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Where realism and idealism meet Tony Brasunas, author of Double Happiness

Double Happiness named Award-Winning Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards

It is an honor to report that Double Happiness has been recognized by another book awards program. The 2015 International Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News, have selected Double Happiness as an award-winning finalist in the Memoir category.

Counting these book awards and prizes which have recognized Double Happiness, as well as these others, this award brings the total number of awards in which my book has either won or been recognized to eleven.

I’m proud of this book, and proud of all the work that so many people put into it on its way to publication. Every once in a while it’s nice to know that all that work is recognized.

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Posted in Double Happiness
by Tony Brasunas at 12:34 pm on November 29, 2015

Want to learn Mandarin? Channel your inner baby.

Learning to speak Chinese can be challenging for native English speakers. The grammar and vocabulary pose obstacles, to say nothing of the unusual sounds and the semantic tones.

The problems posed by the new grammar and vocabulary are more or less the same as those posed by learning any foreign language, so I’ll leave them aside for this post. But if you want to learn to speak Chinese, the unfamiliar sounds that exist in Chinese that don’t exist in spoken English, and the semantic tones that distinguish one word from another will be the most critical and difficult challenges.lu_green-transparent

One way to learn the new sounds is to practice assiduously, to enunciate them over and over, and to listen to them repeatedly until you can differentiate them. You can practice, for instance, the essential tight ü sound, over and over, with words like (green). And you can repeatedly practice speaking and hearing the differences between (mother) and (horse).

Practice is crucial to climbing the mountain towards competency and, eventually, fluency. But with only practice, you won’t get there. (more…)

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Posted in China | Travel
by Tony Brasunas at 9:20 am on November 27, 2015