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Full Spectrum Tao

Sep. 17th, 2009 03:22 am Norman Borlaug is dead.

Think back to the hungriest you have ever been in your entire life.

Have you ever heard your stomach growl...Collapse )Some of you might know who he is but I encourage you to look up his life story and why he's important to pretty much everyone in the world.

Current Location: Brooklyn

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Sep. 18th, 2008 05:47 pm Toisanese Thursday (Lesson Two)

1- Review Quiz

Key concepts from the first lesson which will be crucial in learning today's lesson elements and new vocabulary are reviewed in a short quiz.


1- Toisanese is closely related to this dialect of Chinese:

a Mandarin b Hong Kong Mandarin c Cantonese d Fujianese

2- Particles are usually added to the ends of words can also be called

a prefixes b suffixes c articles d contractions

3- At least how many separately identifiable sub-dialects of Toisanese are there?

a Two b Infinite c One d Four

4- Approximately many Toisanese speakers live outside of Toisan proper overseas today?

a 10 percent b 25 percent c 50 percent d 100 percent

5- How many primary vowel sounds are there in Toisanese?
Hint: Cantonese and Mandarin have at least 10.

a 2 b 4 c 7 d 12

Extra Credit - Why do you think Toisanese became one of the most common dialects in overseas Chinese enclaves during the past 100 years?

2- Pronouns

The base pronouns in Toisanese including those which are gender-specific and possessive are given to the class for the first time with some practice and explanation.

As in English, the most used pronouns are I and You. We is not too common in part because its common usage in English, used by one member of a married couple or the representative of a company, have been somewhat alien to traditional Toisanese culture in the past. They is however used more commonly than the gender pronouns She and He and can even used to refer to a single person in informal conversation.

English Word Toisanese Word Cantonese Word Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese
I/me (Mine) GNOI (-GOI) gnaw (-gŭ)
You (Your/Yours) NĀ (-GOI) nā (-gŭ)
We/Us (Ours) GNAW.MAWN (-GOI) waw.moon (-gŭ) 我們 我们
She/He formal (Him/His/Her/Hers) HŎ-MŬN (-GOI) Tŏ-moon (-gŭ) 她/他 她/他
It/They/Them informal(Their/Theirs) QOOI (-GOI) qūī (-gŭ)
It/They/Them formal (Their/Theirs) HŎ-MŬN (-GOI) Tŏ-moon (-gŭ) 他/他們 他/他们

Possessive pronouns are somewhat more different but are actually very simple once you learn the basic rules. Unlike English which has multiple forms of the same pronoun, Chinese carries only one with an optional particle to add to the end. My/Mine is the same character, both spoken and written, as I. You can tell which meaning is implied by the context of any sentence in the example below. In some versions of Toisanese and Cantonese, a -GOI (or -gŭ) particle can be added to the end of a pronoun to more easily indicate that it is possessive in speech but this is an informal convention.

Note that there is a more possessive particle or suffix for any pronoun or noun, 我的, is simply the normal pronoun with the 的 or ŎT particle at the end. Unlike the more colloquial -GOI particle, this has a written form and appears in both Cantonese and Mandarin.

Her and His are part of the Toisanese vocabulary but are not used for the same reason that We is not. Instead, specific and more formal nouns are used as a sign of respect which will be covered in the following part of this lesson. Typically, They is used interchangeably for the sake of brevity.

You will typically not have to encounter the reflexive form of a pronoun (myself, ourselves, themselves, etc.) in any Chinese dialect for the following reasons:

- Sentence structure usually does not allow a pronoun or subject to be the last word in a sentence, which is usually where reflexive pronouns are used.

- The verb or predicate in a sentence serves a similar function which can be inferred by context.

As you can see, the pronoun system in Chinese is greatly simplified. Whereas English has five forms of any given pronoun, there is only one here with the option for a second one if the speaker prefers. If you're in a hurry and especially when you are just getting the hang of learning proper nouns in Toisanese, pronouns will be a considerable help in effective communication. Practice is highly recommended to master this basic but critical building block in dialect comprehension.

3- Proper Titles

The common and proper terms for addressing someone else in Chinese as well as referring to someone else are given as an initial overview into real conversational etiquette.

Pronouns such as He and She are eschewed for more polite terms and nouns which confer a level of respect. Here, the ancient Confucian ideals of filial piety and deference to elders is evident. Age, position, and relationship all play a role. This following list does not take into account the three dozen different names for relatives in one's family which will require the attention of nearly an entire lesson in the future.


GWŎ Older Boy; Teenager "brother" informal

SŬK Young to Middle-age Male Adult informal

BŎK Older Male Adult informal

GŬNG Old Man/"grandfather" informal

LAU-BŬN Boss/Manager informal

LAU-XLCĒ Teacher formal

XLCĒN-SŎNG Sir formal


Young Girl/Miss/Ms. (unmarried) informal

SĒM Young Woman/Mrs. (married) informal

Older Woman/Mrs. (married) informal

Old woman/"grandmother" informal

LAU-BŬN Boss/Manager informal

LAU-XLCĒ Teacher formal

XLCŪ-DEAH Ma'am/Young Lady formal

FŪ-GNĒN Well-off woman/Madam formal

While this list was by no means exhaustive, it is all you need to strike up a conversation, to call someone to your attention without having to say Please or Excuse Me every single time, to properly refer to somebody in a conversation, and to understand both a person's age and status simply from just one word. While confusing at first, you will begin to see the utility of these words instead of the more informal she/he system used in English. Keep in mind that these are used in the same way that the words she, he, sir, or ma'am would be used in English and typically are the first thing you say in a sentence in order to elicit the listener's attention.

4- Question & Answer Session

Students ask instructor about pronoun and proper title class material including any questions they have about proper usage in everyday Toisanese before continuing into Advanced Greetings.

5- Basic Greetings - Gratitude

After you've said how are you, knowing how to say thanks for a compliment or a gift is essential in a conversation. The different ways to show gratitude are given an overview here.

Showing gratitude properly is key to establishing yourself in a polite and respectful manner without having to know all the possible slang or Toisanese vernacular. To paraphrase a Chinese saying, you will have "lasting gain from a single word".

The basic AW DĒŎH is often enough to repay a small compliment or favor but DĒŎH-DĒŎH can be another. Note the contrast between AU, which literally means much or many to communicate the level of gratitude while the second repeats Thanks twice for added effect. Adding a XLCĪ, which means total or much, tells a listener the measure of how much thanks you're trying to communicate.

Finally, a GŬM-DEŎH. is a way of giving thanks at a formal event to a respected family member or a boss. GŬM is used to indicate a great quantity or GŬM AW (感多), so its use when saying thanks for a gift should be obvious. As in English, there is also a polite way of receiving gratitude. Beyond a simply reply of HAU, you can also say M'SOI which literally means "It's not necessary" or "It's not needed.". Modesty is key in both giving and receiving gratitude as you can evidently see

6- Practice Session

After going over the meanings and pronunciation of these sayings, the class will then review them both alone and to each other in groups. This will give some safe non-critical and comfortable but very real-world practice before students choose to exercise some of this dialogue with others.


Cantonese pronunciation in italics are the formal LSHK (Linguistic Society of Hong Kong) romanization of the word.

English Word Toisanese Word Cantonese Word Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese
I/me (Mine) GNOI (-GOI) gnaw (-gŭ)
You (Your/Yours) NĀ (-GOI) nā (-gŭ)
We/Us (Ours) GNAW.MAWN (-GOI) waw.moon (-gŭ) 我們 我们
She/He formal (Him/His/Her/Hers) HŎ-MŬN (-GOI) Tŏ-moon (-gŭ) 她/他 她/他
It/They/Them informal(Their/Theirs) QOOI (-GOI) qūī (-gŭ)
It/They/Them formal (Their/Theirs) HŎ-MŬN (-GOI) Tŏ-moon (-gŭ) 他/他們 他/他们
Please formal M'GOY M'goi
唔該。 唔该。
Excuse Me/Sorry formal* M'HAU' YĒ XLCĒ. m'ho yi si.
m4'hou2 ji3 si3.
*Also can mean You're Welcome (Literally means "No offense")
Thank You AW DĒŎH. Dau jeah.
do1 ze6.
Thank You DĒŎH DĒŎH. Jeah jeah.
ze6 ze6.
Thank You (when receiving a gift) GŬM-DEŎH. gum jeah.
gam2 ze6.
You're welcome M'SOI m'soi

Music: Lupe Fiasco - Hurt Me Soul

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Sep. 17th, 2008 03:11 pm Ode to the Web Monkey (Poetry, sort of)

When you load a webpage and click on a link,
there's always more to it than you think.
Sure, the Internet's an impersonal place,
but every website has got a face.

We're the ones who make the Web go.
We're also the soul behind the code.
When watching porn, you'll wish it weren't so,
but without us, no website would load.

When you're on your favorite website,
basking only in the monitor's radioactive light,
don't think you're alone,
when every part of the website needs us - the web monkey.

Current Location: Brooklyn wondering where I put the CSS book
Music: Ray Charles & James Taylor - Sweet Potato Pie

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Sep. 16th, 2008 02:09 am Pakistan Revisited (Politics)

It has now been over six months since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. While most of the world has forgotten about the apparent crisis in favor of more domestic economic ones, Pakistan and its people certainly have not. While civil war has seemingly been averted on the streets of Islamabad, the problems that helped cause the assassination have not gone away and in fact - they have grown in the wake of recent events. In fact, the strategic position of Pakistan and the crisis it still faces threatens to destabilize global politics and safety.

The Linchpin of the Linchpin
Musharaff's self-imposed Presidency is nearing its end, perhaps to the relief of... (Read More)Collapse )

Just as Baghdad or Cairo were once historical trade hubs between Western and Eastern civilization, Pakistan might serve the same purpose given its location between so many economic powers. International attention to domestic issues such as civil rights or women's freedoms might be legitimately unwelcome by some citizens but it is more unwelcome to those in Pakistan who seek to destroy its wealth and status. Broadening travel and allowing more Pakistanis to either visit or migrate to Western nations would also certainly boost cooperation as it did for Sino-American or Korean-Japanese relations. This does not imply that Pakistan need emulate the West on the scale that India has to be successful, merely that the choice should remain likely if its people so choose. Continuing statements and policies pushing for peaceful relations between Pakistan and its two key neighbors, as well as corresponding increases or decreases in aid, can go a long way to promoting a stable Indian subcontinent which al-Qaeda and other extremists of any religious or ideological bent cannot exploit.

Current Location: Brooklyn hoping for peace

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Sep. 15th, 2008 07:36 am The Choices of Designer Babies (Science, Sociology, Society)

With the recent furor over biotechnology sub-sectors as stem cell research or cloning, one of the more feasible and easily accepted technologies are being forgotten - along with its dire implications. Designer babies, or the ability to specifically choose certain genetic traits of an unborn child, has the potential to cause more problems for society than stem cell research or cloning, which more directly affects those with incurable diseases. It would be an exaggeration to say that present attempts to alter an embryo's DNA are borne of the same school thought as the pseudoscience of eugenics which helped justify both the resurgent KKK of the 1920's and the Nazi Party of the 1930's. It is, however, borne of the same defensive desire that humans have to control the next generation... (Read More)Collapse )

Sports Trivia of the Day

Of the 31 quarterbacks inducted into the NFL Pro Hall of Fame, 4 were either professional baseball players or very nearly were. Sammy Baugh played for the St. Louis Cardinals in the minors. John Elway played 2 seasons for the Yankees in the minors while Troy Aikman turned down an offer from the Mets in 1984 to play college football. Ace Parker actually played for both the NFL Brooklyn Dodgers and the MLB Philadelphia Athletics at the same time for the 1937 and 1938 seasons.

Business Germ of the Day

Nature: Mike Tyson's KO Station
Category: Start-up
Cost: $25 million to $65 million
Probability of Success: Moderate (7/10)

Try to imagine a punching bag mounted on a platform of glittering lights daring any passersby to give the bag a punch and see if they can compare to the legendary punching power of heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson. The punch would be recorded on a digital stat board showing both the punching speed and power, for those who wanted to compare their scores to famous welterweights such as de la Hoya. With a new age of arcade technology allowing score sharing and even Internet connectivity, both the merchandising and expansion possibilities would be endless. To begin with, a number of machines could be placed in casinos, large arcade businesses such as Dave & Buster's or ESPN Zone, airports, and amusement parks. As popularity grows, the success could be parlayed into a console-type system similar to Guitar Hero or Dance Dance Revolution.

Score-sharing, its use for some amateur boxers, and for general social use could push its desirability to very profitable heights, especially if endorsements by more famous boxers grow. Cooperation from official boxing commissions and promoters would also help, and be very likely, if the publicity would reciprocate to the sport itself.

Current Location: Brooklyn - the most diverse place on Earth
Music: Dolce Triade - Cover Stories

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Feb. 25th, 2008 07:52 am Going Back Out There (Science and Society)

Quietly passing by its new assignment in January, MESSENGER provided NASA and the world with the first new images of Mercury since Mariner 10 last made its flyby 33 years ago. Near the other end of the solar system, New Horizons slowly coasts on inertia to Pluto, now demoted to dwarf planet status by the IAU since the probe was launched, will arrive in 2015 in the first visit by a probe to the iceworld ever. Another odyssey, named Deep Impact (not after the movie), literally pulverized a comet to retrieve a sample for study – another precedent. Cassini, Galileo, Magellan, and a small army of rovers on Mars also patrol the solar system. A Japanese probe named SELENE after the Greek goddess of the Moon (and nicknamed Kayuga) now monitors its namesake in a show of technological progress by the nation's space agency, JAXA. China, India, as well as NASA now plan to send their own probes to follow this effort. The ESA, or European Space Agency, has already sent probes to Mars and Venus with their Russian counterparts planning to do the same in the next 10 years.

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Stupid Made-up Word of the Day

tĭ.taur n.
Example: He wishes to play the titor in Macbeth again for the next several months.

Instead of the longer phrases of the same name or the titular role, this would be a much shorter way to imply when one has the same name as the title of any work.

Business Germ of the Day

Nature: Alfresco Alimenti
Category: Start-up
Cost: $360,000 to $500,000
Probability of Success: Moderate (7/10)

While it could be retooled both in terms of the cuisine of choice as well as the reduction of costs if this were a renovation of an existing restaurant, the basic idea would remain the same - a small location with all-alfresco dining and a "live chef" akin to sushi bars and other restaurants. Customers would come in, seated under canopy or in the sun, and could see the cooks creating their favorite dishes while they waited in their seats. The culinary experience visually as well as the closer connection of the customer to both food and restaurant would accelerate word-of-mouth greatly.

Issues of procedure (and take-out) as well as properly scaling it even in one location would have to be exhaustingly ironed out to prevent any public mistakes. The Italian cuisine being served would both be comfortable to those already having been to an Olive Garden but also provide a considerable advantage when a customer can see the onions being chopped in front of him and the simmering sauce being mixed. (Sausage making might still have to be much less public as von Bismarck once noted.)

Current Location: Brooklyn hoping we make progress
Music: Yoko Kanno - A Far Cry (Escaflowne OST)

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