大家好！ (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #108, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.
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Intermediate It’s the Year of the Rooster, and thus rooster- and chicken-related sayings are all the rage. Here are some phrases and idioms you might want to use, all of which include the use of chickens:
Creating your own intermediate course
Intermediate Do you already have the basics of Chinese down, and want to get even better? Here are some tips for improving your speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension:
Why is Chinese hard?
A humorous (and encouraging) essay about what makes Chinese hard to learn for native English speakers (and for many other foreigners):
Intermediate Here are some traditional Chinese proverbs about the family, along with English translations — including the equivalent English proverb, if one exists:
China’s lunar calendar
Why is Chinese New Year always on a different day? It’s actually on the same (first) day of each year — but only if you’re using the Chinese lunar calendar. Here’s an explanation of that calendar (which is, FYI, quite similar to the Jewish calendar in its calculations):
It’s bustling here!
Beginner If a place is noisy — in the bustling, full-of-life sense — then it’s called 热闹 (rè nao):
Buying and selling
Beginner The character for “buy” is 买 (mǎi). What are its origins, and how is it related to the character for “sell,” 卖 (mài)?
Trump’s two names
How do you say “Trump” in Chinese? There are actually two different ways, which can lead to some confusion:
What employees think
Beginner Employees returning from the Spring Festival don’t want to return to work, and dream of having their own company — because after all, the boss doesn’t have to work, right? A short, simple story:
Spring is in the air
Beginner Now that the Spring Festival (i.e., Chinese New Year) has passed, we can learn some simple sayings about this time of year:
Intermediate If you’re studying Chinese, and you aren’t yet able to comprehend people at native speeds, then you should be practicing your listening. This month, Hacking Chinese has a listening challenge. Go and listen to as much as you can:
The egg and the rock
Intermediate What happens when a rock and an egg meet? A short story:
The hedgehog family
Intermediate A short story about a family of hedgehogs:
A beautiful day
Beginner Is it a clear and sunny day where you live? If so, you can say it’s 晴朗 (qíng lǎng):
It’s not allowed
Intermediate If you’re ever in China, you’ll see all sorts of signs (and sometimes hear announcements) telling you what is and isn’t allowed. But there are several phrases for such warnings; what’s the difference between them?
The Art of War
Advanced The classic “The Art of War” is written in Chinese as 兵法 (bīng fǎ). Why isn’t it called 武術 (wǔ shù)?
Your Chinese is so good!
Intermediate Even if your Chinese is terrible, if you try to speak in China, you’ll be told that it is excellent. (Take it from my personal experience!) How should you respond to someone giving you an undeserved compliment?
Also published on Medium.