UN Chinese Language Day Forum

Happy UN Chinese Language Day! 联合国中文日快乐!

The date for the Chinese day was selected from Guyu (“Rain of Millet”), which is the 6th of 24 solar terms in the traditional East Asian calendars, to pay tribute to Cangjie. Cangjie is a very important figure in ancient China, claimed to be an official historian of the Yellow Emperor and the inventor of Chinese characters. Legend has it that he had four eyes and four pupils, and that when he invented the characters, the deities and ghosts cried and the sky rained millet. From then on, Chinese people celebrate the day Guyu in honour of Cangjie. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around April 20.

THE UN

To celebrate this year’s UN Chinese Language Day, we are delighted to welcome two speakers, Isabella Souza Mclaughlin (苏蔓伊) at Queen’s and Qinyuan Li (李沁园) from Trinity College Dublin, to our Chinese Culture Forum. They will offer insights into their journeys of learning, teaching, and researching the Chinese language in the island of Ireland.

Speakers:

Isabella Souza Mclaughlin is a bilingual English and Portuguese speaker with a keen interest in language-learning. Graduated with BSc in International Business with Mandarin Chinese, Isabella is currently Global Marketing and Recruitment Co-ordinator in Global Student Recruitment at Queen’s.

Qinyuan Li is a PhD candidate in language education at the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin. She has developed her research interests in multilingualism, language acquisition, and the application of technology in educational contexts. Currently, she is engaged in a research project titled ‘Third or Additional Language Learning Strategies: How Learners in Ireland Learn the Chinese Language’, which is funded by the TCD-China Scholarship Council Award.

  • Date: Friday 19 April 2024
  • Time: 14:00-15:30 (GMT)
  • Channel: QUB MS Teams (link will be shared after registration)

Related reading

BIT Summer Programmes Update

Great news – more programmes added!

Following the successful Beijing Institute of Technology's (BIT) winter Chinese online programme, QUB student and staff learners are invited again to attend their summer programme. The following message is an update sent from BIT (20/03) - any recruitment enquiries please contact BIT team. We are only responsible for collecting and submitting the nomination form.

BIT is set to offer an array of on-campus summer programs tailored to your interests in the fields of STEM, management, athletics and Chinese language and culture.

Seven programs are available this summer:
1. Future Decarbonizing Technology and Green Energy(On-campus)
2. Hands-on Learning for Emerging Technologies in Electronics Engineering (On-campus)
3. Emerging Technologies in Materials for Renewable Energy (On-campus)
4. Aesthetics of Traditional Chinese Culture and Classical Chinese Humanities(On-campus)
5. Management and Innovation (On-campus)
6. Chinese Kung fu (On-campus)
7. Chinese Language and Multicultural Practice(On-campus & Online)

We are offering 10 scholarships for each program (70 scholarships in total) for your students!

BIT Scholarship covers Tuition, on-campus accommodation, teaching materials, insurance, culture tours and lab work. Students only need to bear the expenses for international travel and meals during they study in China.

Online program is also totally FREE and NO NUMBER LIMIT.

Duration:

  • On-campus program: June 30 (check-in)–July 27 (check-out), 2024
  • Online program: August 5 – August 16, 2024

Nomination from partner university is necessary and sent before April 15th, 2024.

Student Application Deadlines:

  • 30 April, 2024 (First round)
  • 15 May, 2024 (Second round)

Application Platform: apply.isc.bit.edu.cn

More details could be found in the attached brochure and website for on-campus programs and for online-program.

Looking forward to your nomination and students!

Programmes

Study Tips for Learning Chinese

While the 3rd semester Language Centre course enrolment is still underway, we would like to share with you the study tips from Isabella Souza Mclaughlin, who is currently working as Global Marketing and Recruitment Coordinator after her graduation from Queen’s.

I graduated from International Business with Mandarin at Queen’s University Belfast. Studying Mandarin was one of the best experiences I’ve had, and in this blog post, I will share some study tips!

Isabella Souza mclaughlin 苏曼伊
QUB Global Recruitment

Studying languages is incredibly rewarding, but it can be challenging! Familiarising yourself with your learning style is key. It’s important to try different techniques until you find the one that is best for you. Below are the tips that I would like to share:

Flashcards

Flashcards are a great way to practice vocabulary and keep your notes on-the-go. When studying Mandarin, I wrote the Chinese characters, known as 汉字 (hànzì) alongside the English translation on one side, and the 拼音 (pīnyīn) on the other, to focus on recognising characters. However, you may decide to focus on translation and have 汉字 on one side, and English on the other. Digital flashcards are also a convenient option.

Handwriting

I personally find I can memorise information best by writing. Handwriting notes in Mandarin can be time-consuming. However, if you are regularly writing 汉字, not only will you be revising your notes, but also practicing your handwriting. Remembering the stroke order of 汉字 will be a big help in writing faster over time.

The type of equipment you use can also help. I like using notebooks, so erasable pens found their way into my stationery. I like colour and decoration, so I used highlighters, colourful pens, sticky notes and washi tape in creating diagrams and mind-maps to help categorise them into topics, lessons, vocabulary or grammar.

Apps for writing 汉字 are an interactive way to practice. When not in class, I sometimes found myself even using notes apps on my phone to practice handwriting.

Language Class

If you are self-studying Mandarin, I highly recommend joining a class, as the classroom environment can help with speaking practice, meeting new people and help answering tricky questions. These can be in-person or online classes. The Language Centre at Queen’s offers a good range of language courses, including Mandarin Chinese.

I recently had the opportunity to study with the Beijing Institute of Technology on their 2024 Chinese Language and Multicultural Practice Winter Programme. This was an excellent opportunity to study Mandarin Chinese in interactive classes, as well as learn more about Chinese culture through lectures and seminars in Paper Cutting, Chinese Cuisine, Chinese Traditional Music and more. Not only did it give me the opportunity to improve my language skills in listening, speaking and reading, but I also met new people and built my confidence. This was an excellent opportunity to study with a University in China, particularly a partner University of Queen’s and I was also asked to present at the Closing Ceremony which was such an incredible honour.

Take as many notes as possible in class. I liked using my laptop, to which I downloaded a Chinese keyboard, to take notes in class and had a notebook on the side for handwriting. Alternatives such as Google Input Tools are useful as well.

Tandem Language Exchange

The Tandem Language Exchange at Queen’s was one of the best ways I improved my language skills. I met many language exchange partners who helped me significantly in improving my Mandarin, and I was able to share my experience and help them with English or Portuguese. Everyone was really encouraging in helping me develop my language skills and I had the opportunity to make life-long friends.

I scheduled meetings with my language partners regularly, often weekly, to work on new tasks each week. We picked a new topic to cover each week in each other’s target language, where we asked questions regarding culture and learned new vocabulary.

Cultural Experiences

Immersing yourself in the culture of your target language as much as possible is a great way to remain motivated in language learning and develop knowledge.

Cuisine

Belfast has many great Chinese restaurants, so be sure to try Chinese dishes to familiarise yourself with the cuisine. I also enjoy visiting the many great Chinese restaurants when travelling, such as in London.

Local Chinese dishes in Belfast
Chinese cuisine in London

Try making some Chinese dishes yourself too! A friend of mine from China and fellow graduate of Queen’s, invited me to celebrate Chinese New Year (春节, chūnjié) with her and her friends, where I learned to make jiaozi dumplings (bāo jiǎozi 包饺子) from scratch.

包饺子

Work Experience

During my placement year, despite the challenges of COVID, I was fortunate to get a placement in an international company, working with a team based in China. Not only was I getting experience in the work environment, but I was learning more about Chinese business culture and working with supportive colleagues from China. During that summer, I also took online evening classes in Mandarin Chinese through the Language Centre at Queen’s, to help maintain my language skills and get back into a classroom environment to prepare for my final year of University.

History and Modern Culture

If you enjoy history, try visiting some museums or exhibitions surrounding Chinese culture, reading books, articles, and watching documentaries. I enjoy music and entertainment, so I regularly listen to Chinese artists and watch dramas and films.

Many Chinese dramas are now on streaming services, such as, Netflix and Amazon Prime. If you can, try adding both English and Simplified Chinese subtitles. Watch dramas back a second time with only Simplified Chinese subtitles, you’d be surprised with how much you can pick up! Try watching your current favourite shows in your first language dubbed in Mandarin, as you will already be familiar with the plot, this will be an entertaining way to practice your listening skills.

Cultural Events

Ensure you attend cultural events. Queen’s hosts numerous Chinese cultural events throughout the year, including Spring Festival/CNY (春节, Chūnjié) and Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节, Zhōngqiū jié). This is a great way to learn more about these festivals, enjoy the celebrations and get involved! During my studies, I assisted in maintaining a stand at the Chinese New Year Festival, sharing information about the Chinese Zodiac (十二生肖, shí’èr shēngxiāo).

Social Media

Try using social media apps from the countries of your target language. I use WeChat (微信, Wēixìn) to chat with my friends regularly and find information on Red (小红书, Xiǎohóngshū). If you are a fan of TikTok and YouTube, why not try DouYin (抖音, Dǒuyīn) or Bilibili? Download a Chinese keyboard to your phone to make it easier when using social media apps.

Read Bilingual Literature

Reading is a great way to keep up practice. You’re already reading a lot in your classes and on social media, so why not try some bilingual literature? If, like me, you enjoy cuisine, I recommend ‘Tiny Moons: A Year of Eating in Shanghai’ by Nina Mingya Powles, a collection of essays about food and belonging, that incorporates vocabulary in Mandarin.

Motivation and Advice

A key aspect of learning any language, is focusing on your progress and avoid comparing yourself to others. Everyone learns languages at their own pace. It can be easy to compare yourself to others without considering the things that make your language learning experience unique. You may feel like you are falling behind, when in fact, you are right where you need to be and making incredible progress!

Though this is primarily aimed at studying Mandarin, I hope these study tips will be useful for any other languages.

2024 BIT Summer (Chinese) Programme

Calling all QUB learners of Chinese for an online Chinese Summer Camp

Following the successful Beijing Institute of Technology's (BIT) winter Chinese online programme, QUB student and staff learners are invited again to attend their summer programme. The following message is sent from BIT - any recruitment enquiries please contact BIT team. QUB Language Centre is only responsible for collecting and submitting the nomination form.

Warm greetings from Beijing Institute of Technology!

We are glad to announce the call for 2024 BIT Summer Program !

There are both ON-CAMPUS (4-week) and ONLINE (2-week) programs available in the summer of 2024.

We are excited to share that 10 FREE seats for on-campus programs are saved for your EPS students!

Tuition, on-campus accommodation, teaching materials, insurance, culture tours are covered by BIT for students from our partners! Students only need to bear the expenses for international travel and meals during they study in China.

Online program is also totally FREE and NO NUMBER LIMIT.

Four topics are available this summer:

  • Future Decarbonizing Technology and Green Energy(On-campus)
  • Hands-on Learning for Emerging Technologies in Electronics Engineering (On-campus)
  • Emerging Technologies in Materials for Renewable Energy (On-campus)
  • Chinese Language and Multicultural Practice(On-campus & Online)


Duration:
On-campus program: July 1July 27, 2024
Online program: August 5 – August 16, 2024

Nomination from partner university is necessary and sent before April 1st, 2024.

Student Application Deadlines:

  • 30 April, 2024 (First round)
  • 15 May, 2024 (Second round)

Application Platform: apply.isc.bit.edu.cn

More details could be found in the attached brochure and website at https://isc.bit.edu.cn/admissionsaid/spss/languageulture/index.htm for on-campus programs and https://isc.bit.edu.cn/admissionsaid/spss/languageulture_20201010031104805795/index.htm for online-program.

Looking forward to your nomination and students!

Call for Volunteering for CNY Celebrations

Happy International Volunteer Day (05/12)!

The Language Centre is organising a Chinese New Year Celebration Information Session to mark the International Volunteer Day (05/12) on Monday 04/12 (13:00-15:00) at the Auditorium, McClay Library. If you are interested in what’s going to happen and how you can get involved, feel free to pop in and join us in the session.

Call for volunteers

As the Year of the Dragon (龙年春节) is arriving in Feb 2024, we are looking for talented students and staff members to volunteer for our Chinese New Year celebration at Queen’s. It could be in the form of a variety of cultural performances, or language/culture-related topics and skills, and is open to both Chinese-speaking and non-Chinese speaking volunteers.

If you would like to express your interest in volunteering for the preparation and delivery of the proposed events, feel free to scan the QR code, or click the Form URL below to submit your interest.

We also look forward to working with you in our future language and cultural events.

Language Centre Course Enrolment

The second enrolment for courses, including Chinese, to start in January 2024 has now been available online. Anyone wishing to learning Chinese can find relevant course timetable and registration information from The Language Centre Homepage.

The Beginning of Winter

Calling all QUB learners of Chinese for a Chinese Winter Camp (online)

The Beginning of Winter (立冬 Lìdōng) falls on Tuesday 7th November this year. Welcome, winter!

The Language Centre has received an invitation from Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT, 北京理工大学), which is one of our Queen’s partner universities in China, for all learners of Chinese at Queen’s to attend their ONLINE Chinese language programme in January 2024. Read on for the details:

BIT Campus

Dear colleagues and friends,

Warm greetings from Beijing Institute of Technology!

Our Winter Program for Chinese Language and Culture is going to come!

There are both ON-CAMPUS (2-week) and ONLINE (2-week) programs available in this 2024 winter. HSK3 (Chinese level) is required for on-campus program.

Fees:

On-campus programs: USD800/ person for partner university

Online program is also totally FREE and no number limit.

Duration:

Jan 7–Jan 20, 2024 (on-campus/online program)

Nomination from partner university is necessary and sent before Nov 15th, 2023 for on-campus program and Dec 15th 2023 for online program.

Application Deadline:

30 Nov, 2023 (on-campus program)

24 Dec, 2023 (online program)

Application Platform: apply.isc.bit.edu.cn

Looking forward to your nomination and students!

If you are interested in this programme (online), please contact Dr Wang (liang.wang) for further information and nomination.

Provisional schedule

The time displayed here refers to Beijing Time (+8)

Happy UN Chinese Language Day

The date for the Chinese day was selected from Guyu (“Rain of Millet”), which is the 6th of 24 solar terms in the traditional East Asian calendars, to pay tribute to Cangjie. Cangjie is a very important figure in ancient China, claimed to be an official historian of the Yellow Emperor and the inventor of Chinese characters. Legend has it that he had four eyes and four pupils, and that when he invented the characters, the deities and ghosts cried and the sky rained millet. From then on, Chinese people celebrate the day Guyu in honour of Cangjie. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around April 20.

The UN

On this occasion we provide this special edition to invite you to join us in celebrating the charm of the Chinese language – in its written form through calligraphy and spoken form through recitation.

SONG Yihui (宋一卉), a recently graduated doctoral student from School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, has a number of hobbies rooted in traditional Chinese culture, including calligraphy, classic dancing and Hanfu costume. Below she tells us how she has maintained her practice of Chinese calligraphy since childhood.

I first learned calligraphy when I was eight years old, probably because of my curiosity facilitated by my parents. At that time, I started from learning to write the basic strokes – horizontal and vertical, which required a lot of patience and perseverance. I was so envious of other fellows who could exercise their skillful hands freely. However, after learning Yan-style of calligraphy for three years when I wrote with more confidence, I had to put down my brush and switched my full attention to my study which became more demanding. It was not until in my college time that I picked up my brush again with my genuine passion for calligraphy. This flame of enthusiasm has been kept for my life in the UK. When I was packing up my luggage, I had no hesitation to include my beloved set of calligraphy treasures in the suitcase.

To me, calligraphy is a journey of time and space through the written form of our language, with which I could always conduct spiritual dialogues with our ancestors thousands of years ago.

Below is a selected collection of Yihui’s calligraphic works.

WEI Ziqing (魏子晴) is currently doing MA Interpreting at the School of Arts, English and Language. Among her many talents she has a strong passion for recitation. In the recent QUB Multilingual Poetry and Music Festival she contributed to the event by doing a Chinese poetry recitation – ‘The Chinese Language’. With her kind permission, we invite her to share with us her recitation.

To be honest, my performance on the day was not really as perfect as I thought. However, I found that at least three girls from the audience were moved to tears, to my great surprise. One of the girls later said to me that even though she could not understand the language, her heart was greatly touched by the sound of language and she couldn’t help shedding tears.

Below is the Ziqing’s Instagram post on her recitation, followed by the bilingual text versions.

中国话
有一种语言,它 很神秘,它蕴涵着一个民族上下几千年 悲喜交加的情感;

有一种语言,它很古老,古老到那刻在骨头上的文字里都找不到 它的起源;

有一种语言,它很丰富,阴阳上去中 回荡着 慷慨激昂 倾诉着 温宛 缠绵;

这,便是中国话,

一个古老的 东方神话!

中国话,

是如诗如画的表达,

“树索索而摇枝,马得得而驰骋”

——哪一种语言  

有 如此逼真的描摹?

“落霞与孤鹜齐飞,秋水 共长天一色”

——哪一种语言  

能说出如此图画般的美丽?

“春江潮水连海平,海上明月共潮生⋯⋯”

——哪一种语言 能有 如此动听的节律?

“我失骄阳君失柳,杨柳轻扬直上重霄九”

——哪一种语言

能一语译透你丰厚的含义?

中国话 是中国人

心灵深处的吐纳。

是屈原的长叹 ,项羽的啸吼

是李白的浪漫 ,杜甫的讥讽,

是“五四”前夜,

李大钊在拊掌欢呼

《庶民的胜利》,

是面对敌人的屠刀,

鲁迅在指斥《无声的中国》,

是迎着特务的枪弹,

闻一多拍案而起,弘扬正义!

是礼炮声中毛泽东庄严宣告:民族 站起!

那黄河的不羁和刚强,是中国话!

那长江的奔放和潇洒,是中国话!

那大山的雄武,高原的粗犷,是中国话!

那江南的温柔,水乡的秀雅,是中国话!

听,中国话正在通过我的喉头在联合国的讲台上响起

–那么亲切,优美,

—那么有力,伟大!

中国话 你属于一个伟大的民族,

一个朝阳升腾的天地!

我爱你,我们的 中国话!!!

The Chinese Language
There is a language – it is very mysterious and contains the emotional ups and downs of a nation for thousands of years;

There is a language – it is so ancient that its origin cannot be found in the characters engraved in bones;

There is a language – it is very rich, resonating with generosity and passion, warmth and tenderness in the alternation of Yin and Yang;

This is the Chinese language.

An ancient oriental myth!

Chinese language

is an expression like poetry and painting.

‘The trees rustle and shake their branches, The horses gallop and run freely.’

–which language 

has such a vivid illustration?

“Rosy evening clouds and the lonely duck fly together; The autumn water shares the same colour with the sky.”

–which language can tell such picturesque beauty?

‘The spring tide of the river joins the sea, and the bright moon rises with the tide on the sea…’

–Which language can have such an enchanting rhythm?

“I’ve lost my sun, you’ve lost your willow, the willow lightly rises to the Ninth Heaven”

–what other language

Can translate the richness of your meaning in one word?

Chinese language is the breathing of the Chinese people’s soul.

It is the long sigh of Qu Yuan, the roar of Xiang Yu,

The romance of Li Bai, the irony of Du Fu.

It is Li Dazhao cheering and applauding
“The Victory of the Common People” on the eve of May Fourth Movement,

It is Lu Xun criticizing “The Silent China” in the face of enemy’s butcher’s knife,

It is Wen Yiduo rising up and promoting justice in the face of bullets from secret agents,

It is Mao Zedong solemnly declaring “The Chinese nation has stood up!” amidst the sound of salute.

The recklessness and fortitude of the Yellow River is Chinese language!

The unrestrained and boldness of the Yangtze River is Chinese language!

The magnificence of the mountains, the ruggedness of the plateau, is Chinese language!

The gentleness of the south of the Yangtze River, the elegance of the water town, is Chinese language!

Listen, the Chinese language is echoing through my voice on the podium of the United Nations

-So friendly, beautiful,

-So powerful, great!

Chinese language , you belong to a great nation, a world where the sun rises!

I love you, our Chinese language!

Sign up for a Chinese course

If you would like to learn more about the beauty of the Chinese language and are interested in attending a course, you are welcome to check our courses below and register as soon as you can. The cutting off date is rightly on Thursday 20 April, the UN Chinese Language Day! Don’t miss out!

One day in London

Monday 28th March – What an intense and packed day at the UCL Institute of Education for our students Isabella and Caleb from Queen’s Management School, together with Dr Liang Wang from The Language Centre, to help with promoting the University and its International Business with Mandarin Chinese programme, among a cohort of a dozen of universities from the rest of the UK. 

It was great to be in attendance at the UK Schools and Universities Day 2022, sharing details of our offer, listening to what prospective students’ interests and concerns are, and joining in discussions on how to strengthen the ties between schools and universities across the UK in terms of Chinese language provision. As a final year student of International Business with Chinese, Isabella noted that: 

‘I learned a lot about what other universities across the UK were offering in relation to studying Mandarin Chinese, and spoke to staff of universities and schools from whom I understood there is a demand for studying Mandarin at university, particularly in conjunction with other subjects, such as business, sciences, arts, law and other languages.’ 

For any students who are interested in our International Business with Mandarin Chinese programme, please visit the course page.  

2022 Chinese Language Video Festival launched

‘China Chic’: Chinese Language Video Festival launched to celebrate UN Chinese Language Day

CGTN.COM

The theme this year is “China Chic” – a modern take on traditional Chinese heritage from young people around the world. As China has continued to progress and innovate, unique cultural elements have been adapted to fit the very latest trends, with the younger generation increasingly aware of regional differences.

All non-native Chinese speakers from around the world are invited to submit an original video showcasing the beauty of Chinese traditions and how they are incorporated into the modern world.

Read CGTN for more details.

CCF10 June Talk

CCF10 – Turning your interest in Chinese into a business: The Chairman’s Bao

Speakers:

Sean McGibney studied Chinese and Spanish at University of Leeds and founded The Chairman’s Bao alongside Tom Reid in his final year of study in 2015. Currently Managing Director of The Chairman’s Bao, he has overseen the company’s growth from university bedroom concept to an international force in the EdTech industry with over 120,000 individual users and over 300 global partner institutions. In his spare time, Sean sits on the Board of charity Leeds Irish Health and Homes and volunteers with Alzheimer’s Research UK, as well as being a keen runner and cyclist.

Coming previously from an Investment Bank specialising in Mergers and Acquisitions, Oliver Leach joined the Team as Business Development Manager in February 2018 and became a Director in 2020. His existing broad role at TCB spans from marketing and branding to sales and customer service. Outside of work, Oliver is a long-suffering fan of Reading FC.

Outline:
In this joint presentation we will cover:

  • the story behind TCB
  • our team, using Chinese in a work environment
  • business achieving success in thriving EdTech sector
  • setting up a business at university
  • lessons learned in business
  • plans for the future and a demo of the platform.

More information:
The Chairman’s Bao

We welcome your attention and would like to invite your questions and feedback on this culture talk in the box below.