What is this?
I started East Asia Student in the second year of my East Asian Studies degree at university, and it’s sprawled and spread out ever since. The main idea was to create an ‘East Asian Studies blog’, but I had all sorts of ideas for what it could be, and worked with varying levels of enthusiasm to try and turn it into all of them at different points in time.
Articles on this site now include my notes from class, an array of translations of various original texts from East Asia, explanations of all sorts of things from grammar to software, commentary on current events, arguments and debates and various other bits and pieces. The only common thread tying it all together is that everything is related to East Asia in some way.
As the title of the site suggests, I’m a student and not an expert. I’ve graduated from university now, but I continue trying to learn and study things related to East Asia, particularly languages. As I go along, I try to write up and document what I’m learning here. This helps me keep track of my progress, and the things I write might turn out to be useful to someone else who’s studying something similar. Despite that approach, a lot of people seem to think that I’m pretending to be an expert here, when that’s really not my intention.
East Asia Student was the first website I ever set up, and despite it getting pretty messy, disorganised and eclectic, I’ve never given it up. I’ve since set up far more focused, neater websites with clearer goals (e.g. ChineseGrammar.info), but I’ll carry on producing random content here on East Asia Student for the time being.
A rough translation and annotation of the poem 早發白帝城 (Zǎo Fā Báidì Chéng) – ‘Setting Off Early from Baidi City’ – by the Tang dynasty poet 李白 (Li Bai).
A rough translation and annotation of the poem 勞勞亭 (Láoláo Tíng) – ‘Pavilion of Misery’ – by the Tang dynasty poet 李白 (Li Bai).
Just heard the news that the PRC government is going to abolish all use of Chinese characters, and replace them with pinyin. Bad times.
《时间都去哪儿了》 has been popular recently, especially since it was performed by 王铮亮 (Wáng Zhēngliàng) on 春晚. I thought I’d have a go at annotating it in English.
A reader emailed me asking me to “translate” some “Chinese”. Turns out it’s actually just a substitution cipher swapping Chinese characters for Latin letters.
A review of ‘Tuttle Reading and Writing Chinese’. In short, it seems like a great book for learning Chinese characters in an effective way. I was pretty impressed with it, and would genuinely recommend it to anyone who’s getting started with learning Chinese characters.
A rough translation and annotation of the poem 李白 宮中行樂詞 一 by the Tang dynasty poet 李白 (Li Bai). The poem is also known by its first line: 小小生金屋.
A list of my favourite Chinese learning tools that I’ve distilled over several years of learning Mandarin Chinese. Includes software, dictionaries etc.
The issues of ‘the main Chinese language’ and Standard Chinese may be a lot more complicated and controversial than you think. Here’s my opinion.
This continues my explanation of how to learn to write Chinese, covering the actual approach and method. Read the introduction and key concepts first!