Mandarin Weekly #88

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #88, with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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Have you filled our our survey?

A number of you were oh-so-helpful and kind, and filled out our first-ever survey. I’ve gotten a great picture of our readership, but I’d like to hear your voice, as well!  If you haven’t yet filled out the survey, it would be super-helpful for you to do so:


ImageThe 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!

Do the math

How can you express basic math operations in Chinese? This video from will help you out:

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Passive voice

How can you use 被 (bèi) to express the passive voice? This video from provides some context and examples:

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

I have no idea

How can you say that you have no clue as to the answer? Use this phrase:

Too many words

Learning Chinese means learning lots of new words, and then practicing them. Is it possible that you’re trying to learn too many words at once? How can and should you study, to ensure that you build your vocabulary not only quickly, but with optimal retention?

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Using 了

How do you use 了(le)? In this video from, we see how to use it to express more complex past events:

Twitter: @Mandarin_Monkey

Mid-autumn festival

Last week, China marked the mid-autumn festival. What is this holiday about? Is it only mooncakes?

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Pleco’s clipboard reader

Did you encounter some Chinese characters, and don’t know how to translate them? Here’s an introduction to the use of Pleco’s clipboard reader, a good way to get a quick translation:

Pokemon instructions

If you want to play Pokemon Go, then you’ll need to read the instructions, right? And you’ll obviously want to do so in Chinese, right? (OK, perhaps I’m wrong on both counts.) This post reviews some of the more interesting vocabulary in the instruction guide:

Internet slang

Want to sound cool and hip? (If so, then perhaps you should avoid the use of the word “hip.”) Chinese has a growing number of Internet-related slang words; in this video, we learn about three of them:

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Survey results

Improve your listening skills with this short video quiz from This time, they ask about the results of a survey:

Twitter: @chineseclass101

A short story

Here’s a short story (parts 3 and 4), read out loud with characters and pinyin:

Twitter: @graceJLC

Cat cafes?!?

Yes, it turns out that this is a thing: Cat cafes. Listen to Angel’s interview with the owners:

Twitter: @ninchanese

Daily chengyu

Chengyu, or four-character expressions, are an important part of gaining Chinese fluency. This new Web site (Hanping Chengyu) is from, an Android app for translation and improving your Chinese. Visit this Twitter feed every day to learn new expressions!

Emergency Chinese

Going to China very soon? Need to learn Chinese super-fast? What are the best resources and methods to learn some of the language?

From HSK5 to HSK6

If you are at HSK5, how quickly and easily can you get to HSK6?

才 vs. 只

Both 才(cái) and 只 (zhǐ) mean “only,” but they have different uses. How can we use each of them?

Traditional vs. simplified

A common question among students of Chinese has to do with the character set you learn. How easily can you move from one to the other? The consensus seems to be that it’s not that hard to read both:

Walking around

Someone is walking around Taiwan — as in, walking the entire perimeter of the island. What verb should he use for “walk”?

Being careless

What does the phrase 一不留神 mean, if 留神 () means to be “careful”?

Using 是

Why do you not use 是 (shì) when saying how old you are? This seemingly mundane question led to an interesting discussion of what 是 really means:

Different types of “late”

What is the difference between 迟 (chí) and 晚 (wǎn)? Both mean “late” in English, but in a different sense:

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