Mandarin Weekly #66

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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This week, we’re having our first Mandarin Weekly giveaway! We’ll be giving out copies of Hanping SoundBox (worth $2.99) to three people.

To enter the giveaway, just click here.

For every friend you get to register, you’ll get an additional three chances to win. The winner will be announced in about a week. We already have some other great giveaways planned, thanks to a number of companies; I’m excited to roll these out over the coming weeks, and hope to provide even more free services to students of Chinese!

In addition: As of this week, we are able to offer a number of discounts on items related to learning Chinese. I hope and expect that this list will grow, and appreciate the generosity of the companies who have provided us with such discounts. Just go to this page on our Web site for a list of the discount codes.

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No no no

Chinese doesn’t have a literal word for “no,” but that doesn’t mean you can’t say “no” in Chinese. Instead, there are other phrases and constructs you can use:

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Taking a taxi

I’ve taken my share of taxis in China, and knowing what to say (and how to say it) is not only useful, but a great boost to your ego when you get it right! Here are some useful words, phrases, and sentences for your taxi ride:

Twitter: @DuChinese

Finding an apartment

Renting an apartment in another country can be dfificult, especially so when you have to learn the langauge as well! Here are some tips for renting an apartment, in China, and in Chinese:

Twitter: @YoYoChinese


The character 红 (hóng) means “red,” but with that color come many connotations and words:

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Common conversations

Ordering coffee, watching a movie, or shopping at the supermarket? Here are some useful tips and phrases to keep in mind:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

I’ll drink to that!

The character 酒 (jiǔ) means “alcohol,” and is thus used in a variety of alcoholic drink names:

What do you do?

In this video, we learn a few ways to ask and answer questions about someone’s work:

Twitter: @Fluent_Mandarin

I’ve been better

Does something hurt you? In many cases, you can indicate that something hurts by naming the body part and using the word 痛(tòng):

Present tense

How can you express the present tense in Chinese? Often, just precede the verb with 在, as demonstrated in this video from LearnChineseNow.

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow


If you ever read Chinese history, it’ll refer to “the XXX dynasty,” as if you’re supposed to know during what years they ruled, and what they did. Here’s a short history lesson, with Chinese characters, to help you feel less foolish:

How to learn Chinese

Olle, from Hacking Chinese, describes his arrival in Taiwan — and the strategies he used to catch up with his classmates:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

10 important questions

This list of 10 questions from should provide you with not only good things to ask friends, but potential answers:

Twitter: @chineseclass101

It’s a mess!

Is your room a mess? Is your life a mess? We can’t help with that, but with the help of this video from LearnChineseNow, we can at least describe it in Chinese:

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Chinese TV

Here are some popular TV shows that you can use to improve your Chinese:

Good podcasts

What podcasts can help you to improve your listening ability? Here are some useful suggestions, some better known than others:

Placement of 跟

The word 跟 (gēn) can be used to mean “with,” but where does it go in the sentence?

Using 其 (qí)

The character 其 is used in numerous contexts; when should we really be using it, and what does it mean?

Don’t worry

When you say 不愁 (bù chóu), or “don’t worry,” what is the connotation?

Using 与 (yú) and 和 (hé)

Both of these characters can mean “with” or “and,” but in what sense? Can they be used interchangeably?

Not important

How can you say “it’s not important” in Chinese?

Very funny!

In English, we can say that someone “cracked up.” In Chinese, we have a similar expression, as described in this discussion:

Same old thing

The phrase 炒冷饭 (chǎo lěng fàn) can be used to mean not only the literal “stir leftover rice,” but also to describe a subject that has been talked to death, as this discussion describes:

The 3rd tone

How low and “creaky” should the 3rd tone be? A discussion about how the tone should sound, and how to make it:

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