Monday, February 28, 2011

Ditch the Parachute Pants: Part One

This post is the first in a series aimed at teaching Chinese vocabulary using anecdotal mnemonics. Upcoming posts in this particular series will each contain vocabulary words within the context of segments of a short story. Vocabulary words will be presented via mnemonics (memory cues) that are part of the story - a feature which, I hope, will provide you with an easy way to remember how to say each of the vocabulary words in Chinese. Once a word has been introduced with its mnemonic, it will be written for the remainder of the post and for the remainder of the series in Chinese pinyin only (with characters in parenthesis). The final post in this series will contain all of the vocabulary from the series so that readers can see how many words they can recognize. Please note that clicking on the Chinese character for vocabulary words will take you to the mnemonic to help you learn that particular character. Feel free to let me know what you think of this new method of vocabulary learning by leaving a comment below.

Back in the late 80's when she was young and hip and wearing slap bracelets gave you instant popularity, Helen and her sister decided that their mom's fashion sense was in dire need of an upgrade. Mom had a thing for sweatpants and necklaces made of giant plastic beads which meant that the rest of the family had a thing for avoiding family outings altogether or, at minimum, finding ways to camouflage themselves with their surroundings at a moments notice - like the time Helen jumped into a swimming pool fully clothed when she saw her biology lab partner whilst on a family trip to the water park. Mom had surprised them with her wardrobe that day as they had no idea that curtains could be made into a pair of pants (kù) with such ease.

On a whim, they decided to take Mom to the mall for some new clothes. Luckily for them, Mom had Monday off because it was a holiday. Unluckily, the first thing Mom saw at Macy's that she fell in love with was a pair of hot pink parachute pants (kù). This was the moment the tyrannical rule of mom's parachute pants (kù) began. Helen and her sister immediately attempted to stage a fashion coup (pants/trousers = kù [pronounced like coup] OR kùzi 裤子), but those frighteningly awful were in it for the long run, and Mom was their new biggest fan.

Be sure to check out this blog's word list for the week at which contains mnemonics for the characters representing each of this weeks featured words.

Image by Rich Andersen via Flickr is licensed via CC.

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