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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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:

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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.

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:

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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.

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:

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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.

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

Mandarin Weekly #100

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #100, 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.

Measure words (“classifiers”)

Beginner Measure words are a fundamental part of Chinese grammar; every noun has (at least) one, and learning which word goes with which noun can take some getting used to. Here’s an introduction to measure words, as well as a list of the most common ones:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/classifiers-chinese-language/#

Hey, dummy!

Beginner Want to call someone an idiot in Chinese? Try the term 白痴 (bái chī):

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/12/05/why-you-should-never-try-diy-plumbing-in-china/

Money words

Intermediate Chinese attitudes toward money are easier to understand when you have a few key phrases under your belt:

http://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/Chinese-Culture-Attitudes-Toward-Money-Habits

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Tongue twisters

Chinese isn’t hard enough to pronounce for Westerners, so here are four tongue twisters designed to make your mouth beg for mercy:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/five-chinese-tongue-twisters/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Translation challenge

Intermediate Time for another Hacking Chinese challenge! Try to translate as much as possible over the next two weeks:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/chinese-translation-challenge-december-10th-31st/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Preview your lessons

If you arrive at your Chinese lesson without first reviewing the material from the previous time (and even the coming time), you’re losing out on an important way to learn:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/preview-every-chinese-lesson/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

On time

Intermediate Are you generally punctual? Maybe, but how would you describe that quality in Chinese? And how is that different from being on time for something? Here’s a summary of these different time-related terms:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/zhunshi-vs-shoushi-vs-jishi-vs-anshi/

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Tough characters

Intermediate Differentiating between characters can be hard, especially when they’re complex. Identifying the semantic component can be helpful in remembering and identifying them, as indicated here:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/how-to-learn-similar-characters/

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Hotel talk

Intermediate Going to China? Planning to stay in a hotel? Here are some useful words and phrases, from ordering to check-in to check-out:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/foolproof-phrases-for-booking-a-hotel-in-chinese/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Learning Chinese with YouTube

Intermediate YouTube is full of Chinese learning goodness. Here are some useful channels for learners of all levels:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/12/07/learn-chinese-with-youtube/

Twitter: @FluentU

May I?

Beginner The word 让 () talks about letting people do things, and can be used in a number of ways, as shown here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id-9TuyhabM

Same old, same old

Intermediate Has anything changed? No? Then you can use the expression 大同小异 (dà tóng xiǎo yì):

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/12/09/idiom-20/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Taking HSK5

Advanced Thinking of taking the HSK 5 exam? Here is how it went for one student of Chinese:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/52794-what-i-learned-from-taking-the-hsk-5/

Chinese chemical names

There are four new elements on the periodic table? What are their Chinese names? And who establishes them?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22056/how-are-new-element-names-characters-decided

Special delivery

Beginner There are several words that have to do with sending or bringing; how are they different?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22125/the-difference-between-%E9%80%81-%E5%B8%A6-and-%E6%8D%8E

Using 所

Beginner The word 所 has a number of meanings — including as a modifiers for the word (character) that follows it, making it somewhat passive:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5h9iaj/meaning_and_when_to_use_%E6%89%80/

Mandarin Weekly #99

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #99, 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.

Sponsor: Du Chinese

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Winter activities

Intermediate What can you do in China during the winter? It depends on where you live, of course, but between holidays, snow, and the generally colder weather, there are many things to do. Here’s a list of what to do, eat, and see:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/a-chinese-december/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

要 (yào) vs. 想 (xiǎng)

Beginner For many Chinese learners, the words 要 (yào) and 想 (xiǎng) are quite similar. When do you use each one?

https://www.writtenchinese.com/whats-difference-xiang-yao/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

“If” vs. “if”

Intermediate There are two ways to say “if” in Chinese, as LearnChineseNow.com describes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMQW2Yr7HeE

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Using 的 (de)

Beginner The most common character in Chinese is 的 (de). It can be used in a variety of ways:

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

Chinese without China

Immersion in a langugage is often considered a great way to improve your fluency. Butif you’re not in China, then how can you immerse yourself in Chinese? Here are some ideas for how to surround yourself with a language without actually being there:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/11/30/chinese-immersion-at-home/

Twitter: @FluentU

Compound words

Intermediate How are compound words (i.e., words containing multiple characters) formed in Chinese?

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/formation-of-compound-words/

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

The people in your neighborhood

Beginner What sort of work do you do? It’s a common enough question in English, and it’s also common in Chinese. Which means that you should probably know how to describe your profession in Chinese. Here’s a list to help you out:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/jobs-and-workplaces-in-chinese/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Comparisons

Intermediate How can you compare two things in Chinese? The character 比 (bǐ) is your friend, and can be used in a variety of ways:

http://www.digmandarin.com/comparisons-in-chinese-structure-bi.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Using 抠 (kōu)

Intermediate What is the connection between being stingy and a Chinese wedding? This introduction to 抠 (kōu), and words associated with it, will help you to understand:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/11/28/what-can-you-win-at-a-chinese-wedding/

Phrases to impress

Intermediate Want to impress your Chinese-speaking colleagues with some native-sounding phrases? Here are a few that you can incorporate into your conversation:

https://mandarinhq.com/2016/11/make-great-impression-chinese-coworkers/

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Christmas vocabulary

Beginner It might be a bit early to celebrate, but Christmas is coming later this year — and here are some words to talk about it in Chinese:

http://nihaohello.blogspot.co.il/2016/12/chinese-vocabulary-for-christmas.html

Adjectives vs. adverbs

Intermediate How do you distinguish between adjectives (describing nouns) and adverbs (describing verbs) in Chinese? Here’s a brief introduction:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/how-to-differentiate-adjectives-from-adverbs/

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Character formation

How were Chinese characters formed? There are several origins, illustrated and described here:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/character-formation/

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Being sarcastic

Intermediate Being sarcastic? You can use the Chinese phrase 风凉话 (fēng liáng huà) to describe your tone:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/11/30/old-saying-2/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Traditional 才

What is the traditional form of the character 才 (cái)? And why isn’t it used more?

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/52774-traditional-form-of-%E6%89%8D/

Taxes

Intermediate If you ever wanted to talk about taxes in Chinese, this discussion led to an answer that’s more complete than you probably ever imagined was possible:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Chinese/comments/5f771s/is_the_most_common_word_for_tax_simply_%E7%A8%8E/

Understanding 就

Beginner The character 就 (jiù) is used in a number of ways and places that aren’t immediately obvious to non-natives. Here is a discussion that might help you to understand it a bit better:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5fj6na/can_someone_give_a_chinese_explanation_for_%E5%B0%B1/

Fat? Plump? Obese?

Intermediate There are different ways of describing someone (or something) as being fat:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22026/vocab-problem-%e8%82%a5-vs-%e8%83%96-vs-%e8%82%a5%e8%83%96

How do you say “was”?

Beginner In English (and many other languages), we have a past tense form of the verb “to be.” How can we express that in Chinese?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22011/how-do-you-specify-past-tense-for-%e6%98%af

You must, you should, you need to

Beginner There are different ways of saying you need to do something in Chinese. How are they different?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22009/what-is-the-difference-between-%e5%bf%85%e9%a1%bb-%e5%be%97-and-%e9%9c%80%e8%a6%81

Food-ordering words

Beginner Ordering food in a restaurant? This discussion introduces a number of terms that you’ll probably want to know and use:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5fkurt/specific_phrases_used_around_order_and_eating_food/

Mandarin Weekly #98

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #98, 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.

Sponsor: Du Chinese

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Food shopping, the Chinese way

Beginner Need to buy food while you’re in China? You could go to a supermarket, but here’s some basic information about 菜市场 (cài shì chǎng), or an open-air market — delicious, with good prices, and a great way to practice your Chinese:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/the-exotic-outdoor-chinese-food-market

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Investing in your Chinese

How much time should you spend practicing your Chinese? Perhaps a more important question is, what should you be doing when you practice? This post describes ways that you can make that practice more effective and efficient:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/three-factors-decide-much-chinese-learn/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

How are you feeling?

Beginner Do you feel great? Terrible? How about just so-so? Jealous? Furious? Elated? This post has a full collection of emotions for you to try out in Chinese:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/having-mixed-feelings-talk-about-your-emotions-in-chinese/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Tracking time in Chinese

Beginner Expressing time in Chinese is often done in terms of space. In this interview, well known Chinese expert Chris Parker describes the notion of time in Chinese:

http://www.iwillteachyoualanguage.com/expressing-time-chinese/

When do we want it? Now!

Beginner One of my favorite words in Chinese is 马上 (mǎ shàng), which means “right away.” In this video from LearnChineseNow.com, we learn how to use it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4AU55XhM24

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

I got a fever

Intermediate If you’re sick, then you might 发烧 (fā shāo), have a fever. But if you’re an enthusiastic fan, then you might be a 发烧友 (fā shāo yǒu):

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/11/22/grammar-42/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Pokemon Go!

Intermediate The Pokemon Go craze is worldwide, so you really need to be able to discuss it in Chinese. (OK, perhaps “need” is a bit strong.) Here’s a video from ChinesePod.com that introduces Pokemon Go’s Chinese vocabulary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE102mHTWJY

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Visiting Hebei province

Looking for a slightly off-the-beaten-track place to go in China? Here’s some information about 河北 (hé běi), with characters and vocabulary, as well as some interesting things to do:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/travel-to-hebei/

Book review

Advanced A review (in Chinese) of the book 十宗罪, which sounds like a great novel if your Chinese is up to it:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/11/26/book-review-%e5%8d%81%e5%ae%97%e7%bd%aa2/

Unmarked passive

Intermediate You can use 被 () to mark a passive sentence. But in many cases, passive sentences don’t need any marker at all:

http://www.digmandarin.com/unmarked-passive-sentence-in-chinese.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Chinese beer

Beginner China has many brands of beer; here is some history, and the names (in Chinese, of course) for some of the better known ones:

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

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Thanksgiving

Beginner The American Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone, but in case you’re still interested (or eating leftovers), here are some Thanksgiving-related terms in Chinese:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/thanksgiving-day-chinese-lesson

Twitter: @ECLSchool

The meanings of 出轨

Intermediate Technically speaking, 出轨 (chū guǐ) means “to go off the rails.” But there are some other, even less sympathetic, meanings:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/use-of-chu-gui%E5%87%BA%E8%BD%A8/

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Cool and confident

Intermediate Sure of yourself? Confident that you’re right? Steady and unhurried? Yeah, that’s 笃定 (dǔ dìng):

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/11/25/dialect/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Don’t bother pressing “close door”

Intermediate A short story (in characters, with English translation) about the “close door” button on elevators, which might not do anything:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/close-door-button-on-your-elevator-is-a-scam/

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Beautiful characters

What are some nice-looking characters that you feel are especially aesthetically pleasing?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5e3qmh/what_are_some_aesthetically_pleasing_characters/

Uses of 把 and 将

Advanced When would we use 把 (bǎ)? And when would we use 将 (jiāng)? These markers change the emphasis and structure of the sentence:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21960/what-is-the-motivation-for-the-use-of-%e6%8a%8a-or-%e5%b0%86

Using 就 and 才

Intermediate Many students of Chinese struggle to understand when and how to use 就 (jiù) and 才 (cái). Here is a detailed description that might help:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21963/%e8%bf%99%e5%b0%b1%e6%98%af%e5%8f%b0%e6%b9%be-%e8%bf%99%e6%89%8d%e6%98%af%e5%8f%b0%e6%b9%be-cracking-the-%e5%b0%b1-again

Of lattes and transliteration

How do you write “latte” in Chinese? Or “Hollywood”? It turns out that Mainland China and Taiwan use different transliterations, which leads to some interesting thoughts about the entire subject:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21936/why-is-latte-written-as-%e9%82%a3%e5%a0%a4-in-traditional-chinese

Positive and negative with 一方面

Advanced The construct 一方面. . .另一方面 (yī fāng miàn . . .lìng yī fāng miàn) is a way of saying, “On the one hand, and on the other hand.” Do both need to be positive (or negative)?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21932/%e4%b8%80%e6%96%b9%e9%9d%a2-%e5%8f%a6%e4%b8%80%e6%96%b9%e9%9d%a2-can-you-use-it-with-a-positive-and-negative-idea

I understand

Intermediate How do you say “I understand” in Chinese? Why are there two verbs, 理解 (lǐ jiě) and 了解 (liǎo jiě), and how are they different?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21927/a-%e7%90%86%e8%a7%a3-and-%e4%ba%86%e8%a7%a3-comparison

Mandarin Weekly #97

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #97, 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.

Going out to eat

Intermediate Going out to eat in a restaurant in China? Great! Here are some important vocabulary words and phrases you’ll want, from ordering, to asking for the right amount of spiciness, to telling the waiter who is receiving which dish:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/how-to-relax-converse-and-eat-well-in-a-chinese-restaurant/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Doing two things at once

Intermediate Are you walking and chewing gum? Talking and eating? Fleeing and shooting? (OK, perhaps not.) If you’re doing two things at once, you probably need the 一边。。。一边 (yī biān…yī biān) grammar pattern:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/11/18/%e4%b8%80%e8%be%b9%e3%80%82%e3%80%82%e3%80%82%e4%b8%80%e8%be%b9-doing-while-doing/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Don’t ask 你好吗 (nǐ hǎo ma)?

Beginner Newcomers to Chinese want to be polite when meeting someone, and thus ask, 你好吗? The problem is, no native Chinese speaker says this. Why not, and what you should ask instead, is here:

https://www.asianlanguageschool.com/how-to-greet-in-mandarin-do-not-use-ni-hao-ma/

Twitter: @AlsSydney

How to immerse yourself in Chinese

Immersion is a key ingredient in learning a language. But many foreigners who come to China are surprised to find that it doesn’t happen automatically. This posting is full of hints for how to ensure you’re surrounded by as much Chinese as possible, helping to boost your fluency at a faster pace:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/why-chinese-language-immersion-is-important/

Culture! Privacy! Reading practice!

The Chinese text here is of intermediate-advanced level, but there is a translation into English — and the issues of privacy and culture are important for anyone learning Chinese, or planning to travel to China. If you’ve ever wondered why Chinese people gret each other by asking if they ate, or generally how Western and Chin:

http://carlgene.com/blog/2016/11/cultural-differences-between-chinese-and-westerners-part-1/

Twitter: @carlfordham

Chinese breakfast

Beginner Having breakfast in China? You can probably find corn flakes, yogurt, and toast — but traditional Chinese breakfast foods are quite different, as introduced in this post:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/11/16/chinese-breakfast/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Oh, yeah?

Intermediate Someone got you angry? You need to tell them off? Yeah, but how will you do it in Chinese? Here are some useful words and phrases for when you’re feeling angry:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/feeling-angry-learn-how-to-insult-someone-in-chinese/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Tone changes

Intermediate When do tones changes? And how do they change? And how important is it to get these tone changes right? Many students of Chinese ask these questions; in this posting, we get clear answers and hints for remembering these rules:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/optional-obligatory-tone-change-rules-mandarin/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Roll those eyes

Beginner Tired of being asked the same question, again and again? Or perhaps you’re tired of being asked the same question, again and again? Either way, you can respond with 翻白眼 (fān bái yǎn), rolling one’s eyes:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/11/14/when-youre-lost-for-words/

Lots of meanings for “meaningful”

Intermediate The word 意思 (yìsi) means “meaning,” but takes on different meanings in different contexts, as we see here:

http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2016/11/a-meaningful-exchange/

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Connections

Beginner The word 关系 (guān xi) can be translated as “relationship,” but it’s more than that in China, as this posting describes:

http://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/What-to-Know-Chinese-Networking-Guanxi

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Ethnic food

Beginner You’re in China, but don’t want to eat Chinese food. Fortunately, major cities offer many ethnic specialties. Here’s a list of how to say different ethnic cuisines, along with their most famous dishes:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-vocabulary-international-cuisine/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Alternate “one”

Beginner When you’re reading off a phone number containing a 1, did you know that you can (should) pronounce it as yāo? More information about this alternate is here:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/show-off-your-chinese

Twitter: @ECLSchool

All in the family

Beginner The names of family members in Chinese are more complex than in English, in that you have to take into account the side (mother/father) and age (elder/younger) of the person you’re describing. Here are some basic family vocabulary words for starters:

http://learningchineseblog.com/family-relations%e5%ae%b6%e5%ba%ad%e5%85%b3%e7%b3%bb%ef%bc%89/

Basic questions

Beginner Here are some questions that everyone should be able to ask (and answer), even as a new student of Chinese:

https://mandarinhq.com/2016/11/personal-info-chinese/

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Putting the “er” in Er Hua

Intermediate Mandarin is typically taught using a nortern pronunciation, known as 儿化 (ér huà). Is the 儿 character typically written out?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/er-%E5%84%BF%E5%8C%96-represented-in-writing.2681272/

Characters vs. words

Beginner When can you use a character on its own? Ad what’s the relationship between characters and words?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21875/how-to-determine-if-character-can-be-used-separetely

Going to work

Beginner How do you say that someone is at work? There are several different ways to say it, as described here:

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E6%88%91%E5%9C%A8-%E5%B7%A5%E4%BD%9C-%E4%B8%8A%E7%8F%AD.3252308/

Talking

Beginner One of the first verbs learned by a newcomer to Chinese is 说话 (shuō huà). What happens when you reverse these characters? Or when you only use one? Different meanings emerge, demonstrating the complex relationship between characters and words in Chinese:

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E8%AF%B4%E8%AF%9D.1955938/

Mandarin Weekly #96

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #96, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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Guide to Pinyin

Beginner If you’re learning Chinese, then you’re likely using Pinyin, using Latin letters to represent Chinese sounds. Here is a guide to Pinyin, including some traps into which many native English speakers fall:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/pinyin-guide/

Using 总 (zǒng)

Intermediate The character 总is used in many words, as well as on its own. Here is an introduction to this impotant, frequently used character:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/all-about-the-use-of-zong/

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Transition words

Intermediate How do you get an elephant into the refrigerator? It’ll require several separate steps. In this combination video and blog post, we learn what those steps are, and which Chinese transition words are most appropriate for describing them:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/11/06/sequential-transition-words-first-of-all-and-then-next-lastly/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Big talker

Beginner Is someone you know bragging? You know, about winning the US presidential election, or something similar? Well, you can say that they are 吹牛 皮 (chuī niú pí):

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/11/11/slang-7/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Singles’ Day

Beginner Have you heard of “Singles’ Day”? It was on November 11th, aka 11/11, because of the four 1s in the date. It has become quite a shopping bonanza, thanks to the online sales. Here is some information, and vocabulary, about Singles’ Day:

http://www.hanbridgemandarin.com/article/chinese-learning-tips/chinese-vocabulary-for-singles-day/#

Twitter: @HanbridgeOnline

Mimicking native speakers

One of the best ways to sound more authentic and fluent is to listen to (and then mimic) native speakers. In the latest Hacking Chinese challenge, we’re asked to try to engage in intensive mimicking, to improve the way our Chinese sounds:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/chinese-mimicking-challenge-november-10th-30th/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Using pronouns

Intermediate Chinese pronouns are similar to those in English, but are used somewhat differently. Here are some examples of mistakes English speakers make when working with pronouns, and how to avoid them:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/11/10/why-chinese-and-english-speakers-use-pronouns-differently/

You paid how much?

Beginner If you’re shopping in China, then you’re probably looking for bargains. And many bargains aren’t advertised; you need to ask for them. How can you ask for a discount?

https://mandarinhq.com/2016/11/bargain-in-chinese/

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Lots of it

Beginner If you have a lot of something, you can use the phrase 多了去了 (duō le qù le), as described here:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/11/13/spoken-chinese-6/

Twitter: @eputonghua

It’s tough

Intermediate Are you having a dilemma? Unsure of what to do? The phrase 左右为难 (zuǒ yòu wéi nán) might well apply:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/11/09/idiom-15/

Twitter: @eputonghua

No 为!

Intermediate The character 为 can be pronounced in two different ways (no pun intended) — as wèi and wéi. What’s the difference between the two?

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/11/11/the-two-difference-pronunciations-of-%e4%b8%ba-wei-and-its-meanings/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Using 才 (cái)

Intermediate The character 才 can be used in a number of ways,

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/how-to-use-cai/

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Talking about sports

Beginner What sports do you play? In this video from eChineseLearning.com, you can learn to talk about them in Chinese:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qyo_wRUzrR8

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Enough!

Intermediate The word 够 (gòu) means “enough,” but it can be used in a variety of useful contexts:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/how-should-i-use-gou-as-a-verb/

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Drawers

Intermediate How do you say “drawers” (i.e., things in which you store things, such as clothing or papers)? The answer is more complicated than you might expect:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21788/what-is-this-called%e6%a9%b1or-%e6%8a%bd%e5%b1%89

Withdrawing money

Beginner How do you talk about withdrawing money, such as from an ATM? There are, of course, several ways to describe this action:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Chinese/comments/5cmdl4/whats_withdrawing_money_my_clients_said_something/

生产 (shēng chǎn) vs. 产生 (chǎn shēng)

Intermediate What is the difference between these two words?

https://www.reddit.com/r/Chinese/comments/5cfdif/%E7%94%9F%E4%BA%A7%E5%92%8C%E4%BA%A7%E7%94%9F%E6%9C%89%E4%BB%80%E4%B9%88%E4%B8%8D%E5%90%8C/

Why does Chinese still use characters?

An interesting discussion describing the good and bad points of Chinese characters:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Chinese/comments/5c8c3p/why_dont_the_chinese_adopt_a_phonetic_script/

Referring to family members

Intermediate How do you refer to family members? In particular, how would you refer to the husband of your maternal aunt in Chinese?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21779/is-there-any-difference-between-%e5%a7%a8%e4%b8%88-and-%e5%a7%a8%e5%a4%ab

Simple jokes

Intermediate Here are some wordplay-related jokes that you can enjoy in Chinese:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5c2sak/simple_mandarin_jokeswordplay/