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.

이 겨울이 따뜻할 수 있을까!

꽁꽁 얼어 버린 겨울은 세상의 모든 따뜻함을 찾아 나서게합니다. 몸을 데우는 일 뿐만 아니라, 마음이 따뜻해 질 수 있으면 참 좋겠습니다.

이 달에 소개할 책입니다.

IMG_0067July완전변태 – 2005년 장편소설 《장외인간》을 펴낸 이후 9년 만에 출간한 소설가 이외수의 매력을 다채롭게 느낄 수 있는 10 편의 단편소설로 구성되어 있습니다. 단순한 문장들이 단숨에 책 한 권을 다 읽게 하지만, 읽은 후의 울림은 이외수 특유의 감성을 느끼게하는 책입니다.  여러 부류의 직업군들을 등장시켜, 오늘을 살고 있는 우리들의 양심에 노크하는 신선한 충격이 있습니다.

복거일의 자유롭게 한걸음 – “사회의 보편적 합의에 대한 반성적 긴장과 구성원들의 지지 및 비판적 격려를 통해 성장한 지식인은, 자신의 사상적 자양이 되어준 당대에 자신의 지혜를 되돌려줄 의무를 지닌다. 그것은 사회와 지식인 사이에 체결된 일종의 계약이다. 우리 사회가 안고 있는 문제에 대한 지식인의 관심과 참여는 보다 나은 미래의 삶을 위한 가장 기본이 되는 동력이기 때문이다.”…우리시대 지식인에게 묻다 중에서

스캔들 세계사 –  저자 이주은은 책 읽기가 좋아 수 많은 책들 속에 살다 블로거 ‘눈숑눈숑 밀푀유’에 나누기 시작한 역사이야기를 책으로 펴낸 젊은 작가입니다. 인물과 에피소드를 중심으로 중세와 근세 유럽의 역사를 사람들이 살아간 이야기를 통해 쉽게 풀어낸 이야기책입니다.

Mango Languages를 알고 있으세요?  한국어를 포함해 중국어, 불어, 이탈리아어, 일본어등 60개db-Mango-CKEY754288 이상 언어를 스스로 공부할 수 있는 온라인 자료입니다. 영어 실력을 더 발전 시킬 수 있을 뿐만 아니라,  해외 에서의 휴가 계획을 하고 있으시다면  미리 그곳의 말과 문화를 살짝 익히고 떠나시면 어떨까요. 혹은 실질적인 외국어 실력을 향상 시킬 수 있는 완벽한 언어 학습자료입니다.  크라이스트쳐치 시립 도서관 카드비밀번호가 있으시면 지금 당장 시작하세요.

반가운 소식 하나 더.   Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre가 오는 11월에 문을 열 계획입니다. 수영장을 비롯한 많은 부대 시설들과 Halswell 도서관이 포함되어 있습니다. 이곳에서 일 해보고자 하시는 분은 지금 지원하세요.

Inglés a tu alcance con Christchurch City Libraries

Logo of Mango LanguagesEn Christchurch City Libraries puedes encontrar mucho más que libros… sabías que puedes aprender, o practicar,  inglés gratuitamente? Lo único que necesitas es pertenecer a la biblioteca!

Sacar una tarjeta es muy fácil, gratis y lleva tan sólo minutos. Y una vez que la tienes,  tienes acceso a infinidad de servicios; desde computadoras con internet y Wi-Fi gratuito hasta el uso y acceso a diferentes programas especializados y bases de datos, incluyendo Mango Languages, ya sea en la biblioteca o desde tu casa o tu dispositivo. Haz click aquí para descargar Mango Languages en el App Store o en Google Play.

Mango ESOL Spanish

Mango Languages es un programa innovador e interactivo por medio del cual puedes aprender o practicar tu inglés con diferentes actividades incluyendo películas. Mango es diferente porque no se enfoca en los fundamentos del idioma, sino mas bien la idea es que, en poco tiempo, puedas comunicarte en inglés en una manera correcta.

Sólo pregunta en cualquiera de las bibliotecas de Christchurch City Libraries y nuestro staff te ayudará con gusto.




Mango logoその中で今回お勧めしたいのがMango Languages。英語の勉強はもちろん、フランス語、スペイン語、中国語、その他の言語も習えます。特に英語は、各言語に合わせた別々のカリキュラムがあって、選択すればその言語で案内してくれます。


Mango screenshot



Mango languages gives you the world

LogoWhen I was travelling through Jordan, our guide pointed out some hills across from the Dead Sea. “That is Israel, we are still officially at war with them”, he said. It reminded me that New Zealand’s isolation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Then I got a job at the University College of London where everyone I worked with seemed to be multi-lingual. This made me see our isolation in another light. Kiwis can’t pop over to Germany for the weekend to improve their German! So there is also a loss when your nearest neighbours are an ocean away and Australian. Times though are changing with immigration, tourism and cheaper air travel our island is becoming increasingly open to other cultures and language.

It is not surprising that with more fluid borders that people are keen to learn languages other than their own. This is where Mango languages can come in handy. You do not have to worry about scratched discs or overdue fines – instead you can learn over 60 languages online. Mango will let you learn from basic right through to advanced levels, with grammar and cultural notes.

So if you are looking for ways to learn a foreign language or need a better grasp on English then this is a great place to start. Mango for languages is available from home with your library card number and password/PIN or in libraries.

Mango Languages Online gets juicier

Ever wanted to learn a new language online or improve your English skills from the comfort of home? We  have your answer in Mango. It has undergone an upgrade and now provides access to over SIXTY languages for free! If you want to seduce your partner with sweet Italian phrases or travel to a foreign country and converse with locals then Mango is for you. The languages you can learn include:

  • Arabic;
  • Chinese – Mandarin or Cantonese;
  • Italian;
  • French;
  • Japanese;
  • Korean;
  • Russian and many more!

Mango also has lessons for people wanting to learn English if their native language is:

  • Arabic;
  • Chinese – Mandarin or Cantonese;
  • Japanese;
  • Korean and more!

Access Mango free through the catalogue or the Source  from within libraries or at home and start chatting away in foreign languages like a native. Buona fortuna! That’s good luck in Italian my peeps!

Going somewhere foreign?

Logo of MangoSo Christmas holidays are nearly upon us. I personally am trying not to dwell on this season as I have no leave and no money. My holiday experience will be  family fights and snide remarks around the dinner table on Christmas day in Invercargill. For those of you more fortunate you may be planning an overseas holiday to help heal the harassment of the past three years. Alternatively you may be looking for a New Years resolution that does not involve another wasted gym membership. That is where Mango can help!

Mango provides online access 24/7 to six languages for those wanting to learn a language from basic right through to advanced levels. The languages provided are:

  • Spanish;
  • French;
  • Japanese;
  • German;
  • Italian.

New Year resolutions, “me  time” from family or a much needed skill when you enter a foreign country – Mango can help. Have a play and impress your friends with your multilingual marvellousness!

What was new and interactive in 2012?

That fact that 2012 has come and gone fills me with some horror. I was told that as you get older time speeds upBusyThings, but this is ridiculous! I can remember when I was young  it seemed to take years just to get to the May school holidays; now I can’t even remember what happened in May. Actually, I am not sure what happened this morning…  What I am sure of, though,  is that we did have a bumper year at the library when it came to introducing new online resources at the Source! Here is but a sample:

TumbleBookCloud: e-books, chapter books, graphic novels, videos, and audio books for young adults;

BusyThings: colourful and quirky games and activities for ankle biters;National Geographic

National Geographic Virtual Archive: digital archive of the world renowned magazine;

Auto Reference Repair Center: repair and maintenance information for those who drive [subscription ended June 2013];

Road to IELTS : General and Academic: a self-study preparation course to help candidates prepare for the globally recognized IELTS exam;

Mango: language learning online;Mango!

Sunday Times Digital Archive 1822-2006: fully searchable digital archive of the British Sunday Times newspaper.

There really is something for everyone at the Source! Have a peek and a play, as these resources are available in community libraries and from home 24/7 with your library card number and PIN.