… can’t… quite… remember how to use my blog… Oh yes. It’s coming back to me now. I type here, right?)

I saw this fun article “The world’s languages, in 7 maps and charts” from the Washington Post today and wanted to mention it. Notice where Chinese shows up in each graphic, for example:

It was also fun to be reminded (read: actually know for the first time) how many people are in the world (7.2 billion) and how many languages there are in the world (7102).

Absolute Beginners - Let me do it, myself

Popup Chinese Lessons - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 01:00

One of the things we're proud of at Popup Towers is our hard-fought ability to wring natural dialogues out of less-than-natural voice-actors, a skill that usually involves unleashing Grace at them in varying degrees of rage. And since recording a dialogue this way can take up a bit of time, the result is that we usually end up with a number of variants for each one, usually getting more and more natural as we go along.

If you're totally new to Chinese we suggest coming back to this show later -- the lesson is a bit tricky for the Absolute Beginner level -- but we wanted to showcase it here for two reasons. The first is that this show features not one but two dialogues. The interesting thing is that the first dialogue sounds a bit stilted while the second sounds extremely natural. And since they basically saying the same thing, we wanted to contrast and compare them, to learn what it is that makes mandarin sound forced and what makes it more colloquial.

Sinica - Nationalism and Censorship

Popup Chinese Lessons - Mon, 04/27/2015 - 02:36

This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo, David Moser and Jeremy Goldkorn pull Christopher Cairns into the studio for a discussion of an upcoming paper the Cornell graduate student has scheduled for publication in the China Quarterly. Why are we so interested in this topic? Because Cairns and his colleagues at Cornell have actually found a way to measure the extent of government censorship over time, and their research has unearthed some particularly interesting ideas about the relationship between anti-Japanese nationalism and the extent of censorship on Weibo. So saddle-up your VPNs and get listening!

Enjoy Sinica? Be sure to add us on iTunes to get notified automatically whenever a new episode is released. The address of our feed is http://popupchinese.com/feeds/custom/sinica -- and, yes, the address will work with any RSS feed reader, including non-iTunes software as well. Also, if you have comments, feedback or suggestions on guests we should have on the show, give us a shout at sinica@popupchinese.com. [standalone mp3 download]

Sinica - China's Ideological Spectrum

Popup Chinese Lessons - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 01:00

Last week Harvard doctoral student Jennifer Pan and MIT graduate student Yiqing Xu co-released a paper on "China's Ideological Spectrum" that has garnered a tremendous amount of attention in China-watching circles. And the reason for the fracas? Their paper uses data from the Chinese Political Compass to try and map out Chinese ideological tendencies and surprisingly discovers that China's ideological spectrum may be more uni-dimensional than it seems.

Joining Kaiser Kuo and David Moser to discuss this study and the question of what - if anything - Pan and Xu missed is Trey McArver, founder of China Insight and author of the China Politics Weekly newsletter. This is a fun show that veers from George Lakoff to Confucianism to Chinese patriotism and the anti-corruption crackdown. Join us and let us know what you think. [standalone mp3 file]

Sinica - Styling it in China

Popup Chinese Lessons - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 17:19

If you've been reading the Chinese blogosphere for a few years, you might remember our guest from a series of blog posts he wrote in 2007 while working as the only foreign "hair-washing trainee" in a Fuzhou hair salon. Sociologist Ben Ross has since moved on to become a doctoral student at the University of Chicago, where he focuses on Chinese labor migration and related issues.

Like Sinica? If you'd like to know when we release new shows, please feel welcome to subscribe to our dedicated Sinica RSS feed. And if you have any suggestions on topics you'd like to hear covered or guests you think would do well on the show, email us anytime at sinica@popupchinese.com. [standalone mp3 file]

Sinica - Cyber Leninism and the political culture of the Chinese Internet

Popup Chinese Lessons - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 10:03

Yesterday evening, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser were delighted to be joined in Popup Towers by Rogier Creemers, post-doctoral fellow at Oxford, author of the fantastic China copyright and media blog, and one of the most informed academics working on Chinese Internet governance. We've always enjoyed our previous chances to grill Rogier on his thoughts, and our discussion this week didn't disappoint either.

Enjoy Sinica? This month marks the fifth anniversary of our show, which means that we have an enormous archive of materials covering most of the significant political and economic developments in China over the past five years. If you're interested in checking them out, please feel welcome to grab them from our dedicated Sinica RSS feed. Suggestions about future show guests or topics you'd like to hear covered are also always welcome by email at sinica@popupchinese.com. [standalone mp3 file]

US grad-level enrollments in Japanese continue long decline

Pīnyīn News - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 11:33

Fewer and fewer people are taking graduate-level Japanese classes in U.S. universities, according to data recently released by the MLA.

Graduate-level enrollments in Japanese classes are at their lowest level since 1983 and have declined to less than half of their peak level, which was reached in 1995.

Here are a few more years. When looking at the earlier peaks, it’s worth remember that there are a lot more people in graduate school now than there were several decades ago, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the population. So the recent figures are even more bleak than they might appear at first glance.

U.S. graduate-level enrollments in Japanese, 1960–2013

You might be wondering how Japanese stacks up against another Asian language. Here’s a comparison with graduate enrollments in Chinese (in blue). Again, the situation isn’t looking good for Japanese.

Graduate enrollments in Japanese vs. graduate enrollments in Chinese, 1986–2013

And here’s a look at the number of undergraduate enrollments in Japanese (green) and Chinese (blue) per enrollment in a graduate course in the same respective language.

Number of undergraduate enrollments in Japanese and Chinese per enrollment in a graduate course for the same language

Even so, boosters of Japanese may take heart that there are still more post-secondary enrollments in Japanese than in Mandarin. But more on that in a later post.

(For those of you who are wondering, no, this blog isn’t really back just yet. But I think these numbers are interesting. Also, my MLA-related posts don’t need Hanzi or Pinyin diacritics, which would only get messed up anyway. Thus, I might as well post the information for others to see.)

Sinica - Comfort Women and the Struggle for Reparations

Popup Chinese Lessons - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 01:00

This week on Sinica, we are delighted to be joined by Lucy Hornby, China correspondent for the Financial Times, and author of this phenomenal piece on China's last surviving Chinese comfort women, and their longstanding and often futile attempt to seek reparations in both China and Japan. Join us today as we talk about this piece, but also other stories of reparations and post-war politics that may leave you - like us - somewhat less cynical going out than coming in.

Enjoy Sinica? If you want iTunes to download new episodes of Sinica automatically as we publish them, feel welcome to subscribe to our Sinica RSS feed. You can also find Kaiser on Twitter at @KaiserKuo and Jeremy at @danwei. And here is the standalone MP3 file too. We hope you enjoy the show.

Sinica - In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland

Popup Chinese Lessons - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 01:00

This week, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are delighted to be joined by Michael Meyer, the author of The Last Days of Old Beijing and now In Manchuria, a part literary travelogue and part journalistic account of three years spent living with family in rural Jilin.

Starting with stories of crime and punishment on the rural bus network and the ever-delicate question of where rice tastes best, our podcast moves on from the personal towards the broader subject of how Jilin's agricultural economy is transforming in the face of market pressures. And we also talk about the past, in the area's Manchu footprint and its continuing legacy from its period of Japanese occupation, both of which can still be seen as much from the people themselves as well as the monuments and cemeteries in the region.

Note: care to get notified when new episodes of Sinica are released? If you use podcast software like iTunes, try subscribing to our free Sinica RSS feed. We welcome everyone to listen to the show online, but if you'd like to download this show to share or just save for later, go for it: here is the standalone mp3 file.

Advanced - From the Archives of the CBC

Popup Chinese Lessons - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 01:00

Classical pianist Glenn Gould, the most improbable sex symbol in Canadian music history, set the world ablaze in the 1960s and 1970s with his emotional reinterpretations of Bach's keyboard repertoire. But what really distinguishes Gould from his contemporaries is the sheer volume of experimental recordings he bequeathed the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on his death, recordings made at home during his final years in recluse and only now available to the public for the first time....

Note to Listeners: we tried to keep this show focused on classical music, but then Grace kept mentioning how much she doesn't like Taylor Swift, and David felt forced to wave his populist flag, and that is how our podcast descended into nonsense shortly after our two hosts offhandedly diagnosed the vast majority of the Chinese population with obsessive compulsive disorder.

Sinica - Under the Dome

Popup Chinese Lessons - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 04:01

"Under the Dome," Chai Jing's breakout documentary on China's catastrophic air pollution problem, finally hit insurmountable political opposition last Friday after seven days in which the video racked up over 200 million views. The eventual clampdown raised many questions about the extent of internal support for the documentary.

In this episode of Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser interview Calvin Quek of Greenpeace, who works on pollution problems and has significant experience lobbying the private sector to curtail investments into the worst-offending, environmentally unsustainable technologies. We are also joined by Peggy Liu, chairperson of JUCCCE (Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy), a non-profit organization focused on Chinese government training and other green initiatives.

Enjoy Sinica? Get notified when new episodes are published by subscribing to our dedicated RSS feed. You are also welcome to download this show as a standalone mp3 file. Thanks for listening and please send us comments and feedback by email at sinica@popupchinese.com.

Sinica - Keep in Touch, Nightman

Popup Chinese Lessons - Sat, 02/28/2015 - 06:45

"What have I done, and what am I doing here?"

In 1997, Beijing was smaller city, and Keep in Touch, Jamhouse and Nightman were the hippest venues around. There was no traffic on the ring roads, and if you got tired of Chinese food you might take a trip to Fangzhuang to visit this Italian restaurant that had suddenly appeared (should we go to Fangzhuang tonight, honey)? And the really plugged-in? They might even heard of this new district called "Sanlitun" that had a couple of upcoming bars like Poachers....

This week on Sinica, Jeremy and Kaiser are joined by two old friends from the 1990s, Jessica Meider (now a professional musician) and Jonathan Ansfield (now a professional journalist). We don't chat much about, but if you're a long-timer in Beijing, or just curious what it used to be like, join us as we look back at youth, music and share tips on how to do a backflip in a PLA-owned bars.

Newbie - Boba Tea

ChinesePod - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 00:00

Newbie - Movie Preference

ChinesePod - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 00:00

Sinica - Business and F*cking in China

Popup Chinese Lessons - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 01:00

"Murdering a guy together is how you really get to know someone...."

So begins our discussion with James Palmer, and you won't know how badly we're twisting his words out of context until you listen to the full show, which starts with us grilling James on "what you have to do to be part of Chinese business culture" and descends from there into stories of the sort of booze-and-ketamine-fuelled business dealmaking that seems to consist of a large amount of male business culture in China. But why? And what is happening to the whole industry under Xi Jinping's recent crackdown?

Haven't heard of our guest yet? James Palmer is one of our favorite long-form writers on contemporary China, who counts among his China-related books The Death of Mao: The Tangshan Earthquake and the Birth of the New China (short-listed for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 2012). James is also the author of a number of fantastic pieces from AEON magazine on China's post-1980s generation and the deliberate marginalization of the disabled. We hope you enjoy the show as much as we do.

iTunes has been spotty for everyone in China since the New Year. But if you are outside China and would like to use it to keep up-to-date on the Sinica show, you can subscribe using our private RSS feed. We also invite everyone to download this show as a standalone mp3 file to share with your friends. If you have questions or suggested topics, feel free to reach out to us anytime by email at sinica@popupchinese.com.

Sinica - The Visual World of Jonah Kessel

Popup Chinese Lessons - Sat, 02/07/2015 - 23:24

This week on Sinica, Jeremy and Kaiser are joined by Jonah M. Kessel, former freelance photographer and now full-time videographer for the New York Times who has covered a wide range of China stories, traveled widely through the country, and produced a series of great videos on everything from the Foxconn scandals and the Southeast Asian heroin trade to more practical coverage on how to walk your cabbage. Join us as we talk to Jonah about his work and his experiences in China.

Like Sinica? Because our new layout makes it a bit harder to keep abreast of what has recently been published, we encourage all interested listeners to subscribe to our show via our dedicated RSS feed. And if you have questions or comments, please feel welcome to leave them in our comment section, or reach out to us by email at sinica@popupchinese.com. [standalone mp3 download]

Another Facelift for the Blog

Laowai Chinese - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 07:04

It appears that every 7 years or so (that often?!), I update my blog’s appearance. This new layout, while feeling a bit… umm… “thick” to me, actually works much better for mobile devices so all my readers with smart phones (aka me and my mom) can enjoy all the non-stop action of this blog while out and about.

This update also happened to coincide with switching servers. So some things may be huài le 坏了 that used to work.

But at least one thing is NOT huài le 坏了 anymore: the contact form!

All that to say, if anyone finds something is broken or missing on this site, please let me know and I’ll try to fix it. Thanks for your patience!

Newbie - This Haircut Please

ChinesePod - Tue, 02/03/2015 - 03:15
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