Landscapes and portraits by Nirav Patel

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Nirav Patel is an engineer that decided to pursue a career in photography. Now he takes beautiful portraits and images of landscapes in Scotland, Vietnam, California, Iceland, and many other places.

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Scotland
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Cat Ba, Vietnam cat-ba-vietnam-nirav-patel3cat-ba-vietnam-nirav-patel2 cat-ba-vietnam-nirav-patel

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Learning Chinese with beautiful pictograms

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These pictograms are part of Chineasy, the method conceived by ShaoLan that makes learning Chinese characters easy (or easier, at least) thanks to the beautiful and fun drawings illustrated by graphic designer Noma Bar. The pinyins (the transposition to Latin of the pronunciations of the words) are also included. The approach has become worldwide popular, and her book, which was successfully funded through Kickstarter, was published last month by Harper Collins. She’s given a TedTalk about the project, and among her fans is David Cameron.

ShaoLan explains how she developed the idea: “When I began to teach my British born children Chinese, I realized just how difficult Chinese characters are for a native English speaker to learn. It was like torture for my kids! So I spent many years looking for a fun and easy way to teach them how to read Chinese. After years of searching, I realized that none of the methods out there were engaging or efficient enough. So I did what any entrepreneur would do, I created my own method to learn how to read Chinese characters: Chineasy. “

The pictograms also help gain a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural influences behind the vocabulary, as in traditional Mandarin some characters have historical roots based on ancient customs. These roots show beautiful meanings behind the characters. For example, the word “Fairy” is composed of the words “Immortal” (which is itself made of the characters for “Person” and “Mountain”) and “Woman”.

I might start learning Chinese with this, just for the fun.

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