Interview with An Advanced-Level Chinese Learner-Part I

Generally speaking, knowing how to “fish” is usually more important than how many “fish” you get. In explanation, “method” is the key part in doing a lot of things, such as learning languages. It is also useful for you to know what other successful language learners do when they learn a new language or even several new languages. 

Aaron & His Favorite Sport, Bowling

Aaron & His Favorite Sport, Bowling

In today’s post, my friend Aaron Miller, an Asian-born-American, who is known as the “grammar editor” among the Chinese students, will share with us his experience learning Chinese, Cantonese and a little Korean.

As a native Chinese speaker, I was pretty surprised by Aaron’s Chinese level and his language talents at the first time when I met him and heard him speak. Here are the first part of recordings I got during the interview with him.

Q01. Aaron, can you greet our readers with the several languages you can speak?

Q02. Languages are usually considered as the indicators of different cultures. Since you are such an expert in learning foreign languages, I guess the readers must be really curious about what kind of background you come from that makes you so good at languages?

A Screen Shot of Aaron's Hometown, Angeles City, Philippines, on Google Map

A Screen Shot of Aaron's Hometown, Angeles City, Philippines, on Google Map

(Click the Above Image for Detailed Map)

Q03. What is the reason that made you choose Chinese as you major here in the University of Florida? Up till now, how long have you been a Chinese learner?

Q04. As a lot of Chinese learners complain, Chinese is one of the most difficult languages in the world. Do you think so as well? Do you have your own method to conquer this problem?

Q05. Who teaches (or taught) you Chinese? Where do they come from? What kind of learning materials have you been using? 

Here are the screenshots for the textbooks Aaron has been using for his Chinese study.

Textbook for Level II

Textbook for Level II

Textbook for Level I

Textbook for Level I

Qo6. At the baby level of your Chinese, how did your teacher(s) do to guide your learning tour? And what method are you using at this level?

“Just have fun with it” is what impressed me the most in Aaron’s talking. Indeed. Interest is the most necessary and effective motivation in doing and succeeding in one thing. One will never do something well if he finds the thing boring. Neither can he do it well if he “hates” the thing. 

So, play with Chinese and try to get the most fun out of it. If you can manage to do that, you will make a good Chinese learner.

Please come back and check out for the second part of my interview with the advanced-level Chinese learner, Aaron Miller!

A Quiet Corner at 5141 SW 91st Way, Gainesville, FL.

A Quiet Corner at 5141 SW 91st Way, Gainesville, FL.

Got more interesting stories of Chinese learners or your own experience learning Chinese to share with us?
Know more useful and efficient ways of Chinese learning?
Your comments and ideas are warmly welcomed from the bottom of my heart!
by Xuan♥.

Series Post on Driving: Part I. How to say “Driver’s License” in Chinese?

√  Are you guys good drivers?

√  When did you get your driver’s license?

√  Do you know the differences between taking a driving test in China and taking the test in the U.S.?

√  Do you want to know how to say “driver’s license” in Chinese?

Street Sight in St. Augustine

Heavy but Neat Traffic in St. Augustine

Today’s Chinese-learning topic is related to a very important living skill – DRIVING.  

Before I came to the U.S., I passed the driving test in China and got my Chinese driver’s license. I passed my written test about a week ago here in Gainesville, Florida. During my preparation for my driving test here, I found some similarities and several interesting differences between taking a driving test in China and the U.S. 

I guess you guys might be curious about my findings, so I would love to share with you the SIMILARITIES part while teaching you guys the Chinese saying for “driver’s license” in today’s class. Don’t worry, the DIFFERENCES part will be covered in the next post.

Drivers License Office in Gainesville, Florida

The Drivers License Office, 5830 North West 34th Street Gainesville, FL 32653

A “driver’s license” is translated as 驾照 in Chinese. Please follow the audio below to practice pronouncing 驾照.

Chinese Characters for "Driver's License"

Similarities in Taking A Driving Test in China and the U.S.

1. DMV.

I guess you guys must be familiar with DMV, which is short for Department of Motor Vehicle.  This department is in charge of the driving test and issuing the driver’s license in both China and the U.S.. This place is also where the want-to-be drivers schedule the test appointment, get the official driver’s handbook and take the driving test.

2. The Written Test.

The written test section is only one part of the driving test in both China and the U.S. It is not actually a real “written” test since people taking the test will complete this section on a computer. This computer-based test examines the want-to-be drivers of the general knowledge about the traffic rules, the meaning of traffic signs, and some basic first aid skills. People in the U.S preparing for the written test can refer to the official driver’s handbook, which is the same in China, or attend a traffic school.

3. The Traffic School.

Same as in the U.S., there are traffic schools in China as well, where people pay for lessons to get instructions on how to pass the driving test.

(I will cover more about the traffic schools in the DIFFERENCES part.)

4. The Written Test Prior to the Road Test.

In both China and the U.S., you can’t take a road test unless you pass the written test first. In China, the DMV will have a record of one passing the written test; whereas in the U.S., the want-to-be drivers will receive a learner’s permit as a prove for having passed the written test. However, it might take up to a month before one receives the real learner’s permit. Instead, a lot of people choose to take the tiny white receipt rather than waiting for the learner’s permit, especially when they decide to take the road test shortly after. 

Xuan's and her friend's White Receipts

Xuan's and her friend's White Receipts

Interesting, huh? 

I am always excited about discovering all these fascinating cultural differences, which is also the fun part during foreign language learning. Hope you enjoyed today’s lesson. Please come back and check for the DIFFERENCES part in the next post. :)

Got more interesting experience preparing for your driver’s license or taking the driving test to share with us?
Know more about taking a driving test in other states in the U.S.?
Your comments and ideas are warmly welcomed from the bottom of my heart!
by Xuan♥.

How to GREET in Chinese?

As we all know, there are tons of greetings in English, such as “Hello!” “Hi!” “Hey!” “Good morning!” “Good afternoon!” “Good evening!” as well as “How are you?” “How do you do?” The Chinese language is the same: we also have different sayings to greet someone. But different sayings should be used under different circumstances.

Greetings From Mickey Mouse

Greetings From Mickey Mouse@ Disneyland Orlando

Greetings In Formal Circumstances…

As known to us all, “Hello” is the English expression for greetings in the most formal circumstances, such as greetings exchanged during people’s first meeting or greetings at the beginning of a business negotiation. “Hello” is translated as “你好” in Chinese. What’s more, “你好” is also used when elderly people greet each other.

Chinese Character/Saying for Hello_formal 

Greetings Between Different Generations…

It is different when an elder greets a young person and when young people greet the elderly.

An elder people will usually say “你好” when he greets a young person, which hopefully you remember from the first circumstance we talked about just now.

However, a youth will greet one who is elder than him in another way to express his respect. He will greet by saying “您好!” “您”means the same as “你”, both meaning “you” in Chinese. But “您” sounds more polite and decent than “你.”

Chinese Character/Saying for Hello_with respect 

Greetings Between People Who Know Each Other Well…

Americans greet someone whom they know well with “hi” or “hey.” “嗨.” The interesting thing is that we have two Chinese characters with exactly both the same meaning and the same pronunciation in Chinese.

Check this out. “嗨” stands for “hi” while “嘿” means “hey.”

Chinese Character/Saying for Hi 

Chinese Character/Saying for Hey 

Easy, huh?

Some “Weird” Greetings In Chinese…

The above greetings don’t show too many differences between the Chinese and American cultures.

Americans will feel offended when they are asked by a friend where they are going or what they are going to do. They will consider these questions quite personal and private. So you may find these Chinese greetings quite frustrating and weird.

Usually, we Chinese greet friends without directly saying “hi” or the like. Rather, we ask a question. such as “干嘛去?”which means “What are you going to do?”“去哪儿呀?”which means “Where are you going?” or “吃了吗?” which means “Have you eaten?”

Chinese Character/Saying for What Are You Going To Do  

Chinese Character/Saying for Where Are You Going  

Chinese Character/Saying for Have You Eaten 

See how interesting that is? It is always interesting to learn about a different culture when we learn a different language.

Xuan's Greeting From Underwater

Xuan's Greeting From Underwater


  Got more GREETINGS to share with us?

  Your comments and ideas are warmly welcomed from the bottom of my heart!

  by Xuan♥.