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The Blog

7 Things To Remember When Blogging For Business

Online business marketing requires a comprehensive strategy if it is to have any chances of increasing sales and profits. One often overlooked aspect of business marketing is blogging, which if done strategically can boost your online presence, make your brand more relevant, and of course encourage lead generation and sales.

To be successful, business blogging needs to follow the foolproof tactics that big firms are using and which have been proven to work. Business size is truly irrelevant, as the Internet is an equally accessible tool for marketing your business online.

So what’s worth implementing and what’s no longer efficient when it comes to business blogging rules?

Offer relevant, significant insights, ideas and tools.

Don’t advertise your company or small business. No one likes a shameless advertiser. Rather, actively and substantially create content that’s meaningful and significant to your readers. Think about it. If your content is first-class, your followers won’t think twice, they will spread the word, simply because they find value in your blogging.

Become your industry’s ambassador

Rather than focusing on what you do and what you’ve achieved, it’s more worthwhile to share with your followers what your industry does and where it’s heading.

Give them access to facts, strategies, and ideas otherwise inaccessible to them. Becoming a reporter on your own niche or industry offers much more value than simply sharing one single perspective. Focus on the wider picture, give your readers a sneak peek into your industry as a whole – its trends, its new tools, the long-forsaken approaches, the promising new potentials.

By committing to providing persistently valuable content that’s sharable and valuable you ensure your blogging efforts will pay off.

Prove your value as an industry expert

There are many, many bloggers out there. To stand out, you have to establish yourself as an industry expert. This of course cannot be done overnight; it requires commitment, passion, and a plan.

What sets expert bloggers apart from the crowd is that their followers automatically turn to their blog as a resource of valuable, up-to-date content; readers know they blog about significant and tangible issues. An industry expert is a passionate professional who’s always ahead of trends, in line with current approaches, and has sound, fact-based viewpoints on their industry’s future. These are reasons why expert bloggers develop a solid, ever-increasing following.

What’s more, an industry expert shares ideas or insights bound to overhaul their industry or the way people conceptualize it. Can you be such a blogging expert?

Be part of your community of readers

Blogging is not about accentuating hierarchical differences or the consumer-business relationship.

If you advertise your product constantly, you drive your readers away; if you interact with them you increase engagement. Dial down any loud differences, don’t demand, don’t dictate. Instead, share, inquire and respond to your readership. Efficient blogging rests on the idea of you being a true part of the community you’ve created.

Encourage reader engagement

Bloggers tend to lose readers because they assume a falsely superior stance in relation to those readers. Expert bloggers, on the other hand, are the ones who creatively, persistently and strategically engage with their readers. By doing this, they tend to increase their readership and encourage follower loyalty.

Follow back your readers, comment on their reactions, share their ideas, answer their questions and overall engage with them at every level possible through your blog platform and other social media to ensure they will continue reading your blog.

Don’t just assume you know what readers want. Listen to their ever-changing needs, eavesdrop on what they’d like to read about, and provide it to them. And don’t forget to reward followers and readers with special, super-great quality content through email newsletters, exclusive free downloads, or promotions of ebooks and products  that might be of use for them.

Be unique, fresh and unconventional

Don’t just recycle others’ ideas, find new perspectives to look at things from, and stretch out your scope of issues to discover new approaches to existing ideas.

Do your share of curation; show your readers other trusted resources for valuable content similar to yours. Show your skills in critically processing different viewpoints or approaches and your ability to express a uniquely different, but equally valuable, interpretation.

But don’t forget to provide unique, fresh content regularly on your own site. This is what will establish you as an authority and the go-to blog for the latest developments in your industry or niche.

Engage with leading experts in your field

Don’t shut yourself out of the world. Doing interviews, holding mini webinars, or having giveaways for dedicated followers is a great way to strengthen the reader-blogger bond and consolidate long-term loyalty.

Invite guest bloggers to your site. It increases both blogs’ exposure to new audiences and it provides new ideas and strategies, all the while reminding your readers of your active involvement in your industry. Ask top bloggers to be featured in their blogs as a guest blogger or encourage others to do the same at yours.

Cross-posted on the Ultimate Vocabulary blog.

How To Become Proficient At Typing

How many practice hours does it take to become a competent typist? How long will it take to start typing at 120 words per minute if you’re a beginner at the keyboard?

There’s no one answer to these questions. How fast and accurate a typist you’ll become depends on factors such as your determination, your resources, your knowledge of typing rules — and, of course, how much you’re willing to practice.

Here are 3 tips to help you become proficient at typing.

Track your progress frequently

It’s important to monitor your progress at frequent intervals. After a few sessions of typing practice, take an online typing test to check how much you’ve improved. Keep track of your best words-per-minute rate and next time, try to break it.

Tracking your typing efficiency will keep you motivated to practice more consistently and it will help you fine-tune your typing skills in no time.

Keep a public or personal journal

Do you have something to rant about? Keep an online journal or better yet, get your own blog. Update it frequently with whatever you’re passionate about. It can even be work-related, or devoted to the novel you’re working on. What matters is that you use it as a way of improving your typing skills. And who knows? Perhaps you’ll get an online international audience while you’re at it.

Don’t think of typing as a skill

Think of it as the means to an end. If you’ve got this attitude, you’ll approach typing confidently and won’t regard it as yet another task on the to-do list, right up there with cleaning the house. Of course you will need to learn about ergonomics, correct wrist placement, key-finger correspondence, monitor distance and other rules, but what’s almost equally important is to have fun while learning.

The initial training period to learn these rules is actually very short, and it’s possible to learn all the principles of touch typing in only a few hours. The rest is all practice. The more you practice, the more refined your typing efficiency will become.

So how do you not think of typing as a skill to be studied, or worse, a chore? By making it fun. Online chatting, online typing games, PC-based instant messaging, or IMing through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media give you ample space and time to practice. What’s more, you’re killing two birds with one stone by using this approach: you’re improving your typing skills and also communicating and networking with people!

With simple tweaks to your approach to typing you can become proficient in touch typing effortlessly and quickly, and get the skill you need.

Cross-posted on the Typesy blog.

Low Cost Private Schools For The Poor Advocated By Dr. Pauline Dixon

Armed conflict in developing countries, combined with poverty and starvation, leave no room for proper funding of education. Yet education, especially low-cost private education, might be the answer in providing affordable yet quality education in the developing world and end up by helping to eliminate the conflict and poverty often present in many regions.

Dr. Pauline Dixon, Senior Lecturer in International Development and Education at Newcastle University, UK, asserts in her book “International Aid And Private Schools For The Poor” that the solution to providing education to impoverished, conflict-ridden countries is to make the switch from state-run education to privately run, low-cost schools.

UNESCO, the UN’s organization for Education, Science and Culture, suggests that education is the key to providing tangible skills to impoverished youth. Education is what allows people to cope with an often harsh reality, understand the absurdity of conflict, and seek ways to offer themselves and their families better life choices. Education can encompass a variety of skills, from sexual education to learning to be self-sustaining as farmers, and even to entrepreneurship attempts.

Dr. Dixon advocates that lack of education is why children are so readily engaging in armed conflict. As she explains in a recent article at WorldReview.info, armed conflict is a result of the lack of education; people fight one another in the street not in battlefields because they don’t possess the critical skills to understand what’s really to their benefit.

Her painstaking research in the educational system of India suggests that state-run schools are bleeding resources due to improper money management and insufficient, underperforming school systems. Exposing the insufficiency of state-run schools, Dr. Pauline Dixon wishes to warn educators, policymakers and organizations about the current problems, and inform them about the alternative solutions to state schooling that currently exist and are more results-oriented.

Her research is carefully backed by census data, surveys and assessments of low-cost, for-profit schools that prove to be the alternative, best solution for educating the poor. Privately held schools have solid, transparent and efficient management, the three necessary pillars for providing smoothly running and decent education for the poor.

The apparent lack of education and literacy doesn’t stem solely from insufficient education funding. What’s excruciatingly aggravating the situation is that millions of dollars are wasted in poor management and funneled away by corrupt officers who don’t make good use of the financial resources available. The result is that state-run schools use dated, insufficient approaches, letting millions of education funding dollars go to waste, and not giving impoverished communities what they need the most: education that equips them with tools to cope with and overcome their poverty.

Showing how it all starts from education, Dr. Dixon explains the reasons why uneducated parents cannot offer their children a better future. She emphasizes in particular that educating young girls means offering them a better life as mothers and as individuals. An educated woman is more likely to have fewer children, offer those children better nutrition and culture, and encourage them to receive education themselves. Once activated, the cycle of education will have a long-lasting effect in transforming the developing world.

Lack of education makes young impoverished people more prone to propaganda and more easily swayed to engage in conflict and acts of violence. Basic literacy skills such as reading and writing open up a window of opportunity for conflict-shaken communities. Such skills allow young people to make informed decisions, develop critical thinking, and build a worldview and mentality that’s not easily malleable.

Dr. Dixon proposes a private, for-profit educational system in impoverished sub-Saharan countries, India, and other conflict-afflicted countries. Education is what will get children out of poverty. Giving them the skills and tools to provide from themselves seems a much better use of funding rather than just giving them food.

Based on her research, Dr. Dixon asserts that low-cost private schools are on the rise and that initial findings suggest how efficient this approach can be. She mentions, for instance, the growing popularity of this education model in India, where 6 out of 10 students attend low-cost, privately-run schools at the moment.

The key is keeping private school education low-cost. This way parents are more interested in and likely to send their child to a private school, as there’s the general impression that private schools offer more than state-run ones.

While laws and other bureaucratic hindrances still hold this education model back, initiatives from social venture companies seek to remedy this grim image by offering loans and experts to help run these private schools efficiently and sustainably.

While this will be a slow process, there’s hope and tangible proof that a privately-run education system model is what will allow millions of impoverished children access to education and the ability to use it to protect themselves from the dangers of poverty, starvation and disease.

Food  can ease their stomach, but education will show them how to find sustainable solutions for feeding themselves and their families long into the future. Education will make teenagers realize joining a gang won’t provide security for their family but put them all in greater danger. Education is what will let young girls understand how to protect themselves from HIV and avoid sexual activities that would put their and their children’s health at risk.

Why Improving Your Vocabulary Will Make You Happier And More Successful

Regardless of where you want to go in life, good vocabulary is just one of the skills that will help you get there. This is especially true if you’re after a new job or promotion, as research has found a high link between corporate success and vocabulary.

In the 1930s, a scientist named Johnson O’Connor began exploring just how important vocabulary is to success, and it’s a project he worked on for many decades. His studies found a relationship between executive success and an extensive vocabulary.

Later on, studies in the 1980’s and 90’s found that more than 88% of Fortune 1000 executives scored well above average on vocabulary tests, with 71% of managers scoring above average.

Vocabulary doesn’t just help you climb the corporate ladder, though; there’s also a correlation between a student’s vocabulary in 12th grade and the likelihood they will graduate college. There’s even a connection between the student’s vocabulary and their income level in the future. That’s because vocabulary size works to estimate not only your skill in reading, writing and speaking, but also your general knowledge of science and history.

While the link between vocabulary and economic success is a great reason to start improving your own vocabulary and that of your children, vocabulary can also help improve happiness, too. Words are how we communicate with others, as well as ourselves internally. They are the instrument by which we grasp the thoughts of others, and influence the way other people think, and they have a great deal of power. By improving your ability to communicate your thoughts and feelings, you can improve your self-esteem and relationships. You’ll also feel good knowing you’re doing something to better yourself, which is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

Because vocabulary is so strongly related to economic success, it’s important to begin early to help our children develop this skill. There are many ways to do this, including a curriculum that presents new words in a familiar context to help students identify the correct meaning unconsciously without trying to memorize long lists or forcing schools to spend a lot of time on word study.

You can also work to improve your vocabulary simply by watching television shows like The Daily Show and Frasier, which sprinkle in unfamiliar words in a natural setting. Reading enjoyable, well-edited books also helps students and adults alike absorb new vocabulary.

Developing a large vocabulary is really one of the easiest and best things you can do to improve your success and happiness in life, and that of your children. It can be as easy as reading a new book, changing the sort of programs you watch on TV or using a games-based vocabulary improvement program, so the experience doesn’t have to be unpleasant.

Language is one of our greatest gifts, and any opportunity you have to improve your language skills will put you on the path to a brighter future and fill you with the self-confidence that comes from working to better yourself as a person.

Rising Demand For Volunteer ESL Teachers & Grabbing This Opportunity

Teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) is an incredibly rewarding experience for many people, but it can be intimidating, especially for those who don’t yet have classroom experience. No matter how much knowledge and tools you’ve learned during your training, actual time spent at the head of a classroom offers an eye-opening experience.

The need for volunteer ESL teachers is on the rise, especially in developing countries and communities where non-English speaking immigrants are present. Choosing to devote a few hours each week to teach English to non-English speakers benefits both the learner and you the teacher.

The benefits of a volunteer ESL teaching experience are often things that aren’t obvious at first glance.


Teaching as an ESL educator gives you the opportunity to implement, test and revise your teaching methods and approaches. This allows you to optimize your teaching efficiency and boost the learning of your students.

Teaching English as a volunteer lets you adequately learn what works and what doesn’t, and tests your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses, all in a non-threatening context. You have the time to figure out your techniques and strategies and improve on them.

Personal Growth

Volunteer ESL teaching is a magnificent opportunity for anyone, but especially for people who are or who want to be teachers. The great thing is that you don’t have to be in the beginning of your teaching career to do it. Educators of all ages give volunteer teaching a chance as they realize how purposeful and substantial this is in contributing to their own development.

ESL teaching abroad is a popular choice for non ESL teachers too. People from all walks of life and professions take ESL teaching courses and jump at the opportunity to explore new countries through a volunteer ESL teaching program.

The fact that you will be providing knowledge and skills to others without any financial rewards for yourself can be a difficult concept for many. Not a lot of people would consider giving energy and time to such a consuming task. As such, when you do choose to teach English voluntarily you get to reap all the benefits: a sense of fulfillment, feeling humble yet accomplished, becoming kinder and less self-centered.

Especially when teaching students of different cultures, ESL teaching lets you to learn more about peoples’ customs and culture, priorities and way of living, an invaluable experience for you as a teacher and a person. You’ll become culturally empathetic and more tolerant to differences, and you’ll discover new tastes and predilections.

Career Opportunities

If you choose to volunteer through international programs, then you will generally have many travel opportunities, and a chance to teach English on almost every continent.

This experience is something you can use as a selling point later. Having a year-long teaching experience in another country on your resume says a lot about your aspirations, determination, motivation and goals in life. It’s an excellent opportunity to cultivate your teaching skills, acquire unique experiences, and grow wiser and more mature out of such an experience.

Volunteer ESL teaching can open up a career window in ESL teaching either abroad or at home. Doors will open and connections will be made that would allow you to pursue an ESL teaching career or any other English-teaching based career, such as a journalist, a writer, or a public or private school teacher.

When you look at the experiences reported by thousands of volunteer ESL teachers, there’s one recurrent theme: the challenges were many and often overwhelming, but the benefits made it all worthwhile.

Creating A Successful Day With Good Mornings

There’s always one person who comes to the office each morning full of energy, a smile from ear to ear, as if they’ve won the lottery. Every. Single. Day.

But for them, it doesn’t stop there. Their day is full-speed-ahead productive, and they never seem to get tired, distracted, or bored. Are they some sort of androids? Aliens, perhaps?

No, they’re simply human beings who understand and take advantage of the value and potential each morning holds. If you want to turn every morning into a productive day, implement these 5 easy to learn habits and you’ll see an immediate improvement at the end of each week.

Plan Ahead

It’s a no-brainer, but how many of us really take the time to do it? Every morning, take five minutes to plan your tasks and chores. Take another five minutes to remove clutter and tidy up your bedroom, so that when you return home it will be a sanctuary you can decompress in before you sleep. Finally, take five minutes to visualize the day ahead. Think of your challenges and tasks, but don’t forget to visualize yourself tackling these challenges and getting out of them stronger and wiser. Create the attitude you will be implementing later on.

Move around

Do a ten-minute yoga sequence or meditate for five minutes every morning. Wake up 20 minutes earlier and walk your dog. No pet? No worries. Put on those running shoes and go for a brisk 15-minute jog by yourself, or with a friend. There’s nothing better to kick-start a productive day than physical exercise in the morning.

Skip the inbox, focus on the day ahead

Do you read your emails before even getting out of bed in the morning? Our tech-based lives can distract us and create obstacles before we’ve even started the race.

Successful people don’t do email in the morning.

Yes, it’s appealing to read the headlines before hitting the shower, and you need to get up to speed on what happened while you were sleeping. But what’s more important is to allow a few minutes to consciously reflect on what happened the day before, bring that to closure, and prepare for the new day ahead.

Be conscious of your morning bliss

Don’t rush to get out of the door. The majority of people reach their productivity and creativity peak in the first few hours after waking up. Take advantage of that time to brainstorm ideas, find solutions to a nagging problem, or simply enjoy your tea or coffee. Morning time is a ritual that has more benefits than you may realize. Be conscious of its potential and you’ll find yourself recharged and ready for success during the rest of your day.

Develop your own morning ritual

Start your day with a morning ritual you love. For some people, it’s reading another chapter of the latest book by their favorite author. For others, it’s making sure that the pantry is full of the things they need to have a large and nutritious breakfast. A positive start to the day will give you the confidence to approach the rest of the day in a positive light, enabling you to overcome any challenges the day might have in store for you.

How To Make Productivity Work For You

We seem so obsessed with productivity and efficiency these days, and so much emphasis is placed on these qualities, that in one sense the terms are overused, and the words themselves have lost a part of their meaning. However, even if the terms aren’t always used as they should be, the principles remain sound, and it’s important to know how to remain efficient and productive in your daily life, even when surrounded by distractions. Here’s how you can stay on top:

Sleep well

Regular sleep routines have been found to boost the academic performance of young students. A study by the University College of London revealed that irregular sleep patterns interfere with the cognitive efficiency of students and their study time, simply because their brains are not allowed enough time to rest and process new information and turn it into active knowledge.

The study revealed that regular bedtime schedules help students do better at math and reading, establishing the association between sleep and better productivity and cognitive performance.

Have an active brain

A mistake many of us make daily is to focus on work, while forgetting to sharpen the tools we are working with. Needless to say, how well you’re doing something depends on the tools used and your mastery of those tools.

Your mind is your most important tool. That’s why it’s important to keep your brain active and your skills up to date and sharp.

Improve your skills with educational software, play games that boost  your memory, or try role-playing games that help you hone your decision-making skills. All in all, never get complacent with your current level of skill in any area; keep working on them often, to keep your productivity levels soaring.

Have an active lifestyle

A healthy body will boost your cognitive clarity and efficiency. Study after study confirms that active individuals perform better in cognitive-based tasks when they regularly engage with physical activities, whether those activities are focused team sports or playing in the park.

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics recently revealed a link between physical activity and cognitive  performance, suggesting that physical exercise boosts cognitive sharpness and might contribute to a productivity boost due to the elevated cognitive capacity it grants the active individual.

Organize your workload smartly

The world is divided into two groups: the people who insist that sprints, or bouts of intense productivity, are the way to boost efficiency. Others feel that Parkinson’s Law applies to work, and that at any time your work will expand to fit the time you’ve allowed for it. Whichever is the case for you, there’s one tip you can apply: organize your workload in meaningful and manageable blocks.

Timing each task will ensure you are not falling behind schedule, and at the same time it will help you stay motivated and alert, allowing you to achieve your productivity milestones within your set timeframe. Another benefit of organizing your workload in smaller chunks is that you never get to feel overwhelmed, because everything has been provided its own block of time.

Squeeze breaks into your daily schedule

There’s something even more useful than a fully filled-in calendar, and that’s a calendar that contains scheduled breaks. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner actually swears by scheduling blocks of time labeled “nothing to do” – in other words, setting aside downtime for decompressing, relaxing, and assessing day to day work and progress.

By scheduling time for doing nothing (no meetings, no writing, no errands) you enable yourself to view your life from a distance and make changes in how you handle your workload, minimize distractions, and boost your efficiency.

More importantly, scheduling downtime means you work with a plan, and you work strategically. Most of us tend to approach work with a robot-like mindset, leaving little time to just sit back and reflect on our efficiency and our approach.

Implementing these tips will help you manage your workload effectively and feel good about your ability to do so.

Why Hasn’t English Borrowed A Lot Of Chinese Words?

The continuous growth of China economically has urged many individuals and corporations to equip themselves with a 21st century must-have skill, the ability to speak Chinese. Speaking Chinese opens up many windows for Western countries who wish to establish solid and enduring relations with China.

However, anyone who thinks about languages will soon notice a paradox. If the Chinese language is rising into such prominence, why isn’t there a substantial number of words that have been borrowed from Chinese into English? After all, English is known for adopting and adapting words from many other cultures and languages.

What kind of challenges and hindrances prevent words of Chinese origin from entering the English language?

It’s too soon

Cultural, commercial, and financial interactions are still new. For years, China has chosen to exclude the outside world due to political principles and circumstances. It’s been only 35 years since Deng Xiaoping inaugurated the market-based, capitalism-oriented economy which has catapulted China into its current position as the 2nd largest economy in the world.

This economic growth and all its implications are only now getting into high gear or maturing. Given that transactions and relations with China are just starting to systematize, it is expected that in the near future, Chinese will find a way into the English language, especially with regards to cultural concepts not present in western cultures.

Thus far, Chinese has introduced many cultural notions in English, from food (chow mein) to commerce (guanxi, lose/save face) to the spiritual (feng shui, Chi). But as these interactions deepen and intensify, one can only imagine how Chinese can enrich the English language with a fresh and intriguing cultural discourse.

A logographic system and the lack of an alphabet

Another reason that there aren’t more Chinese words in English is that Chinese characters do not correspond to letters but whole syllables. A Chinese character matches a concrete syllable that cannot be further analyzed. A Chinese character might be a stand-alone word, a concept or abstract idea, or even a symbol signifying the tone or pronunciation of that syllable. Contrast this with the alphabet-based English, where words are formed of individual letters, and it’s easy to see why the translation and adaptation has been slow.

Because of its complex and symbolic nature, anyone unfamiliar with how the Chinese language is constituted, spoken and written will find it hard to grasp the intricacy and splendor of Chinese, something that has slowed down the incorporation of Chinese words into the English language.

Pronunciation is hard and unpredictable

For non-Chinese speakers, decoding Chinese characters can be a real struggle. Adding to this the five pronunciation tones that need to be implemented when speaking Chinese, and the endeavor already seems like a lost cause. So even if Chinese words make it into English, there will be a long time before a common, accepted pronunciation and meaning of that word are firmly established.

Cultural connotations get lost in translation

With a uniquely variegated and rich culture that spans over 4000 years, it’s impossible for Chinese words to get picked up as easily as English words do, at least for non-native speakers.

The Chinese culture is too immense and complicated for people to properly grasp the full range of meanings and connotations of its culturally charged words. Simple words like “dragon” have come to represent power and fortune and luck, but there are so many other layers of discourse behind each word, unknown and ungrasped by other cultures, that simply using the literal translation of a word leaves out the full meaning that would be understood in China.

The idiosyncrasies of the Chinese language and the Western’ world’s unpreparedness and unfamiliarity with the language are some of the reasons why Chinese words haven’t easily found their way into English, but as more cross-cultural and linguistic exchanges occur over the upcoming decades, the richness of the Chinese language will further enrich English vocabulary as well.

How to Type Chinese Words on English Keyboards

Chinese words can be typed on English keyboards using various input method editors that allow the typist to type a sequence of characters in order to create a single syllable or symbol. But the reality of Chinese touch typing is much more complex, partly in view of its idiosyncratic, non-alphabet based structure and partly because of the sheer number of Chinese characters (anywhere from 3000 to 5000) one needs to master to type and speak Chinese properly and sufficiently.

Input Method Editors

Phonetic-based input method editors

This type of Chinese input method editor allows the user to input Chinese words that are Romanized; that is, transliterated using the Roman (Latin) alphabet based on pronunciation. The most notable of such editors use the Pinyin system.

The typist uses the Roman alphabet to type in the letters corresponding to how a Chinese word is pronounced, and the editor then recommends various Chinese character options to choose from. By typing the transliteration of Chinese words using a standard QWERTY keyboard, the typist is spared the need for choosing each character stroke — which in some Chinese characters might mean up to 50 different strokes for one single syllable.

However, this method is not flawless. In fact, it’s a rather slow typing technique because the typist is expected to continually stop typing in order to choose from a list of various homophones to find the right one.

The Pinyin input method is best pictured as similar to the auto-correct system integrated in mobile devices texting services, which use context and the initial user input to recommend the most appropriate words.

While Pinyin editors are becoming more and more intuitive they haven’t still compensated for the slow speed they’re defined by.

Shape-based input method editors

This method of Chinese language processing lets the user input a sequence of strokes that form the character they wish to create. The typist is expected to input, using the conventional keyboard, the strokes they would normally draw if they were to draw the character on paper.

The Wubi input method editor, one of the most widely used editors, lets the user input up to 5 keystrokes. The first four are the initial strokes of a character, while the last one must be the stroke the user would normally draw last, with any other strokes ignored.

The Wubi IME divides the conventional QWERTY keyboard into five groups, with each having a particular type of character stroke based on direction: left inclined, right inclined, horizontal, vertical, and hook.

Phonetic-based and shape-based IME editors are the most popular tools people use to touch type on QWERTY keyboards and hand-held devices with a Chinese-character output. Initiatives are currently being taken to find ways these can be optimized in order to be more time-efficient and less labor-intensive for the typist.

Impressively, bloggers and mobile phone users can, through substantial practice, manage to type incredibly fast with these methods. Some Wubi method users have astonishing 150-160 words per minute records.

Me, Myself, and I – The Correct Uses For These Three Words

When do you use “I” and when do you use “myself” in a sentence? Can you tell which of the following sentences using “myself” are grammatically correct?

I found myself unable to get the teacher’s attention
The teacher asked Ben and myself to collaborate on the project
I myself saw Kathy steal Mario’s lunchbox.

The second sentence is wrong. The best way to figure out whether a sentence calls for “I”, “me” or “myself” is to see whether the sentence works with just the first-person subject case.

“Mary and myself went to see The Lion King last Friday.”

Myself went to see The Lion King last Friday.”

It doesn’t sound right in that second sentence, does it?

The correct sentence should read as follows:  “Mary and I went to see The Lion King last Friday.”

“Just between you and myself, do you think Peter deserved that award?”

Here the correct sentence should say,

“Just between you and me, do you think Peter deserved that award?”.

“Me” is an object pronoun, part of the phrase “between X and Y” and so not a subject. However, in the first example, the phrase “Mary and I” stands in for the single subject in the sentence. If you’re confused, you can test out whether you’re dealing with a subject by replacing the word with “me” instead. The sentence “Me went to see The Lion King last Friday” doesn’t make sense either, as you’ll quickly see.

Myself is a reflexive pronoun

Let’s see one more example,

“Tired of waiting for Ben to do it, I did the laundry myself.”

In this sentence you cannot apply the tip above. This sentence in as example of the reflexive noun usage.  We use this when the action described in a sentence is directed back to you. This is so because myself is a reflexive pronoun; it reflects the action back to the subject (myself, yourself, himself).

Myself for added emphasis

Let’s see a third example, with the sentence “I myself saw Kathy steal Mario’s lunchbox.”

The word “myself” is grammatically redundant here, but it does serve a purpose: it emphasizes that the act of robbery was happening in front of my own two eyes. You can omit it and still have a grammatically correct sentence, or you can include it for emphasis.

To sum up, whenever you’re in doubt, use the this trick of stripping the sentence off of all other subjects and just keep the first person subject. If it still makes sense, you’ve got it right.

The most common misuse of “myself” and “me” is when there are other subjects in the sentence, as in the case of sentences like this:

“John, Natalie, and myself went for a picnic.”

You’d never say “Myself went for a picnic” or “Me went for a picnic” – you’d naturally say “I went for a picnic.” Use the single-subject test, and you’ll have the singular right answer.