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Food shopping, the Chinese way
Beginner Need to buy food while you’re in China? You could go to a supermarket, but here’s some basic information about 菜市场 (cài shì chǎng), or an open-air market — delicious, with good prices, and a great way to practice your Chinese:
Investing in your Chinese
How much time should you spend practicing your Chinese? Perhaps a more important question is, what should you be doing when you practice? This post describes ways that you can make that practice more effective and efficient:
How are you feeling?
Beginner Do you feel great? Terrible? How about just so-so? Jealous? Furious? Elated? This post has a full collection of emotions for you to try out in Chinese:
Tracking time in Chinese
Beginner Expressing time in Chinese is often done in terms of space. In this interview, well known Chinese expert Chris Parker describes the notion of time in Chinese:
When do we want it? Now!
Beginner One of my favorite words in Chinese is 马上 (mǎ shàng）， which means “right away.” In this video from LearnChineseNow.com, we learn how to use it:
I got a fever
Intermediate If you’re sick, then you might 发烧 (fā shāo), have a fever. But if you’re an enthusiastic fan, then you might be a 发烧友 (fā shāo yǒu):
Intermediate The Pokemon Go craze is worldwide, so you really need to be able to discuss it in Chinese. (OK, perhaps “need” is a bit strong.) Here’s a video from ChinesePod.com that introduces Pokemon Go’s Chinese vocabulary:
Visiting Hebei province
Looking for a slightly off-the-beaten-track place to go in China? Here’s some information about 河北 (hé běi), with characters and vocabulary, as well as some interesting things to do:
Advanced A review (in Chinese) of the book 十宗罪, which sounds like a great novel if your Chinese is up to it:
Intermediate You can use 被 () to mark a passive sentence. But in many cases, passive sentences don’t need any marker at all:
Beginner China has many brands of beer; here is some history, and the names (in Chinese, of course) for some of the better known ones:
Beginner The American Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone, but in case you’re still interested (or eating leftovers), here are some Thanksgiving-related terms in Chinese:
The meanings of 出轨
Intermediate Technically speaking, 出轨 (chū guǐ) means “to go off the rails.” But there are some other, even less sympathetic, meanings:
Cool and confident
Intermediate Sure of yourself? Confident that you’re right? Steady and unhurried? Yeah, that’s 笃定 (dǔ dìng):
Don’t bother pressing “close door”
Intermediate A short story (in characters, with English translation) about the “close door” button on elevators, which might not do anything:
What are some nice-looking characters that you feel are especially aesthetically pleasing?
Uses of 把 and 将
Advanced When would we use 把 (bǎ)? And when would we use 将 (jiāng)? These markers change the emphasis and structure of the sentence:
Using 就 and 才
Intermediate Many students of Chinese struggle to understand when and how to use 就 (jiù) and 才 (cái). Here is a detailed description that might help:
Of lattes and transliteration
How do you write “latte” in Chinese? Or “Hollywood”? It turns out that Mainland China and Taiwan use different transliterations, which leads to some interesting thoughts about the entire subject:
Positive and negative with 一方面
Advanced The construct 一方面. . .另一方面 (yī fāng miàn . . .lìng yī fāng miàn) is a way of saying, “On the one hand, and on the other hand.” Do both need to be positive (or negative)?
Intermediate How do you say “I understand” in Chinese? Why are there two verbs, 理解 (lǐ jiě) and 了解 (liǎo jiě), and how are they different?