DIALECT: A Game about Language and How it Dies

I love languages, and I love constructed languages.

Years ago, I heard about a Kickstarter for this game: Dialect. I was excited, and so were other Esperantists.

I finally received my physical copy of the game and I was so excited to play it with friends, and seeing the variety of Backdrops provided with the game (four core ones, and several additional ones contributed by others) inspired me to start thinking about how an “Isolation” is formed, and what counts as an “Isolation”.

I can’t find a lot of information about the game elseware online, but I hope popularity for it blows up. I would really like to read about other peoples’ stories and languages they develop through the game.

In the meantime, I’ve created a BitBucket repository with a template “Backdrop” page, and some custom backdrops I made, inspired by stories that I like, or games my friends and I used to play as kids. Feel free to print and use them however.


Hindi (Devanagari) Mnemonics

I like to use Memrise when I’m learning a language and, generally, it is best to make up your own mnemonics when learning. Here are the steps I use when making mnemonics for learning new scripts:

  1. What is the romanized letter, or what does it sound like?
  2. Find a word (preferably a noun) that begins with this sound, letter, or at least contains the sound (like “oo” could be in “book”.)
  3. Try to figure out a scenario using two words with this sound, that also roughly matches the shape of the character.
  4. Draw a picture of that scenario.

Here are the mnemonics I’ve drawn for learning Devanagari vowels:


Mandarin Chinese Class Review #2

<< Mandarin Chinese Class Review #1


I didn’t have a lot of time last week to study, so now it is time to review!

 Tonal Sandhi

  1. Cannot have two third-tones next to each other: The first one becomes second tone.
  2. With certain words, like bù and yì, before another fourth tone these change to second tone.



Class was pretty fun tonight – we brought photos of our families to class and introduced them.

  • Mom: māma, Mother: mǔqīn
  • Dad: bàba, Father: fùqīn
  • Child/children: háizi
  • Son(s): érzi
  • Daughter(s): nǚér
  • Husband (formal): zhàng fū, Husband (informal): lǎogōng
  • Wife (formal): qī zǐ, Wife (informal): lǎopó
  • Older sister: jiějie
  • Younger sister: mèimei
  • Older brother: gēge
  • Younger brother: dìdi
  • Paternal Grandpa (formal): zǔfù, Paternal Grandpa (informal): yéye
  • Paternal Grandma (formal): zǔmǔ, Paternal Grandma (informal): nǎinai
  • Maternal Grandpa (formal): màizǔfù, Maternal Grandpa (informal): wàigōng
  • Maternal Grandma (formal): wài zǔmǔ, Maternal Grandma (informal): wàipó
  • Aunt (mother’s sister): āyí
  • Aunt (father’s sister): gūgu
  • Uncle (father’s younger brother): shūshu
  • Uncle (father’s older brother): bófù
  • Uncle (mother’s brother): jiùjiu

Numbers and Counting

  • 0: líng
  • 1: (yì when before a measure word)
  • 2: èr (with measure word: Liǎng)
  • 3: sān
  • 4:
  • 5:
  • 6: liù
  • 7:
  • 8:
  • 9: jiǔ
  • 10: shí

How many apples?
Jǐ gè píngguǒ?

One apple.
Yī gè píngguǒ. (Yī pronounced like yí here.)

I have one little sister.
Wǒ yǒu yī gè mèimei. (Yī pronounced like yí here.)


  • Engineer: gōngchéngshī
  • Professor: jiàoshòu
  • Business person: shāngrén
  • Salesperson: tuīxiāoyuán
  • Doctor: yīshēng
  • Waiter, clerk, service person: fúwùyuán
  • Technician: jìshùyuán
  • Lawyer: lǜshī
  • Programmer: chéngxùyuán

Adjectives and Adverbs

  • Handsome: shuài
  • Ugly: chǒu
  • Cool:
  • Smart, intelligent: cōngmíng
  • Pretty, attractive: piàoliang
  • Good-looking: hǎokàn
  • Fat, stout: pàng
  • Thin: shòu
  • Nice, kind: shànliáng
  • Naughty, rambunctious: tiáopí
  • Tall: gāo
  • Short: ǎi
  • Small: xiǎo
  • Big:
  • Cute: kěài

Before an adjective, an adverb needs to be used:

  • Very: hěn
  • Extremely: fēicháng
  • Not too, not very: bútài

For example:

Is your cat cool?
Nǐ de māo kù ma?

My cat is cool.
Wǒ de māo hěn kù.

For small animals, the measure word is zhī.

I have one cat.
Wǒ yǒu yī zhī māo. (Pronounced like: Wó yǒu yì zhī māo.)

Do you have a pet?
Nǐ yǒu chǒngwù? (Pronounced like: Ní yóu chǒngwù? or Nǐ yóu chǒngwù?)

Let’s Plays in Mandarin Chinese

I love Let’s Plays, and I think they’re really handy for when you’re learning a new language. If it’s a game you’re familiar with, you can usually figure out the context in which the player is speaking, which makes it a little easier to try to pick out words and sentences.

So, what are some Mandarin language Let’s Plays?

老吳 Laowu

江小M – SmallM ლ(⁰⊖⁰ლ)











Mandarin Chinese Class Review #1

Mandarin Chinese Class Review #2 >>

Tuesday nights I’m taking a Mandarin Chinese class through KU’s Confucius Institute. I need to review and practice speaking more, because even though I am listening and reading between classes, I get flustered when asked to actually speak. 🙂


Nǐ hǎo


What is your name?

Nǐ jiào shénme míngzì?


I’m called Rachel Morris.

Wǒ jiào Rachel Morris.

我叫 Rachel Morris.

My family name is Morris.

Wǒ xìng Morris.


What is their name?

Tā jiào shénme míngzi?

他 (or 她)叫什么名字

Please speak a little slower!

Qǐng shuō màn diǎn’r!


How do you say _____ in Chinese?

____ Zhōngwén zěnme shuō?

___ 中文怎么说?

Please say it again.

Qǐng zài shuō yíbiàn.



Chinese Practice Theater

(Visual Novel art by Halcyon and sei.chan)

Note that tone marks aren’t being updated based on tone sandhi rules.

  • Nǐ hǎo! 你好! / Nǐ hǎo! 你好!
  • Nǐ jiào shénme míngzì? 你叫什么名字? / Wǒ xìng Lǐ. 我姓李. Wǒ jiào Lǐ Xiá. 我叫李霞.
  • Nín guìxìng? 您贵姓? /Wǒ xìng Wáng. 我姓王. Wǒ jiào Wáng Xiùyīng. 我叫王秀英.
  • Tā jiào shénme míngzì? 她叫什么名字? / Tā jiào Huáng Yáng. 她叫黄洋
  • Nǐ hǎo, Huáng Yáng! 你好, 黄洋! Nǐ shì xuéshēng ma? 你是学生吗? / Bù. Wǒ bùshì xuéshēng. 不. 我不是学生.

Rachel’s Mandarin Word List

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Swadesh list — a compilation of basic concepts, which can be useful to learn as a core set of vocabulary when learning a new language.

While learning Esperanto, it became more clear to me what kind of things I talk about and what words I use most often (whereas with English I just took everything for granted!), so that’s why I compile my own Word List when I’m studying a new language.

So… here is my word list! (Work in Progress!)


English Esperanto Mandarin
To be Esti Shì
To say Diri Shuō
To be able to Povi Nénggòu 能够
To have Havi Yǒu
To want Voli Xiǎng
To wish to Deziri (?) Yào
To need Bezoni
To must do Devi Yīngdāng 应当
To like Ŝati Xǐhuān 喜欢
To not like, dislike Malŝati Bù Xǐhuān 不喜欢
To love Ami Ài
To hate Malami Hèn
To ask Demandi Wèn
To request Peti Yāoqiú 要求
To answer Respondi Dáfù 答复
To stay Resti Dòuliú 逗留
To go, leave Iri, Foriri
To come, towards speaker Veni Lái
To come, towards listener Veni
To see Vidi ? ?
To hear Aŭdi ? ?
To begin Komenci ? ?
To end Fini ? ?
To search Serĉi ? ?
To find Trovi ? ?
To give Doni ? ?
To take, obtain Preni ? ?
To carry Porti ? ?
To know, learned Scii ? ?
To know, met Koni ? ?
To think Pensi ? ?
To have the opinion Opinii ? ?
To play Ludi ? ?
To feel, emotionally Senti ? ?
To seem Ŝajni ? ?
To walk Marŝi ? ?
To run Kuri ? ?
To sit Sidi ? ?
To stand Stari ? ?
To buy Aĉeti ? ?
To sell Vendi ? ?
To create Krei ? ?
To write, work on Verki ? ?
To read Legi ? ?
To agree Konsenti ? ?
To disagree Malkonsenti ? ?
To understand Kompreni ? ?
To not understand Ne komprendi ? ?
To follow Sekvi ? ?
To open Malfermi ? ?
To close Fermi ? ?
To break Rompi ? ?
To choose Elekti ? ?
To eat Manĝi ? ?
To drink, non-alcoholic Trinki ? ?


Wikipedia article on Chinese pronouns

Person Singular Plural*

I, me
Exclusive Inclusive
we, us
we, us
Informal Formal 你們



(s)he, him, her
they, them



Household Items










Computer Science

(Hey, I’m a programmer!)


Beginner Phrases


English Esperanto Mandarin
Hello. Saluton. nǐhǎo 。 你好。
Good bye. Ĝis la revido. zàijiàn 再见
How are you? Kiel vi fartas? nǐ hǎo ma? 你好吗?
I’m doing (very) well. Mi bonfartas. wǒ hěn hǎo 。 我很好。
Welcome. Bonvenon. huānyíng 。 欢迎。
Please. Bonvolu. qǐng 。 請。
Thank you. Dankon. xièxie 谢谢
I’m hungry. Mi malsatas. wǒ è le ! 我饿了!
I want to sleep. Mi volas dormi. wǒ xiǎngshuì jiào 。 我想睡觉。
Do you want to go? Ĉu vi volas iri? nǐ yào zǒu le ma ? 你要走了吗?
I want some potatoes. Mi volas iom da terpomoj wǒ yào jǐ ge tǔdòu 。 我要几个土豆。

Sentence Structure Notes

Noun = Noun

English Esperanto Mandarin
I am a programmer. Mi estas programisto. wǒ shì chéngxù yuán。 我是程序员。


Noun = Adjective

Wikipedia entry on Chinese adjectives

English Esperanto Mandarin
She is beautiful. Ŝi estas bela. tā hěn piàoliang。 很漂亮
She is very beautiful. Ŝi estas tre bela. tā hǎo piàoliang。 好漂亮
That cat is black. Tiu kato estas negra. nà zhī māo shì hēi de 只猫是黑的


Noun Verbs


Noun Verbs Verb


Noun Verbs a Noun


Noun Verbs Verb Preposition Noun


New “Mandarin Chinese” section

I’ve spent a lot of time learning conlangs such as Esperanto, Láadan, Ido, and Toki Pona. Usually, while I’m learning a new conlang, I will make a website for it. For conlangs, there are a lot less resources out there than there are for natural languages, so while I might make a Twitter account for Spanish-only posts, I haven’t yet made a website for my target languages.

However, I think that building these webpages really help me learn, as well as organize the resources I find over time. While learning Esperanto, I was constantly referring to my own website as a sort of directory of knowledge, music, and videos I had found in the past.

So, I’ve decided to add a section to this Rejcx webpage for new languages that I’m learning. Instead of making a whole new website, it seems like a better idea to put all that stuff here. 🙂

So, I’m starting out with Mandarin, as that is what I’m currently learning. When I go back to Spanish I’ll add a Spanish page. And other languages? Who knows!

Learning Mandarin in Kansas City

On my Mandarin page, I will post up resources I am using to learn Mandarin Chinese, including websites, apps, etc.

However, I’m also taking a class through the Confucius Institute through the University of Kansas. Starting out with Conversational Chinese 1 with my boyfriend. We’ve both done some studying beforehand (him a lot more than me), but I’m enjoying getting practice speaking with other people, and having a native speaker to correct mistakes.

My little sister also took Mandarin Chinese at Longview Community College, so I could potentially practice with her as well! Yay!

Parolu Esperanton kiel vi volas paroli ĝin.

Mi vidis tiun ĉi fadenon hodiaŭ, kaj mi vidis iun, kiun mi ofte spertas rete.


Ofte, Esperantistoj deziras priparoli Esperanton, kaj malofte, Esperantistoj parolas pri iuj ajn aferoj.  Pro tio, Esperantistoj senĉese disputas pri la parolado de la lingvo, kaj insultas unu la alian, ĉar persono A ne parolas same kiel persono B.

Fek al tio. Ĉu la “-iĉ” sufikso plaĉas al vi? Uzu ĝin. Ĉu vi ne volas voĉparoli “duŝi” aŭ “ŝati”? Ne uzu ilin.

Kaj, se, vi estas komforta pri uzado de la vorto “duŝi”, uzu ĝin, sed kial insulti aliulojn?

Estu bonkora.