Learn Italian Online and Make It Stick

learn italian onlineIn this Age of the Internet and the ability to find free information and partake in long distance learning at your own pace, it is an amazing time to be an online student of Italian. There are dictionaries and an videos and classes and even the ability to engage with a native speaker online, from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. What an opportunity!

It is also very important to remember that there are good and bad ways to learn, especially when it comes to learning a foreign language.

This class, Teach Yourself a Foreign Language, introduces lessons on effective ways to learn a foreign language. It features good advice about learning, what to look for when selecting a class and excellent practices to follow while taking those lessons. This can be particularly useful when seeking resources that will boost your online learning of Italian.

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Family in Chinese: Titles and Traditions

family in chineseFamily in Chinese is a lot of fun to learn. Part of the reason is that there are so many different names and titles for different relatives, and each title tells how they are related to the speaker. It can get confusing from time to time, but once you have it down, it’s easy to know who is who in a family. But do be prepared, there is a lot of vocabulary in this post.

Since I’m going to use pinyin throughout, you may want to check out this class, Elementary Class for Chinese Pronunciation, which covers pinyin and pronunciation.

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Chinese Wedding Traditions: Something Old, Something New

chinese wedding traditionIn the US, weddings are often all about the bride in her wedding dress and the cake. In China, it’s all about the entire family and the banquet, so everything looks and tastes good. It’s a huge affair, with many things going on from tea ceremonies, the marriage ceremony, and the banquet making it an all day party, not just for the couple, but everyone involved.

If you have ever thought about what it might be like to become a wedding planner, a Chinese wedding has a ton of moving parts. From the typical DJ’s and photographers, to things like planning enough time for the “negotiations” to just get the bride out of her home and past her bridesmaids (think lots of bribes and begging) and a tea ceremony. If that sounds like a fun thing to plan and you are wanting to take that career path, check out Getting Started as a Wedding Planner. [Read more…]

The Best Way to Learn Chinese: Methods and Considerations

best way to learn chineseIt is one of the age old questions in second language acquisition: What’s the best way to learn a second language?

Of course, you’ll get as many answers as there are teaching styles and learning styles. Try out every combination and you will end up with many, many different answers and many, many different people who all swear by their system or their own experience. And all of them are wrong. Or right. It just depends on who you ask.

Udemy has a class that goes over the best practices for learning a foreign language. Teach Yourself A Foreign Language makes the learning completely self-motivated and can assist you in finding low to no-cost materials to supplement your knowledge. Excellent stuff for the go-getter.

If you need some insights into typical approaches to teaching and learning Chinese and the methods behind them, keep reading.

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Chinese Grammar Pointers and Basics to Remember

chinese grammarLearning Chinese can be a daunting task, but it actually is not as hard as it seems. Chinese grammar is pretty straightforward.

For this post, I’m going to assume that you are somewhat familiar with Chinese pronunciations and have some basic concepts down. This should serve more as a summary and review of basic, introductory Chinese grammar so I will also be using pinyin and simplified characters as reference throughout. If you aren’t familiar with pinyin, I would recommend this Elementary Class for Chinese Pronunciation. It covers all the pinyin and their associated phonemes. “Phoneme” is the technical term for sounds in a language.

Read on for a summary of basic Chinese grammar.

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Chinese Traditions and Customs: Confucius and Chinese New Year

chinese traditionsChinese traditions are myriad and diverse. They range from simple ways of interacting to holidays and celebrations. There are special colors for occasions and phrases and foods. These are just a few things to be aware of when traveling in China and building relationships.

If you are headed to China on business, Negotiate Successfully in China will fully equip you with the knowledge you need to close a deal and keep it profitable. Drawing on years of experience, Andrew Hupert delivers practical insights on doing business in China and what to expect.

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Chinese Numbers: The Basics of Counting

chinese numbers你好!今天来学数字!

Numbers and counting in Chinese is fairly straightforward. They follow familiar conventions of counting one through ten and it’s relatively easy since every number from 11 to 99 is just some combination of those first ten numerals. Also, they do have separate Chinese characters for numbers but Arabic numerals, the ones you see on signs, math books, etc. are also used.

For this post, I’m going to assume that you are somewhat familiar with Chinese pronunciations and the tones, so I’ll be using pinyin throughout. If you aren’t familiar with the sounds that pinyin represent, I’d recommend this Elementary Class for Chinese Pronunciation. It covers all the pinyin and their associated pronunciations.

Having said that, let’s get started!

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Baked Pork Tenderloin for Beginners: Simple Recipes

baked pork tenderloinFor a simple and easy cut of meat to prepare, pork tenderloin is the way to go. It got its name because it is, in fact, very tender. It is naturally that way because it is not a muscle used for movement, so it doesn’t get tough like other cuts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pork_tenderloin

Since pork tenderloin is lower in fat, it is also milder in flavor, meaning it is a good meat to use with sauces and marinades. It is a very versatile cut for cooking, pairing nicely with many different kinds of flavors. It’s good roasted or grilled or stir fried, sliced into medallions, served on a plate with sides or sliced thin and put on a sandwich. It is only up to your imagination how to prepare this tasty piece of pork.

If you need some general pointers for cooking, check out Cook Like a Man. It is taught in a humorous manner, but covers not only recipes, but general kitchen skills as well, like knife skills and choosing good produce.

If you want some basic baked tenderloin ideas, then keep reading.

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Ukulele Strumming Patterns: Getting Started

ukulele strumming patternsThe Ukulele: beloved instrument of Hawaiians and laid back pluckers of happy tunes. With just four strings, it’s so easy to pick up and learn, but really hard to put back down. George Harrison of Beatles fame, was said to have traveled with 2 ukes, one for himself and another for anyone he happened to be hanging out with. Jimi Hendrix also enjoyed the little instrument.

We do have a course here for learning the ukulele. Taught by accomplished musician Dan Scanlan, he covers all the chords, a couple scales, music theory, and even some history, making for an excellent primer for the beginning student. If you’re jumping into it from guitar, he has some advice for you, too!

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Baked Custard: Easier Than Pie

baked custardVelvety, creamy custard is a rich treat.

Custard traces its history back to the Romans, who discovered that eggs would bind things and firm up when cooked. They made all kinds of fillings using custards and flans, from sweet to savory (eel flan, anyone?). As the Romans travelled, they took their cooking customs with them and so spread the different types of custards that we have today, the saucy kinds added to pastries or trifles to the firm baked custard desserts. It’s generally agreed that the dessert custards we know today came from the Middle Ages and were perfected in the last two centuries as ovens and cooking techniques have evolved and become more sophisticated.

Before I jump into the basic recipe for baking a custard, you may want to check out Vechey’s Effortless Gourmet, because not only does she have great ideas for meals, she has a Starfruit Blackberry Topping recipe as part of a dessert course. That sounds like something that would be an amazing accompaniment to a basic baked custard.

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