Mandarin Weekly #89

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #89, wchinese-learningith links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your fellow students of Chinese, and with your teacher! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

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This week’s links include a level indicator, saying either “beginner” or “intermediate.” Feedback on the accuracy of these labels will be greatly appreciated; just reply to this e-mail to indicate what you thought. Also, we’re always looking for advanced resources to fill out our list; if you know of blogs or sites we should be checking, just let us know, and we’ll try to include them.

Have you filled our our survey?

The online survey of Mandarin Weekly readers will be up for one more week. I’m already acting on some of the received suggestions, such as the indication of Chinese level for each posting. If you haven’t yet filled it out, please do so here:

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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!

Online HSK1 course

Beginner Are you still at the earliest stages of learning Chinese? Peking University is offering an HSK1 (i.e., beginner) online course via Coursera. The video lectures and course materials appear to be available for free, to anyone who registers:

https://zh.coursera.org/learn/hsk-1

Delicious measure words

Beginner Measure words are important, and you’ll find many different kinds when you go out to eat. Here is a collection of useful food- and drink-related measure words from ChinesePod:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzc5k4QbH6U

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Deciphering menus

Intermediate So, you go to a restaurant in China, and you’re handed a menu. Now is when your Chinese reading skills are really put to the test. However, understanding a menu is easier when you get how Chinese meals are constructed, and what types of food will be offered:

https://chinesepod.com/blog/6-simple-tricks-deciphering-chinese-menu/

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Mocking yourself (and others)

Intermediate I often use self-deprecating humor when I lecture. How can we say this in Chinese? Moreover, how can we say that someone is teasing you, or that you are teasing them? The word 黑 (hēi), which means “black,” is the key:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/show-humility-and-learn-self-mockery

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Understanding 才 (cái)

Intermediate The word 才 (cái) means “only,” but not exactly “only” in the English-language sense. This video from LearnChineseNow.com provides an introduction an explanation of when and how to use 才:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebwgMkQ3jMo

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Family tree

Intermediate When I started to learn Chinese, and asked how you say the word “brother,” I was surprised to discover that there are different words for “older brother” and “younger brother.” Other relatives are often described based on their relative age, as well as whether they’re from your mother’s or father’s side. This can all get confusing, so the following post and chart is handy:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/what-should-we-call-friends-and-family-members-in-chinese/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Different types of thinking

Intermediate The verb “think” has a number of different meanings, and Chinese uses different words for each. In this video, we learn the differences between them:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/09/24/different-words-for-to-think-in-chinese/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Saying @

Beginner How do you pronounce the symbol @ in Chinese?

http://nihaohello.blogspot.com/2016/09/how-do-you-say-in-chinese.html

Twitter: @NihaoHello

Multitasking

Intermediate How can you describe doing two things at once? Use the 一边。。。一边 (yì biān…yì biān) grammar pattern:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/09/25/grammar-39/

Coulda shoulda woulda

Intermediate How can you express the ideas of “could have,” “should have,” and “would have” in Chinese? Another video from Chels explains it all:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/09/22/how-to-express-could-would-should-in-chinese/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Hanging out with your friends

Intermediate If you’re standing around and chatting with your friends, what do you talk about? Moreover, if you want to do something other than just stand around with your friends, what can you do? Here’s an introductory vocabulary list and phrasebook for the next time you are doing nothing but want to talk about something:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/phrases-vocabulary-for-hanging-out-with-chinese-friends/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Homophones and culture

Intermediate Chinese is full of homphones, words that sound the same. These similar-sounding words have led to many cultural expectations and beliefs. Here are some simple ones to learn from (and possibly avoid):

http://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/Chinese-Homophones-Chinese-Customs

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

All smiles

Beginner The word 笑 (xiào) means “smile,” but it’s used in a number of other words:

 

Fall has arrived

Beginner Autumn (fall) has arrived! This short article describes some basic fall-related vocabulary, as well as the use of 了 (le) to indicate that an action has occurred:

https://ninchanese.com/blog/2016/09/22/fall-is-here-say-it-in-chinese/

Twitter: @ninchanese

Passive voice with 被

Intermediate How does the 被 character let us express passive voice?

http://answers.echineselearning.com/questions/2016-09/23/095738992EMMKTOEJ.html

Take out?

Intermediate If you want to order something from a restaurant “to go,” how would you say it in Chinese? The term 外带 (wài dài) mgiht be right… but it might not, as this discussion shows:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Chinese/comments/53bp9x/strange_reaction_after_ordering_food_%E5%A4%96%E5%B8%A6/

Getting someone’s number

Intermediate How do you ask for someone’s (phone or room) number? There are a number of expressions, discussed here:

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/whats-your-telephone-number.2829417/

What kind of frying?

Beginner The word 煎 (jiān) means to fry in a pan, but what is the equivalent cooking term in English?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21225/for-the-character-word-%e7%85%8e-which-of-the-english-words-braise-pan-fry-saut%c3%a9

Ancient use of 辣

Intermediate In modern Chinese, the word 辣 means “spicy”。 But spicy food in China is the result of introducing chili peppers — which are from after the time of Columbus. Was this character used before then, and if so, how?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21172/how-was-%e8%be%a3-used-before-the-columbian-exchange

Mandarin Weekly #88

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #88, with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your fellow students of Chinese, and with your teacher! 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.

Have you filled our our survey?

A number of you were oh-so-helpful and kind, and filled out our first-ever survey. I’ve gotten a great picture of our readership, but I’d like to hear your voice, as well!  If you haven’t yet filled out the survey, it would be super-helpful for you to do so:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NY9PGZH

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!

Do the math

How can you express basic math operations in Chinese? This video from ChinesePod.com will help you out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvKP0gnJOMU

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Passive voice

How can you use 被 (bèi) to express the passive voice? This video from LearnChineseNow.com provides some context and examples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VzCDfUbFsw

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

I have no idea

How can you say that you have no clue as to the answer? Use this phrase:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/09/17/slang-5/

Too many words

Learning Chinese means learning lots of new words, and then practicing them. Is it possible that you’re trying to learn too many words at once? How can and should you study, to ensure that you build your vocabulary not only quickly, but with optimal retention?

http://www.hackingchinese.com/overcoming-problem-many-chinese-words-learn/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Using 了

How do you use 了(le)? In this video from MandarinMonkey.com, we see how to use it to express more complex past events:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyskqL6IXUE

Twitter: @Mandarin_Monkey

Mid-autumn festival

Last week, China marked the mid-autumn festival. What is this holiday about? Is it only mooncakes?

https://chinesepod.com/blog/mid-autumn-festival-%e4%b8%ad%e7%a7%8b%e8%8a%82-everything-mooncakes-myths/

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Pleco’s clipboard reader

Did you encounter some Chinese characters, and don’t know how to translate them? Here’s an introduction to the use of Pleco’s clipboard reader, a good way to get a quick translation:

http://www.sinosplice.com/life/archives/2016/09/06/plecos-hidden-gem-the-clipboard-reader

Pokemon instructions

If you want to play Pokemon Go, then you’ll need to read the instructions, right? And you’ll obviously want to do so in Chinese, right? (OK, perhaps I’m wrong on both counts.) This post reviews some of the more interesting vocabulary in the instruction guide:

http://chinesehacks.com/games/pokemon-card-game-rules-in-chinese/

Internet slang

Want to sound cool and hip? (If so, then perhaps you should avoid the use of the word “hip.”) Chinese has a growing number of Internet-related slang words; in this video, we learn about three of them:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/09/17/3-popular-chinese-internet-slang/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Survey results

Improve your listening skills with this short video quiz from ChineseClass101.com. This time, they ask about the results of a survey:

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

Twitter: @chineseclass101

A short story

Here’s a short story (parts 3 and 4), read out loud with characters and pinyin:

http://justlearnchinese.com/beginner-to-elementary-level-chinese-story-%e6%b2%b3%e5%b9%b3%e9%9d%a2%e9%a6%86-he-ping-eatery-3/

http://justlearnchinese.com/beginner-to-elementary-level-chinese-story-%e6%b2%b3%e5%b9%b3%e9%9d%a2%e9%a6%86-he-ping-eatery-4/

Twitter: @graceJLC

Cat cafes?!?

Yes, it turns out that this is a thing: Cat cafes. Listen to Angel’s interview with the owners:

https://ninchanese.com/blog/2016/09/16/trending-china-cat-cafes-purrsonality/

Twitter: @ninchanese

Daily chengyu

Chengyu, or four-character expressions, are an important part of gaining Chinese fluency. This new Web site (Hanping Chengyu) is from HanpingChinese.com, an Android app for translation and improving your Chinese. Visit this Twitter feed every day to learn new expressions!

https://twitter.com/HanpingChengyu

Emergency Chinese

Going to China very soon? Need to learn Chinese super-fast? What are the best resources and methods to learn some of the language?

https://www.reddit.com/r/learnmandarin/comments/52sxjp/tangible_goals/

From HSK5 to HSK6

If you are at HSK5, how quickly and easily can you get to HSK6?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/52v4d9/how_hard_is_it_to_move_from_hsk_5_to_hsk_6/

才 vs. 只

Both 才(cái) and 只 (zhǐ) mean “only,” but they have different uses. How can we use each of them?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/52vvaw/difference_between_%E6%89%8D_and_%E5%8F%AA_to_express_only/

Traditional vs. simplified

A common question among students of Chinese has to do with the character set you learn. How easily can you move from one to the other? The consensus seems to be that it’s not that hard to read both:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/52nmq4/can_traditional_chinesewriters_read_simplified/

Walking around

Someone is walking around Taiwan — as in, walking the entire perimeter of the island. What verb should he use for “walk”?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21166/im-currently-walking-mostly-around-taiwan-when-telling-locals-this-which-of

Being careless

What does the phrase 一不留神 mean, if 留神 () means to be “careful”?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21159/what-is-the-meaning-of-%e4%b8%80%e4%b8%8d%e7%95%99%e7%a5%9e-in-this-sentence

Using 是

Why do you not use 是 (shì) when saying how old you are? This seemingly mundane question led to an interesting discussion of what 是 really means:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/52eejz/why_do_you_not_use_%E6%98%AF_when_expressing_your_age/

Different types of “late”

What is the difference between 迟 (chí) and 晚 (wǎn)? Both mean “late” in English, but in a different sense:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/5317ff/what_exactly_is_the_difference_between_%E8%BF%9F_and/

Mandarin Weekly #87

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #87, with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your fellow students of Chinese, and with your teacher! 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.

Survey!

Who are you? How long have you been learning Chinese? And how can Mandarin Weekly help you more? Please take a few moments to fill out our first-ever survey. The results are anonymous (even to me!), and can help to make Mandarin Weekly even more useful to you in your Chinese-learning journey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NY9PGZH

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!

How to use 了

One of the most confusing subjects for students of Chinese is how, when, and where to use 了(le). This video from MandarinMonkey.com introduces 了 here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj_HznNhOw8&feature=share

Twitter: @Mandarin_Monkey

More about 了

Another view of 了 is from LearnChineseNow.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbgV277znjY

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

把 vs. 被

This video from HanbridgeMandarin.com presents the differences between 把 sentences (in which the object is emphasized) and 被 sentences (which are passive):

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

Twitter: @HanbridgeOnline

Instruments

Play an instrument? Just like music? In either case, here is a video introducing a number of instrument names in Chinese:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/09/06/chinese-vocab-for-instruments/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

As soon as …

A useful grammar pattern is 一。。。就, indicating that just after doing X you did Y. This video from ChinesePod.com explains it well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQw7ORzmUso

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Question words in non-questions

We’re taught that we can ask questions with certain words. But those words can also be used in non-questions. Sound confusing? Here is an explanation, along with examples:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/09/08/when-a-question-word-isnt-a-question/

Strokes of Chinese characters

Chinese characters are built from components, but those components are built from strokes. Here are the names and shapes of those strokes:

http://learningchineseblog.com/strokes-in-chinese%e6%b1%89%e8%af%ad%e7%ac%94%e5%88%92/

Translation challenge

Olle Linge is back with another Chinese challenge, this time in the area of translation. How well (and how much) can you translate? Details are here:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/challenge-site-upgrade-september-translation-challenge/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Again and again

How can you describe an action that is repeated? You can use 又 (yòu), as demonstrated here:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/09/11/how-to-describe-the-repetition-of-an-action-%e5%8f%88%ef%bc%8c-%e5%86%8d%ef%bc%8c%e8%bf%98/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Give me a hand

Just as you can say “give someone a hand” in English, you can do that in Chinese with the expression 搭把手 (dā bǎ shǒu):

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

Types of skirts

Enjoy wearing skirts? Here are some different types of skirts, and their names in Chinese:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/09/09/meeting-skirt-in-summer/

Starter questions

Want to have a conversation with Chinese speakers? Sure, but where do you start? Here are some good questions you can use to start a conversation — or, if someone asks you these questions, you can already prepare an answer:

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

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Chinese cuisines

We often talk about Chinese food — but in actuality, there are many types of Chinese food, from different parts of the country. Here are four examples of regional cuisines, along with vocabulary and pronunciation:

http://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/4-Regional-Chinese-Food

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

iPhone 7 words

As many people have heard, Apple has unveiled the iPhone 7. What’s new about it? Well, here are some words to describe the updates in Chinese:

http://blog.hellochinese.cc/2016/09/10/describe-iphone-7-features-chinese/

Twitter: @HelloChineseApp

A strategy for improvement

How can you hope to improve your Chinese fluency? It’s nice to say “practice,” but what sort of practice? This article gives some concrete suggestions for pushing ahead:

http://www.digmandarin.com/how-to-improve-chinese-speaking-writing-proficiency.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Autumn vocabulary

Summer is just about over (in the northern hemisphere); to describe the coming of autumn in Chinese, here are some useful vocabulary words:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-fall-vocabulary/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Exploring Luoyang

Luoyang (洛阳) is one of the four ancient capitals of China, and has some amazing art. Here’s an introduction to this city, with vocabulary words to describe it:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/exploring-the-ancient-capital-of-luoyang/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Comedy from Da Shan

If you’re a Westerner studying Chinese, you’ve probably heard of Da Shan, a Canadian actor and comedian whose mastery of Chinese is legendary. Here’s a video (with a transcript in characters and Pinyin) of a comedy routine:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/dashan-and-his-first-crosstalk/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Chinese signs

Traveling to China? There will be some signs (and sign-related words) that repeat themselves. Here are some good ones to keep in mind:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/09/11/6-important-chinese-public-signs/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Delicious!

You can say that something is delicious with 好吃 (hǎo chī), but is there any other word or phrase that expresses this idea?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/51f0lz/synonyms_for_%E5%A5%BD%E5%90%83/

Repeated 把

Someone asks what it means to have 一把把 in a sentence. The best answer shows how you sometimes have to pick a sentence apart; in this case, the first 把 is being used as a measure word:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21100/what-is-the-meaning-of-%e4%b8%80%e6%8a%8a%e6%8a%8a-on-%e4%bb%96%e6%9b%b4%e6%98%af%e4%b8%80%e6%8a%8a%e6%8a%8a%e5%a5%b9%e7%9a%84%e4%b9%a6%e5%8c%85%e7%bb%99%e6%9e%aa%e4%ba%86%e8%bf%87%e5%8e%bb

Coming and going

The characters 来 (lái) and 去 (qù) aren’t only used as verbs (coming and going), but also to indicate direction, which can be tricky:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/52399-%E5%8E%BB-and-%E6%9D%A5/

Mandarin Weekly #86

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #86, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your fellow students of Chinese, and with your teacher! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

Don’t forget to look at our list of discount resources for students of Mandarin Chinese!

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

Get the bonus content: Mandarin Weekly #86 links

Sponsor: The Chairman’s Bao

The Chairman's BaoThe 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!

This week’s links

Using 了 and 过

Expressing past behavior can be tricky for newcomers to Chinese, and the use of both 了(le) and 过 can be hard to comprehend. Here is a summary of how to use them, separately and together:

https://www.chineseboost.com/grammar/le-and-guo/

Twitter: @ChineseBoost

When is it?

What time is it? What day is it? When will you finally finish that project you owe? All of these questions are easy to answer in Chinese, once you understand how to describe the time and day:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/calendars-months-of-the-year-telling-the-time-in-chinese/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Regardless

How can you use the word 不管 (bù guǎn) to indicate “regardless” or “no matter what”?

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/09/04/grammar-bu-guan/

20 easy characters

Reading Chinese can seem daunting, or even impossible, when you first start. Here are 20 easy (and common) characters that you can learn and use quickly:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/08/31/easy-chinese-characters/

Twitter: @FluentU

Using 家 as a suffix

We know that 家 (jiā) can mean “home,” but it can also be used to describe an expert or a professional:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/2015/10/22/formula-of-jia

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Gotta do it

How can you say you need to do something? This video and blog post will help you to set you straight:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/08/30/mustto-have-to-and-to-need-to/

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

De de de

Three words in Chinese sound the same, and have similar meanings — but they’re not identical. LearnChineseNow.com provides a video introduction to 的, 得, and 地, all pronounced “de,” and when we would use each:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ri8dLkmCRRs

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Learning Chinese via commercials

Commercials are a great window into modern societies, and can also be a great way to learn words and usage. Here is an introduction to Chinese commercials, and some examples of good ones:

https://www.asianlanguageschool.com/learning-chinese-tv-commercials/

Twitter: @AlsSydney

Street signs

When you’re in China, being able to read street signs is both useful and fun. Here are some helpful tips on some of the most common phrases used on such signs:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/learn-how-to-read-important-signs-in-chinese

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Feel bad about yourself

Want to feel foolish? Probably not. Want to feel foolish in Chinese? Well… maybe, if it’ll help your speaking skills, right? In this video from ChineseClass101.com, you can learn 10 phrases that are meant to make you feel bad:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCQecBdSZS0

Twitter: @chineseclass101

All about Henan

Where is Henan province, and what is there? An introduction to this region, including relevant vocabulary:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/better-know-a-province-henan/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

The name says it all

So many times, a word in Chinese is a description of the thing itself. How appropriate, then, that there is an expression that describes this situation — the name describes the thing itself:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/09/01/idiom-gu-ming-si-yi/

Buy it now!

The Internet has produced all sorts of new and interesting commercial opportunities. One of them is a “flash sale,” offering deep discounts for a short time. As this video from EChineseLearning.com describes, such a sale is known as as 秒杀 (miǎo shā):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoNybwm-j4I

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Getting around a building

Here, from ChineseClass101.com, is a short dialogue and quiz to test your listening skills — this time, in getting around a building. Can you follow the directions?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-PLKTsH2PE

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Only you

Here’s a video (with characters and pinyin) of a famous song, 我只在乎你 (wǒ zhǐ zài hū nǐ) to help you with your listening and vocabulary:

http://www.chinesetolearn.com/classic-chinese-song-%e9%82%93%e4%b8%bd%e5%90%9b-deng-lijun-teresa-teng-%e6%88%91%e5%8f%aa%e5%9c%a8%e4%b9%8e%e4%bd%a0-wo-zhi-zai-hu-ni-care-lyrics-pinyin-english-translation/

Twitter: @ChineseToLearn

No, no!

When and how do you use a double negative in Chinese? Here are some examples, and explanations of the impact:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/double-negation-in-chinese

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Hello!

How do you say “hello” in Chinese? This might seem like an obvious question, but the answer can be a bit complex:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/52364-other-way-to-say-hello/

Which “day” should we use?

There are two words for “day” in Chinese, 天 (tiān) and 日 (rì). When do we use each one? Are they basically interchangeable?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21008/which-word-to-use-for-day-when-talking-about-lengths-of-time

Your opinion

There are different ways to indicate your opinion or judgment about something in Chinese; here is a discussion of the options, and their connotations:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/509g0y/difference_between_%E6%9C%AC%E4%BA%BA%E8%AE%A4%E4%B8%BA%E4%BE%9D%E6%88%91%E7%9C%8B%E5%AF%B9%E6%88%91%E6%9D%A5%E8%AF%B4/

Toilet paper

How do you say “toilet paper” in Chinese? It turns out that there are multiple ways to say it:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21053/how-do-say-toilet-paper-in-chinese

Treating

Can you use the word 请 (qǐng) to mean, “treat someone,” or “take them out”?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21002/is-%e8%ab%8b-also-mean-to-treat-in-mandarin

Simplified characters’ origins

How were simplified characters developed from the traditional ones? This short discussion points to several books and other resources on the subject:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21021/are-there-any-original-sources-documenting-the-simplification-process

Get the bonus content: Mandarin Weekly #86 links

Mandarin Weekly #85

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #85, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your fellow students of Chinese, and with your teacher! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

Don’t forget to look at our list of discount resources for students of Mandarin Chinese!

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

Sponsor: The Chairman’s Bao

The Chairman's BaoThe 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!

80% comprehension

How much of native-speed Chinese do you understand? 90%? 80%? In this blog post, we get an indication of the different levels — and why progress often seems so slow and frustrating, even when it’s not.

http://www.sinosplice.com/life/archives/2016/08/25/what-80-comprehension-feels-like

Twitter: @SkritterHQ

Chinese breakfasts

What do people in China have for breakfast? Here are some examples, to fill out your vocabulary (and perhaps your appetite):

http://www.learnchinesechina.com/site-content/40-blog/1801-the-different-types-of-chinese-breakfast

Totally powerless?

Unable to do anything about something? Here’s an expression (无能为力, or wú néng wéi lì) that you can use to describe it:

https://mandarinfriend.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/chengyu-explanations-%e6%97%a0%e8%83%bd%e4%b8%ba%e5%8a%9b/

Conjunctions

Chinese conjunctions can be tricky! Here is a second batch of them from the folks at Written Chinese:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/chinese-conjunctions-part-2/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Vegetarian? Vegan?

If you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or otherwise have dietary restrictions, then eating in China can pose a challenge. In this video from ChinesePod, learn how to describe what you do and don’t eat in Chinese, so that you can enjoy food in China while remaining true to your principles:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zU3pARpeVNc

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Reading handwritten Chinese

Your Chinese reading is pretty good, eh? Well, how well can you read handwritten Chinese? As this post points out, this is often a tough skill to achieve; here are some hints and suggestions for getting there:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/learning-read-handwritten-chinese/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

80 ways to be polite

Chinese is big on politeness in conversation. How can you ensure you’re speaking politely? Well, here are 80 (!) phrases to get you started:

http://carlgene.com/blog/2016/08/top-80-most-common-polite-expressions-in-chinese/

Twitter: @carlfordham

Ordering food on the phone

Want to order food on the phone in Chinese? Chelsea is at it again, with a video describing how to do this:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/08/17/how-to-order-food-from-a-chinese-restaurant-example-dialogue/

Would you please…

How do you ask someone to do you a favor in Chinese? Here are some phrases to use when requesting help:

http://www.duchinese.net/blog/39-could-you-please

Twitter: @DuChinese

Chinese names to avoid

Choosing a Chinese name? Great! But don’t make the mistake of choosing a name that sounds super-cool, only to discover that it (or something that sounds like it) has some negative connotations…

http://chinesehacks.com/culture/words-to-avoid-when-choosing-a-chinese-name/

Pokemon in Chinese

Playing Pokemon Go? If so, then perhaps you want to tell your friends about your favorite ones in Chinese. LearnChineseNow.com provides us with the Chinese names for several of the most popular Pokemon characters:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtyrZSgY4rA

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Computer terms

I work in the computer industry, and thus often want to discuss my work in Chinese. This list of computer- and Internet-related terms will help quite a bit:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/38-words-for-the-internet-in-chinese-and-english

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Not yet

How can you say that something hasn’t yet happened? A brief introduction to the 还没…呢 (hái méi… ne) grammar pattern:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/08/24/grammar-hai-mei-ne/

Beginner phrases

Planning to visit China soon? Here are some important phrases to know before your trip:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/epic-list-basic-chinese-phrases-beginners-part-2/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Bad-news phrases

You don’t want to be on the receiving end of these sentences, presented by ChineseClass101.com:

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

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Learn Chinese via cooking

If you enjoy cooking, then one great way to improve your Chinese is by cooking Chinese dishes — and using the native vocabulary to do so! Here are some tips for using Chinese in the kitchen, and tips for reading recipes:

http://www.digmandarin.com/learning-practical-chinese-cooking-chinese-dishes.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

How needed is it?

Two phrases (必须 and 必需), both pronounced bì xū, have similar meanings and identical pronunciations — but learning the difference is important!

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/must-or-necessary

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Pronouncing s/sh/x

Pronouncing these sounds is challenging for many Westerners; here are some tips for sounding more native:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/52244-s-x-sh-the-sibilants/

Using 之

What does the 之 (zhī) character mean, and how is it used?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4z6g14/how_do_you_use_the_character_%E4%B9%8B/

做 vs. 作

These two characters sound the same, and mean almost the same thing. But they aren’t interchangeable, as discussed here:

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E4%BD%9C-%E5%81%9A.2574240/

Where to start?

So, you want to learn Chinese, and even aim toward fluency? What’s a good path to take, including resources and strategies?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/501a5s/moving_to_taiwan_wherehow_to_start_learning/

Different sentences, same meaning

This simple question about which version of a sentence is “more correct” leads to a discussion of verb placement:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20925/what-is-the-difference-between-these-two-sentences

Being social

Three words have similar meanings, all about communication and being social. But which means which?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20937/%e4%ba%a4%e6%b5%81-%e4%ba%a4%e9%99%85-%e6%b2%9f%e9%80%9a-whats-the-difference

Mandarin Weekly #84

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #84, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.  My apologies for getting this out late tonight, but I just arrived in Shanghai on business, and didn’t get a chance to put out the newsletter before my flight.

If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your fellow students of Chinese, and with your teacher! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

Don’t forget to check out the deals for students of Chinese, at http://mandarinweekly.com/discounts-for-students-of-chinese/.

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

Administrative note: This week, with nearly 1,000 subscribers to Mandarin Weekly, we’re starting to take advertising and publicity from companies that cater to students of Chinese. This is still new and somewhat experimental, and will change over time. But I can promise you that under no circumstances whatsoever will we sell, rent, or provide your personal information (basically, your name or e-mail address) to any advertiser.  If you know of a great product or service for students of Chinese that might make for a good advertiser, please send e-mail to reuven@lerner.co.il.

Sponsor: The Chairman’s Bao

The Chairman's Bao "back to class" discount

Word order

Word order is crucial in Chinese. And yet, many of us (myself included) get it wrong. Here’s a game from ChinesePod designed to help you improve:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d-bTpqa8Ok

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Using 又

In yet another amusing video, chelseabubbly.wordpress.com teaches us how to use 又 to describe things:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Jyi4NwCtfw

Twitter: @Chelseabubbly

Telling time in Chinese

What time is it? And can you ask that in Chinese? You’ll be able to, after reading this article:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/08/17/how-to-tell-time-in-chinese/

Twitter: @FluentU

Which two to use?

Chinese has two versions of the number “two.” The character 二 (èr) is the number two, whereas the character 两 (liǎng) is for counting things. When you use each is usually easy to understand, with some exceptions:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/er-or-liang

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Making phone calls

How do you make a phone call in Chinese? Here is a primer in how to make such calls, and conduct basic conversations:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/how-to-make-a-phone-call-in-chinese/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Stirring up a hornet’s nest

This common phrase in English has a Chinese equivalent, which can be used similarly:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/08/19/slang-ma-feng-wo/

The tree radical

The tree radical shows up in many things made of wood, or associated with wood, as in these examples:

http://allaboutchinese.tumblr.com/post/149019040871/allaboutchinese-%E6%9C%A8-tree

Lucky dog … umm…

One way to say that something is lucky in Chinese is to say it’s like dog excrement. Don’t believe me? Read this interesting (and somewhat disturbing, to my eyes/ears) take on it:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/the-hilarious-chinese-word-you-must-know-for-luck

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Learn by transcribing

One of the hardest tasks in learning a language is to understand native-speed speakers, and Chinese is no exception. Transcribing Chinese that you hear can thus help you to improve your listening, and to turn those sounds into characters you can read, as described here:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/transcribing-chinese-audio-active-form-listening/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Chinese Olympics events

How do you say the names of Olympic events in Chinese? Here is a surprisingly long list:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-vocabulary-summer-olympics/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Back and forth

Want to describe a back-and-forth dispute in Chinese? Here’s an explanation of the phrase 拉锯战 lā jù zhàn():

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/08/21/slang-2/

Cooking dumplings

I absolutely love dumplings; when I am in China, I have them very often — and perhaps too often! If you buy pre-made dumplings, how can you cook them? Here are instructions, along with lots of useful Chinese vocabulary, from LearnChineseNow.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTWi6-qtmxk

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Learning via scenarios

Trying to memorize oodles of vocabulary is always difficult, as well as less effective than learning words in context. Consider working on your vocabulary in the context of scenarios, as described here:

http://www.digmandarin.com/using-topics-scenarios-make-chinese-learning-efficient.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

How do you use 了?

One of the most common questions asked by students of Chinese is how to use 了(le) to indicate tense, or something similar to tense. This discussion breaks it apart with some understandable examples:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20861/example-cases-with-%e4%ba%86

When do you not use 了?

And of course, there are some verbs that cannot be used with 了(le). What does that mean, and how is 了 different from 过 (guò):

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20856/which-verbs-do-not-go-with-%e4%ba%86-and-or-%e8%bf%87

Reading a book

There are two verbs that you can use to describe “reading,” 看 (看) and 读 (读). What is the difference between them?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4ybz3d/when_you_say_youre_reading_a_book_do_you_use_%E7%9C%8B_or/

完 vs 到

Both 完 (wán) and 到 (dào) can be used to indicate that an action is complete, but they aren’t the same. What is the difference?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4xpujs/difference_between_%E5%AE%8C_and_%E5%88%B0/

Using 也 (yě)

We often learn that 也 (yě) means “also,” but it can have slightly different meanings, as we see here:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20906/what-does-%e4%b9%9f-mean-in-this-sentence

Sometimes, another “always”

How do we say “always” in Chinese? It depends on the precise version of “always” we’re trying to say:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20897/what-is-the-difference-between-%e5%90%91%e6%9d%a5-%e4%b8%80%e7%9b%b4-and-%e6%80%bb%e6%98%af

Republic years

If you see the date 民國74 年, what does it mean? Hint: It most certainly does not mean 1974. An interesting view of time and years in Chinese:

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E6%B0%91%E5%9C%8B-%E5%B9%B4.3218015/

Types of expressions

You might have heard of “chengyu,” four-character expressions that are common in Chinese. There are other types of expressions; how are they different?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20887/%e6%88%90%e8%af%ad-versus-%e4%bf%97%e8%af%ad-versus-%e8%b0%9a%e8%af%ad-what-is-the-difference

Non-native accents

I have a strong American accent in every language I speak, including those in which I’m fluent. And I’m sure that I’m not alone; it’s normal to have at least some traces of your native language. This discussion addresses the question of whether native Chinese make fun of foreign accents:

https://www.quora.com/As-a-Westerner-who-speaks-Chinese-do-people-ever-make-fun-of-your-accent-in-China

Nobody’s perfect

What’s a good Chinese expression (cheng yu) to describe the idea that nobody is perfect?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4xydk8/is_there_a_chinese_sayingproverbchengyu_for_the/

Mandarin Weekly #83

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #83, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your fellow students of Chinese, and with your teacher! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

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

A new Chinese-reading game

Want to improve your Chinese reading? Of course you do! Olle Linge of Hacking Mandarin fame has produced a new game that is designed to improve and reinforce your reading skills:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/escape-text-adventure-game-chinese-learners/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Short stories

When you get beyond introductory grammar and vocabulary, you want to start reading stories. Where can you find good short stories in Chinese?

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/08/08/chinese-short-stories/

Twitter: @FluentU

Money, money, money

Money is a central part of our lives. Here are some great Chinese words and phrases having to do with making and receiving payments:

http://www.hanbridgemandarin.com/article/daily-chinese-learning-tips/chinese-vocabulary-about-money/

Getting around

It’s nice to travel to China, but even better to travel inside of China. How can you communicate about transportation in Chinese? This blog post should make it all clearer, with many useful words and phrases:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/basic-words-phrases-transportation-chinese/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Taipei or Taibei?

If you have ever wondered why the capital of Taiwan is sometimes written “Taipei” and sometimes “Taibei,” this article explains it, with great linguistic detail:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/08/10/is-the-capital-of-taiwan-pronounced-taibei-or-taipei/

One character, multiple pronunciations

When I started to learn Chinese, I took some comfort in thinking that perhaps characters are hard, but at least they’re distinct, right? I remember getting worried when I discovered that many characters have the same sound. And then, my surprise turned into worry when I found out that many characters have mulitple sounds. But hey, that’s just part of the game. Here’s a fuller explanation of those characters with more than one pronunciation:

http://www.digmandarin.com/duo-yin-zi-polyphones-chinese-characters.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Favorite Chinese apps

What mobile apps are most popular among Chinese phone users? Here’s a list of some of the things your Chinese friends have undoubtedly installed:

http://www.duchinese.net/blog/38-ten-popular-apps-the-chinese-use-part-2

Twitter: @DuChinese

Buying a cellphone

Planning to buy a cellphone in China? Make sure you know the vocabulary beforehand — brands, features, payments, and the like:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/buying-a-cell-phone-in-chinese/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Buying electronics

And if you’re going to buy non-cellphone electronics, you’ll have other words to learn:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-vocabulary-electronics/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Driving in Chinese

Driving in China seems terrifying to me. (Just being a passenger is difficult enough!) But if you just want to discuss driving in Chinese, LearnChineseNow.com has a video that provides the basic vocabulary you’ll need:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs3FpBWz99Y

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Tree parts

Can you name the parts of a tree in Chinese? Here’s a quick vocabulary builder to help you out:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/parts-of-a-tree

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Work too hard?

Are you a workaolic? Of course not; you can stop whenever you want to, right? (I’ve been telling my family that for years…) How can you describe such a “problem” in Chinese?

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/if-youre-stressed-and-overworked

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Hotel vocabulary

If you visit China and stay in a hotel, then these words will probably come in handy:

http://www.touchchinese.com/chinese-words/mandarin-chinese-words-list-hotels.html

Supermarket

One of my favorite activites when traveling, including to China, is going to the supermarket. (OK, I’m weird.) Here is a list of useful supermarket terms for your next trip:

http://www.touchchinese.com/chinese-words/mandarin-chinese-words-list-supermarkets.html

Chinese sports

Many Chinese hobbies and activities are a bit surprising for Westerners visiting for the first time. Here is a list of such activities (not quite “sports,” I’d say), which you can especially expect to see if you walk through public parks and areas:

http://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/5-Uniquely-Chinese-Sports-Activities

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Fruit

Want to enjoy some fruit? Of course you do, especially now that so many good summer fruits are in season. Here are some popular fruits, and their Chinese names:

http://allaboutchinese.tumblr.com/post/148797279628/allaboutchinese-%E6%B0%B4%E6%9E%9C-fruit

The eyes have it

What are the different parts of the eye in Chinese? A short, graphic primer:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/parts-of-the-eye

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Odd sentence ordering

One of the key rules in Chinese is that the words should go in a certain order. But that order isn’t always obvious, as this discussion shows:

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E5%AD%A6%E6%A0%A1-%E4%BD%A0-%E6%80%8E%E4%B9%88%E8%B5%B0.3214857/

Chinese schools

How do you say “high school” in Chinese, and can its definition sometimes vary?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E4%B8%AD%E5%AD%B8.3214315/

Beer — one character, or two?

If you can use 啤 (pí) for beer, why do people say 啤酒 (pí jiǔ)?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4x2mje/sorry_for_the_basic_question_but_what_is_the/

Vocabulary building

What strategies have people used for building (and retaining) vocabulary?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4xflz6/whats_an_effective_way_to_build_vocabulary_quickly/

Amusing to outsiders

When you’re learning Chinese, do things sometimes seem odd to you, but normal to native speakers? This thread has a few such examples:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4xbi15/what_parts_of_the_chinese_language_do_you_find/

Location

When do we need to use 在 (zài) to indicate a location, and when don’t we?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4wthmc/the_presence_or_lack_of_z%C3%A0i_when_describing_a/

Older girlfriend

In English, we will still use the term “girlfriend” for older people. But can you say 女朋友 to describe an older couple’s female part?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20831/does-%e5%a5%b3%e6%9c%8b%e5%8f%8b-work-for-older-couples

Multiple adjectives

If something is both A and B, how can we express that in Chinese? There are a number of options, with subtle differences between them:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20834/how-do-i-join-more-than-one-adjective-together

Focus

There area few different ways to indicate that you’re focused, or focusing on something, in Chinese. Here is an explanation of the differences:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20846/whats-the-difference-between-%e9%9b%86%e4%b8%ad-and-%e4%b8%93%e5%bf%83

Mandarin Weekly #82

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #82, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your fellow students of Chinese, and with your teacher! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

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

.

Being funny in Chinese

Like to tell jokes? Maybe, but can you tell jokes in Chinese? Not sure? Here is a video from ChinesePod.com, in which they give you the ins and outs of being humorous in Chinese:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRK7xaKQIvA

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Conjunctions

Conjunctions work differently in Chinese than in other languages I’ve learned. Here is a list of conjunctions, along with tips and examples for when (and how) to use each of them:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/chinese-conjunctions-part-1/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Little tigers

This video and translation of “Two tigers,” the Chinese equivalent to Frère Jacques, is both amusing and educational, with a (surprisingly!) long description of the grammar and vocabulary in this simple, four-line song:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/%e4%b8%a4%e5%8f%aa%e8%80%81%e8%99%8e-the-chinese-frere-jacques/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Talking about love

Chinese valentine’s day (中国情人节, or zhōng gúo qíng rén jié) falls on August 9th. Just in time are these phrases to help you talk about love:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/08/02/chinese-valentines-day/

Twitter: @FluentU

Olympic sports

It’s the Olympics! What sports do you like? You can probably find its Chinese name on this extensive vocabulary list:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/list-of-summer-olympic-sports-i

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Olympic sports

It’s the Olympics! What sports do you like? You can probably find its Chinese name on this extensive vocabulary list:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/list-of-summer-olympic-sports-ii

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Basic phrases

If you’re on a first visit to China, or just want to make sure you know the most basic words and sentences, here’s a useful quick-reference guide:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/basic-chinese-phrases-beginners-part-1/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

All about 种

What does the 种 (zhǒng) character mean? It actually has several different meanings, and pronunciations:

http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2016/07/on-the-character-%e7%a7%8d/

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

For beautiful skin

Want to have beautiful skin, the Chinese way? Here are some recipes (with the appropriate characters and pinyin) for traditional skin-enhancing products:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/08/05/culture/

School supplies

In this video from ChineseWithEmma.com, we learn how to speak about such purchases in Chinese:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX57AENYOso

Twitter: @ChineseWithEmma

HSK5 and HSK6 vocabulary

Planning to take the two top levels of the HSK exam? Here are some handy PDF charts listing the words and phrases you’ll be expected to know:

http://www.digmandarin.com/hsk-5-vocabulary-list.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

HSK5 and HSK6 vocabulary

Planning to take the two top levels of the HSK exam? Here are some handy PDF charts listing the words and phrases you’ll be expected to know. You’ll need to provide your e-mail address in order to receive these lists:

http://www.digmandarin.com/hsk-6-vocabulary-list.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Escape the Beijing heat

I’ve been to Beijing in the summer, and it can be quite hot! To cool off, many people go to the water, at 北戴河 (běi dài hé) and 南戴河 (nán dài hé). Learn about these locations and related vocabulary in this post:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/summer-escape-to-beidaihe-and-nandaihe/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Being sneaky

How can you talk about doing something sneakily in Chinese? Here are some hints:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/07/31/are-chinese-people-all-thieves/

Narrating? Talking? Something else?

The characters 会说 can mean “can speak,” but can also mean “narrator” in some contexts. How can we determine the context, and understand the appropriate meaning?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20749/what-is-the-best-translation-for-%e4%bc%9a%e8%af%b4

Fourth vs. neutral tone

In the word 告诉 (gào sù, or “tell”), is the second character pronounced with a neutral tone, or witih a fourth tone?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E5%91%8A%E8%A8%B4.3213207/

Pronouncing 谁

Is 谁 (“who”) supposed to be pronounced shéi or shuí? Why are both acceptable, and which pronounciation is more appropriate for Chinese learners?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19743/are-the-two-pronunciations-of-%e8%b0%81-sh%c3%a9i-shu%c3%ad-the-result-of-regional-differences

Getting more

What is the difference between 增加 (zēng jiā) and 增长 (zēng zhǎng), both of which seem to mean, “add more?”

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19739/differences-between-%e5%a2%9e%e5%8a%a0-and-%e5%a2%9e%e9%95%bf

Mandarin Weekly #81

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #81, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your fellow students of Chinese, and with your teacher! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

Get the bonus content:

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

Chinese colors

Maybe you can say basic colors like “red” and “blue.” But what about more complex color names, or (better yet) the cultural meanings that these colors often have in Chinese society? Here is an extensive list of such colors, and their meanings:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/07/25/chinese-colors/

Twitter: @FluentU

Business Chinese

Many of us are studying Chinese so that we can use it in our work. But did you know that a number of words in spoken Chinese are not used as much in business settings? Here is a table of spoken vs. business Chinese terms, and how to improve your business-style speech and writing:

http://www.hanbridgemandarin.com/article/business-chinese-learning-tips/the-best-way-to-learn-business-chinese/

Free intro-Chinese book

Just starting to learn Chinese? Wondering what these “measure words” are that everyone is talking about? Here is a free downloadable e-book that introduces some basic vocabulary and sentence patterns, which undoubtedly would have helped me when I first started:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/beginners-guide-to-chinese-ebook/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

US elections

Much of the world is looking at the upcoming US presidential elections. In this video, LearnChineseNow.com teaches us how to discuss them using Chinese:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UARxkWsi5l8

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Pokemon in Chinese

It’s hard to avoid hearing people talk about (or even playing “Pokemon Go”), a new game for mobile devices that is making a large number of people look like they out of their minds. How can you discuss Pokemon Go with your friends and colleagues in Chinese? Here is some “essential” Pokemon vocabulary in Chinese:

https://ninchanese.com/blog/2016/07/26/learn-pokemon-names-in-chinese/

Twitter: @ninchanese

Using 好 with verbs

The word 好 (hǎo) is one of the first we all learn, but 好 can be used in a few other ways, including that something was well done, or pleasantly done:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/07/30/grammar-verb-3/

Conjunctions

Chinese, like all languages, has conjunctions (e.g., “and,” “or,” and “so”). But conjunctions in Chinese work differently from the other languages I’ve learned, and thus are likely to trip you up. Here is an introduction to the subject (in two parts), with some examples:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-conjunctions-part-one/

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-conjunctions-part-two/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Days of the week

If you’re just starting to learn Chinese, then the days of the week might be a bit confusing for you. Here is a simple video lesson from ChineseWithEmma.com:

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

Twitter: @ChineseWithEmma

Funny Chinese signs

Anyone who has traveled to China has seen signs whose English is… well, a bit off. In this video from eChineseLearning.com, we learn a bit about these signs, and not only get to laugh at them, but also understand how the translation might have made sense to a native Chinese speaker:

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

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Chinese learning techniques

Olle Linge, of Hacking Chinese fame, has written before about how he became fluent in Chinese. In this installment, he describes graduate school and beyond, and provides tips for us to improve our knowledge of the language:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/i-learnt-chinese-part-6-graduate-program-taiwan/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Don’t ask these questions

Westerners traveling in China are often asked the same questions, or told the same things. Guess what? It turns out that they often ask the same questions of Chinese people. Here are some such questions, and the reasons to avoid asking them:

http://www.digmandarin.com/things-chinese-people-tired-hearing.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Characters vs. words

Are all characters considered words?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19669/does-a-chinese-character-almost-always-represent-a-word

Comparing

What is the difference between 很 (hěn) and 是 (shì)。。。的 (de)? Are they the same?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19684/sentence-using-%e6%98%af-%e7%9a%84-vs-sentence-using-%e5%be%88

Pronouncing 这个

One of the first things people learn in Chinese is to say 这个, or “this.” But how do you pronounce it; there seem to be a few different options, and is one more right than the other?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E8%BF%99%E4%B8%AA.3211000/

I’m busy right now

What does the word 有事 (yǒu shì) mean? And if it means “occupied,” how would you use it?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E6%9C%89%E4%BA%8B.3210997/

Mandarin Weekly #80

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #80, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your fellow students of Chinese, and with your teacher! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

Download the bonus content: Mandarin Weekly #80 links

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

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Tour words

Want to learn some basic words for touring around China? Here is a short video with some of the basics:

https://www.chineseclass101.com/2016/07/21/chinese-words-of-the-week-with-yinru-for-intermediate-learners-17-tourism/

Twitter: @chineseclass101

A day in the park

One of my favorite activities when traveling in China is to go to a public park: Not only are older people often dancing or singing, but it’s generally a quiet, green space with relatively few people. Here are some great words to describe public parks, and what people do there:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/a-day-in-the-park/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

5 ways to say “cannot”

How do you say “I cannot”? Chinese have five ways, as we see here in the latest video from chelseabubbly.wordpress.com:

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

Twitter: @Chelseabubbly

Using 多 as “multi-“

The word 多 can be used in a few ways, but one of them is analogous to the “multi-” prefix in English, as these examples show:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/formula-of-duo

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Getting help from strangers

Lost in China? You might need to ask someone for help. How can you do that in Chinese?

http://www.digmandarin.com/get-help-from-strangers-in-china.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Chinese math

How do you express different mathematical ideas in Chinese? This vocabulary list is particularly useful for those of us in the sciences and engineering:

http://allaboutchinese.tumblr.com/post/147881359940/allaboutchinese-%E6%95%B0%E5%AD%A6%E7%AC%A6%E5%8F%B7%E8%A1%A8-mathematical-symbols

How many?

How do you use 几 (jǐ) to ask number-related questions? This video from EChineseLearning.com offers many examples, and then a quiz:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A07fitHavI

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Big bike crash

What can we learn from a huge pedestrian-bicycle accident in China? Some vocabulary, as well as some street-crossing skills, as we hear from LearnChineseNow.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3dLOKiNOFs

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Classic novels

There are four classic Chinese-language novels, whose content and language permeate the language to the present day. LearnChineseNow.com provides us with some background and vocabulary from these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGe0wtjgak0

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Wedding etiquette

Invited to a Chinese wedding? Great! What should you do when you’re there, and what can you expect? This article will tell you:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/the-6-etiquettes-of-a-traditional-chinese-wedding-ceremony/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

How do you practice?

All of us (presumably) practice our Chinese, even when not in class. But are you practicing the right way? This post not only suggests how to practice, but also how to identify where you’re weakest, and thus get the biggest bang for the buck:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/are-you-practising-chinese-the-right-way/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Short story

Read (or listen to) this short story in Chinese, with characters and pinyin:

http://chinese-at-ease.com/learn-chinese-story-online-a-story-about-a-little-village/

Twitter: @ChineseAtEase

One ringy dingy

Want to use the phone in Chinese? Here are some phrases you can use to make and receive calls:

http://mandarinhq.com/2016/07/8-common-phrases-phone-calls-mandarin-chinese/

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Books

Want to describe different types of reading materials in Chinese? Here is a short, helpful vocabulary list:

http://allaboutchinese.tumblr.com/post/147558332168/allaboutchinese-%E4%B9%A6-books

Beijing summer must-haves

In Beijing for the summer? You’re probably hot. Here are some must-have items for a Beijing summer — in Chinese, of course:

http://blog.hellochinese.cc/2016/07/19/5-things-must-summer-beijing/

Twitter: @HelloChineseApp

Popular Chinese apps

Want to use your phone like people in China do? Here are some apps that are super-popular there, which you might want to install on your phone:

http://www.duchinese.net/blog/36-ten-popular-apps-the-chinese-use-part-1

Twitter: @DuChinese

Using 把

The 把 (bǎ) character is used in a grammar pattern that many Westerners find hard to understand and use. Here are some tips for internalizing its use:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4uchq8/when_to_use_%E6%8A%8A/

Simplified 只 is lots of traditional characters

If you’re learning simplified characters, then you’ll find that 只 is used in place of several different traditional ones. Here is a description of how that happened, and when to use them:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19611/why-so-many-variations-for-traditional-%e5%8f%aa-zh%c7%90-%e8%a1%b9-%e7%a5%87-%e7%a7%96-%e9%9a%bb

Radical rooms

The radical for 屋 (wū) is a bit surprising, as described here:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19607/should-%e5%b1%8b-and-%e5%b1%85-use-radical-%e6%88%b7-instead-of-%e5%b0%b8

Radical animals

Why do some animals’ characters lack the animal radical (犭)?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19588/why-do-some-chinese-characters-for-animals-not-use-the-radical-%e7%8a%ad