Mandarin Weekly #95

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #95, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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Going to the supermarket

Beginner I love going to the supermarket when I’m visiting China; it’s both similar to my supermarket at home, and yet is so different. Here are some useful tips and vocabulary words to keep in mind when you next shop in China:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Renting an apartment

Intermediate What questions should you ask before renting an apartment in China? I combination of vocabulary practice and insights into how you would go about renting a place to live:

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Implicit and explicit learning

If your Chinese is going to improve, then you’ll have to use a combination of techniques. In this post, Olle Linge suggests what we can concentrate on to accelerate our learning, and how using both explicit and implicit techniques can help:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Gotta go

Beginner Three words all describe going somewhere, but mean different things. Here’s an introduction to the differences between 走 (zǒu),去 (qù) and 到 (dào):

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Socializing in China

Beginner How do Chinese people socialize? In all of the usual ways you would expect, but also in a few uniquely Chinese ways. Here is a description, plus vocabulary, for describing these Chinese forms of recreation:

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

More and more

Intermediate The word 越 (yuè) can be used in a few very useful ways, all of which have to do with something increasing over time:

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Using 把 (bǎ)

Intermediate The 把 construct allows you to change the order, and thus the emphasis, of a sentence. Here’s a guide to using this popular, and hard-to-understand (for many), grammar pattern:

Workplace vocabulary

Beginner Ready to work in China? Here are some useful phrases and terms you can use when you’re getting ready to go to the office, or when you’re just setting up there:

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Chinese etiquette

Intermediate China has a long history and tradition of unwritten rules for social interactions. Here’s a guide, along with Chinese vocabulary, describing many of these behaviors, and how you can embrace them:

Voting in Chinese

Planning to vote in the US presidential election? Or just to watch the results? Here are some useful election-related terms; whether you’re delighted or horrified by the results, at least you’ll know how to talk about them in Chinese:

Twitter: @TheChairmansBao

Using 对 (duì) and 给 (gěi)

Intermediate The words 对 (duì) and 给 (gěi) are used in a variety of ways, including to indicate to whom an action is directed. In this video from, we get a better understanding of how and when to use them:

Twitter: @HanbridgeOnline

Nursery rhyme

Intermediate Enjoy this Chinese nursery rhyme, 大 风车 (dà fēngchē), with characters, pinyin, and translation:

Twitter: @ECLSchool

How have you been?

Intermediate A love song sung by 周兴哲 (Zhou Xingzhe), with characters, pinyin, and translation:

Twitter: @ChineseToLearn

Breaking up

Intermediate It’s always hard to end a relationship — but thanks to this video from, at least you’ll know how to do so in Chinese:

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Too late!

Intermediate Is it too late to do something? Use the phrase 来不及 (lái bu jí) to indicate that:

Twitter: @eputonghua

Using 的 (de) with people

Beginner The word 的 is used as a possessive, but when we’re describing people, we don’t always have to use it. When can we ignore it?

Are months 月 (yuè) or 月份 (yuè fèn)?

Advanced Which word should be used when talking about months? The answer, of course, depends:

One’s tone

Beginner How does the tone for 一 change, based on the following character’s tone?

Chinese book club

Advanced Want to read and discuss a book in Chinese with other learners? This month’s book 临界·爵迹 by 郭敬民:

Organizational terms

Intermediate Someone asked a question about organizational terms, and the answers provided some insights into when and how to use each of them:


Advanced Software “bots,” which answer questions and otherwise interact with people and computers automatically, are a growing trend. How do you say “bot” in Chinese?

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