18. The Godfather, Mr. Meeseeks & A Gardening Scorpion

欢迎光临! Welcome!

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The Mandarin Blueprint Podcast focuses primarily on The Mandarin Blueprint Method online curriculum. Creators Luke Neale & Phil Crimmins answer questions and comments, discuss topics related to China and Mandarin learning and have special guests.

00:00 – Updates

6:40 Props!

This blog post explains the theory behind props and Chinese character components.

CHAD RESSLER ON CHARACTER #143: 等 DĚNG PICK A PROP

First thing that came to mind was two people practice Kung Fu forms together. So, I picture 2 Chinese construction workers (hard hats and all) practicing their Kung Fu together.

BRAD VANT HUL ON CHARACTER #6: 半 BÀN PICK A PROP

I understand that ban4 means half. But how does half a fruit resemble what this character (later a component) looks like?

ERIC BROWN ON CHARACTER #187: 可 KĚ PICK A PROP

So glad Mr. Meeseeks was in the Anki cards – he’s perfect

CHAD RESSLER ON CHARACTER #151: 母 MǓ PICK A PROP

Empress Dowager Cixi. She was the mother of Zaichun who was a young boy when he became Emperor. She is an important “mother” in Chinese history.

DEV CHEN ON CHARACTER #16: 叫 JIÀO PICK A PROP 丩

My choice — tuning fork (guitar).

HARRY C ON CHARACTER #75: 下 XIÀ PICK A PROP

How about a jackhammer? Shape kinda looks like it and it goes below the ground.

DEV CHEN ON CHARACTER #14: 口 KǑU PICK A PROP 𠃍

Don Vito Corleone: I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse. … 哈哈!

DEV CHEN ON CHARACTER #12: 午 WǓ PICK A PROP 𠂉

My Choice for 𠂉 Dani Alves ( formerly Brazil National team, formerly FC Barcelona, currently PSG). He’s a wonderful player but also does like to flop quite a bit.

CHAD RESSLER ON CHARACTER #156: 小 XIǍO PICK A PROP

I went with the Miyagi Drum from the movie Karate Kid 2. It was a SMALL drum, and it looks somewhat like the character as well.

14:55 Actors! 

This blog post explains the theory behind actors and Pinyin Initials.

WILLIAM EDMEADES ON CHARACTER #6: 半 BÀN CASTING CALL 3/55

Hey guys. So I’ve got (yet) another question for you, so I can’t decide what to use as the ‘b-‘ actor between Bill Nye (the Science Guy) and Bear Grylls, since I know them both so well (not personally though, unfortunately haha). Would it be okay if I use them both for the ‘b-‘, initial? Or is it best to just use the one to avoid confusion?

DEV CHEN ON CHARACTER #12: 午 WǓ CASTING CALL 7/55

“I chose WUthering Heights – Heathcliff. Even though Heathcliff does not start with W, there’s a strong connection with Emily Brontë’s only novel, Wuthering Heights.” …. ok or not ok in your opinion? 好不好?

DEV CHEN ON CHARACTER #16: 叫 JIÀO CASTING CALL 11/55

ji- Jǐn Yán (Actress: Wú Jǐn Yán 吴谨言, Story of Yanxi Palace 延禧攻略 Yán xǐ gōnglüè. Role 延禧攻略 Wei Yingluo) .

18:30

LUKE TAYLOR, ANDY SPRINGER ON (BONUS) LANGUAGE LEARNING TRIPOD: ATTENTIVENESS

Awesome unit. Going through this now is helping me understand many of the mistakes I was making in my pronunciation. The difference between typical e with the diphthong and 5th tone e seems so obvious listening to others now, but I wasn’t implementing it. Looking forward to more information to clarify my understanding in the next units.

21:50

WILLIAM EDMEADES ON BONUS: SRS – THE MEMORY GAME

I just have to say the movie scenes we’re creating remind me of those little animations you see on the scoreboard when you go bowling like when you get a split or a strike or something 🙂

22:47

DEV CHEN ON BONUS VIDEO: THE 6 TYPES OF CHINESE CHARACTER (PART 3 OF 3)

This video stands out for its expositional clarity. The graphics are well constructed, and the explanation economical and efficient, not too simple, not too complicated, just right. It’s really good, thanks!

23:33

HARRY C ON NEW VOCABULARY UNLOCKED!

Question: In the vocabulary videos, you guys make it a point to say “unsuspend these cards in Anki.” I’m a bit confused since you don’t say that for the other videos. Isn’t it the same process we’ve been doing to unsuspend all types of cards, or is there something special or different that we should be doing with the vocabulary “word review” cards? There isn’t anything different about how we unsuspend these “Word Review” cards compared to how we unsuspend the movie/prop/actor cards? Thanks, guys!

27:19

ERIN H ON UNIT 5 WRAP-UP

Hi – quick Anki question. If I click on the deck “Mandarin Blueprint – Pronunciation Mastery”, does it bring up cards to review from all units? Or do I need to first review all of the cards in each unit (sub-deck), then move on to the next unit? To sum up, how and when do I use the deck and the sub-decks?

Thanks in advance & I’m really enjoying the course!

28:55

SIDNEY GREEN ON CHARACTER #294: 少 SHǍO NEW VOCABULARY UNLOCKED!

这里环境很好,多少人想来呢!Does this really mean ‘loads of people’ are wanting to come? Would you not then say 很多人. Would not ‘quite a few people’ be more appropriate?

30:40

CHAD RESSLER ON CHARACTER #155: 地 DÌ MAKE A MOVIE

Location: Childhood Home (Backyard)
Actor: Diane (landlord)
Props: Hoe (the gardening kind) and Scorpion

I’m hanging out in my childhood home when I hear a ruckus outside. I walk out the backdoor to see my landlord Diane walking a large scorpion on a leash. I ask her what, exactly, she is doing. She tells me she is over to do some landscaping and has to till the GROUND. She hands the scorpion a hoe and it takes with its pincers and starts tilling amazingly fast. She then tells me that Scorpions work much better than rototillers for working on the GROUND. In only a few minutes the Scorpion has the GROUND prepared and my landlord starts planting her new flowers.

32:41

DEV CHEN ON CHARACTER #11: 什 SHÉN MAKE A MOVIE

sh – Shin Lim (magician)
亻- Melissa Fumero (beautiful assistant = human prop)
十 – crucifix (disappears from his hands, reappears from his mouth with smoke). Melissa is amazed! WHAT (just happened)?

34:10

JAY FROM EMAIL

Hey guys.  Loving the course.  It’s just terrific.  And I can really see all the hard work and deep thought you’ve put into it.  Years ago I had a book that used memory techniques to learn meaning, pronunciation, characters, and tones.  I thought it was the perfect answer, as I’ve long been attracted to such things.  But it was full of fairies and dwarves (2nd and 4th tones), stories I didn’t relate to, and hundreds of “sound words”.  I got overwhelmed rather quickly.  Your innovations with re-sorting initials and finals and the memory palace stuff is far superior.  And with all the personal connections, I don’t anticipate any capacity issues.  I’m sure everyone has their own story of the first time they were remembering a character then had that thought, “…wait, if Katina is in that house, then it’s not [whatever] it’s -an”.  Mine hit a couple of days ago and made me chuckle out loud.  Anyway, great job, keep it up, now on to my question.  (btw, got the email about a case study after level 5; I would be happy to , and would enjoy doing something like that, but would prefer to wait until I’m a little further along, if you don’t mind. )

Pacing:
As time goes by, some of my early cards are getting sizable increments between reviews.  I have a question about how I rate myself in Anki.  Namely: How quickly should I recognize a character?  I’m getting them, but sometimes I need to think a little bit before I get the movie fully recalled.  I’m wondering what the break-point should be between clicking Hard vs Good.  Maybe just remembering them is ok for now, and we’ll work on speed of recognition when we get to a level that involves something more like “reading”.  Maybe I should be slowing down and working each character until I recognize it quickly.  Dunno, so thought I’d ask.

Odd and Ends:
FYI, in no particular order, some thoughts I’ve been collecting:

– In the Movie Review cards with English on the front, I found myself getting cued too much by the pinyin (I felt like was “cheating” and not always really remembering the actor and set).  So I modified the template to be {{hint:PINYIN}} instead of just {{PINYIN}}.  Now I don’t see the pinyin until/unless I want to.  Not sure it’s a good change for everyone, but maybe a good tip to offer as an alternative hack. One quick change made it so for every card in all decks.

– In the first screen of Level 7, I believe you meant to write, “They sure look like it TO A 1960’s rural Appellation APPALACHIAN woodsman named Jasper! ”  (sorry, I think I was an editor in a previous life 🙂 )

– Is there a way to show number right/wrong, or even percentage, on quiz completion screen instead of just “passed”.  Saves having to click and open a new tab to confirm you got none wrong.

– Another suggestion: some sort of reference/index into PM.  Example — when I got to 从, I wanted to review the PM lessons for both initial and final.  I found them ok but thought a handy index with direct links would be very useful if you ever get a chance to put one together. There might even be some easy way to call out the individual pieces for each character on that lesson’s page — “Click here for initial ‘C’; Click here for final ‘ong’.”  But it may also be just a boatload of work with a questionable payoff, so I leave it with you and your web programmers.

Keep up the amazing work guys!

Cheers,
Jay

40:52

CHAD FROM EMAIL

Not sure if you guys were looking for any more ideas for podcast guests, but I have been binge watching this channel the last few days. It’s called laowhy86 and it’s a pretty cool channel.  It’s all about his life in China and his experiences. Great channel, funny, I’m learning quite a bit about the culture which is nice…be awesome to have him on with you guys and then see him talk about the MBM on his channel! He has a few shows where he talks about learning Chinese.