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.

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.

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/

Mandarin Weekly #95

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #95, 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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Going to the supermarket

Beginner I love going to the supermarket when I’m visiting China; it’s both similar to my supermarket at home, and yet is so different. Here are some useful tips and vocabulary words to keep in mind when you next shop in China:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/food-vocabulary-and-shopping-in-a-chinese-supermarket/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Renting an apartment

Intermediate What questions should you ask before renting an apartment in China? I combination of vocabulary practice and insights into how you would go about renting a place to live:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/4-things-you-must-ask-when-renting-an-apartment-in-china

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Implicit and explicit learning

If your Chinese is going to improve, then you’ll have to use a combination of techniques. In this post, Olle Linge suggests what we can concentrate on to accelerate our learning, and how using both explicit and implicit techniques can help:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/learn-chinese-implicitly-exposure-seasoning-explicit-instruction/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Gotta go

Beginner Three words all describe going somewhere, but mean different things. Here’s an introduction to the differences between 走 (zǒu),去 (qù) and 到 (dào):

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/10/31/the-differences-between-%e5%8e%bb-qu-%e5%88%b0-dao-%e8%b5%b0-zou/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Socializing in China

Beginner How do Chinese people socialize? In all of the usual ways you would expect, but also in a few uniquely Chinese ways. Here is a description, plus vocabulary, for describing these Chinese forms of recreation:

http://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/4-Chinese-People-Socialize-Hangout-Friendship

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

More and more

Intermediate The word 越 (yuè) can be used in a few very useful ways, all of which have to do with something increasing over time:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/11/02/%e8%b6%8a-yue%e3%80%82%e3%80%82%e3%80%82%e8%b6%8a-yue%e3%80%82%e3%80%82more%e3%80%82%e3%80%82and-more%e3%80%82%e3%80%82%e3%80%82/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Using 把 (bǎ)

Intermediate The 把 construct allows you to change the order, and thus the emphasis, of a sentence. Here’s a guide to using this popular, and hard-to-understand (for many), grammar pattern:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/ba-chinese-grammar/

Workplace vocabulary

Beginner Ready to work in China? Here are some useful phrases and terms you can use when you’re getting ready to go to the office, or when you’re just setting up there:

https://mandarinhq.com/2016/11/describing-workday-mandarin-chinese/

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Chinese etiquette

Intermediate China has a long history and tradition of unwritten rules for social interactions. Here’s a guide, along with Chinese vocabulary, describing many of these behaviors, and how you can embrace them:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/chinese-etiquette-the-complete-guide/

Voting in Chinese

Planning to vote in the US presidential election? Or just to watch the results? Here are some useful election-related terms; whether you’re delighted or horrified by the results, at least you’ll know how to talk about them in Chinese:

http://www.thechairmansbao.com/us-election-chinese-vocabulary/

Twitter: @TheChairmansBao

Using 对 (duì) and 给 (gěi)

Intermediate The words 对 (duì) and 给 (gěi) are used in a variety of ways, including to indicate to whom an action is directed. In this video from HanbridgeMandarin.com, we get a better understanding of how and when to use them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLycU3vrRYA&feature=share

Twitter: @HanbridgeOnline

Nursery rhyme

Intermediate Enjoy this Chinese nursery rhyme, 大 风车 (dà fēngchē), with characters, pinyin, and translation:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/chinese-nursery-rhyme-da-fengchethe-big-pinwheel

Twitter: @ECLSchool

How have you been?

Intermediate A love song sung by 周兴哲 (Zhou Xingzhe), with characters, pinyin, and translation:

http://www.chinesetolearn.com/%e4%bd%a0%ef%bc%8c%e5%a5%bd%e4%b8%8d%e5%a5%bd%ef%bc%9f-ni-hao-bu-hao-%e5%91%a8%e5%85%b4%e5%93%b2-zhou-xingzhe-eric-chou-lyrics-pinyin-english-translatioin-also-english-versio/

Twitter: @ChineseToLearn

Breaking up

Intermediate It’s always hard to end a relationship — but thanks to this video from ChineseClass101.com, at least you’ll know how to do so in Chinese:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJzaRT1uuXQ

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Too late!

Intermediate Is it too late to do something? Use the phrase 来不及 (lái bu jí) to indicate that:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/11/01/grammar-40/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Using 的 (de) with people

Beginner The word 的 is used as a possessive, but when we’re describing people, we don’t always have to use it. When can we ignore it?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21711/using-%e7%9a%84-with-people

Are months 月 (yuè) or 月份 (yuè fèn)?

Advanced Which word should be used when talking about months? The answer, of course, depends:

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E6%9C%88-%E6%9C%88%E4%BB%BD-in-month-names.1410353/

One’s tone

Beginner How does the tone for 一 change, based on the following character’s tone?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/pronunciation-%E4%B8%80%E4%B8%AA-%E5%9B%9B%E4%B8%AA.3247682/

Chinese book club

Advanced Want to read and discuss a book in Chinese with other learners? This month’s book 临界·爵迹 by 郭敬民:

https://np.reddit.com/r/chinesebookclub/comments/5b03m5/the_november_book_is_%E4%B8%B4%E7%95%8C%E7%88%B5%E8%BF%B9_by_%E9%83%AD%E6%95%AC%E6%B0%91/

Organizational terms

Intermediate Someone asked a question about organizational terms, and the answers provided some insights into when and how to use each of them:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5ac1ld/%E8%AF%B7%E9%97%AE%E6%9C%BA%E5%85%B3%E6%9C%BA%E6%9E%84%E9%83%A8%E9%97%A8%E5%8D%95%E4%BD%8D%E6%9C%89%E4%BB%80%E4%B9%88%E4%B8%8D%E4%B8%80%E6%A0%B7/

Bots

Advanced Software “bots,” which answer questions and otherwise interact with people and computers automatically, are a growing trend. How do you say “bot” in Chinese?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21756/how-do-you-say-bot-in-chinese

Get the bonus content:

Mandarin Weekly #94

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #94, 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 others:

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.

Get the bonus content: Mandarin Weekly #94 links

Advice and opinions

Intermediate How can you express your opinion in Chinese? There are many verbs and nouns, each of which expresses a slightly different idea. Here is a collection of such words, along with many examples of how and when to use them:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/what-do-you-think-giving-advice-sharing-opinions-in-chinese/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Passive voice

Intermediate Constructing passive sentences in Chinese typically uses the character 被 (bèi). Here are two introductions to this structure:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/%e8%a2%ab-bei-passive-structures-chinese/

http://www.digmandarin.com/chinese-bei-structure.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Is that really helping?

Beginner One word can make a difference: 帮忙 (bāng máng) means to help. But 帮倒忙(bāng dào máng) means that your help is more problem than solution. This description is followed by a nice introduction to “help” in Chinese:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/10/24/thanks-for-nothing/

Words fail me

Intermediate You know how sometimes people say things to you that are so shocking, stunning, or ridiculous that you’re at a loss for words? That happens in Chinese as well, and there’s a great phrase to express that:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/10/25/%e7%9c%9f%e6%8b%bf%e4%bd%a0%e6%b2%a1%e5%8a%9e%e6%b3%95-i-give-in-you-leave-me-speechless-in-an-awkward-way/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Doctor, doctor

Advanced China seems to be suffering from many cases of silly-name-condition-itis. In this humorous blog post, we find out about new “diseases” and “conditions” in modern China:

http://carlgene.com/blog/2016/10/random-trivia-12-interesting-conditions/

Twitter: @carlfordham

From comfortable to fluent

How do you move from comfortable use of Chinese in everyday conversations, to fluency? Olle Linge summarizes his Chinese-learning biography with suggestions for how you can achieve true fluency:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/how-i-learnt-chinese-part-7-teaching-writing-learning/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Sounding more polite

Intermediate Want to take a rough, or commanding, edge off of your statements? Use 一下 (yī xià) after a verb, and you’ll sound more natural and friendly, as we learn in this video from LearnChineseNow.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0GMSQy7hnE

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Unexpected

Intermediate Did things turn out differently than you expected? A good phrase to know is 事与愿违 (shì yǔ yuàn wéi):

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/10/30/idiom-12/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Measure word 包 (bāo)

Beginner A bundle. A packet. A sack. All of these terms, more or less, are covered by the measure word 包, which can be used in a variety of ways:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/10/29/measure-word-bao/

Twitter: @eputonghua

Chinese cinema

Want to improve your Chinese, or at least your knowledge of Chinese culture? Here is a list of must-see Chinese movies:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/chinese-movies/

Radicals and stroke order

Beginner If you want to read Chinese well, then you’ll need to identify radicals (and non-radical components) in characters. This post introduces many popular characters and their radical forms, and also mentions stroke order:

https://www.asianlanguageschool.com/chinese-characters-radicals-stroke-order/

Twitter: @AlsSydney

Glossika review

Intermediate Many people learning Chinese, looking to further their education, turn to Glossika. Here is a review of Glossika’s Chinese lessons, with the pros and cons laid out clearly:

http://www.fluentinmandarin.com/content/get-beyond-beginner-stage-language-review-glossika/

Twitter: @Fluent_Mandarin

Western food

Beginner If you’re in China, then you’re probably enjoying great Chinese food. But sometimes, you want to have some Western cuisine. How do you say your favorite Western foods in Chinese?

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-vocabulary-western-food/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Why not just Pinyin?

Beginner When you first start to learn Chinese, you discover that you can read the language with characters (hard!) or Pinyin (much easier). So, why not just use Pinyin? Some ideas and resources on this subject:

https://chinesepod.com/blog/pinyin-just-isnt-enough/

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Using question words as pronouns

Beginner You can use “who,” “what,” and “how” words in Chinese (谁, 什么, and 怎么) as pronouns, or fillers, in your sentences, as described here:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/52661-flexible-use-of-interrogative-pronouns-%E8%B0%81%EF%BC%8C%E4%BB%80%E4%B9%88%EF%BC%8C%E6%80%8E%E4%B9%88%EF%BC%8C%E5%93%AA%E5%84%BF/

Potay-to, Potah-to

Beginner How do you say “potato” in Chinese? There are two terms to know:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Chinese/comments/59w8oh/%E9%A9%AC%E9%93%83%E8%96%AF_vs_%E5%9C%9F%E8%B1%86_any_difference/

Characters vs. pinyin

Beginner Does wǔ mean “dance” or “five”? With Pinyin, it’s not so clear. But with characters, it is. But wait, what about when you’re speaking (or listening)? A discussion of two characters, pinyin, and learning to listen for context:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/599syd/noob_question_wu3_5_or_dance/

Non-simple zero

Beginner Characters for numbers are pretty simple. Why, then, is the character for zero (零) so complex?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5949c9/why_didnt_%E9%9B%B6_get_simplified/

What does 子 do?

Beginner Many nouns consist of one character, followed by 子 (zi). What does this character do? Does it have any other uses?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/58zjdd/what_is_the_purpose_of_%E5%AD%90/

Get the bonus content: Mandarin Weekly #94 links

Mandarin Weekly #93

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #93, with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

More than 3,500 people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly. If you enjoy it, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

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.

As of last week, we’re also on Medium! Check out http://medium.com/@mandarinweekly, and read/recommend us there, if you prefer.

Giveaway: Five one-year subscriptions to Zizzle App!

This week’s giveaway is a one-year subscription to Zizzle App, a new smartphone app for learning to read Chinese. Five readers of Mandarin Weekly will receive a free subscription, for either iOS or Android!

ImageEveryone 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.

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 the giveaway by going here:

http://mandarinweekly.com/giveaways/win-a-one-year-subscription-to-zizzle-app-and-improve-your-chinese-reading-faster-than-ever/

When you don’t know the character

Intermediate If you’re like me, then you often find yourself faced with a character (or word) that you cannot read. Here are some excellent strategies for getting around this problem:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/10/21/instantly-improve-your-chinese-reading-without-studying-more-characters/

Understanding 过

Intermediate The character 过 (guò) not only means “pass,” but also indicates that the preceding verb happened in the past. At the same time, it’s not quite the past tense. In this video from LearnChineseNow.com, we get an introduction to 过, and a better understanding of how and when to use it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcbjsEG45Ao

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Mimicking native speakers

Want to improve your pronunciation, and sound more like a native Chinese speaker? Of course! But how can you do that? In this post, we get some tips for sounding like a native by listening to natives:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/mimicking-native-speakers-way-learning-chinese/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Tone changes

Beginner You’ve probably be taught that 不 (bù) is always pronounced with a 4th tone, right? Well, that’s mostly true. Sometimes, though, its tone changes. Here’s a fuller explanation:

https://ninchanese.com/blog/2016/10/19/ask-nincha-tone-sandhi-chinese/

Twitter: @ninchanese

Bad news

Intermediate You need to say that something is unfortunate, or a shame? 真不巧 (zhēn bù qiǎo) is a good phrase for you:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/10/16/%e7%9c%9f%e4%b8%8d%e5%b7%a7-unfortunately-such-a-shame/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Better memory, better Chinese

From ChinesePod.com, we get the second installment of a video interview/discussion with memory master Simon Reinhard, whose tips can help us (I hope!) to learn more Chinese, faster:

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

Twitter: @ChinesePod

What to see in Xi’an

Traveling to Xi’an? This ancient city has lots to see and do. Here are some highlights of what you can expect to see, including useful vocabulary:

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

The story of 平 (píng)

Beginner The character 平 is an ancient one; tracing through its history can give you some interesting insights into modern form and usage:

http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2016/10/on-the-character-%e5%b9%b3/

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Or vs. or

Beginner There are two forms of “or” in Chinese: One, 还是 (hái shì), is for asking questions, and the other, 或者 (huò zhě), is for describing two things in a statement. Here’s a fuller explanation and introduction to these words:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/10/19/the-differences-between-%e6%88%96%e8%80%85-and-%e8%bf%98%e6%98%af-a-or-b/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Often

Beginner We think of the term “often” as a single idea, but Chinese actually uses two different words to express it: 常常(cháng cháng) and 往往(wǎng wǎng). How are they different, and in which context should you use each one, is explained here:

http://www.digmandarin.com/often-in-chinese.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Famous people

Chinese history is long and full of many people. But some of those famous people stick out in particular, even becoming part of everyday conversation. Here are some names you should know, and how (and when) you can drop their names:

http://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/5-Chinese-Historical-Figures-Learn-Chinese

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

A famous chef speaks

Advanced In this 4.5-minute video, chef and restaurant owner 吴国平 (Wú Guópíng) introduces himself, as well as his philosophy of cooking and managing restaurants:

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

None of your business!

Intermediate The phrase 不关你的事 (bù guān nǐ de shì) means, “It’s not your matter,” or (more colloquially), “It’s none of your business.” Here is a fuller explanation:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/10/21/chinese-phrase-none-of-your-business/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Just kidding!

Beginner Did you make a joke in Chinese? Did your friends not realize that you were joking? Perhaps you should clue them in, by telling them you were only joking:

https://ninchanese.com/blog/2016/10/19/say-people-make-joke-china/

Twitter: @ninchanese

Making jokes

Beginner For me, one of the fascinating parts of learning Chinese is how characters come together to make a word — and that word often describes the bigger idea. Here’s an example, the word 玩笑 (wán xiào), to make a joke:

https://ninchanese.com/blog/2016/10/20/chinese-word-building-howto-say-to-joke/

Twitter: @ninchanese

Dial “I” for “incomprehensible”

Intermediate This is a fun little Web page: It starts off with a large number of fairly well-known characters. But using a slider, you can replace any number of those characters with obscure ones, dialing yourself a custom level of (in)comprehensible text:

https://www.primlo.com/blog/reading-chinese-at-different-levels-of-comprehension/

Some, not one

Beginner When should you use the word 些(xiē) to describe some things? Is it mandatory?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E5%81%9A-%E4%BA%9B-%E4%BB%80%E4%B9%88.3242221/

Children’s TV

Beginner Looking for Chinese-language children’s TV shows, either for yourself or for young students of Chinese? Here are some useful suggestions, both of native Chinese shows and some (e.g., Peppa Pig) that have been dubbed:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/58n0aw/chinese_childrens_tv_show/

Differentiating between consonants

Beginner Chinese has some sounds that don’t exist in Western languages, and which sound similar to others. For example, “ch” and “q” are similar, but distinct. How can you pronounce these — and how can you train yourself to hear the differences?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/58h3yw/cant_notice_different_beetween_z_c_j_and_q/

It depends

Intermediate How would you say “it depends” in Chinese?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5873d0/could_someone_explain_exactly_how_to_express/

Throwing money away

Intermediate This short discussion was based in part on a typo in someone’s book, which used the term 废 钱 (fèi qián). However, I found it useful to learn about the character 废:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21607/what-is-meant-by-%e5%ba%9f%e9%92%b1

Let’s talk later

Intermediate To chat is 聊天 (liáo tiān), but if you want to chat later, where does the 天 go? A short conversation about word order:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21552/%e8%81%8a%e5%a4%a9%e4%b8%80%e4%bc%9a%e5%84%bf-or-%e8%81%8a%e4%b8%80%e4%bc%9a%e5%84%bf%e5%a4%a9

Pining for the fjords

Intermediate In English, we can say “passed away” as a softer version of “die.” How can we express the same softness in Chinese?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21515/what-is-the-polite-way-to-say-a-grandparent-has-passed-away

How much?

Beginner We can ask quantity questions with either 几 (jǐ) or 多少 (duō shǎo). When is each appropriate?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21509/when-should-i-use-%e5%a4%9a%e5%b0%91-or-%e5%87%a0

Mandarin Weekly #92

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #92, with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

More than 3,000 people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly. If you enjoy it, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

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.

Reading Chinese

Beginner Some people say that reading Chinese is so difficult that it’s better to learn just to speak it. But reading Chinese brings numerous benefits, above and beyond being able to read signs in China and write to your friends and colleagues there. Here is a summary of the benefits, along with strategies for improving your reading:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/10/12/learn-chinese-reading/

Twitter: @FluentU

I want it!

Beginner There are two words that express wanting something in Chinese, 想 (xiǎng) and 要 (yào). When do we use each? This video, from LearnChineseNow.com, provides some good examples, to help us distinguish between them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb8BPhOohHs

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Tone problems

Ah, tones! They are so important in Chinese (because they affect a word’s meaning), but they’re so hard for non-native speakers to use. Even when you remember a word’s tone perfectly, instincts from your native language may creep in, affecting your tones. Here are seven tone problems, and some suggestions for how to avoid them:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/7-kinds-tone-problems/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Ongoing action

Intermediate How do you express ongoing action in Chinese? In English, we would use a verb ending with “ing.” In Chinese, it’s a bit more complex, but this video and post explain it quite well:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/10/15/the-ing-in-chinese-%e5%9c%a8-and-%e7%9d%80/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

How are you doing?

Beginner How can you ask someone how they’re doing in Chinese? There are a variety of options, as demonstrated in this short video:

https://mandarinhq.com/2016/10/9-chinese-questions-find-someone/

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

New forum

Want to discuss Chinese in Chinese? Check out YapChina, a new forum in which people learning Chinese can try out their language skills:

http://yapchina.com/index.php

Science fiction

Beginner How do you say “science fiction” in Chinese? Learn this, and about famous Chinese science fiction author 刘慈欣, (Cixin Liu), here:

https://ninchanese.com/blog/2016/10/12/science-fiction-chinese-learn-word/

Twitter: @ninchanese

Everyone complains about the weather…

Intermediate It’s typical for new students to learn the words for “rain” and “snow,” as well as “hot” and “cold.” But what if you dislike the weather? How can you complain about it in Chinese? Here is a useful guide, with vocabulary and examples:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/learn-how-to-complain-about-the-weather-in-chinese/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Autumn foliage

Intermediate It’s autumn in China, which means that in many places, the leaves are turning colors. Here is a collection of beautiful autumn photographs, with the place names and descriptions in Chinese:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/10/15/travel-3/

Surfing the waves

Intermediate How do you say “surfing” in Chinese? Not only does this give you a chance to learn a new word, but you can also see how words are formed:

https://ninchanese.com/blog/2016/10/12/chinese-word-building-surf/

Twitter: @ninchanese

You rock!

Intermediate A new, fun expression — and a cute story about how it was created:

https://ninchanese.com/blog/2016/10/11/expression-lihailewodegege/

Twitter: @ninchanese

Why? Because!

Beginner A short, but good, introduction to the construct 因为 (yīn wèi). . . 所以 (suǒ yǐ):

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/10/10/%e5%9b%a0%e4%b8%ba%e3%80%82%e3%80%82%e6%89%80%e4%bb%a5%e3%80%82%e3%80%82because-so/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Try your luck

Intermediate Do you feel lucky? If you want to try your luck, you can use the phrase 碰碰运气 (pèng pèng yùn qì):

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/10/13/slang-peng-peng-yun-qi/

Measure words

Beginner What are measure words? How do we use them? And what are the most common measure words? This short video introduces the idea, and some examples:

http://www.hanbridgemandarin.com/course/demo/common-chinese-measure-word

Twitter: @HanbridgeOnline

的, 地, and 得

Beginner These three characters are all pronounced “de,” and they all help to modify other words. But how do we use each of them?

http://www.hanbridgemandarin.com/course/demo/de-de-de

Twitter: @HanbridgeOnline

Stood someone up?

Intermediate Did you fail to show up for a meeting? Here’s a great phrase in Chinese that you can use to describe it:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/10/12/%e6%94%be%e9%b8%bd%e5%ad%90-to-release-a-pigeon/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Working in Chinese

Many people learn Chinese so that they can use it in their work. But what do you need to do in order to get to that point, to have enough Chinese fluency in order to use it every day, in a job? An interesting collection of experiences:

https://chinesepod.com/blog/jobs-requiring-chinese-so-you-want-to-work-in-chinese/

Twitter: @ChinesePod

80% comprehension

Advanced We might think that at the 80% comprehension level, we can figure out the rest from context. But it turns out that if we don’t understand 20%, we are missing out on a lot, as John Pasden demonstrates:

http://www.sinosplice.com/life/archives/2016/10/13/simulating-80-comprehension-in-chinese

Visiting Xi’an

Traveling to China? You might want to stop in 西安 (xī ān), an ancient city with many interesting things to see. Here’s a photo tour with Xi’an-related vocabulary:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/48-hours-in-xian-part-two/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Ticket scalpers

Beginner How do you describe scalping tickets in Chinese? As oxen, of course! The full story, along with examples of how to use this word, are here:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/tickets-are-sold-out-better-find-a-huangniudang

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Chinese languages

Is Chinese a language? A set of languages? A family of dialects? These questions are common among newcomers to Chinese, but also among natives. What’s not debated is the fact that there are many dialects, each of which is spoken in a different area of China. Here is a map and discussion of where each dialect is spoken, and some details about it:

http://www.digmandarin.com/how-to-learn-chinese-regional-dialects.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Improve your memory, improve your Chinese

Learning Chinese requires memorizing a lot of stuff. If you can improve your memory, then your Chinese will probably improve as well, right? In this video from ChinesePod.com, a memory master suggests some ways that you can improve your recall, and thus improve your Chinese more quickly:

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

Twitter: @ChinesePod

 

 

“in” vs. “ing” endings

Do native Chinese speakers distinguish significantly between the “in” and “ing” endings? If so, where and how?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/pinyin-pronunciation-in-ing.3239142/

Saying “again”

Intermediate The words 再 (zài) and 又 (yòu) both mean “again,” but are used differently. How?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E5%86%8D-%E5%8F%88.3238572/

Bothering you

Beginner Why would I use the phrase 麻烦你 (má fan nǐ)?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21470/what-does-%e9%ba%bb%e7%83%a6%e4%bd%a0%e4%ba%86-mean

哥 or 哥哥?

Beginner The word 哥哥 (gē) means “older brother,” but you can also say just “哥.” What’s the difference?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21433/difference-between-%e5%93%a5-and-%e5%93%a5%e5%93%a5

Using 成语

Intermediate 成语 (chéng yǔ) are four-character expressions. They can be interesting and even poetic, but how often are they really used in conversation?

https://www.reddit.com/r/Chinese/comments/578k93/practical_uses_of_%E6%88%90%E8%AF%AD/

Computer words

Intermediate If you work in the computer industry and want to know technology-related terms, here is a discussion of where you can find them:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/57enoe/it_vocab/

Words your teacher never taught you

What are some cool words you’ve learned, but which you aren’t likely to learn in class? This discussion raised some fun ones:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/574ml1/stuff_you_dont_find_in_textbooks/

Mandarin Weekly #91

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #91, with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

More than 2,500 people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly. If you enjoy it, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

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

Giveaway: “Hacking Chinese” ebook

Our latest giveaway is for Olle Linge’s “Hacking Chinese” book.  Want to enter? Just go to our giveaway page!

There are lots of resources out there for learning Chinese. But resources aren’t enough: You also need a strategy. A direction. A way of prioritizing your use of learning materials, so that you can achieve the greatest degree of fluency in the least amount of time.

Enter Olle Linge, whose site ”Hacking Chinese” is one of the best known, and most consistently excellent, sources for such strategies. Linge has learned Chinese, and has also learned how to teach Chinese — and along the way, has discovered and written about numerous techniques that can make your Chinese-learning experience faster, smoother, and more productive.

In his ebook, also called ”Hacking Chinese,” you get hundreds of pages full of practical advice for structuring your Chinese learning. How should you approach characters? How can you surround yourself with Chinese, even if you’re living outside of a Chinese-speaking country? What is the best way to practice your listening comprehension?

I learned a great deal from this book, and am sure that no matter what level of Chinese you have, you’ll gain a great deal from it, as well. That’s why I’m delighted to announce that we will be giving away three copies of the “Hacking Chinese” ebook.

If you’re already learning Chinese, but want to improve how you’re learning, then this is a great book to get. As with all of our giveaways, you get additional chances to win for every friend you get to enter! Share the giveaway with your friends, and increase your odds of getting this book.

If you want even more than the book, there’s a full-blown ”Hacking Chinese” video course. As an extra offer on top of this giveaway, Olle is offering Mandarin Weekly readers a discount of $10 from the course through Thursday, October 13th; just use the coupon code MANDARINWEEKLY to get the discount.

The giveaway ends on Monday, October 17th. Go to the giveaway page, and enter to receive one of three copies of the “Hacking Chinese” book.

Gossip!

Intermediate Have you seen what he’s wearing? Or how she talks about herself? Or what about that show-off in the marketing department? We all love to gossip, and with this vocabulary list, you’ll be able to gossip in Chinese in no time:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/chinese-words-gossiping-friends/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Come again?

Beginner So, you’ve learned some Chinese, you go to China, you start to speak with someone, and then (horrors!) they answer you. The problem? They are so impressed by your Chinese, that they speak at native speed, with word you haven’t yet learned. How can you ask someone to slow down, or tell them that you don’t understand?

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/10/03/please-speak-slowly-i-dont-understand-a-single-thing/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Using 了 (le)

Beginner The use of 了 (le) can be difficult for many people learning Chinese. In this video from MandarinMonkey.com, we get additional insights into when and how to use 了 — this time, in describing things that are “too much”:

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

Twitter: @Mandarin_Monkey

Small talk

Intermediate When your Chinese gets good enough to start having simple conversations with friends and coworkers, you’ll need a stable of words and topics to include (and avoid). This post provides an introduction to small talk in Chinese:

http://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/How-To-Make-Small-Talk-In-Chinese-Conversation

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Business etiquette

Going to have a meeting in China? Make sure you’re familiar with Chinese etiquette — what to say, who to greet (and how), and not to offend anyone by mistake. And of course, use the appropriate Chinese phrases:

http://www.digmandarin.com/chinese-business-culture-etiquette.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Internet slang

Intermediate The Internet is, of course, causing many changes throughout the world. In China, one of those changes is the rapid introduction and use of new words. Here is a list of new words that have taken hold online:

http://www.digmandarin.com/popular-chinese-words-internet.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Using 就 (jiù)

Beginner The word 就 (jiù) has many uses and meanings, and learning to use it can take some time. In this video from LearnChineseNow.com, we get an explanation and examples of how to use 就:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPEaP1IC_6s

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Character challenge

Olle Linge has a new challenge: Work on learning and reviewing as many characters as possible! Learn more, and sign up, here:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/chinese-character-challenge-october-10th-31st/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Improving your reading

How can and should you approach improving your Chinese reading?

http://www.hackingchinese.com/introduction-extensive-reading-chinese-learners/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Other than that…

Intermediate Ever want to answer a question with a two-part answer? That second part will often start with, “besides…” In this post + video, we learn how to use 再说 (zài shuō) to connect two thoughts in this way:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/10/07/4-chinese-transition-words-for-besides%ef%bc%8c-moreover/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Add oil!

Beginner A phrase that you’re likely to hear is 加油 (jiā yóu). This literally means to “add oil,” but it is really used to talk about encouraging someone, or rooting for your favorite team. More on 加油 here:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/10/02/one-chinese-word-you-really-should-know/

Using 把 (bǎ)

Intermediate For many people learning Chinese, the 把 (bǎ) structure is daunting. How do we use it to alter the standard subject-verb-object word order?

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/how-to-use-the-ba-structure/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

“Erhua” words

Intermediate The Beijing dialect often adds an 儿 (er) sound to the ends of words. But which words? Here is a list of 100 words that end with 儿, which can help you to sound a bit more native:

http://www.chinesehskblog.com/2016/10/vocabulary-100-chinese-erhuayin-words.html

Chinese calendar

You often hear about the “Chinese New Year” and “lunar months,” but what do those really mean? And why don’t they align with the standard (Gregorian) calendar we use? Here is an explanation, along with vocabulary to understand it better:

http://nihaohello.blogspot.com/2016/10/chinese-calendar-nongli.html

Twitter: @NihaoHello

Love in spring

Intermediate It might be autumn in the northern hemisphere, but here’s a song about love and springtime — with a video, pinyin, characters, and translation:

http://www.chinesetolearn.com/%e6%8b%9c%e8%a8%aa%e6%98%a5%e5%a4%a9-bai-fang-chuntian-visit-spring-%e6%96%bd%e5%ad%9d%e6%a6%ae-shi-xiaorong-lyrics-pinyin-english-translation/

Twitter: @ChineseToLearn

Complements

Intermediate While Chinese verbs aren’t inflected, they can take a number of complements — characters and words that come afterward, which describe the action’s time, quantity, or direction:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/10/02/complement-%e8%a1%a5%e8%af%ad-chinese-grammar-point/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Week

Intermediate The words 周 (zhōu) and 星期 (xīng qī) can both mean “week.” What’s the difference between them?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21318/whats-the-difference-between-%e5%91%a8-and-%e6%98%9f%e6%9c%9f

Placing

Advanced What’s the difference between 摆 (bǎi) and 放(fàng)?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21372/is-there-a-difference-between-%e6%91%86-and-%e6%94%be

Chinese book club

Advanced Looking to read more in Chinese, and to discuss the book with others? This month, the Chinese book club is reading 蒙着眼睛的旅行者 by 朱岳

https://np.reddit.com/r/chinesebookclub/comments/56a52z/this_october_we_are_reading_%E8%92%99%E7%9D%80%E7%9C%BC%E7%9D%9B%E7%9A%84%E6%97%85%E8%A1%8C%E8%80%85_by_%E6%9C%B1%E5%B2%B3/

Only speaking Chinese

Beginner Is it possible to learn Chinese only as a spoken language, without learning to read and write it?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5604jb/only_speakinglistening_chinese_language/

Pouring

Beginner How can we say that we want to pour a liquid? As always, there are multiple ways to describe this action:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/55wosi/looking_for_the_correct_way_to_say_pour/

What mistakes do natives make?

Those of us learning Chinese make mistakes all of the time. But what mistakes do native speakers commonly make?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/55ghug/what_are_some_common_chinese_mistakes_that_native/

Using 刚 (gāng) and 了

Advanced If you want to say that you “just did X,” do you use 刚 (gāng) and also 了? Or is 刚 sufficient on its own?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E4%BD%A0%E5%88%9A%E8%B5%B7%E5%BA%8A-%E4%BA%86-%E5%90%97%EF%BC%9F.3236789/

Natives learning tones

Do native Chinese speakers learn the tones at school, at home (via conversation), or both?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21351/do-native-speakers-learn-about-4-tones-in-school-or-do-they-naturally-pick-them

Mandarin Weekly #90

chinese-learning大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #90, with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

More than 2,000 people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly. If you enjoy it, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

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

Sponsor

ImageThe Chairman’s Bao is the first online Chinese newspaper, written and simplified for students of Mandarin. With an archive of over 1,300 HSK (3-6+) graded news-based lessons, with up to five more published daily, TCB has four times more content than any other Chinese news-based reader. Throw in cross-platform access and synchronization – website, iOS and Android apps – as well as a whole host of exclusive features to aid language learning such as: comprehensive grammar points, live dictionary, and intelligent flashcard system, TCB is the ultimate Chinese learning companion. Learn in a way that’s compelling, engaging and current. I highly recommend this resource, especially if you wish to really improve your reading and listening skills in a fun and contextual manner!

Happy National Day!

Beginner If you’re in China, then you’re celebrating “National Day” this week. Here are some words and phrase, from ChineseClass101.com, s to describe National Day and what’s happening then:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH7hL7nRpCM

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Say “ahhh”

Intermediate Don’t feel good? Need to go to the doctor in China? Here are some useful words and phrases that’ll help you get through your visit in Chinese:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/words-phrases-visiting-doctor-chinese/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Annoying

Intermediate The word 烦 (fán) means to “annoy,” and can thus be of great use when dealing with anyone from salespeople to friends — either to tell them that they’re annoying you, or that you’re sorry for annoying them with your request:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/09/26/being-pissed-off-and-being-polite-with-one-word/

So long, farewell

Beginner How do you say “goodbye” in Chinese? The simple answer is 再见(zài jiàn), but there are other words and phrases you can use, as well:

https://ninchanese.com/blog/2016/09/27/10-ways-to-say-goodbye-in-mandarin/

Twitter: @ninchanese

Biggest, best, lesson ever

Intermediate How can you say that something is the most, the biggest, the most extreme? This video from ChinesePod.com describes useful Chinese terms for this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKx0a2Rsl6I

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Not too short, please

Intermediate I’ve never gotten a haircut in China — partly because I’m sure that I’ll say something wrong, and end up looking different than I want. Here’s a video with some useful haircut-related vocabulary that can come in handy, to ensure you get the look you want:

https://mandarinhq.com/2016/09/14-phrases-getting-haircut-mandarin-chinese/

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

US elections

Advanced The US presidential election is in full force. Don’t depend on people in China for great political punditry, but this article includes some interesting reactions from Chinese citizens who watched the debate, and described their thoughts in Chinese:

http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2016/09/debate-reactions-from-the-middle-kingdom/

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Lucky and unlucky numbers

Intermediate If you visit China, you’ll quickly discover that people love the number 8, and hate the number 4. (On my first visit to China, my client very excitedly told me that their office was on the 8th floor.) Why do numbers have this significance, and what else should you know about it? LearnChineseNow.com has a video that’ll explain all:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wf13M4MoHS4

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

From all over

Intermediate How can you say “from everywhere” in Chinese? The phrase 五湖四海 (wǔ hú sì hǎi) is what you want:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/10/02/idiom-wu-hu-si-hai/

Very convincing

Intermediate Are you sure about something? I mean, really sure? I mean, completely convinced? If so, then you are 心服口服 (xīn fú kǒu fú):

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/09/27/idiom-xin-fu-kou-fu/

Simple dialogues

Beginner Here are some simple, two-sentence dialogues, along with questions, to test your reading ability and vocabulary:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/09/26/i-thought-i-have-learnt-chinese-well/

Driving in China

Beginner It’s hard enough to cross the street in China; driving there takes true nerves of steel. As if that’s not enough, you need to know some Chinese words and phrases about driving:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/5-must-know-basic-expressions-for-driving-in-china

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Snakes with feet

Intermediate A children’s story about snakes and feet, from eChineseLearning.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMSF8RI_ZxA

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Using 在

Intermediate To newcomers to Chinese, zai (zài) can be confusing. That’s because it can be used in a number of ways, including as both a verb and as a preposition. This post and video give numerous, useful examples:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/09/30/mr-preposition-%e5%9c%a8/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Movie words

Intermediate Want to see a movie? Want to make a movie? Here are some useful film-related terms in Chinese:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/10/01/glossary-chinese-filmmaking-terminology/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Useful idioms

Intermediate As you become more fluent, you’ll want to express increasingly complex ideas using idioms. Here are several that you can already start to incorporate into your speech:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/5-awesome-chinese-idioms/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Learning via board games

Intermediate It’s often said that you can (should) surround yourself with as much Chinese as possible, to improve your fluency. Here’s an idea: Play board games in Chinese! You’ll not only have fun, but improve your language skills:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/learning-chinese-playing-board-games/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

What’s the point?

Intermediate How do you describe percentages, and/or the decimal point, in Chinese?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E7%99%BE%E5%88%86%E7%82%B9.3233517/

Character origins

Intermediate Chinese characters have evolved over time, and the history of their forms can be fascinating. Where can you learn about this history?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21296/where-to-look-for-history-and-etymology-of-chinese-symbols-for-example-%e5%b7%a5

Using 当

Intermediate The character 当(dāng) can be used in a number of ways, and helps to make your sentences richer. Some examples:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Chinese/comments/54ir0r/how_to_use_%E5%BD%93_in_a_sentence/

Delicious!

Beginner How can you say that something tastes good in Chinese? Here are a variety of words and phrases that get this idea across:

http://chinesefor.us/lessons/ways-say-delicious-chinese-yummy-tasty/

Twitter: @chinese4us

Surviving

Advanced What’s the best way to talk about surviving a natural disaster?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21257/is-there-a-better-word-than-%e7%94%9f%e5%ad%98-for-uses-such-as-i-survived-the-typhoon

Drinking

Advanced The verbs 喝 (hē) and 飲 (yǐn) both mean “to drink.” What’s the difference between them?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21247/what-is-the-difference-between-%e5%96%9d-and-%e9%a5%ae

Traditional Chinese readers

Advanced Where can you find readers (i.e., books for learners) in traditional Chinese?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/54dhek/traditional_chinese_readers_recommendations/