庆祝2018年新西兰中文周Celebrations in New Zealand Chinese Language Week 2018

New Zealand Chinese Language Week is a Kiwi-driven initiative aiming at encouraging New Zealanders to discover Chinese language and culture. It was officially launched by Raymond Huo as a sitting Member of Parliament on 24 May 2014. This year New Zealand Chinese Language Week is on from 23 to 29 September. Explore all the events in the nationwide celebration during New Zealand Chinese Language Week.

New Zealand Chinese Language Week Celebrations at Shirley and Hornby Libraries

Coincidentally, Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival on 24 September and Confucius’ Birthday on 28 September fall during this year’s New Zealand Chinese Language Week. Christchurch City Libraries is collaborating with the Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury to celebrate the two events.

Shirley Library

Our activities include paper cutting, calligraphy, plate painting, Chinese games, Chinese folk dancing, and learning basic Chinese greeting and numbers. Free, no bookings required. Recommended for all ages. Caregiver required.

Hornby Library

Come and celebrate Chinese Language Week with us at Hornby Library. Lead teacher, Fang Tian from the Confucius Institute will run a Chinese calligraphy taster and Cherry Blossom painting session. Suitable for all ages. FREE, no bookings required. Wednesday 26 September, 3.30pm to 4.30pm. Find out more.

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival中秋节

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is on the 15th day of the 8th month of a lunar calendar year when the moon is believed to the biggest and fullest. Chinese people believe that a full moon is a symbol of reunion, harmony and happiness so Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for family reunion. Mooncakes are the main characteristic food for this occasion. Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival was derived from the ancient rite of offering sacrifices to the sun in spring and to the moon in autumn. Folklore about the origin of the festival is based on the ancient legend of Chang’e and her fateful ascent to the heavens after having swallowed an elixir pill.

Books and resources in the library related to Mid-Autumn Festival 图书馆有关中秋节的读物

Confucius’ Birthday孔子诞辰

Confucius, also known as Kong Qiu, is a great Chinese scholar, teacher and social philosopher. Confucius is believed to be born on 28 September, 551BC. He was living in a period regarded as a time of great moral decline. Working with his disciples, Confucius edited and wrote the classics and compiled Four Books and Five Classics 四书五经 to find solutions. In his life time, Confucius traveled throughout eastern China to persuade the official classes and rulers of Chinese states with the great moral teachings of the sages of the past. Although Confucius did not succeed in reviving the classics, his teachings formed as a dominant Chinese ideology, known as Confucianism, which values the concepts of benevolence仁, ritual仪, propriety礼. His teachings have had a profoundly influence on Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese thoughts and life for 2500 years.

Each year, Confucius’ birthday celebration ceremonies are held on the island of Qufu (Shangdong Province, Mainland China), the birthplace of Confucius. Outside Mainland China, Confucius’ birthday is also celebrated in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Japan. In Taiwan, Confucius’ birthday is set as a public holiday for teachers, known as Teachers’ Day, to memorise the first great teacher in the Chinese history.


Books and resources on Confucius in the library 图书馆有关孔子的读物

Chinese Language Collection

Chinese eResources

  • Overdrive — Chinese language eBooks中文电子书
  • Dragonsource — Chinese language magazines龙源中文杂志
  • Press Reader — Chinese language newspaper and magazines 在线中文报纸和杂志


Resources for Learning Chinese

Programmes and services offered in Chinese at your library

Hong Wang
Network Library Assistant

跨文化家庭教育和图书馆的资源 Cross-cultural parenting with library resources

根据大英百科全书Britannica Library Adults, 教育是传递一个社会的价值观和知识以达到个人社会化的过程。尽管每个现代社会都有从幼儿园到大学的正规化教育,通过亲子关系付诸实施的家庭教育在这一社会化过程中起着非常重要的作用。它是最早、最直接、最具影响力的、集养育和教育为一体的过程。它会影响到正规教育的结果。然而,对于我们华人移民来说,家庭教育并不是易事。家长从其移民身份带来的东方式价值观和知识不一定适用于在新西兰成长并接受西方正规教育的孩子。

跨文化的养育和教育的酸甜苦辣在《虎妈的圣歌》“The Battle Hymn of Tiger Mother”演绎得淋漓尽致。人们在笑谈亚洲成绩标准Asian Grading Scale之余也在思考并探讨在这样的跨文化的环境中究竟怎样的教育方式才是合适的。这是一个学习做父母parenting 的过程。为人父母的能力并不是天生的,需要后天的学习和完善。下面三个方面是家长在跨文化的环境中需要学习的。


从人类社会初期,教育的目的是在孩子社会化过程中进行文化传承。因此,在进行家庭教育时,生为第一代移民的家长们需要考虑您们和孩子身处的文化、社会环境和与之相关联的教育理念。Britannica Library Adults 中关于教育的科普 知识是一个理想的开端。然后,从Fifty major thinkers on education: From Confucius to DeweyFifty modern thinkers on education: From Piaget to the present中,您会更系统、深入地了解到不同时期和社会文化背景下的教育理念。这有利于您因势利导地选择家庭教育的方式,并与学校的正规教育有机地结合起来。




选择适合的学习资源也对家庭教育至关重要。基督城图书馆有众多的资源和服务供您选择。家长可带学龄前儿童到图书馆参加讲故事babytimes 和 storytimes 的活动。图书馆的学习中心还有免费和少量收费的假期课外活动。每一个图书馆都有从启蒙程度到适合青少年的书籍,例如 picture book, into reading, younger fiction, older fiction, children’s nonfiction, young adult fiction, young adult nonfiction等。部分图书馆(Central Library Peterborough, Fendalton, Halswell, Hornby, Linwood, Upper Riccarton) 还有中文儿童读物。

图书馆的电子资源也丰富多彩。从三岁儿童就可使用的、寓教于乐的 Busythings 到中小学生都能用的Literacy PlanetSmartMath Practice等家庭作业资源。从Year 5 开始,孩子会在学校遇到一些研究性的问题和项目。教会他们使用大英百科全书Britannica Library Kids和世界图书 World Book Kids等参考书会极大地扩展他们的知识面和自学能力。鼓励孩子使用AnyQuestions在线帮助新西兰学生家庭作业的服务。这一服务是教育部和国家图书馆联合筹办的、由来自新西兰各图书馆的图书管理员提供的在线服务项目。该项目能帮助学生们学会查询、评估和使用作业相关的信息。除此之外,Mango LanguageDragonSource 对学习中文的孩子们必不可少。

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Hong Wang, Network Library Assistant

用图书馆资源开发您的音乐潜能: Becoming musical with library eResources

每年五月是新西兰的音乐节。人们在庆祝本土音乐的成就之余也会想到存在于不同的历史时期、不同社会、不同形式的音乐。音乐作为人类情感的表达,是任何文明社会不可缺少的。孔夫子曰:夫乐者,乐也,人情之所不能免也。 Confucius said, “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without”. 尽管不是每个人都有天赋成为一名音乐家,但都能通过发展音乐欣赏的能力,成为一名业余的音乐爱好者或专业的音乐人。尤其对华人移民和他们的子女来说,学会赏析西洋音乐和来自其它文化背景的音乐能丰富在远离故土的生活,甚至开启一个职业的领域。在这方面,基督城图书馆的电子音乐资源能助您一臂之力。



您喜欢听美国歌曲和音乐吗?American Song数据库拥有源于美国社会各阶层、种族和各个时期的超过十一万个音乐曲目。涵盖像民谣folk蓝调blues乡村country, 福音gospel摇滚rock 等众多的音乐类别。如果您不知道怎样欣赏这些类别的音乐,可用图书馆的百科全书Britannica Library Adults键入相关音乐类别的英文单词获得背景知识。


古典音乐的爱好者可从Classical Music Library数据库中找到您的最爱。该数据库拥有从格利高里的圣歌Gregorian Chants到近代的九万多个曲目。Naxos Music Library数据库云集了在线串流式古典音乐。流行音乐的粉丝们也不会失望。Popular Music Library数据库让您“畅游”在流行音乐的殿堂。如果您对世界各地的音乐都感兴趣,Contemporary World Music数据库是不错的选择。该数据库拥有超过二十万的曲目。您能在其中找到雷鬼reggae, 世界的节拍worldbeat, 柴迪科zydeco雅乐gagaku等不太熟悉的音乐类别。当然,其中也有中国的二胡、古典民乐等音乐曲目。同样,Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries数据库的收藏也是包罗万象。其中不仅包含世界各地的音乐曲目,还拥有各种动物和自然界各种声音的录音。Music Online: Listening Plus包含上述多种数据库,集结了各种音乐专辑、曲目于一体

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另外,您如果喜欢听音乐会,看歌剧和芭蕾舞剧,Naxos Video Library数据库能提供超过2560个完整剧目。Naxos JazzJazz Music Library两个数据库提供9000多个爵士乐专辑和最完整的在线串流式爵士乐。

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图书馆的音乐资源也能用于开发个人的音乐潜能,音乐专业学习和教学。Busy Things是一款适合于三到十三岁孩子的寓教于乐的软件。其获得了 英国教育培训和技术展大奖BETT (British Educational Training and Technology Show) award。该软件中的音乐学习素材可训练孩子们在游戏中辨认乐器、发展对音乐的节奏感、认识音阶和懂得五线谱。在此基础上,Fine Arts and Music Collection, Bloomsbury Popular Music, Oxford Music Online, Rock’s Backpages 等数据库收集了大量有关音乐研究、学习和教学的材料。为学习音乐提供了丰富的素材。Naxos Sheet Music提供四千五百多个音乐作品的乐谱供下载打印。有小孩学习乐器的家长可充分利用这些材料来发展孩子的音乐潜能。

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以上音乐数据库只提供在图书馆注册申请了借书证的顾客使用权。如果您希望使用这些数据库,请按要求申请借书证。当您点击该文章中的链接时,系统会让您输入借书证号(card number)和密码(password/pin)以便进入特定网页。希望图书馆的音乐资源能帮助丰富您和您家人的生活,发展兴趣爱好,修身养性,发掘您的音乐潜能。

Hong Wang, Network Library Assistant

Dragonsource browsing guide 导读龙源


龙源数字阅读平台提供上百种的综合性人文大众类期刊, 内容涵盖管理财经、文化艺术、文学文摘、经济法律、时政新闻、社科历史、健康生活、科技科普和教育教学几大类别。这一内容丰富的华文阅读平台藏在英文网站中,并不为大多数华人顾客所知。下面给大家做一下导读吧。

Dragonsource 龙源
  • 如何进入网页:
  1. Google 网站上搜索Christchurch City Libraries, 进入图书馆网站主页;
  2. 在Search the 后的搜索窗口点击下拉箭头,选择catalogue;by 后面的搜索窗口选择keyword;在第三个窗口键入dragon source,点击该窗口后的查找图标;
  3. 在新出现的网页中找到查询结果龙源期刊网-Long yuan qi kan wang,点击view online 进入新网页,输入借书证号(card number)和密码(password/pin), 点击login,进入龙源首页。

  • 龙源数字阅读平台查阅功能:下面的几项功能比较常用。
  1. 您可选择刊名查询,在信息检索后的窗口输入期刊中文名查找某一期刊;
  2. 点击顶部的期刊导航,您可以看到期刊可按出版地区、类别、标题首字母顺序分类;
  3. 您可选择文本版 (单篇文章,可复制)、专题版 (精选封面文章)、原貌版(期刊原貌,图文并茂)和语音版(智能语音功能,部分期刊在线试听或下载播放)来阅读期刊;
  4. 页面右上角有中文简繁体转换图标。

  • 期刊推荐:龙源数字阅读平台有两百多种期刊,而且每一期刊在不断更新。尽管一些期刊更适合在中国生活的读者,龙源也能满足生活在基督城的华人顾客的需求。下面是一些例子。
  1. 儿童读物:龙源数字阅读平台的儿童期刊杂志是学习中文的好帮手。下面列举一些例子让大家感受相关期刊杂志的功用。 《小猕猴学习画刊》的童话引人入胜,开心语文栏目让你轻松学中文。《小青蛙报》适合3-8岁的孩子学习中文。《少年文艺》《少年读者文摘》是学习作文写作的优质素材。《小学生导刊》的低年级中年级高年级版以及《少年大世界》的ABC版可帮助孩子循序渐进地学中文。《快乐巧连智》中的连环画故事生动有趣,很适合有幼儿的家长使用。《故事大王》《意林》的语音版可用于中文听说训练。
  2. 英文学习资料:对于生活在海外的华人来说,英文学习的资源很丰富。尽管如此,龙源数字阅读平台提供的英文学习资源值得推荐。因为它们都是为华人编写的,更有针对性。例如,《新东方英语》为考雅思和托福的学生们提供指南。《疯狂英语》的阅读版原声版口语版附有中英文对照,是帮助英文学习者从初级过渡到高级水平的好素材。
  3. 养生健康:生活在当下忙碌喧嚣的世界,保持自己和家人的身心健康很重要。在这方面,龙源能助您一臂之力。《家庭百事通》《养生保健指南》《大众健康》《烹调知识》《父母世界》《心理与健康》《问健康画报》提供育儿、烹饪、心理健康、家庭保健和养生的科普和咨询。
  4. 人文、生活、历史:龙源也提供诸多人文、生活和历史方面的期刊杂志。您曾经熟悉的《知音》《读者》《知音海外版》《译林》《啄木鸟》《长江文艺》《大众电影》《婚姻与家庭·婚姻情》《恋爱婚姻家庭.青春》都在其中。《连环画报》会使您想起儿时的小人书。《醒狮国学》《中国收藏》《百家讲坛》将带给您漫步历史的长廊。

现在您可能迫不及待地想试试 龙源数字阅读平台 了吧?这一阅读平台提供在图书馆注册申请了借书证的顾客免费使用权。如果您希望使用这一平台,请按要求申请借书证。当您点击该文章中的链接时,系统会让您输入借书证号(card number)和密码(password/pin)以便进入特定网页。您在使用中有任何问题,欢迎到任何基督城图书馆咨询。希望龙源期刊杂志能丰富您的阅读经验,帮助您的孩子提供中文水平,‘治愈’您的乡愁。

Hong Wang

新年愿望和图书馆的资源 (New Year’s Resolutions and Library Resources)

新的一年到来了!在这辞旧迎新之季,我们每个人都对来年有所期盼。自助书籍作家Melody Beattie 说过,新的一年就像一本书待写的一章,需要我们设定目标来完成。在西方社会,人们都有制定新年计划和愿望 (New Year’s Resolutions) 的习惯。这一习俗沿袭了四千年前古巴比伦的传统。早期的基督徒将其作为反省过去的过失,规划来年的契机。在中国,人们在新年之际也会互相发送新年寄语和收集一些 鼓励自己的话语。即使没有写下来,我们的心里可能都有这样一份自我规划和自律的清单( A to-do list)。然而,要将这些写在纸上的规划和愿望逐条地付诸实施并非易事,需要心理准备和物质条件。在这方面,图书馆的资源能提供有益的帮助。

所谓心理准备就是了解自己的弱点和预期实施计划会遇到的障碍,从而克服这些困难以达到预定的目标。成功地实施新年愿望的关键就是能自我控制,持之以恒地向预定的目标努力。社会心理学家 Roy F. Baumeister和纽约时报科学专栏作家John Tierney 认为,人类不同于动物的一大特点就是人类的自制力或称毅志力(willpower)。人类能够为了长远的目标自我克制以免受暂时诱惑的影响。人们的目标可能是组建一个和睦的家庭,追求一个成功的职业,寻求经济上的安全感,拥有和保持健康或追求兴趣、爱好和梦想。无论那一个目标的实现都取决于个人的自制力。在上个世纪六十年代,心理学教授Walter Mischel和他的同事在斯坦福开展的著名的棉花糖实验(Stanford Marshmallow Test )显示了自制力与成功密切相关。



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  • 运动、音乐, 种植和社区生活:如果您喜欢运动,图书馆有关练习瑜伽、 在基督城步行 的资料可提供指导;音乐爱好者不要错过 Music Online: Listening Plus,其中包含各种类型的音乐供选;种植爱好者可在图书馆找到大量有关园艺的书和杂志,一些推荐书目尤其有用;CINCH: Community Directory 收集了大约6,000家基督城的社团、俱乐部和成人教育的信息,能为您提供社区活动和组织的资讯。
  • 阅读:如果您想培养阅读的爱好,DragonSource, Overdrive, BorrowBox, PressReader 能提供您中文杂志、电子书、有声电子书和世界各地包括英文和华文报纸。


  • 基督城图书馆华人读书会:如果您喜欢读书、交友和与其他阅读爱好者交流读后感,欢迎加入Fendalton基督城华人读书会。我们每月第二个星期五晚6.30pm-7.30pm 在Fendalton 图书馆见面。


Hong Wang, NLA

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

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

xiǎo xīng xīng
yì shǎn yì shǎn liàng jīng jīng
mǎn tiān dōu shì xiǎo xīng xīng
guà zài tiān kōng fàng guāng míng
hǎo xiàng xǔ duō xiǎo yǎn jīng
yì shǎn yì shǎn liàng jīng jīng
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.

tóu ér jiān bǎng xī jiǎo zhǐ
膝,腳趾 膝,腳趾
xī jiǎo zhǐ, xī jiǎo zhǐ
tóu ér jiān bǎng xī jiǎo zhǐ
yǎn,ěr,bí hé kǒu


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

Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre

Celebrating New Zealand Chinese Language Week 2016 新西兰中文周

The Chinese language has a reputation for being one of the most difficult languages in the world to master. If you have learned Chinese, you can literally talk to nearly 1.2 billion people, which is around 16% of the world’s population.

To prepare you for New Zealand Chinese Language Week 2016 next week (12-18 September), I thought these words and phrases might guide you into the wonderful and rather complex world of Mandarin Chinese.

About the Chinese language

Cover of My first Mandarin Chinese phrasesPinyin is the official phonetic system for transcribing the Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet.

Four tones of Mandarin Chinese – each Pinyin has four tones and each tone often represents one or more characters, this is probably one of the hardest parts of learning Mandarin Chinese.

Basic words and phrases

English Character Pinyin Tones
Hello 你好 nǐ hǎo Both 3rd  – falling then rising
Thank you 谢谢 xiè xiè Both 4th tone – falling
Goodbye 再见 zài jiàn Both 4th tone- falling
Free (no charge) 免费 miǎn fèi 3rd+4th – Falling rising + falling
One 1st tone – high & level
Two èr 4th tone – falling
Three sān 1st tone – high & level
Okay 好的 hǎo de 3rd + no tone – falling then rising + no tone (short sound)
Christchurch 基督城 jī dū chéng 1st+1st+2nd – high & level + high & level + rising
Library/Libraries 图书馆 tú shū guǎn 2nd +1st+3rd – rising + high & level + falling then rising
Useful phrases
Hen gao xing ren shi ni!    很高兴认识你!  Nice to meet/know you!
Xin nian kuai le!         新年快乐!     Happy New Year!
Wo hen xi huan!         我很喜欢!     I really like it!
Yi lu ping an!            一路平安!     Have a safe journey!
Shen ti jian kang!        身体健康!            Wish you good health!
Wan shi ru yi!           万事如意!     Everything goes well as your wish!

Traditional and Simplified Chinese

Traditional and Simplified Chinese refer to the written text of Chinese characters. Traditional characters, as the name suggests, had traditionally been used for many years since ancient China. Nowadays they are most commonly used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

Simplified characters evolved and were adopted after the establishment of today’s P. R. China in 1949, so you could call it a relatively “modern form”.  They are mainly used in mainland China, Singapore and Malaysia. Here is a quick comparisons of both forms:

Traditional Simplified

The debate on the use of traditional and simplified Chinese characters is ongoing. Supporters from both sides would argue over the political and cultural implications, as well as practicality and personal preferences.

Chinese language resources at Christchurch City Libraries:

New Zealand Chinese Language Week events at Christchurch City Libraries

Tai chi
Head along to a Tai Chi demonstration at Papanui Library during NZ Chinese Language Week

There are a number of Chinese-themed events taking place at our libraries during New Zealand Chinese Language Week, including bilingual storytimes, a tai chi demonstration and fun craft activities.

See our online calendar for New Zealand Chinese Language Week events

读书破万卷, 下笔如有神 (Ample reading produces fluent writing)杜甫

Yang Song
Māori and Cultural Services

NZ Chinese Language Week – The Wu Xing (five-element theory) of Chinese characters

Kia ora koutou, da jia hao 大家好 !

This week (7 to 13 September 2015) is New Zealand Chinese Language Week. To celebrate this occasion, I would like to share some information about the Wu Xing (five-element theory) of Chinese characters.

The Wu Xing refers to the five natural elements – Wood ( ), Fire ( huǒ), Earth ( ), Metal ( jīn), and Water ( shuǐ). This philosophical concept has been used to provide explanation for phenomena across many different fields, such as Chinese astrology, Feng Shui, health and medicine. The dynamic relationships among the five elements are essential, known as “mutual generation 相生” and “mutual overcoming 相克”.

Chinese calligraphy - Chinese Lunar New Year festivities at Upper Riccarton Library, Flickr P1040956.JPG
Chinese calligraphy – Chinese Lunar New Year festivities at Upper Riccarton Library, Flickr, P1040956.JPG

Without trying to explain the whole complexity of Wu Xing, let’s use the Wu Xing application in the Chinese language as an example. Each Chinese character belongs to one of the five elements, determined by how it is written and its origin.

I still remember how hard it was to try to find a good name combination for my kids. Firstly I had to identify their preferred element by searching in the Lunar Calendar using their time and date of birth. Of course their having been born in the southern hemisphere made it even more complicated as the Chinese Lunar Calendar is based on the northern hemisphere climate.

Then I had to find the characters to go with my surname to have the “mutual generation” effect. After intensive research I had a pool of characters I could use to form the name and then it was time to put them together and look at the visual and sound effect. There are normally a few things to consider from here: simplicity of writing, pleasant intonation, homophonic sounds, meaning of each character and combined meaning, plus characters’ gender differences.Mango!

If you are interested in learning some Mandarin Chinese, you can access Mango Languages via our website (use at a library or enter your library card & password/PIN) or download the Android / iOS app to your mobile device – this would a good place to start your journey.

“书山有路勤为径, 学海无涯苦作舟” – 韩愈 (from a Chinese poem)

Diligence is the path to the mountain of knowledge; hard-work is the boat to the endless sea of learning.

Chinese eMagazines with Dragonsource!

Dragonsource logoDragonsource is the latest electronic offering to our customers – specifically those who can read and understand Chinese!

Dragonsource offers hundreds of free up to date eMagazines covering a wide variety of topics in both simplified and traditional Chinese characters. The eMagazines can be read and searched. You can also download some titles and listen to the audio version.

What you can do with each eMagazine does vary. If you can understand Chinese, have a look today and spread the word.  All you need is your library card number and password/PIN.

也许您正怀念在中国时每期必读的杂志, 也许您一直关心着有关中国的政治, 财经, 文化和时事, 也许您正鼓励您的孩子多读中文以强化他们与中国和中国文化的联系, 那么请登陆Dragonsource (龙源) – 您所有的问题和需要或许都可以在这里得到解决!

龙源数字阅读平台用简体字和繁体字向您提供丰富的综合性人文大众类期刊, 内容涵盖时政 热点, 商业财经, 科学科技, 文学艺术, 教育教学, 健康养生, 娱乐时尚等领域。热门期刊如<读者>, <凤凰周刊>, <支点>, <南方人物周刊>通常与印刷版同步推出, 您既可点击杂志封面又可直接汉字搜索主题或作者查询文章和杂志。您还可根据阅读喜好和需求选择原貌版, 文本版或语音版。原貌版原版原式, 图文并茂, 绚丽多姿;文本版文章可搜索复制,支持单篇阅读; 语音版支持部分期刊在线试听和下载。