Mandarin Weekly #80

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

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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:

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:

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

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:

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Getting help from strangers

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

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:

How many?

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

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

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Classic novels

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

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:

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:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Short story

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

Twitter: @ChineseAtEase

One ringy dingy

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

Twitter: @MandarinHQ


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

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:

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:

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:

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:

Radical rooms

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

Radical animals

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

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