Mandarin Weekly #65

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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Note: I’m soon going to start running some contents, giving readers of Mandarin Weekly the chance to win books, courses, and other items that can help you to improve your Chinese. If you work for a company that can offer such a product to MW readers as a prize, or have suggestions for what companies I can/should approach, please contact me at! I hope to start the contests within another week or two, so keep your eyes peeled!

Tomb-Sweeping Day

Last week was Tomb Sweeping Day, a national holiday in China. What are the origins of this holiday, and how is it celebrated? This video from ChinesePod explains a great deal:

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Skritter review

How can you learn to write Chinese characters? One popular app for doing this is Skritter. This post reviews Skritter, and describes how to use it effectively:

Twitter: @SkritterHQ

In the money

How can you describe being rich in Chinese? Here are a number of terms:

Twitter: @DuChinese

That tricky 把

The character 把 (bǎ) means “handle,” but it also can be used as a measure word, as well as in some more complex grammatical constructs. Here are some simple uses for 把:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Pull that carrot!

A cute children’s song, performed and animated in various styles, with characters, pinyin, and translation:

Twitter: @ChineseToLearn

Getting a Chinese name

Do you have a Chinese name? If not, here are some hints for choosing one:

Hacking Chinese: The Book

Many of us have enjoyed Olle Linge’s many blog posts about learning Chinese on his “Hacking Chinese” blog. Here’s an announcement of a book by the same name:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Inspirational proverbs

Chinese proverbs are great ways to learn vocabulary and culture, and to make your Chinese sound more natural. Here are some to improve your vocabulary and to also give you a boost in your studies:

What not to ask

What are Chinese people tired of hearing from foreigners? Here is an amusing (and probably accurate) list of phrases that we students should probably avoid:

Twitter: @HelloChineseApp

Reading challenge

Want to improve your Chinese reading? Join the latest Hacking Chinese challenge, in which you try to read as much as possible in the month of April.

Twitter: @HackingChinese


Here are some natural Chinese greetings you can use, when 你好 gets a bit old:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Chinese snacks

Visiting China? Don’t just have your Western cookies and ice cream; try a local Chinese snack food — if you dare!

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Finding an apartment

Some basic listening practice, from ChineseClass101: Find your friend’s apartment:

Twitter: @chineseclass101


Learn all about Hunan Province, in words, pictures, and (of course) Chinese:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Which recorded class?

Which online recorded Chinese course should you use? You’ll always get many answers to this question, but this topic had a large number of useful suggestions and comparisons:

My bad Chinese

How can you tell someone your Chinese isn’t good? Here are some useful phrases and structures to understand:

That’s great!

What are a few ways to say that something is truly great?

Omitting 的

When must you include 的 (de), and when can you leave it out?

No way!

The phrase 没门儿 (méi mén r) means, “No chance!” Can you write 没门 instead?

Three-digit dates

Chinese dates are usually YYYY-MM-DD. But what about YYY-MM-DD, with only three digits for the year?

Buying vs. planning to buy

The word 买 (mǎi) can mean “buy,” but does it also mean “planning to buy?”


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