Yu Mao Qiu : Chengdu Diary Host Melissa Block gets jump on Olympics in Chengdu, China
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Yu Mao Qiu

Monday, April 7th, 10:15 pm, Chengdu time

Different Strokes, Different Folk. hide caption

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A Little Language Lesson

After six days in China, my knowledge of Mandarin remains minuscule, to say the least. I've learned a few Chinese characters, mostly from highway signs.

I can recognize the character for "tree" or "wood" - because it looks like a tree, and I can spot the character for "mouth" - - because it looks like a mouth. I can usually remember that the character that reminds me of the Greek letter "phi" means "middle", or "China." And I know that the word for "pine" (pronounced "song") has a lovely whispery sound to it.

Now I can add to my entirely random list of Chinese words the one for badminton! As we were leaving an interview with a professor today at Sichuan University, we happened upon two students playing badminton in front of an imposing statue of Chairman Mao. The next thing we knew, we were playing, too.

Melissa Block engages in a little pre-Olympic sport in southwest China. Andrea Hsu NPR; montage Art Silverman, NPR hide caption

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Andrea Hsu NPR; montage Art Silverman, NPR

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