Learning To Speak Mandarin – The Road Ahead

When we talk about studying Chinese what we mean by that, in 2010, is really studying Mandarin, also known as standard Mandarin. Compared to Cantonese, which is the second most spoken out of around 50 languages ​​in contemporary China, Mandarin is far larger. Cantonese is pretty much confined to Taiwan and Hong Kong. Mandarin on the other hand is also spoken in both these areas, and the entirety of the rest of the country. This did not come about as an accident. 100 years ago there were more languages ​​and Standard Mandarin was not known as standard. The Mandarin of today is an amalgamation of different dialects but is mostly made up of the old Beijing one. The reason that it is so common today is that it has been artificially promoted by the central government for obvious reasons: one modern nation needs one common mode of communication.

When we talk about Mandarin language studies people often say that they are rather tricky. They are not a walk in the park, but it is my sincere belief that people make it out to be a much more difficult task than it is in reality. The thing we need to remember is that Mandarin is very different from languages ​​that have been derived from Latin or the Germanic branch of European languages. But once those differences have been deal with, learning the rest of the language is much less tricky than it would seem when you are just setting out on that particular journey. These initial bumps in the road can be categorized into two distinct groups; the difficulties of writing Chinese Mandarin and the difficulties of speaking Chinese Mandarin. I write difficulties but in reality it is less about difficulty and more about differences.

The first of these two categories, written Chinese, is mostly hard because there is no alphabet. Instead you need to memorize a great deal of pictures, aka characters. The key to success in this matter lies in not thinking of them as pictures when you try to commit them to memory but rather thinking of them in terms of their underlying structure. The two golden nuggets of information that you need to become familiar with is the building blocks that make up the vast majority of characters, called radical, and the way that these radicals are written, the stroke order. Once you have these two concepts firmly logged in your head you will begin to see the characters as a process of writing and not as a finished product. The picture is complicated but the way that it is formed is as easy as pie. It is a bit like riding a bike really – once you get up and going you will cover a lot of ground very quickly and you will never loose that initial effort you put in while learning the first couple of hundred or so the right way.

The second of the categories, spoken Chinese Mandarin, is mostly different in terms of pronunciation. The grammar really is not that hard. Chinese Mandarin pronunciation, however, is. It is hard because as we know Mandarin lacks an alphabet. Instead of being made up of letters that make a sound when put together we have pictures which give little or no indication regarding how the words sound when spoken. To muddle things up even more the Mandarin language is not only dependent on syllables, it also involves modulation of the pitch. This is what is more commonly known as tones, and it makes Mandarin a tonal language.

However, both the difficulties with getting to grips with Characters and their radicals and stroke order, and the trick to wrapping your tongue around tonal modulation while speaking, can easily be dealt with in a small class size. Learning Mandarin without the individual attention of a teacher is very hard, but once you have someone to correct your pronunciation and show you what you are doing wrong when writing, you are on the home stretch, speeding ahead to proficiency in the language that holds the key to the greatest paradigm shift of our century – the rise of China as economic and political super power.

Toronto’s Real Estate Market – The Sky is Not Falling!

I am sure you are just as tired as I am about hearing how terrible the current state of the real estate market is in Toronto, but is it really that bad?

No, the sky is not falling but there is no doubt that the Toronto real estate market has been affected by the US economic slowdown and because of this consumer confidence has also been affected … and some realtors have had to look for a "real job. "

The economic downturn in the states has no doubt had an impact on our economy. We are seeing fewer transactions occurring, (4,120 resale transactions in Feb '09 compared to 6,015 in Feb '08 according to TREB). Along with a reduction in the number of transactions that have occurred, average prices have also come down in comparison to the same time last year. According to TREB, in central Toronto the average price has gone from $ 404,202 (Jan, 2008) to $ 343,632 (Jan, 2009). Homes are also sitting on the market on average longer than the same time last year but what did we really expect? Did we really think last years wacky market of multiple offers and inflated prices would survive another year?

What does this real estate market mean to a Buyer or Seller in Toronto?

This is great news for buyers! This market is a blessing for first time buyers or those wanting home ownership but just could not afford it in the past. The declining average prices and the unbelievably low interest rates are a great combination! It's a Buyers market, so Buyers take advantage of this opportunity … it's a great time to buy! For sellers this type of market means pricing right and putting in extra effort to make sure your property shows at its potential. In the peak of the market, properties could sell the day they were put up for sale, now properties sit for longer but will still sell if priced right.

As we know, the real estate market is seasonal. As the spring market approaches all ready there is more activity in the city core than in the previous month. Just last week I was apart of two multiple offer situations in North York. Generally speaking the Toronto Real estate market tends to pick up in late spring and then begins its descend in July. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Commission is forecasting that Toronto will see its 6th or 7th best year in history. They are hiring for 75,000 sales in 2009. The next few months will be a great indicator of the state of the Toronto Real estate market. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Mongofiles Review

Emailing large files can be a problem in many cases because majority of email providers place a limit of 25MB. Even if your files don’t exceed that limit, it can take a lot of time for it to upload. Fortunately, there are services that offer quick and hassle-free help. One of the most notable sites today is Mongofiles. Basically, users simply need to visit the provider’s site, select the file to be sent, and write the email address of the recipient.

Mongofiles uploads the file you choose into their server and then gives you a private link. Whoever receives this link can download the file immediately, safely, and quickly. The service is definitely a great solution for those who need to handle large files. Mongofiles allows you to send up to 2GB of files which is more than enough in 99% of cases.

It’s easy to see why the service offered by Mongofiles could be so attractive but there are similar websites out there. So how is it different? One thing that differentiates it is that the provider takes your security seriously. Here are other aspects you should consider:

• Private Link – other providers may offer the same file uploading service but a key selling point for Mongofiles is that they keep your files private. Only people you share the link to would be able to access the files. On the other hand, other providers make your files searchable for other users. There is no encryption or security features offered because they make money from people visiting their website to view potentially useful information.

• No Advertisement – many file uploading and sharing sites make their money from advertisement. That’s why if you register on these websites, expect your emails to be “sold”. Even if it isn’t sold to third-parties, you will still receive advertisements and offers from the company on your inbox.

• 30-Day Active Link – the closest thing to Mongofiles is probably YouSendIt. However, the latter only keeps your sharing link active for 7 days while Mongofiles links are valid for 30 days for the free service. Links on the premium service don’t expire. In many cases, this has proven to be useful because no one wants to keep uploading the files if the recipient lost it or if you need to keep track of files.

• Free Up to 100MB - if you like what you’ve read about Mongofiles so far, then go ahead and try it for yourself; it’s free. But keep in mind that the free service is limited to 100MB of files only. The company has a no-spam policy so you need not worry about your privacy. For those who need to send large amounts of files, 10GB of space is offered at $5 a month. Business users can take advantage of the 100GB of storage with 128-bit encryption. It is available for $50 a month.

Whether you are a personal user or a business user, Mongofiles offers something for everyone. When you compare their prices with online backup providers today, it also becomes clear that you can store so much more with this provider. Read Mongfiles reviews.

Nokia Mobile Phones – A Breakthrough in World of Telecommunication

If a real breakthrough has been bought in the world of mobiles then its Nokia Mobile phones. They have marked the real beginning of breakthrough in mobile communicating with high performance mobile phones in the market. Their wide range of models for diverse class of people and budget groups suggests that the fact that Nokia never discriminates on the grounds of income and status. They create mobiles for all people and try their level best to input some really useful features in their lower end mobile phones. They have been successful to do that in mid range models and there are many mid range Nokia mobile phones which can give stiff competition to high end mobile phones of other brands.

Their latest is the N series and through this series of mobile phones Nokia has tried to enhance the lives of people to a great extent. These phones are called multimedia computers which are perfect blend of ergonomics and designing. Now one may think that Nokia mobile phones of high end models are quite difficult to use. On the contrary they are easy than one can think of. The easy to use phones have enhanced lives of people and now even end users can take the pleasure of using services like WAP, Bluetooth and alike.

When we talk of high end Nokia mobile phones we must talk about three features which is very common to all high end phones from this Finnish company. Input of all useful features, High sound quality and video calling facility. The features of Nokia N series or E series phones are always useful to one way or the other. You may not use them regularly but once you find their utmost need and the handset comes to your rescue.

The second feature sound quality of Nokia mobile phones is something you can swear upon. The built in speakers themselves gives so much quality sound what would be quality if you use accessories like Nokia Bluetooth Speakers MD-5W. The 3D sound effect and output of exact pitch of musical instruments while you play your favorite numbers is one of the qualities of Nokia mobile phones.

Most of the high end Nokia mobile phones have secondary VGA camera for video calling option. This is a very important feature of Nokia high end mobile phones and you will find this feature only in select models of other brands.