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  • Survival Chinese Chilin Shih East Asian Languages and Cultures University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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  • Chinese Geography Chinese Language Chinese Banquet Etiquette
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  • Chinese Geography
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  • China has 1.3 billion people. 5000 years of history 9.6 million square km of area
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  • Chinese Geography Modern Chinese population concentrates in the east. The Yellow River valley was the cradle of Chinese civilization. The Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia. The river basin is home to one-third of Chinese population.
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  • Chinese Geography
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  • Chinese Population Density
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  • Chinese Geography
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  • Forbidden City, Beijing
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  • Great Wall, Beijing
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  • Xian
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  • Guilin
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  • Shanghai
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  • Chinese Language
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  • Chinese Language and Dialects Mandarin is the official standard language of China. Though China is well-known for language diversity. There are many dialects such as Cantonese and Shanghainese.
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  • Chinese Dialect Map
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  • Chinese Writing System The Chinese writing system consists of more than 40,000 characters A typical college students know about 3000-5000 characters
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  • Chinese Writing System Some characters retain the ancient pictographic design. Some are created with whimsical combination.
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  • suncarmoonhorse
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  • ri4yue4ming2 sunmoonbright
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  • mu4lin2sen1 treewoodsforest
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  • Chinese Writing System Most of the Chinese characters are actually sound-based, with a component indicating the sound and another the meaning category.
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  • question marker motherscold weightant agate horse ma ma3 ma1 ma3 ma4 ma3
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  • Chinese Writing System In a traditional Chinese book, the characters are written vertically and are read from right to left.
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  • Chinese Writing System In modern books Chinese characters can be aligned horizontally and are read from left to right. This layout is commonly used for scientific articles where English words are often included.
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  • Chinese Tones Ma1: mother Ma2: hemp Ma3: horse Ma4: to scold Chinese is a tone language. Different tones, or pitch contours, change the meaning of the word.
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  • Chinese Tones Ma1-ma0 ma4 ma3. Mother scolds the horse. Ma3 ma4 ma1-ma0. The horse scolds mother.
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  • Pinyin A Romanization System Pinyin is a Romanization systema spelling aid using Latin alphabet to annotate the pronunciation of Chinese characters
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  • Pinyin Vowels a, e, i, o, u, Pinyin uses these letters for 16 vowel sounds. The pronunciation changes with context, though generally, say them as if you are singing Italian songs.
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  • Pinyin examples bi, ba, bu di, da, du ga, gu bei, bai ban, bang puo, pong pi, pa, pu ti, ta, tu ka, ku sa, su pin, ping ma, na, la
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  • Pinyin examples q = ch x = sh (say them with a smile!) j = gee zh = jr with the tongue curled qing wen May I ask, please xie xie Thank you Beijing Zhong guo China
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  • Banquet Etiquette
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  • Banquets serve important social functions in China. Friendship is strengthened and political and business decisions were typically made during banquets.
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  • Place Setting
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  • Seating Arrangement The seat facing the door is the honored seat for the guest of honor. The host sits opposite to the guest of honor.
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  • Host Guest
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  • Dishes are served together in a casual gathering.
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  • Casual Banquet
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  • In a formal banquet, dishes are served sequentially. There may be ten to twelve courses, starting with appetizers and ending with a soup.
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  • The Appetizer
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  • The host will make a toast and welcome everyone. Gan bei! This means bottom up. Then the host will invite everyone to start.
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  • The honored guest is served first. This custom is enthusiastically followed for the first few courses.
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  • The honored guest usually makes a toast to the host when the second dish is served. After that, every one can initiate a toast to individual or to the whole group. There may be many rounds of toast during the course of the meal.
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  • When touching glasses, raise your glass to a height that reflects the social ranking. When toasting to your boss or senior, keep the rim of your glass a bit lower.
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  • The host is responsible for ordering. It is an art to find the perfect combination and sequence to bring out the optimal culinary experience.
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  • There may be chicken, duck, beef, pork and seafood, alternating with vegetable dishes.
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  • Only half way through. Enjoy each dish slowly. The host will be happy if you sample every thing.
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  • Looking for a conversation topic? Ask about the dishes. Many dishes have interesting stories behind them.
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  • Is the fish head pointing at you? Then it is your turn to drink.
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  • The word fish sounds the same as having more resources. During New Year, we always leave some fish in the plate to signify a resourceful and abundant coming year.
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  • The Soup
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  • The soup is served at the end of the meal. Afterwards, there may be fruit and/or a simple dessert.
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  • We will return for four modules of survival Chinese: Greetings: Meng Liu Shopping: Huang-Lan Su Place names: Lingling Yao Daily necessities: Di Wendy Wu We have a webpage for you with vocabulary, sound recordings and handout. There are also links to nursery rhymes, poems and songs. http://faculty.las.illinois.edu/cls/SurvivalChinese