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Pod cast - Learn to Speak Chinese
To Learn to Speak Chinese, how to express 'hobby', Let's Learn to Speak Chinese around these topics
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Topic: Learn to Speak Chinese
Vocabulary: 我爱唱歌 I love singing。我爱打乒乓球 I love playing ping-pong
Function: How to express hobby
Level: Zero to Survival Level (see level map)
Tag: Learn to Speak Chinese Pod cast mp3
Copyright: CRI FM
Audio Download: Pod cast MP3 (64kbps, 4.7mb)
Welcome to Chinese Studio. 欢迎收听《欢乐汉语》。我是Yajie. Actually, Cam is on his vacation touring China, so here with me, is our visiting-host: Allen!
A: Da jia hao. Hello, everyone. I’m Allen. In the next 5 minutes, we’ll learn how to talk about hobbies. First, Key Words of the Day.
Key words of the day
What’s your hobby? 你有什么爱好?我爱唱歌 I love singing。我爱打乒乓球 I love playing ping-pong. All in today’s Chinese Studio.
Y: 爱好 means hobby. Both 爱 and 好 are in the fourth falling tone. 爱好
A: 爱好 (ai hao), hobby.
Y: Now, how do you ask a person what his hobby is? Here's a handy pattern: 有什么爱好? 有, have, 什么, what, 爱好, hobby. You can ask about anybody's hobby, simply by putting the name in front, such as Allen, or Yajie, or just a pronoun. Here are some examples:

Conversations (1):

A: Hey, Yajie, 你有什么爱好 (ni you shen me ai hao)? What’s your hobby?
Y: 我爱唱歌。I love singing. 唱 (chang), the fourth tone, means to sing. 唱. G-e, 歌 (ge), the first flat tone, means a song .
A: Wo ai chang ge. So I guess I can use wo ai – I love – plus a hobby, to describe all the hobbies I love.
Y: Yes you’re right. Let’s continue with the new words. 乒乓球, ping-pong. Table tennis P-ing, 乒 (ping), and p-ang, 乓 (pang), are both in the first flat tone, 乒乓. And then q-iu, 球 (qiu) means a ball, the second tone, 球.
A: 乒乓球. Then to play ping-pong is 打乒乓球. D-a, 打 (da), third tone, 打. Its original meaning is to beat. But it can also mean to play, as it does here. 我爱打乒乓球 (Wo ai da ping pang qiu), I love playing ping-pong.
Y: In addition to 爱, there's another verb, 喜欢, which is also common in daily life. 喜欢, like. 我喜欢打乒乓球, I like playing ping-pong.
A: Got it. 喜欢 (xi huan) is another word we often use when describing hobbies.
Y: Right. For instance: 我喜欢唱歌, I like singing.
A: Yajie, if I really like a hobby, can I use the “hen” that we have learned before in front of 喜欢 (xi huan)?
Y: Surely you can. You can use it in front of 爱 as well.
A: I see. That makes sense.


Conversations (2):

A: Yajie, I have something to confess to you. Actually, I don’t love playing ping-pong. I lied because I know you and many of our colleagues 喜欢 the game.
Y: Oh, 你不喜欢打乒乓球?That doesn’t matter, 没关系。We still like you, irrespective of whether you're a fan of ping-pong or not.
A: Thank you. I'm touched. Also, you've just helped me figure out how to say “I don't like something”, or “I don't love something”. I just have to put a 不 (bu), which means no or negative, in front. 不爱 (bu ai), don't love; 不喜欢 (bu xi huan), don't like.
Y: Bingo. You’re very smart


Conversations (3):

A: Well, time's up. Today’s question is: Did we hit upon any of your hobbies on today's show?

Now question of the day: If yes, please tell us what your hobby is

Please Post your answer / Join discussion
(Note: We suggest you can record your answers on, then post your multimedia answers)

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Background: Tice Brown awarded scholarship to study in China

From small-town Arkansas to New England to the Far East...

For eight weeks, Tice Brown will work, sleep, play, eat and speak Chinese — no English will be allowed.

This summer, he’ll be spending eight weeks in Beijing in an intensive language program.

Right now, Brown is majoring in chemistry and chemical biology with a minor in Chinese and also a minor in government. He has now completed two years of intensive Mandarin Chinese classes at Harvard.

Harvard students spend six semesters to get a citation, or degree, in their language of choice. Brown’s latest teacher was a 50-ish “stern, strict” grandmotherly type named Xuedong Wang. “She’s been quite an inspiration.”

Each year, Harvard sends professors to the Beijing Institute’s summer language academy.

“My teachers all go and they encourage us to apply,” Brown said.

Each year, a handful of Harvard students spend one or two semesters in residence at language schools in China — typically at the best known universities in China and Taiwan. Brown applied, and he was chosen to receive a very selective Asia Center Language Grant for his study.

The Harvard-Beijing academy sees hundreds of applicants but only has slots for 80 language students, or about 20 in each section, Brown said. Sixty of the 80 are from Harvard, and the rest are from schools such as Princeton, Yale or the University of Chicago.

Although his tuition is paid, Brown still has to pay airfare, which he said has gone up because of fuel prices and the Olympics.

Brown will be leaving June 12 and will arrive home Aug. 27. The first week, he said, he’s going to stay with his Harvard roommate, who lives in Shanghai, then go on to Beijing.

“We take a language pledge the day we get there,” Brown said. The students pledge not to speak any language except Mandarin Chinese until final exams. The only exception is calling parents/family back home.

“If you violate the pledge, they can send you home,” Brown said. The policy may seem strict, but Brown said both Harvard and China are strict, and combined the two are “overly strict.”

But, he said, being allowed to speak only one language for a time will improve his language skills.

He’ll be in class probably from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and although evenings are free, he’ll have “a considerable amount of homework,” especially considering that students will have a year’s worth of study crammed into eight weeks.

“It’s a pretty intense program,” he said.

Another reason to buckle down and study: “These grades will go on a Harvard transcript,” Brown said.

There is a 16-hour time difference, Brown continued, but he’s used to going on little sleep due to studying for final exams or finishing papers.

Although he’ll spend quite a bit of time in the classroom, Brown plans to “hit” some of the culture sights with girlfriend Siodhbhra Parkin.

The two have tickets to the 2008 Summer Olympics and will see some table tennis matches (Brown enjoys playing), and see the gold medal fencing matches (Parkin is a fencer).

Brown said he’s had hepatitis, typhoid and tetanus shots to get ready for his trip, noting that China is not a third world country but is a developing country. He said with people living on wages of less than a dollar a day, there are worries about pickpockets, and he will be bringing all of his toiletries and over-the-counter medicines with him, rather than use those in China.

Brown also said few Chinese go on to college, and for those who do, “the dorms, so we’ve been told, are a whole lot nicer than any in the U.S. They’re like a hotel. They change our sheets and towels every day,” he said.

“It’s going to be an adventure,” he said.

Learn to Speak Chinese