|大家好！ (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #114, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.
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Learning 了 (le)
Beginner One of the most confusing and difficult topics for students of Chinese is the use of 了. In this first of three videos from ChinesePod.com, we learn how 了 describes a change, and is not a simple marker of past tense:
Intermediate Everyone knows that 2+2=4, but how do you say + and = in Chinese? Here’s a chart to help you out:
Scanning friends and bikes
Beginner The word 扫 (sǎo) means “to scan” — and nowadays, we can scan not only documents, but also people (in WeChat) and bicycle rentals:
I can, I want, I will
Intermediate Expressing the ideas that “I can” or “I want” or “I will” do something is a bit complex in Chinese; here is a complete guide to these verbs, and the ways in which they’re used:
Learning by playing
Games are fun — and if they can help you to learn Chinese, then that’s even better! Here’s a list of how you can use games to improve your Chinese:
Beginner Everywhere you go in Chinese cities, you’ll find stands serving street food. What are they serving, and how do you ask for it in Chinese?
Beginner Chinese families have the same people as everyone else, but the names can be a bit more complex. Here is a family tree that can help you to learn those names:
Beginner If you’re like me, then much of your Chinese involves needs when traveling — especially hotels and restaurants. Here is a useful list of words you can use in your travels:
Beginner How well do you know your opposites in Chinese? Try this simple matching game, and see how you do!
Where can you go to improve your Chinese? Here is a list of some resources you can use to improve your reading, writing, speaking, and listening:
Internet and gaming terms
Intermediate The Internet has spawned all sorts of words and phrases. Here is a list of some of the Chinese terms that people use:
Rules for a football pitch
Intermediate Maybe football isn’t your thing — but even so, you can learn a lot of good vocabulary from this description (in Chinese, of course) of the rules associated with making one:
A short joke
Beginner What weighs the most? A silly riddle for someone you love — assuming that they speak Chinese, of course:
Intermediate Writing a dictionary is hard, and writing a dictionary that translates between languages is even harder. Here are some errors that Carl Gene Fordham has found in Chinese-English dictionaries, which demonstrate the complexity of language:
Emphasis with 是 (shì)。。。的 (de)
Intermediate How do we emphasize things in Chinese? One common way is to use the 是。。。的 grammar pattern:
Intermediate Are you keeping fit and healthy? Sleeping enough? Eating correctly? Check yourself (or your friends) with these sentences in Chinese:
Advanced A short traditional story about 后羿 (hòu yì):
Don’t be so smug
Intermediate A short story that reminds us to plan ahead, rather than concentrate on what we’re doing right now:
Using 让 (ràng)
Intermediate The term 让 can mean either “allow” or “ask,” which can lead to some ambiguity when translating from Chinese into English: