Raya and the Last Dragon concept art by Mehrdad Isvandi
‘Where the Wild Things Are’ was titled ‘Where the Wild Horses Are’ until Maurice Sendak realized he was really bad at drawing horses.
“At first the book was to be called Where the Wild Horses Are, but when it became apparent to my editor I could not draw horses, she kindly changed the title to 'Wild Things,’ with the idea that I could at the very least draw 'a thing’!”
“So I drew my relatives. They’re all dead now, so I can tell people.”
Hey, could I ask you how you do shadowing? Like the different ways you do it? You mentioned in your tag that shadowing is good and I'd love to hear how you do it! I do not attempt shadowing much so I don't really know what helps, etc. ToT (my studyblr is rigelmejo)
Hellooo! Thank you for the interesting question!
Tbh I think I do it fairly basically - I don’t use any particularly fancy software, but software like Language Learning with Netflix has certainly made it easier. There’s a whole video on how to get the most of it here: [on mobile, link didn’t work - How to study Chinese with Netflix! by Chinese Zero To Hero] (I’d recommend checking out all of their videos actually, they’ve done a bunch of livestreams recently and they place a lot of emphasis on shadowing + the course they are trying to sell you is…actually phenomenally good)
(Also, I have to preface this by saying that I have been very lucky in terms of pronunciation: I learnt about 80% of my current vocabulary by ear without characters or pinyin. I have been in China for eight months in total, and while I didn’t speak Chinese for all of that, I was constantly soaking in info on natural sentence intonation. I still often don’t know officially what the tone of a vocabulary item is, especially if it changes tone like 教, 为 or 相, but I don’t get yelled at so I have definitely internalised a lot of those changes. I definitely would have more trouble with this if I hadn’t had that experience - my other areas are waaaay weaker because of this though- my reading SUCKS lmao and I can literally handwrite about ten characters)
Anyway. How I shadow:
1) Quite simply by playing the line, and repeating it with all the emotion it has!! I usually use Netflix or Viki for this. I try to do it as fast as possible, and if I can’t do the whole thing, I ‘chunk’ it: if I were doing the sentence 我们还不知道他会不会来, I would start from the end with 他会不会来, then 不知道他会不会来, and then the whole sentence. Notice that this isn’t breaking it down into words or even grammatical phrases, but intonational phrases: it would be perfectly sensible to just do 会不会来 without the 他 but realistically, since this is a question, it’s likely that a strong stress will be placed on the first 会, and you wouldn’t be able to replicate that without also included the more weakly stressed syllable before.
2) I locate (intentionally or subconsciously) the main locus of stress within the sentence, and I focus on that accordingly. Tones may become less extreme if they are not stressed, and may become more exaggerated if stressed. This is always a good exercise. I accompany this with physical actions - I throw my hands down, I sigh, I groan!
3) I put away the text, and don’t look at the tones or even my computer screen - more on this below.
4) Finally, when I think I’ve got it reasonably accurate, I’ll record them speaking the line into my phone with an appropriate pause for copying and play it back to myself at various points throughout the day.
5) I then go and find other words with the same tone contour to slot in, and copy it again. After that, I find words that are slightly different tonally and pop them in too.
6) I finally do fun things like hold a conversation with myself. This can be really simple phrases imbued with some kind of emotion - 这个女子到底是谁呀？为什么不认识我？应该是新手吧。You can do this either really informally, or very formally, or both - trying to speak in the latter way is very fun! So then it’d be idk something more like: 那位姑娘是何人，来自何处？This is fun because you can really slow down your speech and sound as elegant as you like!! (this will sound stilted if you do it for modern speech, but it’s a very fun exercise)
Choosing your media!!
1) Don’t use donghuas. Seriously. The voice actors usually speak at a ridiculous pace and not with the same range of ‘normal’ intonation
2) Your Chinese is definitely good enough to recognise when anyone is quoting poetry or speaking in a paricularly sexy literary way so, uh…don’t do that. That rules dramas like Nirvana in Fire OUT.
3) Modern dramas and reality TV shows CAN be great, but they can also be quite intimidatingly quick and almost too mushy at times. I’d recommend informal speech in guzhuang dramas more, because they have professional voice actors and extensive sound editing, meaning that although it might be fast and the vocabulary harder, it’s actually much more accessible and easier to copy. You don’t want to be stuck with the awfulness of 50% failed foreigner and 50% 12 year old boy who can’t enunciate properly!!
4) CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON WISELY. I try to find characters that speak in a dramatic, whiny or childish way. This is so important! There’s literally no use copying Lan Wangji unless you want to be able to have that particular cadence and tone of voice you get reciting poetry. Childish/whiny/dramatic characters on the other hand stress some words very strongly, and rush others together - this is great for hearing what actual real speech sounds like. Whininess wins. In The Untamed, characters like Wei Wuxian (not yllz!wwx but just…regular wwx), 一问三不知 Nie Huaisang, Jin Ling, and Jingyi are all great. Also Jiggy, who is just very extra constantly and speaks much slower as well, which really helps. In SHL characters like Gu Xiang are good.
5) CHOOSE YOUR VOICE WISELY! If you are really aiming to copy them 100% (which you should try at least sometimes), you want somebody with your pitch range to sound normal. I have a sort of party trick in Chinese that because I’ve spent so much time listening to women in guzhuang dramas I can change my voice and sound like a) a scheming concubine with honeyed words, or b) the voice of the Beijing metro. My teacher found it hysterically funny. But it’s not my natural voice, and if I speak like that for too long it hurts. The women usually are too high for me, and the big burly manly men too low - so I’d recommend finding a man with a higher voice, or an older woman (like some of the female characters in Nirvana in Fire). Again, sorry that this is mostly the Untamed (I’m just most familiar with it) but the voice actors for Wei Wuxian and some of the juniors (+jiggy) has a higher voice. Likewise Chengling in Word of Honour.
On intonation in general:
- The thing is that whilst shadowing is useful it requires prior ability in a whole bunch of other skills that you can train - it relies on your ability to accurately mimic pitch, emotion and other contrasts. Training this in ANY language, including your native one, will help your ability to do this in Chinese - so I’d recommend spending a fair amount of time practicing shadowing (or speaking just after somebody whilst listening to a string of text, like monolingual simultaneous interpreting) in your native language too. Any training copying accents or mimicking other people is going to similarly help, regardless of the language.
So, with that in mind, further tips:
1) Hum / try to copy the intonation without any words. What this does is force you to pay attention to what the intonation actually is, versus what you may think it should be.
2) Don’t look at the text! Do! Not! Look! At! The! Text! If you look at the characters or pinyin you’re telling yourself ‘ok this is a third tone here’ etc, but you want to override the part of your brain that has gotten into bad habits and is supremely self-confident in how you’re pronouncing the third tone, and actually just go straight back to mimicking.
3) Don’t be afraid to do it with vocabulary that is way beyond your level. Actually, I find this can sometimes be helpful, because you don’t have a prior idea about how a particular tone pair should be useful - and you don’t know which tone you should be producing.
4) Learn vocabulary by ear - listen to a vocab podcast or even make one yourself (I often do this; I record my daily Anki and listen back to it through headphones copying throughout the day - if you’re not confident in your pronunciation you can get Google Translate to do it). Similarly, pick unknown vocabulary out of a longer segment and remember it, trying to internalise the tones instead of figuring out which tone it is.
5) Find emotional sentences, and copy them with emotion. This is SO CRUCIAL!!! We remember things when we relate to them, and when we imbue them with emotion - and it also helps in hearing exactly how an angry second tone sounds, for instance.
6) When you’re copying, look up, and imagine you are having an actual conversation. Carry yourself with conviction and poise!! Really try to whine like wwx or slime like jgy. After a couple of turns copying them, try to turn off the audio and keep delivering it in the same manner.
7) Swap individual words out. Once you have a line properly figured out, swap a word or two that has a different tone pair, and focus on delivering it with the same pattern of stress.
8) Finally, practice doing this in your native language too!! It’s a skill that we don’t use often, and it can be trained. Some people are terrible at it at first go even in their native language, but you can work on it!
About intonation in general:
1) I think a lot of pronunciation problems with people sounding unnatural or stiff ultimately come down to a fundamental misunderstanding of what intonation looks like across different languages. In English we mark it by pitch: and we are so used to the rhetoric that Chinese has ‘tone’ and not ‘intonation’ that we try and focus on blindly copying every single word textbook perfect without listening to how it actually sounds.
2) Chinese does have intonation!!! Except that, unlike English, when you stress a word, the pitch doesn’t change, but the tone contour is exaggerated - basically the only time you will ever hear a full third tone is in isolated or very exaggerated speech. If you have a Chinese friend, get them to record a sentence like the English ‘I didn’t ask her to steal his rucksack’, and put stress on the different elements of it - I didn’t ask, I didn’t ask, I didn’t ask, and so on. Notice and copy how the tones change. When shadowing, you should always be paying attention to where the stress is in the sentence: when you speak by yourself, practicing saying a sentence neutrally, and then with stress on one component, the next, and so on. If it feels unnatural, it’s because you might not have practicised like this before - it’ll get better!
Hope that’s somewhat helpful / interesting!
the thing about self love is you are already doing everything in your day to day to allow yourself to love yourself. if someone else charged your phone, you would appreciate that gesture. if someone else bought or cooked you a meal, you would appreciate that gesture. if someone else did your laundry, you would appreciate that gesture. all of those things are already acts of love to yourself. you don’t have to do anything more to be able to love yourself, you just have to reframe how you think about what you are already doing.
So the debunking video above led me to watch another debunking video, which started down a very intriguing wormhole of asking why people are producing fake how-to videos like this, and the short version is they’re exploiting algorithms to generate ad revenue and the long version is they’re produced by a Russian content farm that has made some forays into American political ads.
Which is abruptly sobering and worth watching.
Yeah she’s great! Her videos were actually featured on a BBC segment on twitter about how dangerous some of these life hacks can be to attempt
I love Ann Reardon when she shits all over these fake how-to videos.
This youtuber does debunking videos and I recognise some of those from her videos
ah, 5-minute crafts. i can almost guarantee you that most of these won’t even work
She seriously doesn’t deserve the treatment youtube’s been giving her, so please support her as much as you can and make sure this shitty farming channel goes down in flames.
It promotes EXTREMELY DANGEROUS activities such as PUTTING STRAWBERRIES INTO A GLASS OF BLEACH TO TURN THEM WHITE WHICH IS POISONOUS. AND POURING LAVA HOT CARAMEL ONTO A SPINNING WHISK, WHICH WOULD EASILY BURN YOU AND LEAVE A SCAR.
It’s amazing how youtube still tolerates this kind of behavior just because it’s pumping out videos 24/7 and sucking up all of the views. It’s unacceptable and it needs to be stopped as soon as possible.
Again, support Ann Reardon and her cause as much as possible and report the opposing videos promoting this shit. DO NOT LEAVE A COMMENT ON THE VIDEOS! YOU’LL ONLY GIVE THE ALGORITHM THE IDEA THAT THE VIDEO IS SHAREABLE!
one time this nondescript guy came into my dunkin donuts and ordered a small black coffee with blueberry flavor shot, and for some reason that peculiar order stuck with me so much that when, seven months later, i saw him in the parking lot walking towards the door, i quickly made a small black coffee with blueberry flavor shot. he ordered it and i was already holding it.
i would describe his demeanor that second time as “incredulous”
What the fuck who drinks that
it’s such a perfectly bonkers order because like, most unusual orders are maximalist and sugary but this one just combines the most basic drink with the most incongruous little add-on. it’s the order of a simple, regular man who has something wrong with him
this post always makes me laugh. this guy has the weirdest drink order and he probably never goes to this dunkin’ if it took seven months for the barista to see him again. so think about a coffee shop you go to so little you’re not even sure if you’ve gone there before and you walk in and the barista hands you the drink you were about to order before you even ordered it. he will remember that for the rest of his life
“it’s the order of a simple, regular man who has something wrong with him” gets me every time.
I HAD THIS MAN TOO
For those confused: this image is an example of survivorship bias. Basically, if your combat plane comes back full of bullet holes as seen above, your first instinct would be to reinforce the parts with the most holes with armor. On the contrary, however, you should reinforce the spots with the LEAST holes, because the planes that got hit there never made it back.
Another example is how injuries from car crashes increase when seatbelts are mandatory, because those injuries would usually be deaths.
What the tweet above is saying is that it may look like there’s a lot more queer people this generation than before because, in the past, queer people tended to not come out, die young, or (specifically for those who should be queer adults now) die of AIDS.
remember when Britney Spears dropped the Da Vinci code on all of us almost 8 years ago… the time she sneaked “F-U-C-K ME” into the radio
for people who are confused in the notes:
the song was called “If U Seek Amy,” and technically that’s what she’s saying. the verses are indeed about her looking for a woman named Amy (who she seems to have a crush on). but most English-speaking listeners could tell the chorus had a different message
people went NUTS. I was 15 and didn’t really listen to the radio, but even I caught wind of the controversy. despite having no actual swearing, the song had a radio edit, If U See Amy. many American stations played the edited version because parents’ groups threatened to file complaints with the Federal Communications Commission if they aired the original song
(also it was over 12 years ago now, so excuse me while I have an existential crisis)
people that act like Britain’s colonial past is ancient history, here are some facts:
- Afghanistan’s independence was in 1919.
- Egypt was in 1922.
- Iraq was in 1932.
- Jordan was in 1946.
- India and Pakistan were in 1947.
- Myanmar and Sri Lanka were in 1948.
- Libya and Oman were in 1951.
- Sudan was in 1956.
- Ghana and Malaysia were in 1957.
- Singapore was in 1959.
- Cyprus and Nigeria were in 1960.
- Cameroon, Kuwait, Tanzania, and Sierra Leone were in 1961.
- Jamaica, Uganda, and Trinidad and Tobago were in 1962.
- Kenya was in 1963.
- Malawi, Malta, and Zambia were in 1964.
- The Gambia and the Maldives were in 1965.
- Barbados, Botswana, Lesotho, and Guyana were in 1966.
- Yemen was in 1967.
- Eswatini (Swaziland), Nauru, and Mauritius were in 1968.
- Fiji and Tonga were in 1970.
- Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates were in 1971.
- The Bahamas was in 1973.
- Grenada was in 1974
- Seychelles was in 1976.
- Dominica, Tuvalu, and the Solomon Islands were in 1978.
- Kiribati and Saint Lucia were in 1979.
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were in 1979.
- Vanuatu and Zimbabwe were in 1980.
- Antigua and Barbuda and Belize were in 1981.
- Saint Kitts was in 1983.
- Brunei was in 1984.
In addition to that: Northern Ireland is still a British territory. So are the Falkland Islands and Bermuda.
This is in the lifetime of ancestors we have that are still alive. Many of these countries were left in financial ruination after colonization with their resources drained. Many of these countries have been repeatedly bombed by the UK and their allies since independence as well. The very act of independence often resulted in massive loss of life (see the partition of India and Pakistan which resulted in 2 million people dead, 20 million people displaced, and countless others never recovered). Calling it ancient history or underplaying the sheer cruelty of what the British empire did is such a slap in the face to the people who suffered for centuries.
九 = jiǔ = nine
A gorgeous neon 九 from a restaurant in Taipei!
There’s not much to say about the character… 9 is 9. But we can take a detour here to talk about discounts in Chinese, which work the opposite way than the western world and are thus a bit confusing at first: instead of telling you how much the discount is, they tell you how much percentage of the original price you have to pay.
So for instance, if something has a 10% discount, you’d say 九折 (jiǔ zhé), as in, you only paying 90% of the price. The lower the number before the 折 character, the higher the discount. Takes a bit of time to get used to!
There are a few expressions that say “most likely” using 9, like 十之八九 (shí zhī bā jiǔ) or 十有八九 (shí yǒu bā jiǔ). Both of these hint at something happening 8 or 9 times out of 10, so it’s quite likely it’ll happen.
And lastly, 九死一生 (jiǔ sǐ yī shēng) literally translates into “something who died nine times and is still alive”… so you’d use it if you’d just had a narrow escape. 😅
Honestly if it wasnt for Keke Palmer and Raven Simone and Kyla Pratt little me would have NEVER developed any kinda selfesteem or confidence. Like my parents made sure I saw this constantly in my house
And I KNEW I could do whatever I wanted and have all the fun in life. We need to bring this era of black girlhood and success back
all of the numbers that are divisible by 17 sound so absurd. 51? 68? 85? ridiculous. 102? absolutely not. and don’t even get me started on 119
34 and 136 i can believe, but i feel like i shouldn’t. it’s 102 in a trench coat
did we just run out of posts to make
no, i haven’t made a post about every number yet
I’m sorry to let you know that 100,000,001 (one hundred million and one) is divisible by 17 and because of that, so is every 16-digit number that is four digits repeated four times e.g. 1234123412341234
Do you have any tips on how to learn big numbers (10 000+) in Chinese? I suck at maths in general and I feel stuck, like I'll never be able to learn it coming from a native language that doesn't use 10 000 as a "base". Thank you for your help💖
woof this is an old ask, sorry i forgot to answer it
so, confession: i am horrible at making big numbers in mandarin and my brain freezes when i have to try and make them. but i do have something that might help!
These pictures kinda break down how big numbers work:
There’s a lot to unpack here.
+the flexibility to get in that pose
+the balance to stay on the skateboard
+the strength to pull back a bowstring with your toes
+the dexterity to hit a target while moving
+the coordination… not hand-eye, but foot-eye
…I don’t know what to do with these things now that I’ve unpacked them…