A great(?) way to learn English
While browsing in a Xinhua bookstore I ran across this book teaching how to speak English. My first thought was who would ever try this - but my second thought was this might explain the many poor English accents I hear.
The idea of the book is to approximate English pronunciation by using Chinese characters. This is not really groundbreaking; my mother-in-law said when she learned English they remembered the phrase "Thank you very much" by the Chinese phrase "Sankuairou geinimachi" ("Give your mother 3 pieces of meat to eat"). Similarly, my niece Tiantian told me she remembered "toothbrush" as "tuzibulashi" ("rabbits do not defecate") Both of these are reasonably amusing anecdotes.
But, the idea of actually using this technique to learn English is pretty silly. The characters given are meaningless sequences, there is no way to remember them but pure memorization - and there are 360 pages of them. Anyone who puts in all that effort is going to be really, really disappointed the first time he goes to the US.
Following are a few samples from the book. Try to guess the English from the pinyin. If you click on the phrase it will (might) get Google translate to speak it for you. (If it fails try going to the google translate tab it opened up, put your cursor on the address bar, and hit return - I am not sure why but the connection sometimes breaks from the link, or even if you hit reload. Or go to Google translate, paste the Chinese characters in the box, and click on the speaker in the right hand box). The tooltip for each phrase gives the English "equivalent" if you rest your mouse on top of the pinyin.