Mandarin Weekly #62

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) Welcome to the latest Mandarin Weekly, with yet more links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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Hanping Chinese SoundBox

This new app (for Android) provides you with a native-recorded female voice for many characters. You can compare your pronunciation with the app, and thus sound better.

Directional complements

You can often add a directional complement to a Chinese sentence to indicate the direction in which the action should take place. Here are some great examples of where and how to use these:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Being polite

Many of us want to know how to be polite — say “excuse me,” “please,” and “thank you” — in Chinese. How do we do that, above and beyond the basics?

Twitter: @Fluent_Mandarin

Good news!

If you hear good news from a Chinese friend, how can or should you respond? Here are some phrases that can help you to sound more native during good times.

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Which particle?

In Chinese, we can use a particle at the end of a sentence to indicate an exclamation. Which you should use depends on a number of rules, explained here:

Useful expressions

Did someone sneeze? Are you about to start eating? Here are some phrases to use in your day-to-day conversations and situations:

Asking for permission

How do you ask for permission to do something? Your best bet is often to say 可以 (kě yǐ), as demonstrated here:

Dying (in a good way)

In English, we can say, “I’m dying to” do something. Well, the same is true in Chinese, as this article with many examples demonstrates:

Short story

A short story about Sima Guang — with audio, characters, pinyin, and (if you need it) English translation.

Twitter: @ChineseAtEase

Funny Chinese signs

When you make mistakes in Chinese, they often represent the grammar and vocabulary of your native language. These signs in Chinese (with English translation) demonstrate the opposite — features of Chinese grammar that sound funny or strange when translated into English.

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Using 那个 (nà ge)

We often learn that 那个 (nà ge) means “that,” but it can be used in many more contexts:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

ChinesePod review

Nearly everyone who learns Chinese has heard of ChinesePod, and many of us have used it. ChinesePod has gone through a lot over the years, though; is it still a good resource?

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Playful characters

Before learning Chinese, I often thought that characters were pictures of what they represented. That’s true in a few cases, but not in most. In this picture, however, AllAboutChinese has created a picture in which many of the elements are along with their characters:

Twitter: @AllAboutChinese

Not for sale

A Chinese music video, with characters, pinyin, and translation from

Twitter: @Chelseabubbly

Indirect objects

You can use 给 (gěi) not only to mean “give,” but also to indicate indirect objects, as demonstrated here:

Responding to yes/no questions

How do you respond to yes/no questions in Chinese?

The meaning of 经

The 经 (jīng) character is used in many words and phrases. What does it mean, and how does that meaning connect all of those words and phrases?


The word for “poster” in Chinese is 海报 (hǎi bào). Where did this word come from?

The evolution of 行

How did 行 (háng) come to mean “industry”?

I want an answer

What does 回覆 (huí fù) mean, if you see it on a button?

It’s windy

What are the different ways to express that there’s a lot of wind?

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