October 02, 2009

Happy Farm

People in Taiwan are highly addicted to Happy Farm now. Media hype should take the blame for it. As for me, I think it is such a good idea using Facebook to find friends that you haven't been in touch with. However, I don't think I will draw attention to that "Happy Farm" thing. Maybe I am just too old for it.

be addicted to 沉溺於
media hype 媒體的渲染
take the blame for... 為...負責
in touch with... 與...連絡
draw attention to... 對……表示注意

August 02, 2009

The hardest decison I have ever made.

The hardest decision I've ever made is about whether I should come back to Taiwan in 2001. Back then I was working for a marketing company in Fremont, California. Just as other companies in Silicon Valley were suffering a big downturn mostly due to the bubble economy in the US, my company started to lay people off in order to stay in business.

Back then 那時候

suffering 受苦於

downturn 低迷

due to 由於

bubble economy 泡沫經濟

lay people off 裁員

stay in business 保持營運

Just before I was locked in, I knew I might be shown the door somewhere down the line. On second thought, I would be lucky to stay employed. I didn't know about it, and there was nothing I could do.

locked in 被鎖定

be shown the door 被請走路

somewhere down the line 某個時間點

on second fought 另一種想法

stay employed 被保持雇用

Things had turned so uncertain that each and every day of my staying on my job was a torture for me. I was getting so tired of waiting for the outcome and it had made me go schizophrenic. Therefore, I decided to submit my resignation to my boss one day. He was shocked. But soon after that, he didn't say too much and approved my request. I got everything wrapped up and left the US in one month.That's the hardest decision I've made.

uncertain 不確定

torture 虐待

outcome 結果

schizophrenic 精神分裂

submit 提出

resignation 辭職

approve 批准

request 請求

wrapped up 打包;完成

May 21, 2009

Buy or rent?

Since years ago it has been a craze in Taiwan that many people are riding bikes. They are doing this for various reasons. However, for the most part, they ride bikes either for keeping themselves in shape, for saving gasoline expenses on their vehicles, or the like.

craze 一時流行
various 各種不同的
for the most part 主要地
keep in shape 保持健康身材
gasoline expenses 汽油花費
vehicle 車輛
the like 等等

Speaking of myself, with the hope of following such a trend, I bought an inexpensive bike on the Internet about three years ago. I soon regretted buying such a cheap one. First, its parts get easily worn out so that I have to spend lots of money fixing it. Tires, brakes, for example, or some nuts and bolts, you name it, need to be replaced. Therefore, I told myself that if one day I was going to get another one, I would probably buy a very nice one, much nicer than the one I have now.

speaking of 提到
with the hope of 為了
trend 潮流
inexpensive 不貴的
regret 反悔
worn out 磨損
tire 輪胎
brake 剎車
nuts and bolts 零件
replace 替換

But soon I became schizophrenic and I had a different thought again. The thing is, I have seen some friends of mine who bought a nice set of wheels but have never committed their time to keeping them in good condition. Years after being ridden, those name-brand bikes turned into pieces of junk as well.

schizophrenic 不同想法; 精神分裂
had a different thought again 另外的想法
the thing is 事情是
set of wheels 腳踏車
commit time to 花時間去
ridden ride的過去式
name-brand 名牌的
turn into 變成
piece of junk 一片廢鐵

So, I think the better way to enjoy riding is why not go to the bike rental shop that is just right next to my apartment. Rent it for a few hours. Go for a spin, then return it. I will never get hung up about maintaining a bike.

rental shop 出租店
get hung up about 擔心
maintain 維護

March 26, 2009

I am hitting the road.

My half-baked idea of popularizing LingQ has finally shaped up. To get started, I will make my first LingQ presentation at the place where I live. I just sent an email to the chief of the apartment office. In my email, I stated clearly that I was planning on giving a presentation followed by a workshop about language learning, which would be based on some views as follows.

hit the road 開始,上路
half-baked 不成熟的
popularize 推廣
shape up 成形
presentation 簡報
chief 主管
apartment 公寓
workshop 研討會
based on 建立...之基礎
as follows 如下

1. Why did we fail to learn a new language?
2. How do we learn a language in proper ways?
3. How often and how long do we need to listen and read while learning it?
4. Is grammar an essential part in terms of language learning?
5. Are there any free resources for people to learn languages?
6. Introduction to LingQ
7. LingQ workshop

fail to 無法成功
proper 適當的
essential 必要的
in terms of 有關
resource 資源

I am asking the office to provide me with a public space for the meetup with the people with the interest in learning languages. Since I don't charge the attendees of the workshop, the office is advised not to charge me any fees on using the community facilities such as Internet connection, lights, tables, chairs, and so on and so forth. I must say all I am doing is for the greater good of the community.

provide 提供
meetup 會面
attendee 參與者
advised 被建議
community facility 社區資源
for the greater good of 為了...的改善及好處

If I should make the presentation at hand a successful one, then next what's on my list will be schools. I actually aim to train school students to learn LingQ. If the schools have insufficient budget to get me paid, I can train teachers, so they can pass what they will have learned from me on to their students. My charge is very reasonable and the time for the training will be short. It only takes about three hours to get trainees fully familiar with using the powerful language learning tool ever, LingQ.

at hand 既將來到的
actually 事實上
aim to 目標去
insufficient 缺乏
budget 預算
reasonable 合理的
trainee 受訓者
familiar with 熟悉

March 15, 2009

Using LingQ

Don't take me as a teacher, please. I am just a trainer. I train you to learn English independently. This is my goal, and I have always wanted you to spend the least money on language learning but get the most effect. Here I found LingQ. I can't guarantee you that your language skills will be improved all of a sudden because it's between you and the language in the end. You are the one that decides how fast or slowly you do on the progress of learning a language. It can be 60 days, 90 days or two years. But, what I can tell you is, using LingQ, it will help you progress faster to reach your goal than any other tools. And, what's more, it's very economical.


我偶然間發現Steve Kaufmann先生的部落格。 拜讀他的文章,知道他是一個會使用十種以上的Linguist(會說兩種語言以上的人)。他將四十年來學習語言的方式製作成一個軟體,並將其網路化,用近 乎免費的方式提共給想把語言學好的人來使用。我使用了LingQ之後,發現真的有一定的效用。所以,我想要推廣如何使用LingQ。


打了那麼多LingQ的廣告,你不禁會問,難道你已經成為LingQ的業務員了嗎?Oh, God Forbid!(絕非如此)。我只想跟大家分享這個好工具。歡迎你們上去使用看看,把問題留在這裡,我會試著幫助你一些。LingQ就像是語言學習界的 Micorsoft Office,是一個很有效的工具。雖然一開始他的使用介面看似複雜,但我認為花點心力去操作它,其實是很容易上手的。對了,LingQ的網址是:

Good luck and have fun with LingQ!

March 11, 2009

Find more teaching jobs

Here is another letter I wrote to Mr. Steve Kaufmann on using his language learning tool, LingQ, to teach my students as I will apply for more teaching jobs to the local schools in my city.

Hi Steve

I read your new post earlier today. Thanks.

earlier 早先

I would like to tell you that meanwhile I am working on the proposal which I will submit to some "community schools" in my city in Taiwan. They call themselves "社區大學" though actually they don't offer degrees/ credentials to their graduates. Therefore I prefer translating it into "community school" instead.

meanwhile 同時
proposal 企劃書
submit to 交出
community school 社區學校
actually 事實上
credentials 證書
graduate 畢業生
therefore 因此
prefer 寧可
translate 翻譯
instead 反而

In my proposal I talk about that I wish to open some English learning courses at these schools via an innovative way, the LingQ way, of course. I am not sure if they will buy what I say in my proposal since there are already some orthodox English lessons being taught throughout these schools at present. Due to the economic downturns, I heard that hundreds of proposals requesting to open new courses on different subjects for the next semester flooded into their offices. So all I can do now is count my lucky stars.

wish to 要去
via 透過
innovative 創新的
buy 相信
orthodox 傳統的
throughout 整個
at present 目前
due to 由於
economic downturn 經濟低迷
request 請求
semester 學期
flood 湧入

By the way, I may give my class, if possible, the names such as "數位時代的英語速成法", "快速網路英語學習法" and so forth. Or do you okay me to use "LingQ" for the title of my course? In my mind LingQ is just like Microsoft Words which I think more and more people will be interested in learning how to use it one day. Since "Learning Microsoft Office in a week" has become an advertising catchword, why not "LingQ"? Just my two cents. Look forward to hearing from you again.

so forth 等等
catchword 標語

Best regards,

Albert Chang

February 25, 2009

I hate using textbooks.

I was in a substitute class at GVO, a.k.a. Global Village, today. This cram school has many education facilities islandwide. I used to teach there very often in the past. But now I go there only when they call on me for urgent substitute class.

substitute class 代課
a.k.a. 又叫做
cram school 補習班

education facilities 教育設施(分校)
islandwide 全島
used to 過去一向
call on 請求
urgent 緊急的

I had prepared my own handout I was to teach for the class this time, and it seemed that after class the students pretty much liked the way I went by. So it felt like everything turned out well today. But just before I stepped out the door in the lobby, the manager of the school came to me and questioned me whether I instructed the class using their textbook or not. I told her frankly that I hadn't done that way. She then just said to me that she was hoping me to use their textbook next time because some student complained to her about me for not using the textbook.

prepare 準備
handout 講義
seem 似乎
went by 依照
turned out 變的
step out 踏出
lobby 大廳
instruct 指導
textbook 課本
complain 抱怨

I felt a bit frustrated since I have devoted much time to the preparation of the class though it was just a substitute class. I didn't get riled up because I knew she had her own standpoint, the school's standpoint to be more specifically saying. Then... I think I am gonna find a solution to it. How? Maybe just go over some pages in the textbook in class and then switch to mine. Doggone it! If using the textbooks were that useful, I would definitely go for them.

frustrated 挫折的
devote 致力
preparation 準備
rile up 生氣
standpoint 立場
specifically 特定地
solution 解決方法
go over 瀏覽
switch 切換
doggone it 香蕉個芭樂

February 23, 2009

An email sent to Mr. Steve Kaufmann

Mr. Steve Kaufmann is a linguist, who can speak more than ten languages, Chinese Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Italian, and just to name a few. Amazingly, he is a Caucasian Canadian, and his age is 60 something now. His success in using languages seems to have broken the myth from us that only kids can learn English better, older people are not suited to language learning, or things like that. He founded a Website called, which I think is the best language learning tool I have ever seen. With the view of helping more people in Taiwan learn English in a more proper way, I plucked up my courage to write him an email. Here is the detail of it:

linguist 會多種語言的人, 語言學家
Mandarin 國語
Cantonese 廣東話
Portuguese 葡萄牙語
Amazingly 吃驚地是
Caucasian 白人
myth 迷思
found 建立
with view of 為了
pluck up courage 鼓起勇氣

Dear Steve,

My name is Albert Chang, a BASIC member at LingQ. I just plucked up my courage to write you this letter because there is some idea of mine that I wish to let you know with regard to attracting more users in Taiwan. By the way, I am a fan of you as well as LingQ. I think it is a perfect tool to learn a language with.

with regard to 有關於
attracting 吸引

I am currently teaching English in Taiwan though I am not a native speaker of English. I know this is kind of against your view point because you suggest that a language should be taught by its native speakers. Most of my students' English proficiency level is fairly low, so I think I am relatively functional enough to help them learn English.

currently 目前
against 反對
fairly 相當程度地
relatively 相對地
functional 派得上用場

I have always told my students how wonderful a tool LingQ is, and I believe many of them must have joined LingQ as free members. But I also found that there have been only two "BASIC" members so far in Taiwan region. And other "Free" members also seem to have low active scores. I wonder why they are not using it.

region 地區
active 活躍的
wonder 想知道

The answers I have got from some were like, "I am too busy", "I don't know how to use it", or something like that. Therefore, I concluded that there are still hurdles ahead to make them not wanting to use LingQ. First, I gather that they are really busy. Second, just because they are busy, they don't even have the time to sit down at their computers and spend some time taking a closer look into the site. I think if they had done that, they would have soon enjoyed it. But too bad they haven't even reached that far yet. So, my plan is as follows and I am hoping to get your feedback.

concluded 結論
hurdle 障礙
ahead 前方
gather 猜想
feedback 回應

I am planning to hold a workshop for my students to show them how to use LingQ. If it comes along fine, I may keep doing it not only to my students but to companies or communities around. I think I will charge them a small fee if possible. Lazy bones must pay. I think some of them will eventually understand the power of LingQ. My next concern is, how to make them feel necessary to upgrade to a BASIC level or even the higher ones? Is it possible to offer them some "tiny" benefit if they once become non-free members through my referral? I think just a little points or discount can be huge incentive. This is just my two cents and I hope I haven't brought up anything too ridiculously.

hold 舉行
workshop 實做研討會
come along 進展
eventually 最後地
concern 關心
upgrade 升級
tiny 小的
referral 推介
incentive 激勵物
my two cents 我的個人一點淺見
brought up 帶出
ridiculously 荒謬

In any case, I really expect more people in my country to benefit from using LingQ. You know, some aborigine children who live in the mountains in Taiwan are badly lacking in language learning resources, so I hope one day I can give them a hand too, using LingQ.

in any case 無論如何
benefit from 獲利於
aborigine 原住民
badly lacking in 極度缺乏
resources 資源

Best wishes,

Albert Chang


I got a quick response from him the next day after I sent him the mail. He was delighted to receive my message and told me that first they will be introducing other changes that will make LingQ more attractive to join as a Basic member. Also, they are going to bring in incentives for introducing a friend or recommending someone. These are all things that are coming in the next few months.

response 回應
delighted 高興的
recommend 推薦

I am so looking forward to these changes. Maybe I should start planning my itinerary now for helping people use LingQ at different places such schools, company, etc.

look forward to 期盼
itinerary 旅行計畫

January 18, 2009

Oh, not another one, please.

I found a beagle on the sidewalk the other night as I was on my way to the bus station. In the first place, I thought it must have gotten lost, so all I did was just stand there to keep her company. I thought her owner would come back for her, but I was absolutely wrong. No one seemed to come pick her up. Then I started to realize that she might be a stray dog dumped by her heartless owner. Worrying that she might get hit by the cars or motorcycles she dodged, I decided to take her home first. Now I am in trouble, for I have already reared one dog, I really have hard time keeping another one. Will anyone like to keep a dog? Please let me know. Again, she is a beagle, known as the one with short legs and smooth fur, sometimes used in hunting. Send you email to me if interested. My email:

beagle 米格魯犬
sidewalk 人行道
in the first place 一開始
get lost 迷路, 走失
keep someone company 陪伴某人
absolutely 絕對
seem to 似乎
pick someone up 領某人走
realize 理解
stray dog 流浪狗
dump 拋棄
heartless 狠心的
dodge 躲避
for 因為
rear 飼養
known 大家知道的
fur 毛

January 13, 2009

Resolution of the New Year

I have told some friends of mine that starting this year I will try to contribute more writings to my blog. The problem is how I am going to squeeze words and phrases out out my brain, especially when English isn't my mother tongue. After thinking for a while, I came up with an easy solution- I will probably just avoid writing something too long. Usually I write within the range of 1000 words, which always takes me a long while to finish. If I cut them down to half or even less than that, I will have more of inspiration for the next one.

contribute 貢獻
squeeze 壓, 榨出
mother tongue 母語
came up with 想出
solution 解決方法
avoid 避免
range 範圍
long while 長時間
cut down 刪減
less than 少於
inspiration 靈感