Mandarin Weekly (每周中文) #110, 2017-February-20

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #110, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

More than 12,000 people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly.  If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students.

To receive Mandarin Weekly in your e-mail inbox every Monday, just use the box on our Web site, at MandarinWeekly.com. Or follow us on Twitter, at @MandarinWeekly! We’re also on Facebook, at http://facebook.com/MandarinWeekly, and Medium, at http://medium.com/@mandarinweekly.

Full archives are at http://MandarinWeekly.com, as is our list of discounts for students of Chinese.

If you offer products or services aimed at students of Chinese, consider sponsoring Mandarin Weekly; contact Reuven (the publisher) for more details, at reuven@lerner.co.il.

Giveaway: Five one-year subscriptions to Zizzle App

It’s time for another giveaway!

 

Everyone who has learned Mandarin knows that Chinese characters are a unique challenge: For reading fluency, a staggering amount of 3000 characters is required, each character with its own shape, pronunciation, meaning and tone. And to complicate things even more, it is hard to infer this information just by looking at the character.

The developers of Zizzle App have experienced this problem first-hand while living in China. They try to solve this dilemma by turning Chinese characters into engaging visualizations and memorable short stories. For every single Chinese character, Zizzle creates a mnemonic story that employs techniques like association, visualizations and linkwords. Furthermore, Zizzle breaks down complicated Chinese characters into components to help you understand the structure of the Chinese language. The effectiveness of the Zizzle method was independently verified by the University of Munich.

In Zizzle, characters are organized in decks according to the HSK levels, themes (like business, travel or food) and the most commonly used Chinese textbooks (i.e. Integrated Chinese). The learning process with Zizzle is further supported by an intelligent testing system, a spaced repetition algorithm, bite-sized lessons and a smart search function.

The app also includes a handy list of common words and phrases associated with every character and gives you audio support to practice your own pronunciation.

And of course, you get all these great features with the perks of having them in a mobile app! Learn whenever you want and wherever you are, be it in your bed, together with your learning buddy in a café or on your commute to work.

Five readers of Mandarin Weekly will receive free, one-year subscriptions to Zizzle for either iOS or Android. But it gets better — for each friend of yours who signs up for the giveaway, you get another three entries! So if three of your friends sign up, you get a total of 10 entries in the giveaway.

Enter by clicking here!

Liking some, all, or no sports:

Intermediate In this video from ChinsePod.com, we learn not only how to talk about certain sports, but also how to say that we like some, all, or none of them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDJ4qdFCiNE

Time sentences

Beginner Using time in Chinese sentences can be a bit tricky, because the phrasing (and order) is set. Here are some sample sentences you can use, both to learn the vocabulary and get used to the structure:

http://mychinesereading.com/easy-chinese-sentences-using-time/

Chinese tournaments on WordSwing

Intermediate Want to improve your reading, and compete with others as well? WordSwing makes it possible, as described in the latest from Hacking Chinese:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/introducing-chinese-quiz-tournaments-wordswing/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Lantern festival legend

Intermediate Here is an intermediate-level story about the Lantern Festival, which took place earlier this month:

http://www.imandarinpod.com/hoola/index.php/podcasts/15-2009-12-02-23-37-29/2754-2017-02-13-02-15-27

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Lantern festival legend

Intermediate Here is an intermediate-level story about the Lantern Festival, which took place earlier this month:

http://www.imandarinpod.com/hoola/index.php/podcasts/15-2009-12-02-23-37-29/2756-2017-02-15-02-16-41

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Well wishes

Beginner How can you wish people well in Chinese? Here is a collection of 10 common phrases that you can use to wish your friends, family, and colleagues a good weekend, holiday, or just a good day:

https://mandarinhq.com/2017/02/chinese-well-wishes-seasons-greetings/

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Where should you learn Chinese?

Beginner There are many places to learn Chinese, in many different Chinese cities. What are the relative advantages and disadvantages of each area?

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/where-to-learn-chinese-in-china/#

Get a bad job, put on weight

Intermediate A short essay with characters, pinyin, and audio about how your job can affect your health and weight:

http://chinese-at-ease.com/unhappy-jobs-may-lead-to-weight-gain-news-in-mandarin/

Twitter: @ChineseAtEase

What is 风水 (fēng shuǐ)?

Even people who don’t visit China or learn Chinese have likely heard of 风水. What is it, and how much influence does it have in modern China?

https://www.writtenchinese.com/feng-shui/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

An Lushan

Advanced The An Lushan rebellion was a huge event in world history; read about it in Chinese:

http://mychinesereading.com/the-an-lushan-rebellion/

Hearing voices

Beginner When you read your native language, do you hear a voice in your head? How about when you read Chinese? That voice, known as subvocalization, is an indication of less than fluent reading. For more details, and suggestions for getting rid of it, read here:

http://www.sinosplice.com/life/archives/2017/02/16/subvocalization-while-reading-chinese

Ordering food

Beginner You go to a restaurant in China, want to use your Chinese, and — well, now what? This short guide to ordering in restaurants will hopefully give you some confidence:

http://www.tutormandarin.net/en/order-food-in-chinese/

Twitter: @MyTutorMandarin

Oodles of noodles

Beginner When you think of Chinese cuisine, one of the first things you think about is noodles. But there are many types of noodles, and each has a different name. Here is a summary of different noodle types and dishes:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/10-different-types-of-chinese-noodles/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

50 ways to love your lover

Beginner With Valetine’s Day increasingly celebrated in China, this is a good time to give you lots of ways to say “I love you” to the special person in your life:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/valentines-day-in-china/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

What to read?

Beginner One of the best things you can do to improve your Chinese is read, and read extensively. Here is a great summary of what to read, how to read it, and why it can help, along with suggestions for reading material for learners:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2017/02/15/chinese-books-for-beginners/

Twitter: @FluentU

Listening practice: Choosing a bank

Beginner Which bank is best for you? This video from ChineseClass101.com asks you to answer that question based on a short story:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eN7asaOBeeo

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Using 份 (fèn)

Beginner The measure word 份 is used in a variety of places to indicate a “part” or “portion” or frequency:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2017/02/13/listen-50/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Giving comfort (sort of)

Intermediate When something in life goes bad, you often want to hear helpful words from your friends and relatives. Here are some phrases you can use to try to make someone feel better — or at least feel somewhat less bad:

http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2017/02/cold-comfort/

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Serial verb phrases

Advanced When you have three verb phrases in a row, is there an implied dependency or timeline?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22786/what-is-the-semantic-relationship-between-the-verbal-phrases-of-a-serial-verb-co

Types of republics

Intermediate A “republic” is a certain kind of country. Do both 民國 (mín guó) and 共和国 (gòng hé guó), which translate as “republic,” mean the same thing?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22752/what-is-the-difference-between-a-%E6%B0%91%E5%9C%8B-and-a-%E5%85%B1%E5%92%8C%E5%9B%BD

Far apart

Intermediate In trying to understand the character 相 (xiāng), we discover a four-character idiom:

https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E7%9B%B8%E5%8E%BB%E7%94%9A%E8%BF%9C.3287637/

Using 消费 (xiāo fèi)

Advanced Why and how can you use the term 消费?

https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E6%B6%88%E8%B4%B9-%E6%9F%90%E4%BA%BA.3289174/

Making things stricter

Advanced A translation request leads to a discussion of 加严 (jiā yán):

https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E5%8A%A0%E4%B8%A5-%E5%9B%BE%E7%BA%B8.3289075/

Mandarin Weekly (每周中文) #109, 2017-February-13

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #109, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

More than 12,000 people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly.  If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students.

To receive Mandarin Weekly in your e-mail inbox every Monday, just use the box on our Web site, at MandarinWeekly.com. Or follow us on Twitter, at @MandarinWeekly! We’re also on Facebook, at http://facebook.com/MandarinWeekly, and Medium, at http://medium.com/@mandarinweekly.

Full archives are at http://MandarinWeekly.com, as is our list of discounts for students of Chinese.

If you offer products or services aimed at students of Chinese, consider sponsoring Mandarin Weekly; contact Reuven (the publisher) for more details, at reuven@lerner.co.il.

Sponsor: Du Chinese

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Use grammar to improve your comprehension

Intermediate Perhaps you think that learning Chinese grammar is a waste of time, but in this article, we see the advantages of internalizing Chinese sentence structure and rules:

https://mandarinhq.com/2017/02/mandarin-chinese-grammar-practice/

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Chinese slang!

Intermediate Slang exists in all languages; knowing how to understand it (and use it) gives you a greater sense of comfort with the language. Here are some useful slang terms, some of which you should use more frequently than others:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/chinese-slang-liyu/

Describing appearance

Beginner How can you describe how someone looks? Here are a bunch of useful Chinese words and phrases:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/describing-people-in-chinese-appearance/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Fine, but what are they like?

Beginner Now that you know how to describe people’s physical appearance, how can you describe their personalities?

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/describing-people-in-chinese-personality/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Proverbs about love

Intermediate It’s Valentine’s Day, which means that it’s time to talk about love. Why not do so in Chinese? Here are some traditional Chinese proverbs about love:

http://www.digmandarin.com/chinese-proverbs-about-love.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

All about Confucius

Intermediate Confucius (孔子, or Kǒngzǐ) is an extremely famous Chinese thinker from the 6th century BCE. Here is some history of him and his thinking, as well as some vocabulary you can use to discuss him:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/confucius-a-brief-summary/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Which way did he go?

Intermediate Wondering why there are several ways to indicate direction in Chinese? This video from ChinesePod.com will teach you the difference between 向 (xiàng), 朝 (cháo), and 往 (wǎng):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itimQe71Jvg

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Cosmetic surgery

Intermediate Many Chinese are unhappy with the shape of their eyes, and get cosmetic surgery to “fix” things. Here is a description of this phenomenon, along with the vocabulary to understand it:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2017/02/06/why-do-chinese-people-want-to-look-like-aliens/

Chinese zodiac

Beginner It’s now the Year of the Rooster, part of the 12-year cycle of Chinese years. Here is an introduction to the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, and what each year traditionally represents:

http://www.tutormandarin.net/know-chinese-zodiac-animal-part-1/

Twitter: @MyTutorMandarin

Practice makes perfect

Intermediate Practice makes perfect, we day in English. In Chinese, we can say 熟能生巧 (Shú néng shēng qiǎo), as introduced in this story:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2017/02/12/listen-49/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Loving songs

Beginner What do you want to say to the people you love? Here, to the tune of “Happy Birthday,” are some new (and somewhat sappy) Chinese songs:

http://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/Happy-Valentines-Day-Song-Learn-Chinese-Love

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

More loving words

Intermediate Want to express love and affection for someone else? Here are some useful words and phrases to make your feelings clear, assuming the person listening knows Chinese:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/romantic-mandarin-words-affectionate-phrases-your-beloved/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Dealing with people

Beginner Do you have to deal with people in your work? In your family? Here’s a useful word to use when dealing with people, 打交道 (dǎ jiāo dào):

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/deal-with-chinese-business-clients

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Intro to Chinese languages

Beginner Even if you’re learning Chinese, you might not know about the family of Chinese languages, and where each is spoken. This video from LangFocus.com might fill in some of the gaps in your knowledge, with an interesting comparison of the grammatical differences:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY0AMmLuiqk

Twitter: @langfocus

Ancient walls

Intermediate A short story about the Forbidden City and Chinese city walls:

http://www.imandarinpod.com/hoola/index.php/podcasts/13-2009-12-02-23-35-40/2748-2017-02-07-05-19-53

Twitter: @imandarinpod

It’s beautiful here

Beginner A short story in simple characters, talking about a beautiful location:

http://www.imandarinpod.com/hoola/index.php/podcasts/14-2009-12-02-23-37-05/2752-2017-02-09-12-16-27

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Chinese writing, Western punctuation

Why does Chinese use Western-style punctuation?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22674/why-is-western-punctuation-used-in-chinese-writing

Understanding 了

Beginner The particle 了 is confusing for many of us. Here is (another!) description of how it works, and how it can be used to describe the state of an action:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22689/%E4%BA%86-usage-conflict-now-vs-completion

Talking about things

Intermediate It’s often helpful to be able to say, “I want to talk about ___,” referring to a subject. How do you do that in Chinese?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22672/expressing-about-in-chinese

Lantern festival

The Lantern Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the lunar month, just took place in China. But how should you call it?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22738/difference-between-%E5%85%83%E5%AE%B5%E8%8A%82-and-%E7%81%AF%E8%8A%82

Mandarin Weekly (每周中文) #108, 2017-February-6

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #108, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

More than 11,000 people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly.  If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students.

If you offer products or services aimed at students of Chinese, consider sponsoring Mandarin Weekly; contact Reuven (the publisher) for more details, at reuven@lerner.co.il.

Full archives are at http://MandarinWeekly.com, as is our list of discounts for students of Chinese.

To receive Mandarin Weekly in your e-mail inbox every Monday, just use the box on our Web site, at MandarinWeekly.com. Or follow us on Twitter, at @MandarinWeekly! We’re also on Facebook, at http://facebook.com/MandarinWeekly, and Medium, at http://medium.com/@mandarinweekly.

Sponsor: Du Chinese

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Chicken words

Intermediate It’s the Year of the Rooster, and thus rooster- and chicken-related sayings are all the rage. Here are some phrases and idioms you might want to use, all of which include the use of chickens:

https://www.asianlanguageschool.com/20-chinese-idioms-contain-word-chicken/

Twitter: @AlsSydney

Creating your own intermediate course

Intermediate Do you already have the basics of Chinese down, and want to get even better? Here are some tips for improving your speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2017/02/01/chinese-intermediate-course/

Twitter: @FluentU

Why is Chinese hard?

A humorous (and encouraging) essay about what makes Chinese hard to learn for native English speakers (and for many other foreigners):

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/why-learning-chinese-is-so-hard/

About family

Intermediate Here are some traditional Chinese proverbs about the family, along with English translations — including the equivalent English proverb, if one exists:

http://www.digmandarin.com/chinese-proverbs-about-family.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

China’s lunar calendar

Why is Chinese New Year always on a different day? It’s actually on the same (first) day of each year — but only if you’re using the Chinese lunar calendar. Here’s an explanation of that calendar (which is, FYI, quite similar to the Jewish calendar in its calculations):

https://medium.com/@mengjiama/know-about-china-tradition-chinese-new-year-1-31b13ecf47c1#.w756uq52u

It’s bustling here!

Beginner If a place is noisy — in the bustling, full-of-life sense — then it’s called 热闹 (rè nao):

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2017/01/30/why-is-china-so-noisy/

Buying and selling

Beginner The character for “buy” is 买 (mǎi). What are its origins, and how is it related to the character for “sell,” 卖 (mài)?

http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2017/01/on-the-character-%E4%B9%B0/

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Trump’s two names

How do you say “Trump” in Chinese? There are actually two different ways, which can lead to some confusion:

http://www.whatsonweibo.com/trump-two-different-names-chinese/

What employees think

Beginner Employees returning from the Spring Festival don’t want to return to work, and dream of having their own company — because after all, the boss doesn’t have to work, right? A short, simple story:

http://www.imandarinpod.com/hoola/index.php/podcasts/14-2009-12-02-23-37-05/2746-2017-02-04-07-40-31

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Spring is in the air

Beginner Now that the Spring Festival (i.e., Chinese New Year) has passed, we can learn some simple sayings about this time of year:

http://teresarainsegna.blogspot.com/2017/02/inizio-della-primavera-beginning-of.html

Listening challenge

Intermediate If you’re studying Chinese, and you aren’t yet able to comprehend people at native speeds, then you should be practicing your listening. This month, Hacking Chinese has a listening challenge. Go and listen to as much as you can:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/chinese-listening-challenge-february-1st-28th/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

The egg and the rock

Intermediate What happens when a rock and an egg meet? A short story:

http://www.imandarinpod.com/hoola/index.php/podcasts/14-2009-12-02-23-37-05/2745-2017-02-02-16-34-28

Twitter: @imandarinpod

The hedgehog family

Intermediate A short story about a family of hedgehogs:

http://mychinesereading.com/the-family-of-hedgehogs/

A beautiful day

Beginner Is it a clear and sunny day where you live? If so, you can say it’s 晴朗 (qíng lǎng):

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2017/01/29/listen-35/

Twitter: @eputonghua

It’s not allowed

Intermediate If you’re ever in China, you’ll see all sorts of signs (and sometimes hear announcements) telling you what is and isn’t allowed. But there are several phrases for such warnings; what’s the difference between them?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22592/is-there-a-distinction-between-%E7%A6%81%E6%AD%A2-j%C3%ACnzh%C7%90-and-%E4%B8%A5%E7%A6%81-y%C3%A1nj%C3%ACn-which-both-mean-for

The Art of War

Advanced The classic “The Art of War” is written in Chinese as 兵法 (bīng fǎ). Why isn’t it called 武術 (wǔ shù)?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22618/difference-between-%E5%85%B5%E6%B3%95-vs-%E6%AD%A6%E8%A1%93

Your Chinese is so good!

Intermediate Even if your Chinese is terrible, if you try to speak in China, you’ll be told that it is excellent. (Take it from my personal experience!) How should you respond to someone giving you an undeserved compliment?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22597/what-is-the-appropriate-response-to-your-chinese-is-so-good

Mandarin Weekly (每周中文) #107, 2017-January-30

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #107, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

More than 10,000 people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly.  Thanks so much for subscribing; and for your feedback. If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students.  The best way you can say “thank you” for Mandarin Weekly is by encouraging others to subscribe.
Get the bonus content: Links from Mandarin Weekly #107

If you offer products or services aimed at students of Chinese, consider sponsoring Mandarin Weekly; contact Reuven (the publisher) for more details, at reuven@lerner.co.il.

Full archives are at http://MandarinWeekly.com, as is our list of discounts for students of Chinese.

To receive Mandarin Weekly in your e-mail inbox every Monday, just use the box on our Web site, at MandarinWeekly.com. Or follow us on Twitter, at @MandarinWeekly! We’re also on Facebook, at http://facebook.com/MandarinWeekly, and Medium, at http://medium.com/@mandarinweekly.

Congratulations!

Beginner Around this time of year, you’ll hear lots of Chinese New Year greetings. But there are lots of greetings in Chinese, and lots of ways to wish people well. Here is a long list of what to say, and how to say it, for numerous occasions:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/many-ways-express-congratulations-chinese/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

About the 鸡 (jī)

Intermediate This is the Year of the Rooster. Why a rooster? Here is a story that describes its origins and usage:

http://www.imandarinpod.com/hoola/index.php/podcasts/13-2009-12-02-23-35-40/2743-2017-01-18-02-46-3

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Year of the Cock?

Beginner Some say “chicken,” some say “rooster,” and still others might say “cock.” Are you giggling? Well, you won’t be alone, since there are similar connotations in Chinese:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2017/01/28/2017-the-year-of-the-cock/

Chinese New Year traditions

How can you celebrate Chinese New Year? Here is a list of traditional ways to celebrate, including the appropriate characters and pronunciation:

https://chinesepod.com/blog/6-simple-ways-anyone-can-celebrate-chinese-new-year/

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Gods of the Chinese New Year

Beginner Around Chinese New Year, you’ll hear about traditional gods. What are these gods, and how do Chinese factor them into their celebrations?

http://www.chinasimplified.com/2017/01/26/meet-gods-chinese-new-year/

Holiday foods

Beginner China has many holidays, and every holiday has its own traditional foods. Here is a whirlwind tour of the edible Chinese calendar:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/traditional-dishes-chinese-holiday/

Happy New Year Teeth

A short, funny, pun in a Chinese advertisement for a dental clinic:

http://www.sinosplice.com/life/archives/2017/01/26/happy-new-year-teeth

How to bargain

Intermediate Buying something in China? It’s always worth bargaining with the shopkeeper. It’s a popular (non-Olympic) sport in China, and is a great way to practice your vocabulary. Here is a video from ChinesePod.com, describing how to bargain:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG-kjm52byY

Twitter: @ChinesePod

How to use 了 (le)

Intermediate One of the hardest things for Chinese learners to understand is the use of 了. Part of the issue is that it’s unlike anything in other languages, and part of the issue is that it’s used in a number of ways. Here is an explanation, with many examples, that can help you:

http://www.digmandarin.com/use-le-in-chinese.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Learning from everyone

Intermediate An expression from the Analects of Confucius, indicating that we have something to learn from everyone, in a short story:

http://www.imandarinpod.com/hoola/index.php/podcasts/14-2009-12-02-23-37-05/2742-2017-01-13-06-38-21

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Must-eats in 广州(Guǎngzhōu)

Beginner Traveling to 广州? Here are some local foods you should know about, and maybe even eat:

http://www.spoonhunt.com/blog/top-10-must-eat-foods-while-visiting-guangzhou

Twitter: @spoonhunt

哈尔滨 (Hāěr bīn) in winter

Beginner The northern (and cold) city of Harbin can be an interesting place to visit, particularly during the winter. Here are some things to do there, as well as vocabulary to describe the most common sites:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/48-hours-in-harbin-part-one/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

In short

Intermediate How do you say, “in short,” or “to make a long story short” in Chinese? There’s a phrase for that, of course:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2017/01/25/listen-27/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Using 连 (lián)

Intermediate The word 连 can be used in a few ways, one of which is “even,” and another is “connect.” These examples make it clearer:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2017/01/23/listen-29/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Chinese TV

Advanced Looking for Chinese TV shows to watch, and improve your language skills, cultural understanding, or ability to chat with friends about shared favorites? Here is a list of interesting Chinese TV dramas:

http://www.tutormandarin.net/chinese-drama-recommendation/

Twitter: @MyTutorMandarin

Serial verb phrases

Intermediate I did THIS to do THAT is a pretty common type of sentence. In Chinese, we can use “serial verb phrases” for this kind of sentence, as described here:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/constructions-in-series-chinese/

Chinese in 50 minutes

Beginner Can you really learn Chinese in 50 minutes? Of course not — but perhaps this 50-minute video, incorporating many previous ones from ChineseClass101.com, will help to improve your vocabulary and grammar:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHMy0ogtnw8

Twitter: @chineseclass101

What do you do?

Beginner What sort of work do you do? Here’s a list of common occupations in Chinese, useful when you introduce yourself to others and also when applying for jobs:

http://www.hanbridgemandarin.com/article/business-chinese-learning-tips/job-title-and-occupation-in-chinese/

Twitter: @HanbridgeOnline

I’ll do X, then I’ll do Y

Intermediate If you want to express that you’ll do X, and then immediately continue to do Y, you can use the 一X就Y (yī X jiù Y) construct, as described here:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22540/position-and-meaning-of-%E4%BA%86-in-%E4%B8%80-%E5%B0%B1-construction

Why no measure words?

Intermediate Most words in Chinese require a “measure word” when you’re quantifying them. But some, like 天 (tiān) don’t. Why not?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5p9m3u/%E5%90%8D%E9%87%8F%E8%AF%8D/

Two ways to smoke

Intermediate There are two words that mean “to smoke,” 抽烟 (chōu yān) and 吸烟 (xī yān). How are they different?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22529/what-is-the-difference-between-%E6%8A%BD%E7%83%9F-ch%C5%8Du-y%C4%81n-and-%E5%90%B8%E7%83%9F-x%C4%AB-y%C4%81n-which-both-pertain

Mandarin Weekly #106

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #106, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

As of this week, more than 10,000 people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly. Thanks so much for subscribing; and for your feedback. If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students.  The best way you can say “thank you” for Mandarin Weekly is by encouraging others to subscribe.

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Why celebrate Spring Festival?

Intermediate Why do people in China celebrate the Spring Festival (aka Chinese New Year)? Here is a story, in characters (with pinyin and translation), which describes the legend:

http://mychinesereading.com/why-do-we-celebrate-spring-festival/

Celebrating Chinese New Year

Beginner How do Chinese people celebrate Chinese New Year, which starts later this week? Here are some celebratory traditions to get you in the mood:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/10-things-to-do-for-chinese-new-year/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

One, two, three, travel!

Intermediate Enormous numbers of people travel for Chinese New Year, which means that just about every form of transportation is clogged at this time of year. Here is a description of the mad rush that ensues, and what different people can do about it:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/the-spring-festival-rush/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Chicken phrases

Intermediate It’s the year of the rooster! Here are some sayings and expressions that use the term “rooster” or “chicken” in them:

https://teachmechinese.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/chinese-idioms-involving-the-chicken/

A song for spring

Intermediate A music video for 春天 (Chūn tiān), from famous singer 汪峰(Wāng Fēng):

http://mychinesereading.com/in-the-spring/

WeChat (微信, wēi xìn) vocabulary

Beginner You might use e-mail, Web browers, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, but most Chinese people use a single app, known as 微信. Here are some basic vocabulary words for using this super-app:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/wechat-a-gateway-into-chinese-language-and-culture

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Intro to Chinese characters

Beginner Chinese characters often seem daunting to learn: There are so many, and they all look so similar! But with a bit of practice, you can identify the differences between them, and start to read them, as well. Here is a video intro from ChineseClass101.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OctDk8ga-qM

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Mainland vs. Taiwanese Chinese

Intermediate How is mainland Chinese different from Taiwanese Chinese? They both speak “Mandarin,” but there are differences, as described in this video from YoYoChinese.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYxPFCFaIV8

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Children’s cartoons

Advanced Looking for some television shows to help your children (or you; we won’t tell) to improve your Chinese? Here are 10 series watched by native Mandarin speakers, which might well help:

https://www.asianlanguageschool.com/top-10-chinese-animation-series-children-learning-mandarin/

Twitter: @AlsSydney

Serial verb phrases

Intermediate You can combine verb phrases to communicate complex meanings, as described here:

http://www.digmandarin.com/understanding-sentences-serial-verb-phrases-chinese.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

What’s for lunch?

Beginner What do people have for lunch in China? Here are some examples, with characters and pinyin (as well as some photos):

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-lunch-%E4%B8%AD%E5%BC%8F%E5%8D%88%E9%A4%90/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Suggestions and recommendations

Intermediate How can you suggest something, or make a recommendation? Here are some suggestions and recommendations for doing so, in a video from ChinesePod.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCdsd5BLCDA

Twitter: @ChinesePod

How to flirt

Beginner How do you flirt with someone in Chinese? Here are some words and phrases that you can use:

http://www.tutormandarin.net/flirt-chinese-girl-boy/

Twitter: @MyTutorMandarin

What to eat in Shanghai

Beginner Heading to Shanghai? Don’t forget to have some of the local delicacies:

http://www.spoonhunt.com/blog/top-10-must-eat-foods-while-visiting-shanghai

Twitter: @spoonhunt

Doubling classifiers

Intermediate You can often double words in Chinese to change the meaning somewhat. What does it mean to double a classifier (i.e., measure word)?

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/doubling-classifiers-nouns-verbs-adjectives-chinese/

The sounds of old Chinese

Chinese is an ancient language; we have many written texts that are thousands of years old. However, what did ancient Chinese sound like? After all, we don’t have ancient recordings! However, as this posting describes, there are some old pronunciation guides that can be of help:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2017/01/19/how-is-it-possible-to-know-what-old-chinese-sounded-like/

Knowing nothing

Intermediate The phrase 无所知 (yī wú suǒ zhī) means “to know nothing,” and allows you to describe your ignorance with elegant Chinese:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2017/01/16/do-you-know-anything-about-this-chinese-word/

Trolling in Chinese

Beginner If you have ever let your temper rage on the Internet, then we might say you’re “trolling” in English. In Chinese, the word is 怼 (duì):

http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2017/01/the-finer-points-of-chinese-trolling/

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

About the Analects

Advanced Confucius (孔子, kǒng zǐ) is China’s best-known ancient scholar, and his book 论语 (lún yǔ), known as the “Analects,” is still studied. Here is a short dialogue about these books and their place in society:

http://www.imandarinpod.com/hoola/index.php/podcasts/13-2009-12-02-23-35-40/2734-2017-01-18-02-46-02

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Poetry time

Advanced Learn a poem by 李白(Li Bai), a poet from the Tang dynasty; if classical Chinese is new to y ou, then this might be a good place to start:

http://www.tutormandarin.net/chinese-literature-tang-poems/

Twitter: @MyTutorMandarin

Cats and dogs

Intermediate Why do both 狗 (gǒu) and 猫 (māo) use the “dog” radical?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22464/why-a-cat-and-dog-share-the-same-dog-radical

Sick?

Advanced The word 感冒 (gǎn mào) means to have a cold , but what does 冒 mean in that word?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22505/what-is-the-meaning-of-%E5%86%92-in-%E6%84%9F%E5%86%92

Spouse

Beginner How do you say “spouse” as a general term? And which of the (many) terms for “husband” and “wife” are most often used in Chinese?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E7%88%B1%E4%BA%BA.2034576/

Mandarin Weekly #105

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #105, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

Thousands of people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly. If you enjoy it, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students:

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Full archives are at http://MandarinWeekly.com, as is our list of discounts for students of Chinese.

To receive Mandarin Weekly in your e-mail inbox every Monday, just use the box on our Web site, at MandarinWeekly.com. Or follow us on Twitter, at @MandarinWeekly! We’re also on Facebook, at http://facebook.com/MandarinWeekly, and Medium, at http://medium.com/@mandarinweekly.

More about comparisons

Beginner ChinesePod.com is back with another video about how to comparisons, this time aimed at beginners:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a6p_fqNKyU

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Different types of “later”

Beginner How do you say “later”? We have words such as 后来 (hòu lái), 以后 (yǐ hòu), and 之后 (zhī hòu), but when should each be used?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEXy5O04Plc

Understanding 了 (le)

Intermediate A video series from MandarinMonkey.com continues, describing new ways to use 了 to describe complex ideas — in this case, doing different permutations of “doing X and then doing Y”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTTTI3WXe2Q

Twitter: @Mandarin_Monkey

Existential sentences

Intermediate No, “existential sentences” have nothing to do with philosophy. Rather, they describe a situation in which something exists, appears, or disappears, and have a slightly unusual syntax:

http://www.digmandarin.com/existential-sentences-mandarin.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

HSK3 grammar videos

Intermediate Interested in preparing for the HSK3 exam? These videos (part of a larger, paid product) can help you out. I viewed several, and enjoyed them; you might, too:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ3IlLg5VGeydxtswBoyt6A/videos

I did it!

Beginner If you want to indicate that you have done something in the past, you can use 过 (guò) after the verb. Here are some examples of how to use 过:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/the-aspect-markers-verb-chinese/

Chinese New Year song

Intermediate Here are the music and lyrics (in characters, with Pinyin if you hover your mouse cursor) for a popular (ad catchy!) Chinese New Year song:

http://mychinesereading.com/happy-new-year/

Tough for you

Beginner Did someone do something for you that was particularly tough? You can use the phrase 难为你了 (nánwéi nǐ le), which means “tough for you”:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/chinese-way-of-giving-a-compliment-and-apology

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Describing your online habits

Intermediate Do you go online a lot? Do you use social media? Here are some Chinese words and phrases you can use to describe what you’re doing:

https://mandarinhq.com/2017/01/talking-social-media-internet-habits-chinese/

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Numerical idioms

Intermediate Numbers can be used in Chinese phrases to represent ideas, not just the numbers themselves:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2017/01/13/listen-19/

Twitter: @eputonghua

What food to order in China

Beginner When you get to a restaurant in China, you might be overwhelmed by the number of options. Here are some suggestions for what to get:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/what-order-restaurant-china/

It’s a mess

Intermediate The word 乱 (luàn) means “messy,” but not just in the physical sense. You can have a messy room, but you can also speak or think in a messy way, as described here:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2017/01/09/is-china-a-messy-country/

Movie review

Advanced A recent Chinese blockbuster, 湄公河事件 (méi gong hé shì jiàn), makes for a good movie, as well as good practice:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2017/01/12/movie-of-the-month-operation-mekong/

Chinese tongue twisters

Intermediate Can you say these tongue twisters quickly? Whether you can or not, they are still fun to say:

http://www.tutormandarin.net/chinese-tongue-twister-challenge-2/

Twitter: @MyTutorMandarin

Using spaced reptition

Spaced repetition is a common technique used in learning languages, including Chinese. How can you use it, and how can you use it beyond traditional flashcards?

http://www.hackingchinese.com/spaced-repetition-not-limited-flashcards/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Slang to try

Beginner Know any hipsters? Want to know how to describe them in Chinese? Here are explanations for this and other slang terms:

http://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/Learn-Chinese-Slang-Modern-Chinese-Useful-Words

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Superstitious numbers

Beginner Numbers in China have significance, and knowing the good ones vs. the bad ones can be important in conversation and gift giving, as this article states:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/chinese-superstitions-numbers-cultural-no-nos/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Phrase: 五十步笑百步

Advanced What does the phrase 五十步笑百步 (Wǔ shí bù xiào bǎi bù) mean? Here is an explanation:

http://www.imandarinpod.com/hoola/index.php/podcasts/14-2009-12-02-23-37-05/2730-2017-01-13-06-38-20

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Chinese book club

Advanced This month, the book club is reading and discussing “1988:我想和这个世界谈谈” by 韩寒. Want to join the group, read the book, and discuss it with others? Go here to learn more:

https://np.reddit.com/r/chinesebookclub/comments/5nbqky/the_january_book_is_1988%E6%88%91%E6%83%B3%E5%92%8C%E8%BF%99%E4%B8%AA%E4%B8%96%E7%95%8C%E8%B0%88%E8%B0%88_by_%E9%9F%A9%E5%AF%92/

Radicals and components

Intermediate What are the names for radicals and components in Chinese characters?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22438/chinese-names-for-different-types-of-radicals

Addressing letters

Beginner How do you address and send a letter in China? I know, I know; who sends letters when we have e-mail and WeChat? But assuming that you do want to send a letter (or package), here are some guidelines:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22402/how-do-the-chinese-address-letters

Time in Chinese

Intermediate For many foreigners learning Chinese, the lack of a past tense is odd and difficult. The answers to this question try to put time usage into context in Chinese:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22398/how-exactly-does-time-and-tense-work-in-mandarin-really

Mandarin Weekly (每周中文) #104, 2017-January-09

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #104, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

Get the links:

Thousands of people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly. If you enjoy it, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students:

Twitter Facebook WeChat WhatsApp Email

Full archives are at http://MandarinWeekly.com, as is our list of discounts for students of Chinese.

To receive Mandarin Weekly in your e-mail inbox every Monday, just use the box on our Web site, at MandarinWeekly.com. Or follow us on Twitter, at @MandarinWeekly! We’re also on Facebook, at http://facebook.com/MandarinWeekly, and Medium, at http://medium.com/@mandarinweekly.

Comparisons with 比 (bǐ)

Beginner In Chinese, you make comparisons with 比. But there are several ways to do this, and several grammar patterns that will allow you to compare different things in different ways, as this video from ChinesePod.com shows:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fE7TFeZNkO0

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Songs for Chinese New Year

Beginner Chinese New Year is later this month. Here are several children’s songs about the new year, with characters and (very cute) music videos:

https://www.asianlanguageschool.com/chinese-new-year-songs-for-kids/

Twitter: @AlsSydney

Chinese holidays in 2017

Chinese holidays are unusual, and often result in odd work schedules before and/or after. Here is a list of official and unofficial Chinese holidays in 2017, along with some videos showing what the celebrations look like:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-holidays-2017/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Happy New Year!

Beginner Chinese New Year begins soon, which means that it’s almost time to give your friends some appropriate greetings. Here is a long list of such greetings, with characters, pinyin, and even a video from an episode of 快乐汉语 (kuài lè hàn yǔ):

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-new-year-greetings/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Tallying in Chinese

In Western countries, we often tally in groups of five lines — four vertical ones, and a diagonal line to finish each group. In Chinese, tallying works similarly, but using the character 正, as displayed here:

http://chinahopelive.net/2017/01/06/how-to-tally-things-up-in-chinese

Twitter: @ChinaHopeLive

Eating in 西安 (xī’ān)

Beginner Looking for something good ot eat in Xi’an? Here are some interesting local delicacies, including the characters and some background:

http://www.spoonhunt.com/blog/top-10-foods-to-eat-in-xi-an

Twitter: @spoonhunt

How to die eating

Intermediate I’m not convinced by all of the nutritional advice and science provided here, but this video from ChineseClass101.com provides some fun sentences and vocabulary about unhealthy foods:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO16cXZe6uY

Twitter: @chineseclass101

In my opinion…

Intermediate Want to express an opinion? Start your statement with 早我看来 (zài wǒ kàn lái):

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2017/01/05/listen-11/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Basic emotions

Beginner Feeling happy? Angry? This short video from ChineseWithEmma.com quickly introduces a number of useful vocabulary words:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vJRCP40bUo

Twitter: @ChineseWithEmma

Splitting the bill with AA

Beginner If you go out to dinner in China, don’t expect to split the bill, which is rare. But if you somehow do, then it’s described as AA制 (zhì):

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/learn-aa-and-when-to-do-it

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Holiday ticket snatchers

Intermediate With Chinese New Year comes the transportation crush, when many residents of China travel to see their families. But what can you do if no tickets are left? Ticket “snatching” services are the answer, as described in this article:

http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2017/01/invasion-of-the-ticket-snatchers/

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Spring and Autumn period

Advanced Practice your reading, and learn some history at the same time, with this passage about China more than 2,000 years ago:

http://mychinesereading.com/spring-autumn-period/

Japanese vs. Chinese

It’s common (in my experience, anyway) for people to believe that Chinese and Japanese are similar languages. While this isn’t true, they’re not completely disconnected from one another, either. Here are some similarities and differences between the languages, which might be useful for students of Chinese who know Japanese, or for those of us who just like to learn about languages:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/similarities-differences-chinese-japanese/

A short legend

Intermediate A short story in intermediate Chinese (with downloadable pinyin and audio):

http://www.imandarinpod.com/hoola/index.php/podcasts/14-2009-12-02-23-37-05/2726-2017-01-07-07-33-09

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Popular Internet terms

Advanced What online expressions were popular in China in 2016? Here is a list, with pinyin and audio:

http://www.imandarinpod.com/hoola/index.php/podcasts/13-2009-12-02-23-35-40/2722-2016

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Using 的 (de) to describe categories

Intermediate In Chinese, you can describe a category of things as ___ 的, in which all of those things have that quality. Here are some examples and explanations:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22347/usage-of-%E7%9A%84-to-refer-to-a-generic-class-of-things

One-character vs. two-character words

Intermediate Some two-character words, such as 应该 (yīng gāi), sometimes exist in one-character versions, such as 该 (gāi). Is one more casual or modern than the other?

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/53021-%E5%BA%94%E8%AF%A5-vs-%E8%AF%A5-%E6%94%B9%E5%8F%98-vs-%E5%8F%98/

Using 些 (xiē) vs. 点 (diǎn)

Beginner What is the difference between 些 and 点 when expressing small numbers or amounts? Can they be used interchangeably?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5ls4j8/%E4%BA%9B_or_%E9%BB%9E/

Practicing speaking

Beginner What are some good strategies to practice (and improve) your speaking?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5lk9sf/best_ways_to_practice_speaking/

Can 弟弟 (dìdì) mean a little cousin, as well as a brother?

Beginner The word 弟弟 means “younger brother,” but can it also be used to describe a cousin or other relative?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22354/%E5%BC%9F%E5%BC%9F-denoting-cousin-of-younger-age

Call and be called

Beginner The word 叫 (jiào) can be used to describe calling someone or something, but also how someone is called:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22343/when-can-%E5%8F%AB-be-used-saying-that-someone-is-calling-someone-and-when-for-asking-a

Mandarin Weekly (每周中文) #103, 2017-January-02

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #103, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

Thousands of people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly. If you enjoy it, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students:

Twitter Facebook WeChat WhatsApp Email

Full archives are at http://MandarinWeekly.com, as is our list of discounts for students of Chinese.

To receive Mandarin Weekly in your e-mail inbox every Monday, just use the box on our Web site, at MandarinWeekly.com. Or follow us on Twitter, at @MandarinWeekly! We’re also on Facebook, at http://facebook.com/MandarinWeekly, and Medium, at http://medium.com/@mandarinweekly.

Happy New Year!

Enjoying your 2017 already? Here is a video from ChinesePod.com, describing how to wish people well, and make some resolutions for the new year:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BK-r9lTbuo

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Reading Chinese

Intermediate An important part of improving your Chinese fluency is reading. Where can you find good Chinese texts

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/12/29/easy-chinese-short-stories/

Twitter: @FluentU

As long as…

Intermediate “As long as Mandarin Weekly publishes weekly issues, I’ll keep reading them.” Aside from being an obvious statement, it also uses a grammar pattern that LearnChineseNow.com describes, using 只要 (zhǐ yào):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cY3jUmCwLFk

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Contrasting adjectives

Intermediate Want to compare two things? Say, one is big and the other little? Or one is expensive and the other is cheap? There are a number of ways to do that in Chinese, as described here:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/comparitives-chinese-language/

Or or or?

Beginner There are two types of “or” in Chinese, as described in this video from HanbridgeMandarin.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4H_AEzu7ZM

Twitter: @HanbridgeOnline

But actually

Intermediate How do you say “actually” in a sentence in Chinese? The term is 其实 (qíshí), and can be used in a few different ways:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/answer-to-learn-actually-with-this-chinese-quiz

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Playing the 二胡 (èrhú)

Intermediate Th erhu is a traditional Chinese stringed instrument. In this video from ChinesePod.com, the dialogue is between a music student and a teacher:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajKqLZMcMHU

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Why is English hard for native Chinese speakers?

You think that Chinese is hard to learn? Have you ever tried to learn English, when your native language is Chinese? This won’t necessarily help you with your Chinese, but will help you to understand that English is far from easy, and why Chinese speakers make certain mistakes:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/why-is-english-so-hard-for-chinese-people/

Name that province

Beginner China is divided into many provinces, and remembering their names (and locations) can be challenging for foreigners. Here is a list of provinces, as well as their Chinese names and pronunciations:

http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2016/12/who-nan-a-guide-to-province-names/

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Numbers in China

Beginner Why do Chinese people love the number 8, and avoid the number 4? Here is a short description of the reasoning behind these common beliefs:

http://www.touchchinese.com/learn-chinese-online/punctual-in-china-numerical-culture.html

Introducing 蔡骏 (Cài jùn)

Advanced Looking for some good and scary modern Chinese fiction? You should consider reading books by 蔡骏, as described in this recommendation:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/12/29/cai-jun-the-chinese-stephen-king/

Using commas

Intermediate How do you use commas in Chinese? This introduction is good if you’re weak on Chinese grammar or on your general use of punctuation:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/how-to-use-the-comma/

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Father and sons

Intermediate A story about a father and his sons, in characters and audio:

http://www.imandarinpod.com/hoola/index.php/podcasts/15-2009-12-02-23-37-29/2719-2016-12-31-10-03-26

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Using 了

Beginner One of the trickiest things to learn in Chinese is the use of 了 (le). How do you use it to indicate past tense, and where else can it be used?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5l82cz/when_to_leave_%E4%BA%86_and_when_to_drop_it_in_past_tense/

Light vs. light

Beginner Two characters, 灯 (dēng) and 光 (guāng), can be understood as “light,” but they have different meanings:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5kg0fu/%E7%81%AF_vs_%E5%85%89/

Chinese music

Advanced Want to listen to Chinese music, either to improve your listening comprehension or just to keep up with local cultural trends? Here are some ideas for where you can find such music:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Chinese/comments/5kx952/looking_for_a_big_playlist_of_mandarin_chinese/

HSK vs. TOCFL

Many of us are familiar with HSK, the Chinese examination of language fluency. How similar is it to TOCFL, the Taiwanese equivalent?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5kqc82/hsk_vs_tocfl/

The right word for cm

Beginner How do you say “centimeter” in Chinese? There are two words, 公分and 厘米; are they used the same?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22325/what-is-the-difference-between-%E5%85%AC%E5%88%86and-%E5%8E%98%E7%B1%B3

Does knowing Japanese help with learning Chinese?

Beginner Written Japanese uses many Chinese characters. Does that make it easier for people who know Japanese to learn Chinese?

https://www.reddit.com/r/Chinese/comments/5k9zqb/does_japanese_assist_with_mandarin_at_all/

Learning to write characters

Beginner Is it worth learning to write characters by hand? Or is the computer/phone enough for most people learning Chinese?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5k73b8/any_reason_to_learn_how_to_write_characters/

Mandarin Weekly (每周中文) #102

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #102, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

Thousands of people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly. If you enjoy it, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students:

Twitter Facebook WeChat WhatsApp Email

Full archives are at http://MandarinWeekly.com, as is our list of discounts for students of Chinese.

To receive Mandarin Weekly in your e-mail inbox every Monday, just use the box on our Web site, at MandarinWeekly.com. Or follow us on Twitter, at @MandarinWeekly! We’re also on Facebook, at http://facebook.com/MandarinWeekly, and Medium, at http://medium.com/@mandarinweekly.

You’re great!

Intermediate How do you compliment someone in Chinese? And if you’re given a compliment, how do you respond? Here are some options, at different levels of difficulty, for you to use:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/the-right-way-to-compliment-and-show-thanks-in-chinese/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Using a dictionary

Intermediate If you want to say something but don’t know how, you might use a dictionary to find the appropriate term. How do you do this without using the completely wrong one?

http://www.hackingchinese.com/looking-use-words-chinese-right-way/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Adjectives

Beginner You might think that adjectives are a simple subject, similar to adjectives in other languages. And in many ways, that’s right. But adjectives in Chinese can be a bit different and trickier than other languages, as explained here:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/adjectives-in-chinese-grammar/

I’ll be off my phone… never

Beginner Are you addicted to your phone? Do you have friends who are addicted, checking their e-mail, messages, news, and social media every few minutes? If so, here’s a useful term: 手机控 (shǒu jī kòng), or “phone addict”:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/12/18/what-to-say-when-your-chinese-friend-is-a-phone-addict/

Chinese cuisine(s)

Beginner Talking about “Chinese food” is like talking about “European food” — yes, there are some overall similarities, but each region of China has its own style, ingredients, and spicing. Here is an introduction to the various types of Chinese food you might encounter in China:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/chinese-culinary-culture/

Doer of things!

Intermediate A brief introduction to the suffix 者 (zhě), which can be added to numerous words to give you a noun:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/suffix-zhe-and-its-formula/

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Pronouncing Chinese

Beginner Pinyin is a great way for Westerners to learn to read and pronounce Chinese. There’s just one problem: The Latin letters you’re used to from you native language don’t map to the sounds you’re used to hearing and saying. Here’s a brief video introduction, from ChineseClass101.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThldFzLouK8

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Using 之 (zhī)

Intermediate What is 之, and when would we use it? A short video introduction from LearnChineseNow.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vQgD3GJu2U

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Christmas words

Beginner It was Christmas this week, and while China doesn’t celebrate Christmas per se, there are lots of decorations, sales, and other seasonal specials. Here are some Christmas-related words in Chinese:

http://allaboutchinese.tumblr.com/post/154853194145/allaboutchinese-%E5%9C%A3%E8%AF%9E%E8%8A%82%E8%AF%8D%E6%B1%87-christmas-vocabulary

Christmas songs (in Chinese)

Intermediate Want to sing your favorite Christmas songs in Chinese? Here’s your chance, with these translations (using characters and sung in a video, but, no pinyin):

https://www.asianlanguageschool.com/christmas-songs-in-chinese/

Twitter: @AlsSydney

Breakfast in China

Beginner Breakfast in China isn’t like in other countries; here are some typical Chinese breakfast foods, along with their names in Chinese:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-breakfast/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Leftover eggs?

Beginner What do leftover eggs have to do with Christmas? A Chinese pun, along with other Chinese customs around Christmas:

https://chinesepod.com/blog/leftover-eggs-christmas/

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Multiplication rhyme

Intermediate Want to practice your multiplication tables in Chinese? Of course you do! Not only will it teach you some Chinese, and also give you a cute rhyme, but it might even help you with math in your native language:

http://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/Learn-Chinese-Multiplication-Rhyme-Time-Tables

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Love song

A new (and in my opinion, quite beautiful) love song, with video, characters, pinyin, and translation:

http://www.chinesetolearn.com/%e4%ba%94%e6%9c%88%e5%a4%a9-wu-yue-tian-mayday-%e5%a6%82%e6%9e%9c%e6%88%91%e4%bb%ac%e4%b8%8d%e6%9b%be%e7%9b%b8%e9%81%87-ru-guo-wo-men-bu-ceng-xiang-yu-never-met-lyric-pinyin-englis/

Twitter: @ChineseToLearn

I’m asking you to do it

Beginner A common sentence structure in Chinese is sometimes called “pivotal,” and involves the first subject asking the second subject to do something. You’ve probably said such sentences before; this is your chance to understand and formalize it:

http://www.digmandarin.com/chinese-pivotal-sentence.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Where am I?

Intermediate If you travel in China, you’ll likely get lost. How do you get where you need to go? Ask the locals! Here are some pointers and tips for asking for directions, including a number of common, useful phrases for getting back on track, via a variety of modes of transportation:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/12/21/chinese-travel-phrases/

Twitter: @FluentU

Joke-telling in the wild

Beginner What happens when you try to tell a joke in Chinese in a shopping mall? A brave volunteer did this for ChinesePod.com, and then had his pronunciation analyzed for everyone’s benefit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T5nDzf-8XI

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Naïve and generous

Intermediate The phrase 冤大头 (yuāndàtóu can be useful when describing someone who isn’t so wise about using their money:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/know-yuandatou-and-its-warning-signs

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Identifying parts of a character

Intermediate When you start to read Chinese characters, you learn that many characters have a “meaning” part and a “phonetic” part. How can you identify them, and when is the difference not obvious?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22261/are-characters-divided-into-meaning-part-and-phonetic-part-with-no-overlapping

Boiling water

Beginner Why do we use the character 开 (kāi) to describe boiling water?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22290/why-is-hot-water-called-%e5%bc%80%e6%b0%b4

Who or what rains?

Beginner To say “it’s raining” in Chinese, say 下雨 (xià yǔ). Why is there no subject?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E4%B8%8B%E9%9B%A8.3267241/

What does 以 (yǐ) mean?

Advanced In literary Chinese, what does 以 mean?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22278/how-to-define-this-usage-of-%e4%bb%a5

Mandarin Weekly #101

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #101, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

Thousands of people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly. If you enjoy it, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students:

Twitter Facebook WeChat WhatsApp Email

Full archives are at http://MandarinWeekly.com, as is our list of discounts for students of Chinese.

To receive Mandarin Weekly in your e-mail inbox every Monday, just use the box on our Web site, at MandarinWeekly.com. Or follow us on Twitter, at @MandarinWeekly! We’re also on Facebook, at http://facebook.com/MandarinWeekly, and Medium, at http://medium.com/@mandarinweekly.

How to use 了

One of the trickiest things for people learning Chinese is the use of 了, which describes a change in state — often associated with the “past tense” in other languages, but not quite. Here is an introduction to the use of 了:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/use-particle-chinese-grammar/

Boiling water

Beginner How do you talk about boiling water in Chinese? It’s a bit more complex than you might think, as we see from this video from ChinesePod.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-G-PYb6aAmw

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Change

Intermediate The character 变 (biàn) refers to change, and is a part of many words that have to do with changes:

http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2016/12/on-the-character-%E5%8F%98/

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Basic Mandarin mistakes

Beginner If you’re an English speaker learning Chinese, then you have likely made some or all of the mistakes described here. Fortunately, the explanations are simple and the remedies simple, too:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/12/15/do-you-make-these-five-basic-mandarin-mistakes/

Better listening

One of the most challenging parts of learning Chinese is learning to understand people speaking. Between the high (natural) speed, the accents, and the tones, it’s often hard to understand what people are saying. Here are some hints for improving your listening comprehension:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/12/15/improve-chinese-listening/

Twitter: @FluentU

Touring Nanjing

The city of Nanjing offers a number of important and interesting historical sites, as well as some breathtaking natural beauty; I traveled there in 2015, and enjoyed it a great deal. Here is some information about what to see in Nanjing, including the characters and names for those locations:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/a-visit-to-nanjing/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Separable words: A uniquely Chinese kind of verb

Intermediate Some verbs are “separable,” meaning that they consist of a verb and a noun, and work differently from other verbs. How can you identify such verbs, and then use them? This in-depth article explains:

http://www.digmandarin.com/chinese-separable-words.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Top Internet keywords

Intermediate Which Internet keywords were hottest in 2016? Which trends and slang terms continued to be used online? Here are a number of them, as collected by the World of Chinese magazine:

http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2016/12/top-keywords-of-2016/

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

I get it

Beginner When you fail to understand someone’s spoken Chinese, what do you tell them? Here are some ways to respond (and not), and then a discussion of the word 意思 (yì si), which can be useful in such cases:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/12/12/can-you-understand-this-chinese-phrase/

Loanwords in Chinese

Intermediate Every language borrows words from other languages, and Chinese is no exception. But of course, those borrowed words in Chinese can sometimes seem a bit foreign:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/wai-lai-ci-loanwords-and-transliteration-in-the-chinese-language/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

No tricks!

Intermediate Planning to play a mean trick on someone? Or deny that you have intentions of doing so? Talk about it in Chinese, by mentioning 搞小动作 (gǎo xiǎo dòng zuò):

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/12/17/how-to-say-2/

Twitter: @eputonghua

The ant and the dove

Beginner A simple story, told with characters and pinyin by eChineseLearning.com, about an ant and a dove:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBkrHehv7P4

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Princess Wei Young theme song

Beginner Princess Wei Young (锦绣未央) is a historical drama on Chinese television that started running last month. Here is the theme song from that series, with characters, pinyin, and translation:

http://www.chinesetolearn.com/lin-%E5%A4%A9%E8%8B%A5%E6%9C%89%E6%83%85-tian-ruo-qing-heaven-love-theme-song-princess-wei-young-lyrics-pinyin-english-translatioin/

Twitter: @ChineseToLearn

Faster!

Beginner How can you ask someone to speed up what they’re doing?  Here are some good phrases to help you out?

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/12/15/how-to-say-speed-up-in-chinese/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Study habits

How do you study Chinese? For how long each day or week, and using what system? In this discussion, students of Chinese compared notes, technologies, and techniques:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5ib7mv/so_what_are_your_study_habits_like/

Possession

Beginner The word 的 (de) is used for possession, but also for description. Many times, however, you’ll find that it’s dropped from places where you might think it should be. When and why is that allowed?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22204/why-no-%E7%9A%84-in-this-sentence

Slowly but surely

Beginner How can you differentiate between “slowly” and “gradually” in Chinese? As in English, there are two different words:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22189/whats-the-difference-between-%E6%85%A2%E6%85%A2-and-%E6%B8%90%E6%B8%90

Eaten yet?

Beginner A common greeting in Chinese involves asking whether the other person has eaten. This actually has nothing to do with eating, which strikes many Westerners as strange. When did this become a standard greeting in Chinese?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22148/how-old-is-the-%E4%BD%A0%E5%90%83%E9%A3%BD%E4%BA%86%E5%97%8E-greeting-in-chinese

Doing better

Beginner How can you say that something is much better?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22141/how-do-you-say-much-better-in-mandarin