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Mandarin luthier vocabulary


Michael Richwine
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I've been learning basic Mandarin, with the idea of doing some traveling in China, and it's pretty easy initially. No articles, no noun cases, no verb tenses, no moods to learn, so tourist vocabulary is pretty easy, and the inflections are not much of a problem. When you start trying to express more abstract or complex ideas, it gets complicated very quickly, but it's fun and interesting. I always found people relate to you better when you make an effort to speak in their language, plus each language you learn teaches you a lot about how people think.

I don't have any way of learning specialized luthiery terms, however. I'm wondering if anyone here has any source of terms that are used for the various parts of a violin, and terms for the different dimensions and operations in making violin family instruments.

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Thanks very much! That's a great start.

I'd been using mdbg a little bit, but hadn't found the reader yet. That looks like a GREAT tool! Hanzi, Pinyin, English, with audio, too! Wow!

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You are a man of courage..

Not at all. Nothing at risk, other than perhaps some wasted time. I'm also trying to understand the old Taoist canons a little better, too. I'll never learn ancient Chinese, but knowing more about how the language "works" will be a big help. Some of the translations I have are just awful.

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Hi Michael,

I can help you with this;

" I don't have any way of learning specialized luthiery terms, however. I'm wondering if anyone here has any source of terms that are used for the various parts of a violin, and terms for the different dimensions and operations in making violin family instruments. "

My wife is Chinese , and knows Mandarin. you can call me at the number I left at your wed sight.

She knows violins too, She works on them evey day. We will be happy to be of any help any time you need it.

Larry Lewis

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That's a really great thing to do. The two times I've been to China I found that people, especially the young, were desperate to try out their English on me :) It was extraordinary and humbling to meet teenagers from cities a long way to the west who spoke terrific English - but who had never spoken to a native speaker. The few violin makers I met - mostly in Shanghai, spoke English so you may not find it a great problem. However, continue your studies as I'm sure it will enhance your travels in that amazing country.

Regards,

Tim

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Well Tim, I would say you were lucky. I have been to China over 20 times. mostly of that looking for violins from small factory and shops in many different parts of China. I never yet have meat a violin maker that can speak any English at all. ( I have meat some that said they were violin makers that could peak English, but it turned out they were just a trading company)

You are right about the young people though,and the Doctors, and other well educated people. They are very helpful, and friendly.

That is how I meat my wife over there. She was happy to go with me and translate for me when I needed it back in 2001. Long story but, but it all worked out good for me.

Have fun over there Micheal. I wish I could go with you.

Larry Lewis

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Thanks again to all. I imagine that everyone at the Shanghai music fair speaks pretty good English, but the kind of places I like to go there are likely to be a pretty high percentage whose English is weak to nonexistent. I study Chinese martial arts with a bunch of Chinese people, so I get a weekly opportunity to practice the language, but they know nothing about violins.

It's not just vocabulary I have to learn but also the associated idioms and, so thanks very much for the offer, Larry. I may take you up on it.

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I should have said I was only in major cities, we did not get off the beaten track. Next time we will. Sitting in Beijing railway station loking at the destination boards made wme want to just get on trains to far away places. Some years ago we tracked down an elderly gentleman in Hanoi, who I believed was the only violin maker in Vietnam at the time. He did not speak English, and we did not speak Vietnamese, but his grandaughter did and so we were able to have have bit of a chat. Make sure you take lots of photos!

Tim

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  • 2 weeks later...

<p>

I've been learning basic Mandarin, with the idea of doing some traveling in China, and it's pretty easy initially. No articles, no noun cases, no verb tenses, no moods to learn, so tourist vocabulary is pretty easy, and the inflections are not much of a problem.
Hi Michael,I've been playing badminton recently with a group of Chinese-speaking friends, and I'd like to learn a few phrases of Chinese, just for fun. But as I understand it, Chinese is a tonal language, where rising and falling tones are used to differentiate between words, whereas we use intonation to identify such things as questions, commands, doubt etc. For example, one of my badminton friends keeps apologising for her bad shots ("oh, sorry Bernee!") and I want to say "it doesn't matter". Google translate suggests that is Yě bùyàojǐn, and that looks like what my friend told me when I asked her at the weekend. What I'm wondering is, how do you find out what tones to use?
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<p>Hi Michael,I've been playing badminton recently with a group of Chinese-speaking friends, and I'd like to learn a few phrases of Chinese, just for fun. But as I understand it, Chinese is a tonal language, where rising and falling tones are used to differentiate between words, whereas we use intonation to identify such things as questions, commands, doubt etc. For example, one of my badminton friends keeps apologising for her bad shots ("oh, sorry Bernee!") and I want to say "it doesn't matter". Google translate suggests that is Yě bùyàojǐn, and that looks like what my friend told me when I asked her at the weekend. What I'm wondering is, how do you find out what tones to use?

I wouldn't call Chinese a tonal language. It's about inflection, not pitch. The first tone is high and even, as when we say "hey". Second tone is rising, as when we say "what?". Third is falling then rising, as when we say "well....", and the fourth is falling, as when we say "go!" Neutral tone is just that, and generally not emphasized.Pinyin is written with accents to show the inflections/ tones, or with numbers after each syllable, as in mei2guan1shi, which means "That's all right", and is in the first lesson on the following web site: http://mychineseclass.com/ Another site which is pretty good for translation is: http://www.mdbg.net/...chindict.php The biggest problem for me with spoken Mandarin is that a given syllable with a single tone can have a dozen or more meanings, depending on context, and the language is highly idiomatic. The best I can do is to learn common phrases and idioms. They are much less ambiguous, and I can build on that once I have more of a foundation. It helps that I study Taiji with a Chinese teacher from Henan Province, and have other Chinese in my class. The thing that slows me down the most is that I'm trying to learn to read and write as well, and it takes a lot longer for me to learn the characters than it does to learn words and phrases.

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