Mandarin Weekly #85

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #85, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your fellow students of Chinese, and with your teacher! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

Don’t forget to look at our list of discount resources for students of Mandarin Chinese!

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The Chairman's BaoThe Chairman’s Bao is the first online Chinese newspaper, written and simplified for students of Mandarin. With an archive of over 1,300 HSK (3-6+) graded news-based lessons, with up to five more published daily, TCB has four times more content than any other Chinese news-based reader. Throw in cross-platform access and synchronization – website, iOS and Android apps – as well as a whole host of exclusive features to aid language learning such as: comprehensive grammar points, live dictionary and intelligent flashcard system, TCB is the ultimate Chinese learning companion. Learn in a way that’s compelling, engaging and current. I highly recommend this resource, especially if you wish to really improve your reading and listening skills in a fun and contextual manner!

80% comprehension

How much of native-speed Chinese do you understand? 90%? 80%? In this blog post, we get an indication of the different levels — and why progress often seems so slow and frustrating, even when it’s not.

http://www.sinosplice.com/life/archives/2016/08/25/what-80-comprehension-feels-like

Twitter: @SkritterHQ

Chinese breakfasts

What do people in China have for breakfast? Here are some examples, to fill out your vocabulary (and perhaps your appetite):

http://www.learnchinesechina.com/site-content/40-blog/1801-the-different-types-of-chinese-breakfast

Totally powerless?

Unable to do anything about something? Here’s an expression (无能为力, or wú néng wéi lì) that you can use to describe it:

https://mandarinfriend.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/chengyu-explanations-%e6%97%a0%e8%83%bd%e4%b8%ba%e5%8a%9b/

Conjunctions

Chinese conjunctions can be tricky! Here is a second batch of them from the folks at Written Chinese:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/chinese-conjunctions-part-2/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Vegetarian? Vegan?

If you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or otherwise have dietary restrictions, then eating in China can pose a challenge. In this video from ChinesePod, learn how to describe what you do and don’t eat in Chinese, so that you can enjoy food in China while remaining true to your principles:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zU3pARpeVNc

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Reading handwritten Chinese

Your Chinese reading is pretty good, eh? Well, how well can you read handwritten Chinese? As this post points out, this is often a tough skill to achieve; here are some hints and suggestions for getting there:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/learning-read-handwritten-chinese/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

80 ways to be polite

Chinese is big on politeness in conversation. How can you ensure you’re speaking politely? Well, here are 80 (!) phrases to get you started:

http://carlgene.com/blog/2016/08/top-80-most-common-polite-expressions-in-chinese/

Twitter: @carlfordham

Ordering food on the phone

Want to order food on the phone in Chinese? Chelsea is at it again, with a video describing how to do this:

https://chelseabubbly.com/2016/08/17/how-to-order-food-from-a-chinese-restaurant-example-dialogue/

Would you please…

How do you ask someone to do you a favor in Chinese? Here are some phrases to use when requesting help:

http://www.duchinese.net/blog/39-could-you-please

Twitter: @DuChinese

Chinese names to avoid

Choosing a Chinese name? Great! But don’t make the mistake of choosing a name that sounds super-cool, only to discover that it (or something that sounds like it) has some negative connotations…

http://chinesehacks.com/culture/words-to-avoid-when-choosing-a-chinese-name/

Pokemon in Chinese

Playing Pokemon Go? If so, then perhaps you want to tell your friends about your favorite ones in Chinese. LearnChineseNow.com provides us with the Chinese names for several of the most popular Pokemon characters:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtyrZSgY4rA

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Computer terms

I work in the computer industry, and thus often want to discuss my work in Chinese. This list of computer- and Internet-related terms will help quite a bit:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/38-words-for-the-internet-in-chinese-and-english

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Not yet

How can you say that something hasn’t yet happened? A brief introduction to the 还没…呢 (hái méi… ne) grammar pattern:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/08/24/grammar-hai-mei-ne/

Beginner phrases

Planning to visit China soon? Here are some important phrases to know before your trip:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/epic-list-basic-chinese-phrases-beginners-part-2/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Bad-news phrases

You don’t want to be on the receiving end of these sentences, presented by ChineseClass101.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxaHLXVQyGQ

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Learn Chinese via cooking

If you enjoy cooking, then one great way to improve your Chinese is by cooking Chinese dishes — and using the native vocabulary to do so! Here are some tips for using Chinese in the kitchen, and tips for reading recipes:

http://www.digmandarin.com/learning-practical-chinese-cooking-chinese-dishes.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

How needed is it?

Two phrases (必须 and 必需), both pronounced bì xū, have similar meanings and identical pronunciations — but learning the difference is important!

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/must-or-necessary

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Pronouncing s/sh/x

Pronouncing these sounds is challenging for many Westerners; here are some tips for sounding more native:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/52244-s-x-sh-the-sibilants/

Using 之

What does the 之 (zhī) character mean, and how is it used?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4z6g14/how_do_you_use_the_character_%E4%B9%8B/

做 vs. 作

These two characters sound the same, and mean almost the same thing. But they aren’t interchangeable, as discussed here:

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E4%BD%9C-%E5%81%9A.2574240/

Where to start?

So, you want to learn Chinese, and even aim toward fluency? What’s a good path to take, including resources and strategies?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/501a5s/moving_to_taiwan_wherehow_to_start_learning/

Different sentences, same meaning

This simple question about which version of a sentence is “more correct” leads to a discussion of verb placement:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20925/what-is-the-difference-between-these-two-sentences

Being social

Three words have similar meanings, all about communication and being social. But which means which?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20937/%e4%ba%a4%e6%b5%81-%e4%ba%a4%e9%99%85-%e6%b2%9f%e9%80%9a-whats-the-difference

Mandarin Weekly #84

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #84, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.  My apologies for getting this out late tonight, but I just arrived in Shanghai on business, and didn’t get a chance to put out the newsletter before my flight.

If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your fellow students of Chinese, and with your teacher! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

Don’t forget to check out the deals for students of Chinese, at http://mandarinweekly.com/discounts-for-students-of-chinese/.

To receive Mandarin Weekly in your e-mail inbox every Monday, just use the box on the left side at MandarinWeekly.com. Or follow us on Twitter, at @MandarinWeekly! We’re also on Facebook, at http://facebook.com/MandarinWeekly.

Administrative note: This week, with nearly 1,000 subscribers to Mandarin Weekly, we’re starting to take advertising and publicity from companies that cater to students of Chinese. This is still new and somewhat experimental, and will change over time. But I can promise you that under no circumstances whatsoever will we sell, rent, or provide your personal information (basically, your name or e-mail address) to any advertiser.  If you know of a great product or service for students of Chinese that might make for a good advertiser, please send e-mail to reuven@lerner.co.il.

Sponsor: The Chairman’s Bao

The Chairman's Bao "back to class" discount

Word order

Word order is crucial in Chinese. And yet, many of us (myself included) get it wrong. Here’s a game from ChinesePod designed to help you improve:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d-bTpqa8Ok

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Using 又

In yet another amusing video, chelseabubbly.wordpress.com teaches us how to use 又 to describe things:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Jyi4NwCtfw

Twitter: @Chelseabubbly

Telling time in Chinese

What time is it? And can you ask that in Chinese? You’ll be able to, after reading this article:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/08/17/how-to-tell-time-in-chinese/

Twitter: @FluentU

Which two to use?

Chinese has two versions of the number “two.” The character 二 (èr) is the number two, whereas the character 两 (liǎng) is for counting things. When you use each is usually easy to understand, with some exceptions:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/er-or-liang

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Making phone calls

How do you make a phone call in Chinese? Here is a primer in how to make such calls, and conduct basic conversations:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/how-to-make-a-phone-call-in-chinese/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Stirring up a hornet’s nest

This common phrase in English has a Chinese equivalent, which can be used similarly:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/08/19/slang-ma-feng-wo/

The tree radical

The tree radical shows up in many things made of wood, or associated with wood, as in these examples:

http://allaboutchinese.tumblr.com/post/149019040871/allaboutchinese-%E6%9C%A8-tree

Lucky dog … umm…

One way to say that something is lucky in Chinese is to say it’s like dog excrement. Don’t believe me? Read this interesting (and somewhat disturbing, to my eyes/ears) take on it:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/the-hilarious-chinese-word-you-must-know-for-luck

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Learn by transcribing

One of the hardest tasks in learning a language is to understand native-speed speakers, and Chinese is no exception. Transcribing Chinese that you hear can thus help you to improve your listening, and to turn those sounds into characters you can read, as described here:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/transcribing-chinese-audio-active-form-listening/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Chinese Olympics events

How do you say the names of Olympic events in Chinese? Here is a surprisingly long list:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-vocabulary-summer-olympics/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Back and forth

Want to describe a back-and-forth dispute in Chinese? Here’s an explanation of the phrase 拉锯战 lā jù zhàn():

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/08/21/slang-2/

Cooking dumplings

I absolutely love dumplings; when I am in China, I have them very often — and perhaps too often! If you buy pre-made dumplings, how can you cook them? Here are instructions, along with lots of useful Chinese vocabulary, from LearnChineseNow.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTWi6-qtmxk

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Learning via scenarios

Trying to memorize oodles of vocabulary is always difficult, as well as less effective than learning words in context. Consider working on your vocabulary in the context of scenarios, as described here:

http://www.digmandarin.com/using-topics-scenarios-make-chinese-learning-efficient.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

How do you use 了?

One of the most common questions asked by students of Chinese is how to use 了(le) to indicate tense, or something similar to tense. This discussion breaks it apart with some understandable examples:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20861/example-cases-with-%e4%ba%86

When do you not use 了?

And of course, there are some verbs that cannot be used with 了(le). What does that mean, and how is 了 different from 过 (guò):

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20856/which-verbs-do-not-go-with-%e4%ba%86-and-or-%e8%bf%87

Reading a book

There are two verbs that you can use to describe “reading,” 看 (看) and 读 (读). What is the difference between them?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4ybz3d/when_you_say_youre_reading_a_book_do_you_use_%E7%9C%8B_or/

完 vs 到

Both 完 (wán) and 到 (dào) can be used to indicate that an action is complete, but they aren’t the same. What is the difference?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4xpujs/difference_between_%E5%AE%8C_and_%E5%88%B0/

Using 也 (yě)

We often learn that 也 (yě) means “also,” but it can have slightly different meanings, as we see here:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20906/what-does-%e4%b9%9f-mean-in-this-sentence

Sometimes, another “always”

How do we say “always” in Chinese? It depends on the precise version of “always” we’re trying to say:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20897/what-is-the-difference-between-%e5%90%91%e6%9d%a5-%e4%b8%80%e7%9b%b4-and-%e6%80%bb%e6%98%af

Republic years

If you see the date 民國74 年, what does it mean? Hint: It most certainly does not mean 1974. An interesting view of time and years in Chinese:

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E6%B0%91%E5%9C%8B-%E5%B9%B4.3218015/

Types of expressions

You might have heard of “chengyu,” four-character expressions that are common in Chinese. There are other types of expressions; how are they different?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20887/%e6%88%90%e8%af%ad-versus-%e4%bf%97%e8%af%ad-versus-%e8%b0%9a%e8%af%ad-what-is-the-difference

Non-native accents

I have a strong American accent in every language I speak, including those in which I’m fluent. And I’m sure that I’m not alone; it’s normal to have at least some traces of your native language. This discussion addresses the question of whether native Chinese make fun of foreign accents:

https://www.quora.com/As-a-Westerner-who-speaks-Chinese-do-people-ever-make-fun-of-your-accent-in-China

Nobody’s perfect

What’s a good Chinese expression (cheng yu) to describe the idea that nobody is perfect?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4xydk8/is_there_a_chinese_sayingproverbchengyu_for_the/

Mandarin Weekly #83

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #83, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your fellow students of Chinese, and with your teacher! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

To receive Mandarin Weekly in your e-mail inbox every Monday, just use the box on the left side at MandarinWeekly.com. Or follow us on Twitter, at @MandarinWeekly! We’re also on Facebook, at http://facebook.com/MandarinWeekly.

A new Chinese-reading game

Want to improve your Chinese reading? Of course you do! Olle Linge of Hacking Mandarin fame has produced a new game that is designed to improve and reinforce your reading skills:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/escape-text-adventure-game-chinese-learners/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Short stories

When you get beyond introductory grammar and vocabulary, you want to start reading stories. Where can you find good short stories in Chinese?

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/08/08/chinese-short-stories/

Twitter: @FluentU

Money, money, money

Money is a central part of our lives. Here are some great Chinese words and phrases having to do with making and receiving payments:

http://www.hanbridgemandarin.com/article/daily-chinese-learning-tips/chinese-vocabulary-about-money/

Getting around

It’s nice to travel to China, but even better to travel inside of China. How can you communicate about transportation in Chinese? This blog post should make it all clearer, with many useful words and phrases:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/basic-words-phrases-transportation-chinese/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Taipei or Taibei?

If you have ever wondered why the capital of Taiwan is sometimes written “Taipei” and sometimes “Taibei,” this article explains it, with great linguistic detail:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/08/10/is-the-capital-of-taiwan-pronounced-taibei-or-taipei/

One character, multiple pronunciations

When I started to learn Chinese, I took some comfort in thinking that perhaps characters are hard, but at least they’re distinct, right? I remember getting worried when I discovered that many characters have the same sound. And then, my surprise turned into worry when I found out that many characters have mulitple sounds. But hey, that’s just part of the game. Here’s a fuller explanation of those characters with more than one pronunciation:

http://www.digmandarin.com/duo-yin-zi-polyphones-chinese-characters.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Favorite Chinese apps

What mobile apps are most popular among Chinese phone users? Here’s a list of some of the things your Chinese friends have undoubtedly installed:

http://www.duchinese.net/blog/38-ten-popular-apps-the-chinese-use-part-2

Twitter: @DuChinese

Buying a cellphone

Planning to buy a cellphone in China? Make sure you know the vocabulary beforehand — brands, features, payments, and the like:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/buying-a-cell-phone-in-chinese/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Buying electronics

And if you’re going to buy non-cellphone electronics, you’ll have other words to learn:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-vocabulary-electronics/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Driving in Chinese

Driving in China seems terrifying to me. (Just being a passenger is difficult enough!) But if you just want to discuss driving in Chinese, LearnChineseNow.com has a video that provides the basic vocabulary you’ll need:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs3FpBWz99Y

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Tree parts

Can you name the parts of a tree in Chinese? Here’s a quick vocabulary builder to help you out:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/parts-of-a-tree

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Work too hard?

Are you a workaolic? Of course not; you can stop whenever you want to, right? (I’ve been telling my family that for years…) How can you describe such a “problem” in Chinese?

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/if-youre-stressed-and-overworked

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Hotel vocabulary

If you visit China and stay in a hotel, then these words will probably come in handy:

http://www.touchchinese.com/chinese-words/mandarin-chinese-words-list-hotels.html

Supermarket

One of my favorite activites when traveling, including to China, is going to the supermarket. (OK, I’m weird.) Here is a list of useful supermarket terms for your next trip:

http://www.touchchinese.com/chinese-words/mandarin-chinese-words-list-supermarkets.html

Chinese sports

Many Chinese hobbies and activities are a bit surprising for Westerners visiting for the first time. Here is a list of such activities (not quite “sports,” I’d say), which you can especially expect to see if you walk through public parks and areas:

http://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/5-Uniquely-Chinese-Sports-Activities

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Fruit

Want to enjoy some fruit? Of course you do, especially now that so many good summer fruits are in season. Here are some popular fruits, and their Chinese names:

http://allaboutchinese.tumblr.com/post/148797279628/allaboutchinese-%E6%B0%B4%E6%9E%9C-fruit

The eyes have it

What are the different parts of the eye in Chinese? A short, graphic primer:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/parts-of-the-eye

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Odd sentence ordering

One of the key rules in Chinese is that the words should go in a certain order. But that order isn’t always obvious, as this discussion shows:

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E5%AD%A6%E6%A0%A1-%E4%BD%A0-%E6%80%8E%E4%B9%88%E8%B5%B0.3214857/

Chinese schools

How do you say “high school” in Chinese, and can its definition sometimes vary?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E4%B8%AD%E5%AD%B8.3214315/

Beer — one character, or two?

If you can use 啤 (pí) for beer, why do people say 啤酒 (pí jiǔ)?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4x2mje/sorry_for_the_basic_question_but_what_is_the/

Vocabulary building

What strategies have people used for building (and retaining) vocabulary?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4xflz6/whats_an_effective_way_to_build_vocabulary_quickly/

Amusing to outsiders

When you’re learning Chinese, do things sometimes seem odd to you, but normal to native speakers? This thread has a few such examples:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4xbi15/what_parts_of_the_chinese_language_do_you_find/

Location

When do we need to use 在 (zài) to indicate a location, and when don’t we?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4wthmc/the_presence_or_lack_of_z%C3%A0i_when_describing_a/

Older girlfriend

In English, we will still use the term “girlfriend” for older people. But can you say 女朋友 to describe an older couple’s female part?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20831/does-%e5%a5%b3%e6%9c%8b%e5%8f%8b-work-for-older-couples

Multiple adjectives

If something is both A and B, how can we express that in Chinese? There are a number of options, with subtle differences between them:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20834/how-do-i-join-more-than-one-adjective-together

Focus

There area few different ways to indicate that you’re focused, or focusing on something, in Chinese. Here is an explanation of the differences:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20846/whats-the-difference-between-%e9%9b%86%e4%b8%ad-and-%e4%b8%93%e5%bf%83

Mandarin Weekly #82

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #82, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

If you enjoy Mandarin Weekly, please share it with your fellow students of Chinese, and with your teacher! This newsletter will always be completely free of charge.

To receive Mandarin Weekly in your e-mail inbox every Monday, just use the box on the left side at MandarinWeekly.com. Or follow us on Twitter, at @MandarinWeekly! We’re also on Facebook, at http://facebook.com/MandarinWeekly

.

Being funny in Chinese

Like to tell jokes? Maybe, but can you tell jokes in Chinese? Not sure? Here is a video from ChinesePod.com, in which they give you the ins and outs of being humorous in Chinese:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRK7xaKQIvA

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Conjunctions

Conjunctions work differently in Chinese than in other languages I’ve learned. Here is a list of conjunctions, along with tips and examples for when (and how) to use each of them:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/chinese-conjunctions-part-1/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Little tigers

This video and translation of “Two tigers,” the Chinese equivalent to Frère Jacques, is both amusing and educational, with a (surprisingly!) long description of the grammar and vocabulary in this simple, four-line song:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/%e4%b8%a4%e5%8f%aa%e8%80%81%e8%99%8e-the-chinese-frere-jacques/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Talking about love

Chinese valentine’s day (中国情人节, or zhōng gúo qíng rén jié) falls on August 9th. Just in time are these phrases to help you talk about love:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/08/02/chinese-valentines-day/

Twitter: @FluentU

Olympic sports

It’s the Olympics! What sports do you like? You can probably find its Chinese name on this extensive vocabulary list:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/list-of-summer-olympic-sports-i

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Olympic sports

It’s the Olympics! What sports do you like? You can probably find its Chinese name on this extensive vocabulary list:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/list-of-summer-olympic-sports-ii

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Basic phrases

If you’re on a first visit to China, or just want to make sure you know the most basic words and sentences, here’s a useful quick-reference guide:

https://www.writtenchinese.com/basic-chinese-phrases-beginners-part-1/

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

All about 种

What does the 种 (zhǒng) character mean? It actually has several different meanings, and pronunciations:

http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2016/07/on-the-character-%e7%a7%8d/

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

For beautiful skin

Want to have beautiful skin, the Chinese way? Here are some recipes (with the appropriate characters and pinyin) for traditional skin-enhancing products:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/08/05/culture/

School supplies

In this video from ChineseWithEmma.com, we learn how to speak about such purchases in Chinese:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX57AENYOso

Twitter: @ChineseWithEmma

HSK5 and HSK6 vocabulary

Planning to take the two top levels of the HSK exam? Here are some handy PDF charts listing the words and phrases you’ll be expected to know:

http://www.digmandarin.com/hsk-5-vocabulary-list.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

HSK5 and HSK6 vocabulary

Planning to take the two top levels of the HSK exam? Here are some handy PDF charts listing the words and phrases you’ll be expected to know. You’ll need to provide your e-mail address in order to receive these lists:

http://www.digmandarin.com/hsk-6-vocabulary-list.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Escape the Beijing heat

I’ve been to Beijing in the summer, and it can be quite hot! To cool off, many people go to the water, at 北戴河 (běi dài hé) and 南戴河 (nán dài hé). Learn about these locations and related vocabulary in this post:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/summer-escape-to-beidaihe-and-nandaihe/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Being sneaky

How can you talk about doing something sneakily in Chinese? Here are some hints:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/07/31/are-chinese-people-all-thieves/

Narrating? Talking? Something else?

The characters 会说 can mean “can speak,” but can also mean “narrator” in some contexts. How can we determine the context, and understand the appropriate meaning?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/20749/what-is-the-best-translation-for-%e4%bc%9a%e8%af%b4

Fourth vs. neutral tone

In the word 告诉 (gào sù, or “tell”), is the second character pronounced with a neutral tone, or witih a fourth tone?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E5%91%8A%E8%A8%B4.3213207/

Pronouncing 谁

Is 谁 (“who”) supposed to be pronounced shéi or shuí? Why are both acceptable, and which pronounciation is more appropriate for Chinese learners?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19743/are-the-two-pronunciations-of-%e8%b0%81-sh%c3%a9i-shu%c3%ad-the-result-of-regional-differences

Getting more

What is the difference between 增加 (zēng jiā) and 增长 (zēng zhǎng), both of which seem to mean, “add more?”

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19739/differences-between-%e5%a2%9e%e5%8a%a0-and-%e5%a2%9e%e9%95%bf

Mandarin Weekly #81

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #81, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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Chinese colors

Maybe you can say basic colors like “red” and “blue.” But what about more complex color names, or (better yet) the cultural meanings that these colors often have in Chinese society? Here is an extensive list of such colors, and their meanings:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/07/25/chinese-colors/

Twitter: @FluentU

Business Chinese

Many of us are studying Chinese so that we can use it in our work. But did you know that a number of words in spoken Chinese are not used as much in business settings? Here is a table of spoken vs. business Chinese terms, and how to improve your business-style speech and writing:

http://www.hanbridgemandarin.com/article/business-chinese-learning-tips/the-best-way-to-learn-business-chinese/

Free intro-Chinese book

Just starting to learn Chinese? Wondering what these “measure words” are that everyone is talking about? Here is a free downloadable e-book that introduces some basic vocabulary and sentence patterns, which undoubtedly would have helped me when I first started:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/beginners-guide-to-chinese-ebook/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

US elections

Much of the world is looking at the upcoming US presidential elections. In this video, LearnChineseNow.com teaches us how to discuss them using Chinese:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UARxkWsi5l8

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Pokemon in Chinese

It’s hard to avoid hearing people talk about (or even playing “Pokemon Go”), a new game for mobile devices that is making a large number of people look like they out of their minds. How can you discuss Pokemon Go with your friends and colleagues in Chinese? Here is some “essential” Pokemon vocabulary in Chinese:

https://ninchanese.com/blog/2016/07/26/learn-pokemon-names-in-chinese/

Twitter: @ninchanese

Using 好 with verbs

The word 好 (hǎo) is one of the first we all learn, but 好 can be used in a few other ways, including that something was well done, or pleasantly done:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/07/30/grammar-verb-3/

Conjunctions

Chinese, like all languages, has conjunctions (e.g., “and,” “or,” and “so”). But conjunctions in Chinese work differently from the other languages I’ve learned, and thus are likely to trip you up. Here is an introduction to the subject (in two parts), with some examples:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-conjunctions-part-one/

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-conjunctions-part-two/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Days of the week

If you’re just starting to learn Chinese, then the days of the week might be a bit confusing for you. Here is a simple video lesson from ChineseWithEmma.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_EGlt_egRw

Twitter: @ChineseWithEmma

Funny Chinese signs

Anyone who has traveled to China has seen signs whose English is… well, a bit off. In this video from eChineseLearning.com, we learn a bit about these signs, and not only get to laugh at them, but also understand how the translation might have made sense to a native Chinese speaker:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdURzz_nIlM

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Chinese learning techniques

Olle Linge, of Hacking Chinese fame, has written before about how he became fluent in Chinese. In this installment, he describes graduate school and beyond, and provides tips for us to improve our knowledge of the language:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/i-learnt-chinese-part-6-graduate-program-taiwan/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Don’t ask these questions

Westerners traveling in China are often asked the same questions, or told the same things. Guess what? It turns out that they often ask the same questions of Chinese people. Here are some such questions, and the reasons to avoid asking them:

http://www.digmandarin.com/things-chinese-people-tired-hearing.html

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Characters vs. words

Are all characters considered words?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19669/does-a-chinese-character-almost-always-represent-a-word

Comparing

What is the difference between 很 (hěn) and 是 (shì)。。。的 (de)? Are they the same?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19684/sentence-using-%e6%98%af-%e7%9a%84-vs-sentence-using-%e5%be%88

Pronouncing 这个

One of the first things people learn in Chinese is to say 这个, or “this.” But how do you pronounce it; there seem to be a few different options, and is one more right than the other?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E8%BF%99%E4%B8%AA.3211000/

I’m busy right now

What does the word 有事 (yǒu shì) mean? And if it means “occupied,” how would you use it?

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%E6%9C%89%E4%BA%8B.3210997/