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On how to teach polysemous words skillfully like 意思

By Jingye Yu, Keats teacher

How to make polysemous words interesting and practical for students who learn Chinese in China is the topic which is going to discuss with you today. Generally I would like to use the method of mixture for the students who learn Chinese in China. The so-called knitting method does not mean that giving students all the meanings and model sentences of the polysemous word, but to knit those meanings together skillfully during the explanation and create a clear and interesting learning process in order to let students not forget or make mistakes after the explanation.

For example, “意思” and “热”, there are two ways of explanation for the students who learn Chinese in China. 
The basic steps of explanation is that, 
1. Explanation of basic meanings 
2. Model sentences 
3. Knitting some interesting model sentences 
4. Taking notes and reciting the knitted model sentences

As for “意思”, 
Its first meaning is “meaning”, three model sentences, (1) 请问, “funny” 是什么意思?(2) funny是有趣的意思。(3) 我不明白你的意思。 
Its second meaning is opinion, three model sentences, (1) 你的意思是什么?(2)我的意思是走着去。(3)你的老师的意思是不是我们一起去? 
Its third meaning is “a token of affection, appreciation, gratitude”, three model sentences, (1)这是我的一点儿小意思,请收下吧。(2) 这个礼物知识一点儿小意思。(3)这个只是意思意思,没有关系。 
Its fourth meaning is “interest, fun,” three model sentences,(1) 你觉得汉语有意思吗? (2)他觉得《哈利波特》很有意思,他很喜欢。(3)动物园没有意思,不好玩。 
The knitted sentences: 你的意思是什么意思,我不明白你的意思。虽然这个只是你的小意思,但是我觉得没有意思。

Another example “热”for the students who learn Chinese in China. 
Its first meaning is “hot”, (1)今天的天气很热。(2)你洗澡用的水太热了。 (3)这个蛋糕还是热的。 
Its second meaning is “heat up, warm up, warm”, (1)你已经热好中药了吗?(2)请你把汤热一热。(3)这个碗不能放在微波炉里热,会坏的。 
Its third meaning is “craze, fad”, (1)现在美国流行汉语热。(2)暑假的时候,大理就会有旅游热。(3)因为奥运会,中国开始了运动热。 
The knitted sentence for the students who learn Chinese in China: 最近有热汤喝,但是天气太热了,所以不要把汤热得太热。 

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