China: Making Learning Fun

As we begin our Chinese adventure, you may start to notice the perks of following our SCOLA Country of the Month. Each month, followers can learn traditional international recipes, vocabulary in native languages, and compare their countries climate and geography to that of the Country of the Month.  This month is full of good luck, as our providers in China have sent along something extra.

The Chinese providers are making the March Country of the Month not only educational, but also entertaining! The Chinese providers have sent in traditional recipes to make your mouths water, fascinating clips of Huangshan Mountain to captivate your mind, and unlike any other Country of the Month before them, jokes to tickle your funny bone!  The jokes they sent will not only give you insight into their culture and the holidays they celebrate, but will make you laugh as well! Enjoy!

The first Chinese joke we will share is about Qingming Festival. Qingming Festival will be celebrated April 5th, 2014 in China. The Chinese enjoy a day off of work to worship their ancestors. According to Chinese customs, people visit the tombs with gifts for their ancestors to enjoy in the other world including fruit, wine, flowers, food, and paper money. They put the food, fruit, and flowers in front of the tomb. They spray the wine and burn the paper money so it rises to their ancestors. They also put fresh soil to cover the tomb, and plant twigs around the tomb. The Qingming Festival is also one of 24 solar terms in China.

Qingming Festival (Memorial) is coming up so a man went to an offerings shop to buy sacrificial offerings. There he saw some paper Apple phones. He felt very strange. He said, “Aha, but if I burn an Apple phone, how will my ancestors know how to use it?” The shop owner said,”Steve Jobs is already there to teach them, why are you worried?” Appeased, the man bought one. The shop owner then reminded him, “You should buy a charger, you don’t want them to ask you to deliver a charger there do you?” When the man checked out he said “May I have your business card? The shop owner asked why, and the man said “I will burn your business card with the offerings to my ancestors, that way if the phone has any problems they can come looking for you!”

The next joke is about Valentine’s Day in China.  As in the United States, Valentine’s Day was also celebrated on February 14th in China. The Lantern Festival in China also fell on Valentine’s Day this year! The night of the Lantern Festival, people in China enjoy the first full moon of the year. It is a family holiday, where they gather together and eat sweet dumplings made of glutinous rice flour filled with sweet ingredients like sesame and peanut.

On the night of the Lantern Festival families go to parks or public squares to watch lanterns in different shapes and sizes. The lanterns are different shapes and designs, some made to look like special characters or historical figures. The sky is colored red with lanterns. People also write riddles on the covers of the lanterns or on pieces of paper hanging from the lanterns. Young children are carried on the shoulders of their fathers, the old are supported by the young, and the young forget the year of hard work. Children’s laughs and screams of excitement can be heard throughout the night.

SCOLA’s friend from China tells us “It is interesting that your holiday and our Lantern Festival happen on the same day in China. Our Lantern Festival is also a holiday for love in many places in China. People in Hainan Island will exchange flowers for love, or express good will…Today if you receive flowers,you spend today as Valentine’s Day, if you receive sweet dumplings, you consider it Lantern Festival, if you receive nothing, just consider it Friday!”

A Chinese man asks his brother what he thinks of Valentine’s Day. His brother answers “Valentine’s Day? Oh, let me think. It is the same as Tomb-Sweeping Day (the Chinese Festival on April 5, to memorize the ancestors). Giving flowers and food and saying something sweet to make the ghost happy.” The man replies “Younger brother, you are wrong. The conversation on Tomb-Sweeping Day is a conversation between humans and ghosts in the human language, but the conversations on Valentine’s Day are between two humans in a ghost language.” The brother says “We cannot regard money as important, but buying reasonable gifts and flowers is ok. The Valentine’s Day is short, by the time you blink it passes. But if you don’t buy gifts and flowers, that day is so long, and difficult. Do you know the worst thing about Valentine’s Day? Do you? It is when the gifts are not ready!” The man replies “No, the worst thing about Valentine’s Day is when the gift is ready, but you have no lover!” His brother says “ Brother, that is not a big deal. The most miserable thing is that the gifts are ready, and the lover is ready, but your wife finds out!” The man laughs and says “Nonsense, the most miserable thing is that the gift is ready and you take it home for your wife, and sadly discover she is out spending Valentine’s Day with her lover!”

And last but not least:

A man received a text from his neighbor: “Sorry that I have been using your wife, I have been using day and night, and whenever you are not at home. In fact, I have been using more than you do.I confess to you because I feel guilty.I hope you will accept my sincere apology.”The man went home and fought with his wife.A few minutes later he received a text,”Sorry ,I typed wrong, it is not wife, it is your WIFI!”

Do you have a joke from your culture or country you would like to share with SCOLA? Post it in the comments below!

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The Number One Reason Teaching a Foreign Language Will Soon Be Easier

…for one lucky person.

The SCOLA Facethank youbook page is a place where SCOLA fans from around the world can learn about SCOLA providers, discover the services we offer, and learn recipes, vocabulary, and more from our Country of the Month. Through Facebook we have connected to thousands of people around the world, and just recently we gained our 25,000th fan! We appreciate all the likes, shares, and comments that have been posted to our Facebook page because they help us reach out to others, and teaches us what our audience wants to see. To show our appreciation, SCOLA would like to giveaway one free year of SCOLA services to one lucky person. To enter the contest, visit our Facebook page, and share and comment on the photo we posted thanking our fans for their support. In your comment, tell us how you would utilize SCOLA’s services if you were to win the free year.

SCOLA services are great for independent language learners and for use in foreign language classes.

Do you want to save time preparing foreign language lessons?

Log on to Insta-Class and have access to ready-to-use “instant” multi-media language lessons produced by SCOLA language experts from around the world.

Do you want your students to practice their foreign language skills by practicing with a native speaker?

Log on to Spoken Word, where native speakers are available for face to face conversation practice anytime of the day.

The winner of the contest will also have access for one year to the rest of our SCOLA services:

World TV Online

Specialized Word Video Search

People and Places

On the Street Videos

Foreign Text

International Radio

Language Training Materials

Learning Objects

Mobile Apps

The contest will end Friday, December 20th, at 4:30 p.m. CST, so make sure to visit our Facebook and get your comments in before then!

Learn a New Language and Be Happy

     Doa, our provider from Turkey, continues to help SCOLA users learn about new languages and cultures by sending SCOLA material from her country. Recently, Doa shared her thoughts on learning new languages and how SCOLA can help you meet your language learning goals:

     “Hi, I’m Doa from Turkey. I have been sending material to SCOLA for 7 years.  These material are mainly TV programming, videos, photographs, newspapers and magazines. Also I translate part of a TV show every week. Then I prepare a Turkish lesson from this translation and  I add questions and vocabulary. If you want to learn Turkish, you can find the Turkish and English translation on the same page.  You could learn a few words in Turkish every week. While you are listening to the video you can read the English translation.  You could learn Turkish by yourself.

       I record TV programs in 5 different languages every day. These languages are Turkish, Zaza, Georgian, Kurdish and Arabic. In Turkey there are Turkish, Kurdish, Zaza, Sorani, Arabic, Circassian and Laz people. They can all speak Turkish and their native languages.   Some Turkish television channels broadcast in these languages.

     I cannot speak Kurdish or Zaza but while I’m recording the news shows on TV,  I always feel like learning these languages. I say myself “Kurdish people can speak Turkish why don’t I speak Kurdish or Zaza?”

     Most recently, Doa has started sending SCOLA “Ma“. “Ma” is a culture, art and literature magazine about the Zaza people and was first published in May 2013. The magazine  was founded by musicians Mikail Aslan and Devrim Tekinoglu. “Ma” is very important work for Zaza people since it will help their language live so new generations will not forget their native language.

     Since Zaza people mainly live in Turkey they mostly speak Turkish, therefore the Zaza language is in danger of being forgotten. In recent years, Zaza people have been producing more literature works to improve their language. “Ma” magazine is one of the pioneers of this mission. Zaza people living in countries other than Turkey are looking for a way to obtain “Ma” and SCOLA will be an easy and accessible way for them to read the magazine.

   Doa’s final thought was “Listening to a different language always encourages me to learn it. It is good to know.  My grandfather always said “Speaking one language makes you one person, speaking two languages makes you two persons.”   Learn a new language and be happy.”

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