Mandarin Weekly #72

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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Giveaway update

The most recent giveaway (for a year of ChinesePod premium) is over, and the winner will be contacted later today. Thanks to all of you who participated! We have several other giveaways in the works; if you know of a good product, service, or school that can help with learning Chinese that you think will benefit students, let us know; we can include them in future giveaways.

How many characters?

When you first start to learn Chinese, you assume that you need to know a certain number of characters to be able to read. But it’s not quite that simple, as described here:


Want to spice up your speaking a bit? Here are some useful interjections and phrases you can use to make your speech more natural:

Twitter: @FluentU

Reading practice

Where can you go for good reading practice in Chinese — with good material at an appropriate level? Here are some excellent suggestions, both online and in print:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Free dictionaries

You’ll undoubtedly want (need) a dictionary to help with studying Chinese. Which free dictionaries are best, and how do you use them?

Verb tenses in Chinese

It’s true that you don’t conjugate verbs in Chinese, but that doesn’t mean there are no verb tenses. Here is how to express yourself in terms of past, present, and future actions:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Are characters a nuisance?

Learning characters is hard, but is it so difficult that we should give up on them? How hard are characters, anyway? And how do they compare with alphabetic systems?

Telling secrets

How do you tell secrets in Chinese? Here’s a video from ChinesePod to explain the chengyu (four-character phrase) to talk about keeping things quiet:

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Saying “yes”

How can you say “yes” in Chinese? The language doesn’t have a direct equivalent to “yes,” but there are a few options for answering positively:

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Attending a wedding

If you attend a wedding in China, what should you do? How should you act? And how do you describe the wedding in Chinese?

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Types of music

What kind of music do you like? If you want to describe it to your friends in Chinese, here is a handy list of genres and their Chinese names:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Visiting Beijing

Have you been to Beijing? If so, what places did you see? Here is a list, along with their Chinese names, to whet your appetite if you haven’t been there yet:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

I want it!

How strongly do you want something? In Chinese, you use different words to express it, as seen here in

Twitter: @Chelseabubbly

Shanghai Disneyland

What can you do at Shanghai Disneyland? Here are some useful terms to describe the attractions, as well as to get around when you’re there:

Twitter: @DuChinese

Powerful friends

LearnChineseNow introduces the phrase 狐假虎威 (hú jiǎ hǔ wēi), which describes using powerful connections to get what you need:

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Know your particles

Chinese uses many particles at the end of a sentence. When do you use them?

Writing ǚ

It’s hard enough for many of us to pronounce the ǚ sound; how do we write it — with both the umlaut and the tone mark — in Pinyin?

Good job!

What words can (and should) you use to compliment someone in Chinese?

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