Paul Condrell

Paul Condrell, whose Chinese name is Kang Baole 康保乐, grew up in Washington, D.C., and has lived in China since 1988. He is founder and chairman of consumer products retailer 小康之家 is developing apps, under the "Laokang" brand, for Apple iOS devices to help students master Chinese. He teaches Chinese at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois every fall, and lives in Guangzhou, China the rest of the year. He can be reached by email here.

Blog Entries

To Conquer Characters, Rethink Radicals

When I began learning Chinese at age twenty-one, I was encouraged to discover that every character has a "radical", a component which communicates meaning. Characters containing the "three dots", for example, denote something to do with water. River and lake , wash and rinse , and sweat and tears all contain the water radical on the left.

Blog Entries

#Pinyin Perfect

As a Chinese teacher, I feel like I am at war. The enemy is a voice in the back of my students' minds repeating "you can't do this." If they quit, the battle is lost.

Blog Entries

The “New” New HSK: Suddenly So Significant

"Cataclysmic" is how I describe the impact I foresee of the recent decision of Beijing's educational establishment to allow HSK test takers to type instead of write.

"HSK" stands for hanyu shuiping kaoshi (). Beginning in 1992, the HSK tests Chinese proficiency just as the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) tests English proficiency. Revised in 2009, it's now called the "New HSK."

Blog Entries

A Pinyin Opinion

I am frequently asked for advice on how to learn Chinese. My answer always includes a pitch for perfecting pinyin. (Pinyin is a system which romanizes Chinese Characters, whereby is rendered nihao.)

Blog Entries

Seven Reasons Chinese is Becoming Easier to Learn

The study of Chinese as a second language is exploding around the globe, yet few Westerners today read, write and speak Chinese fluently. No wonder native speakers often say, with a certain satisfaction, their language is tai nan xue, "too hard to learn."