Mandarin Weekly (每周中文) #103, 2017-January-02

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #103, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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Happy New Year!

Enjoying your 2017 already? Here is a video from, describing how to wish people well, and make some resolutions for the new year:

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Reading Chinese

Intermediate An important part of improving your Chinese fluency is reading. Where can you find good Chinese texts

Twitter: @FluentU

As long as…

Intermediate “As long as Mandarin Weekly publishes weekly issues, I’ll keep reading them.” Aside from being an obvious statement, it also uses a grammar pattern that describes, using 只要 (zhǐ yào):

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Contrasting adjectives

Intermediate Want to compare two things? Say, one is big and the other little? Or one is expensive and the other is cheap? There are a number of ways to do that in Chinese, as described here:

Or or or?

Beginner There are two types of “or” in Chinese, as described in this video from

Twitter: @HanbridgeOnline

But actually

Intermediate How do you say “actually” in a sentence in Chinese? The term is 其实 (qíshí), and can be used in a few different ways:

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Playing the 二胡 (èrhú)

Intermediate Th erhu is a traditional Chinese stringed instrument. In this video from, the dialogue is between a music student and a teacher:

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Why is English hard for native Chinese speakers?

You think that Chinese is hard to learn? Have you ever tried to learn English, when your native language is Chinese? This won’t necessarily help you with your Chinese, but will help you to understand that English is far from easy, and why Chinese speakers make certain mistakes:

Name that province

Beginner China is divided into many provinces, and remembering their names (and locations) can be challenging for foreigners. Here is a list of provinces, as well as their Chinese names and pronunciations:

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Numbers in China

Beginner Why do Chinese people love the number 8, and avoid the number 4? Here is a short description of the reasoning behind these common beliefs:

Introducing 蔡骏 (Cài jùn)

Advanced Looking for some good and scary modern Chinese fiction? You should consider reading books by 蔡骏, as described in this recommendation:

Using commas

Intermediate How do you use commas in Chinese? This introduction is good if you’re weak on Chinese grammar or on your general use of punctuation:

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Father and sons

Intermediate A story about a father and his sons, in characters and audio:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Using 了

Beginner One of the trickiest things to learn in Chinese is the use of 了 (le). How do you use it to indicate past tense, and where else can it be used?

Light vs. light

Beginner Two characters, 灯 (dēng) and 光 (guāng), can be understood as “light,” but they have different meanings:

Chinese music

Advanced Want to listen to Chinese music, either to improve your listening comprehension or just to keep up with local cultural trends? Here are some ideas for where you can find such music:


Many of us are familiar with HSK, the Chinese examination of language fluency. How similar is it to TOCFL, the Taiwanese equivalent?

The right word for cm

Beginner How do you say “centimeter” in Chinese? There are two words, 公分and 厘米; are they used the same?

Does knowing Japanese help with learning Chinese?

Beginner Written Japanese uses many Chinese characters. Does that make it easier for people who know Japanese to learn Chinese?

Learning to write characters

Beginner Is it worth learning to write characters by hand? Or is the computer/phone enough for most people learning Chinese?

Also published on Medium.

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