Don’t Take that Tone with Me, and the Sight of One Hand Counting

I have chopped off a part of my left index finger with a hand scythe splitting kindling for the wood burning stove. Ouch! is all I can say. No guitar for a while or a lot of other things. I wonder if it will grow back normally or will I have a permanent sharp angled finger? Frustrated and bored, I have been playing with other things – although even typing this sucks.

I have been trying to master/learn/hear the four tones in Mandarin, not easy. Thank goodness it is not Taiwanese with eleven, or Cantonese with seven. My brother made a short video for me with anchor-point instructions, see here. Additionally I have discovered The Dude System or suprasegmental phoneme mastery by Kaiser Kuo  (originally printed in Insiders Guide to Beijing 2010 p. 487 excerpted here):

 Tone the first: Dude, the disapproving tone, as to the clumsy roommate who has just knocked over your Graphix, and gotten bong water all over your Poli Sci 142 Reader “Dude, I can’t believe you spilled my bong again.”

 Tone the second: Dude?, in the concerned but creeped-out way you might address the roommate you discover sitting naked and cross-legged in the dark, chanting “Nam myoho-renge-kyo” and sounding a little brass bell.

 Tone the third: Duuude (slight uptick) scornfully as if your roommate has asked to borrow 50 dollars so his sensei can align his chakras: Yeah right, dude.”

 Tone the fourth: Dude! As if exclaiming in triumph to your roommate when coming home from class having gotten a date with mega-babe Elena from Macroeconomics.

 It works.

The other thing I have learned is how to count to ten on one hand. I learned from my little nephew.  Apparently everyone here knows this.  I had never heard of it…it probably is common knowledge but see the photos for demonstration. Who knew? I like little tricks in life: how to tie a shoe properly, the governess knot, the eleven times table trick…I am now addicted to counting to ten.

Try it. You’ll like it! (The slideshow is a little slow, but I cannot change the settings).

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3 Responses to Don’t Take that Tone with Me, and the Sight of One Hand Counting

  1. Karin says:

    i was going to say you could write a song to accompany the numbers but…maybe when your finger heals.

  2. Eda says:

    Counting to ten is fun. When my nephew was little, I was in the kitchen with him one day and as he pointed to the numbers on the microwave, he said, “Look, Aunt Eda. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0. I can count to zero!”

  3. dahubester says:

    Counting to ten? Wow, extra time on you hand(s). Sounds like you are having a profound time there. We do miss you state-side though, pal. We should skype or something.

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