Learning Chinese in Context 功夫在字外

Chinese is one of the most spoken languages in the world. It was created and developed in a rich social, cultural and historical context. For people growing up in a different environment like Christchurch, learning Chinese can be challenging. Fortunately there are resources and strategies that can help.

Combining learning resources 整合学习资源

In Christchurch, there are diverse Chinese learning resources available, thanks to online resources and international migration. Some examples are as follows.

Local Chinese language schools 中文学校

Free Chinese Learning resources at Christchurch City Libraries 免费图书馆资源

Mango languages logo Rosetta Stone logo Dragonsource logo

Cultural Events

The combination of the three types of learning resources will create an ideal environment for learners to immerse in the social and cultural context of Chinese learning. Especially, Mango Language and Rosetta Stone Library Solution are good complements to class learning and enable learners to be independent in the learning process

Learning Chinese characters with stories 通过故事学中文字

Unlike English, Chinese writing is a logographic system with each character simultaneously encoding sounds and meaning at the level of the syllable. For example, the Chinese character “word”, 字, is explained as follows.

字: 篆体: , 乳也。从子在宀下,子亦聲

The seal script of the Chinese character “word” is  , referring to bringing up a son in a house so that he can become well-educated and literate (be able to read and understand words). The semantic part宀 represents the house, and the sound of 字 (zì) encodes that of the phonetic part 子 (zǐ).

Cang Jie’s creating Chinese characters ,仓颉造字, is a widely accepted explanation of the legendary origin of Chinese language. It is believed that Chinese writing was invented by a legendary figure Cang Jie, 仓颉,a court historian of the powerful Yellow Emperor. Inspired by the patterns of the tracks left behind by the feet of birds and other animals, he created Chinese writing with basic strokes as follows.

8 Strokes of Han Characters
8 Strokes of Han Characters, Wikimedia Commons.

Xu Shen 许慎,a scholar of Han dynasty (206BCE-220CE), compiled a dictionary entitled “On graphs and composite graphs”, 《说文解字》. It explains the meaning, the sound and the composition of Chinese characters. Publications based on the dictionary, such as “Pictograph of Chinese Characters”, 《画说汉字》, are also useful resources for learners to understand the composition of Chinese characters and familiarise themselves with the historical origin of these characters.

When Lu You, 陆游, a poet of Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279) taught his son to write poems, he suggested, “if you want to learn how to write a good poem, you must go beyond gaining techniques on poetry writing”, 汝果欲学诗, 功夫在诗外. The idea can be applied to learning Chinese; that is, 功夫在字外. We should not only focus on gaining linguistic skills but also put an effort in broadening our knowledge on the social, cultural and historical context of the origin and development of Chinese language. Then, learning Chinese can become effective and fun.

Find out more

Hong Wang
Network Library Assistant

World Standards Day 14 October

Every year since 1970 World Standards Day has been celebrated to raise awareness among regulators, industry and consumers on the importance of standardisation to the global economy. The day is an opportunity to pay tribute to the collaborative efforts of the thousands of experts worldwide who develop the standards.

This year the theme for World Standards Day is Standards make cities smarter.

Building a Smart City is highly complex. Every city faces its own challenges and requires its own mix of solutions. Sufficient fresh water; universal access to cleaner energy; the ability to travel efficiently from one point to another; a sense of safety and security: these are the kinds of promises modern cities must fulfill if they are to stay competitive and provide a decent quality of life to their citizens.

With standards, we can make our cities smarter, step by step. Individual islands of smartness can grow together and interconnect to:

  1. Support the development of tailor-made solutions that can be adapted to the particular circumstances of a given city
  2. Open the door to a larger choice of products and services
  3. Make things work safely and smoothly together at every level in cities

Current New Zealand Standards (NZS), and joint Australian/New Zealand Standards (AS/NZS) are available online at any of our libraries.

Print copies can be borrowed at Central Library Peterborough or requested from any of our community libraries.

More information about our Standards Collection.

Learning music with Lynda

Have you discovered our Lynda? I have.

Lynda logo

I’m struggling with music notation and learning to read music… I should have paid attention when I tried to learn at 11, because now when I’m trying to learn at 55, it’s quite painful.

It just isn’t straight forward, there are weird rules and exceptions, and it’s more mathematical than I thought it would be. Add to that, I’m looking at it from a jazz perspective and my brain not only hurts but feels numb.

I’ve got books, and I’m in a class, but I recently thought, “hey there’s that Lynda woman in our Christchurch City Libraries eResources who offers videos to learn about just about anything… I wonder what she has to offer me?”

So I got my library card and my PIN ready to go: it’s one of our resources you do have to be a  library member to use. I logged into Lynda, after finding it in the eResources section of our website.

Next, the search for ‘music’, which yielded a plethora of results from Intro to songwriting, Insider’s guide to today’s music biz, and Finding music using apple apps, and there amongst them was Music Theory.

I settled on learning musical notation and worked my way through a series of videos that I could stop, back up, repeat until some of what I was reading and practising was sinking in. There was also music theory for songwriters, improvisation and theory, and one I’m obviously not quite up to, Music Theory for Fun!

In the process, I learnt that you can adjust the skill level to suit you, as well as choose from specific authors and teachers, the length of course you want and a wealth of other limiters to make the learning truly suited to you.

But wait, you say I’m not interested in music theory.. stick with me here, because there are so many other things to learn, such as:

  • Become a Photographer
  • Publish an eBook
  • Become a Web Designer
  • Become a Motion Graphics Artist
  • Be a Small Business Owner
  • Be a Six Sigma Black Belt

So, check out our Lynda and expand your horizons… I’ll keep on with my key signatures and triads (not of the Chinese gang variety!)

Start your Chinese learning with nursery rhymes

Nursery rhymes are easy to remember, short to sing and have fun actions! So, in preparation for New Zealand Chinese Language Week (16-22 October) why not start your Chinese learning with Chinese nursery rhymes? Here are some easy Chinese nursery rhymes you can try. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about the different tones in Chinese. Try to match the tune.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are

小星星
xiǎo xīng xīng
一闪一闪亮晶晶
yì shǎn yì shǎn liàng jīng jīng
满天都是小星星
mǎn tiān dōu shì xiǎo xīng xīng
挂在天空放光明
guà zài tiān kōng fàng guāng míng
好像許多小眼睛
hǎo xiàng xǔ duō xiǎo yǎn jīng
一闪一闪亮晶晶
yì shǎn yì shǎn liàng jīng jīng
满天都是小星星
mǎn tiān dōu shì xiǎo xīng xīng

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes, knees and toes,
Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Eyes, ears, mouth and nose.

頭兒,肩膀,膝,腳趾
tóu ér jiān bǎng xī jiǎo zhǐ
膝,腳趾 膝,腳趾
xī jiǎo zhǐ, xī jiǎo zhǐ
頭兒,肩膀,膝,腳趾
tóu ér jiān bǎng xī jiǎo zhǐ
眼,耳,鼻和口
yǎn,ěr,bí hé kǒu

Numbers

1, 2, 3
yī èr sān
4, 5, 6
sì wǔ liù
7, 8, 9
qī bā jiǔ
10
shí
(repeat backwards)

Christchurch City Libraries have a good range of Chinese learning materials as well as the eResources Mango Languages and Rosetta Stone.

Come join our New Zealand Chinese Language Week Celebration in the libraries from October 15th to 22nd.

If you would like to learn more Chinese nursery rhymes, do check out the Bilingual Babytimes every Tuesday at 11am in Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre.

Bilingual storytime with Anita
Bilingual storytime with Anita, New Zealand Chinese Language Week 2016, Flickr File Reference: 2016-09-Bilingual_storytime-Anita.jpg

Anita
Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre

Podcast – Arms control in outer space

Speak Up Kōrerotia logoChristchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.

Maria Pozza is a world expert in the topic of arms control and outer space, and shares her legal knowledge of this ‘out there’ human rights issue, speaking about issues such as tension between the laws of nation states and international treaties.

Part I: The importance of talking about arms control in outer space
Part II: Outer Space Treaty
Part III: What do we mean by ‘arms control’ (weaponisation vs militarisation); New Zealand and arms control in outer space
Part IV: Future of arms control in outer space

Transcript – Arms control in outer space

Find out more in our collection

Cover of The history of human space flight Cover of The American way of bombing Cover of Space junk Cover of Throwing fire Cover of The Twilight of the bombs Cover of My journey at the nuclear brink

Streaming video

Access Video logoThe WPA Film Library: Nuclear Weapons Banned in Space, 1967 

U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy is present for the signing of a treaty banning nuclear weapons in outer space. (access with your library card & password / PIN)

 

Access Video: Space Junk Access Video - Space junk 

Horizon finds out about the threat from space junk and joins the scientists searching for ways to clean up the debris. (access with your library card & password / PIN)

 

 

Access Video: In orbit – How Satellites Rule Our WorldAccess video: In orbit

Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock traces the history of satellites from their origins through to today’s hugely complex spacecraft.

More about Speak up – Kōrerotia

The show is also available on the following platforms:

Arrrrrr it be Talk like a Pirate Day

Ahoy mateys! If it’s pirate chatter ye be after, you’ve come to the right place. Mango’s Pirate Language Course will teach you everything you need to know to “parley” in perfect Pirate.

Don’t be a lily-livered landlubber, belay yer carousin’ and haul wind smartly. Get on to Mango Languages and find some booty. Take your language skills across the seven seas me hearty, and join in the conversation. Arrrre ye up for the challenge of becoming a swashbuckler!

What be yer Pirate name, me hearty? check out the Pirate name generator below!

Election – What are the critical issues?

With the election looming, now would be a good time to find out what the issues are facing New Zealand. A good place to start would be our Critical Issues Collection from Bridget Williams Books.

First off before you vote for a new Prime Minister (technically we didn’t vote for Bill at the last election) you may want to read The 9th Floor: Conversations with Five New Zealand Prime Ministers. Based on the acclaimed RNZ podcast series, and including new material, The 9th Floor by journalists Guyon Espiner and Tim Watkin presents in-depth interviews with five former Prime Ministers of New Zealand. Geoffrey Palmer, Mike Moore, Jim Bolger, Jenny Shipley, and Helen Clark reflect on their time occupying the prime ministerial offices on the 9th floor of the Beehive. Their recollections are a fascinating record of the decisions that shaped modern New Zealand.

After reading this about some of New Zealand’s Prime Ministers, you then have the option of reading about some of the other top issues in the upcoming election. The Critical Issues Collection has tackled all the major topics including the environment, child poverty, housing, immigration, health and the economy.

The Critical Issues Collection is available in your library or by using your library card and pin. Find out more about this collection.

           

Swap seeds at your library this spring – The Great Library Seed Swap

It’s nearly Spring (yay) and to celebrate the season of growing and greenery, we are hosting seed swaps. Bring in your leftover seeds to Lyttelton, Spreydon, South, Hornby or Akaroa Library and we’ll put them out to share.

Daisy

We welcome vegetable, herb, flower, native, and heritage seeds. You can bring any spare potted-up seedlings. Seeds can be dropped in anytime before or during seed swap week. If you’re bringing in seedlings, please drop them off at the beginning of the week.

The Great Library Seed Swap at Lyttelton Library

Monday 4 September to Saturday 9 September
Find out more.

The Great Library Seed Swap at Spreydon Library

Saturday 9 September 10am to 1pm
Find out more.

While swapping seeds check out Gardening for Everyone & Anyone – Food Resiliency in Urban Environments, 10.30am to 11.30am

The Great Library Seed Swap at Hornby Library

Saturday 9 September 10am to 12pm and Monday 11 September 2pm to 5pm
Find out more.

The Great Library Seed Swap at South Library

Saturday 9 September 10.30am to 1pm; Sunday 10 September 10.30am to 1pm
Find out more.

The Great Library Seed Swap at Akaroa Library

Monday 11 September to Saturday 16 September
Find out more.

There ares plenty more green-fingered resources at your libraries. Take a look at our page about gardens and gardening and explore the books, magazines, and eMagazines in our collection.

Podcast – Making a difference

Speak Up Kōrerotia logoChristchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.

What motivates people to ‘make a difference’ – and what actually do we mean by the phrase?
Guests Billy O’Steen (University of Canterbury), Sarah Campagnolo (Volunteering Canterbury and Gap Filler), Teoti Jardine (Volunteering Canterbury and Avon-Otakaro Network) and Jason Pemberton (Student Volunteer Army and Social Enterprise World Forum) debate this fascinating – and somewhat elusive – question, drawing on their huge expertise in the volunteering sector.

  • Part I: Defining ‘making a difference’ – Is it the same as volunteering? Activism? etc.
  • Part II: How can we measure ‘making a difference’? What are the shortfalls of relying on statistics? Ethnicity and volunteering
  • Part III: Demographics and volunteering; guests’ key learnings; encouragement for people to being ‘making a difference’

 

Transcript – Making a difference

Find out more in our collection

Cover of Doing good...says who? Cover of Doing good better Cover of The most good you can do Cover of The promise of a pencil Cover of Social change any time everywhere Cover of Good work and no pay Cover of Volunteer: A traveller's guide to making a difference around the world Cover of The red bicycle Cover of The Unofficial Official Handbook of Good Deeds

More about Speak up – Kōrerotia

The show is also available on the following platforms:

Podcast – Ethical supply chains

Speak Up Kōrerotia logoChristchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.

Ethical supply chains is an important issue in today’s consumption-driven world (and related to the last episode Human Trafficking). To debate the issue, Sally is joined in the studio by Jeff Ward (Liminal Apparel​) and Natalie Baird (Christchurch Trade Aid and University of Canterbury​) with David Capperauld (Child Labor Free) on the phone. Talking points include –

  • consumer responsibility
  • corporate responsibility
  • consumer habits in today’s society (people want things cheap and fast)
  • fair trade
  • Fairtrade Fortnight (4-17 Aug)
  • mechanisms for ‘verifying’ or auditing ethical supply chains
  • benefits to producers and their communities, to businesses, and to consumers, of buying from ethical companies

Transcript – Ethical supply chains

Find out more in our collection

Cover of Ethics and the Consumer Cover of Fighting the banana wars Cover of The No-nonsense Guide to Fair Trade Cover of The fair trade revolution Cover of Unfair trade Cover of Slow fashion: Aesthetics Meets Ethics Cover of Invisible Hands Voices From the Global Economy Cover of Working Ethically-- on A Shoestring Creating A Sustainable Business Without Breaking the Bank Cover of Consumer republic Cover of Megatrends 2010 The Rise of Conscious Capitalism Cover of The conscience economy: How A Mass Movement for Good Is Great for Business Cover of The responsibility revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win

More about Speak up – Kōrerotia

The show is also available on the following platforms: