Breakfast, HKD36; speaking the language, priceless

Written by April Zhang on Tuesday, 26 November 2019. Posted in Front Page

Breakfast, HKD36; speaking the language, priceless

Sometimes I have my breakfast in a restaurant which is right next to my office building. This is a typical Hong Kong restaurant where you see locals most of the time. The menu is usually placed underneath the glass top of the table. You sit down, you read the menu, and you order your food. In this restaurant, most of the service staff look quite senior in age. And Cantonese is the default language in this restaurant.

Five signs that your Chinese teacher is not doing his/her job right

Written by April Zhang on Monday, 11 November 2019. Posted in Front Page

Five signs that your Chinese teacher is not doing his/her job right

In his Neither Here Nor There, Bill Bryson briefly talked about his French learning experience. It is very funny. Also, from my point of view, very sad. 

It usually does not work to translate from English to Chinese word by word

Written by April Zhang on Thursday, 07 November 2019. Posted in Front Page

It usually does not work to translate from English to Chinese word by word

It happens that, when some students want to say something, they find that they can’t. They are trying very hard to translate everything from English to Chinese, word by word. As a result, they either get stuck, or miscommunicate themselves. I have seen it quite often during consultations or when talking to someone at a gathering.

If you memorised all the words in your textbooks, can you speak fluent Mandarin?

Written by April Zhang on Monday, 28 October 2019. Posted in Front Page

If you memorised all the words in your textbooks, can you speak fluent Mandarin?

If you have ever blamed yourself for not speaking fluent Mandarin because you just can’t seem to memorise all the new words taught in your Chinese textbooks or by your Mandarin teachers, you can relax now. 

Hello, new logo!

Written by April Zhang on Friday, 11 October 2019. Posted in Front Page

Hello, new logo!

Sharp eyed readers have noticed that a new and handsome logo have replaced the old one on MSL Master’s website. That’s right. A new logo was launched on Oct 10, 2019. Hello, new logo!

Qian Xuantong - Let’s abolish the Chinese writing system!

Written by April Zhang on Sunday, 15 September 2019. Posted in Front Page

Qian Xuantong - Let’s abolish the Chinese writing system!

September 12th, 2019, was Qian Xuantong (钱玄同)’s 132th birthday. In 1923, when he was 36 years old, he proposed to simplify Chinese characters, which was the first step to his ultimate goal of making Chinese into a phonetic writing system. He wanted to abolish the Chinese characters.

Mid-Autumn festival fruit guide

Written by April Zhang on Friday, 30 August 2019. Posted in Front Page

Mid-Autumn festival fruit guide

This year’s Mid-Autumn festival is only two weeks away, and it is a time for Chinese learners around the world to take a break in their regular study routines and to enjoy some of the festivities. Let’s remind ourselves that learning Chinese is also about learning Chinese culture and about participating in the cultural activities. And you don’t have to be in China to enjoy Mid-Autumn festival.

Back to school - Mandarin Chinese courses start soon

Written by April Zhang on Friday, 16 August 2019. Posted in Front Page

Back to school - Mandarin Chinese courses start soon

This September and October, for people who are interested in learning Mandarin Chinese, two great introductory Chinese courses are starting soon. Don’t miss it!

Use popular songs to spread Mandarin Chinese

Written by April Zhang on Thursday, 18 July 2019. Posted in Front Page

Use popular songs to spread Mandarin Chinese

Learning popular songs is a great way to learn Mandarin Chinese. We like beautiful songs. They are part of Chinese culture, and can help students practice pronunciations and learn new words. 

Practice Chinese in Japan

Written by April Zhang on Sunday, 30 June 2019. Posted in Front Page

Practice Chinese in Japan

I recently had a trip to Okinawa. One day, I got caught in the rain and had to spend a couple of hours in a coffee house, where other tourists suffered the same fate. There was a nice couple from Germany. It was their first trip to Japan and they found it really hard to get around or to order food, because they did not speak Japanese. I do not speak Japanese either, yet for me Japan is not a hard place to get around. The reason is simply because I can read Chinese characters.

May Fourth Movement @100 and the rupture it created in Chinese teaching and learning

Written by April Zhang on Thursday, 02 May 2019. Posted in Front Page

May Fourth Movement @100 and the rupture it created in Chinese teaching and learning

May 4th, 2019, is here. It is time to commemorate the 100 years of the May Fourth Movement, which forever changed the terrain of teaching and learning Mandarin Chinese (putonghua).

Happy 16-year anniversary, MSL Master!

Written by April Zhang on Thursday, 18 April 2019. Posted in Front Page

Happy 16-year anniversary, MSL Master!

This April, MSL Master entered its 17th year. 

In April 2003, when MSL was first started, I only had one goal, which was to provide the best Mandarin Chinese courses for non-Chinese speakers in Hong Kong. My criteria was simple, that students are able to speak Mandarin quickly and fluently on topics related to daily life and work. 

Learning Mandarin through appreciation of Chinese classics

Written by April Zhang on Thursday, 21 March 2019. Posted in Front Page

Learning Mandarin through appreciation of Chinese classics

One of the hardest working students at MSL Master, Mr Hui, recently completed the entire MSL Master Mandarin courses. He started from Mandarin Express Intro Level A years ago and finished at Intermediate Level B.

Upon “graduation”, he had some thoughts on learning Mandarin, especially on learning the last textbook, Mandarin Express Intermediate Level B. He wrote a long review “Learning Mandarin through appreciation of Chinese classics”.

At Chinese New Year, food brings communities together

Written by April Zhang on Friday, 01 February 2019. Posted in Front Page

And why high fashion executives should take Mandarin lessons

At Chinese New Year, food brings communities together

Chinese New Year is here. Every part of the city is once again basked in a Chinese deco, the background Chinese music keeps the spirit up, and shops and restaurants are busy promoting special offers. All promise that the year of pig is going to be a prosperous one. 

This is a time when food occupies a center part of people’s mind. What to eat and what good fortune one is going to have are issues dealt by many. It is quite a common knowledge, possibly worldwide, that at Chinese New Year food is highly correlated with auspicious meanings. Fish signifies surplus. Chicken is for good luck, and rice cake represents progress year on year. And those finger licking sugar coated lotus roots carry a meaning of plenitude.

Knowing which food carries what fortune is a partial understanding of food culture at Chinese New Year. What food really does is to bring people together, to reproduce an harmonious political and social environment, a belief deeply ingrained in Chinese mainstream culture and tradition.

Learning Chinese - Tests and the anxieties

Written by April Zhang on Thursday, 06 September 2018. Posted in Front Page

Learning Chinese - Tests and the anxieties

Learning Chinese can causes lots of anxieties, for both teachers and students. As the power structure goes, I suppose students suffer more. There are so many defeated students out there, more than defeated teachers. So this post is about students.

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