Mandarin Weekly #98

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #98, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

Thousands of people from around the world now subscribe to Mandarin Weekly. If you enjoy it, please share it with your teacher and/or fellow students:

Twitter Facebook WeChat WhatsApp Email

Full archives are at, as is our list of discounts for students of Chinese.

To receive Mandarin Weekly in your e-mail inbox every Monday, just use the box on our Web site, at Or follow us on Twitter, at @MandarinWeekly! We’re also on Facebook, at, and Medium, at

Sponsor: Du Chinese


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:

Twitter: @ECLSchool

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:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

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:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

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, we learn how to use it:

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

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):

Twitter: @eputonghua

Pokemon Go!

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 that introduces Pokemon Go’s Chinese vocabulary:

Twitter: @ChinesePod

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:

Book review

Advanced A review (in Chinese) of the book 十宗罪, which sounds like a great novel if your Chinese is up to it:

Unmarked passive

Intermediate You can use 被 () to mark a passive sentence. But in many cases, passive sentences don’t need any marker at all:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Chinese beer

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:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage


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:

Twitter: @ECLSchool

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:

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Cool and confident

Intermediate Sure of yourself? Confident that you’re right? Steady and unhurried? Yeah, that’s 笃定 (dǔ dìng):

Twitter: @eputonghua

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:

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Beautiful characters

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)?

I understand

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?

Also published on Medium.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *