Mandarin Weekly #43

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) Welcome to the latest Mandarin Weekly, with yet more links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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Chinese-learning strategy

How should you learn Chinese? It will take a while to become fluent, or even close to fluent — so you should plan accordingly. The strategy outlined in this post at Sensible Chinese strikes me as very reasonable, aiming to maximize motivation and a sense of accomplishment long before you’re fully fluent:

Twitter: @FluentChinese

Jump-starting your Chinese

In a similar vein to the above article about long-term Chinese-learning strategy, this blog post from Written Chinese provides a short-term strategy to give yourself a boost — learning characters, improving your vocabulary, and some tricks for improving your understanding:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Keeping up the learning motivation

And in yet another article that combines motivation with strategy, Chris from Fluent in Mandarin describes how he managed to work on his Chinese for nine years, and in so doing to become fluent:

Twitter: @FluentInMandarin

Useful phrases for common situations

Michael at FluentU has put together a list of useful phrases for when you’re traveling to China or living there. Whether you’re in a restaurant or a train station, you’ll want to look through and practice these phrases:

Twitter: @FluentU

The two “twos” in Chinese

Why do we have two different ways of saying “two” in Chinese? Rita from Dig Mandarin explores the issue, and the use cases:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

War in Chinese

The character 战 (zhàn) means “war.” The history of this character, and the ways in which it can be used, are detailed in this long blog post at the World of Chinese:

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Using 场 as a measure word

Did you know that 场 has two pronunciations (cháng and chǎng), and that each pronunciation has a different meaning (and is used as a mirror word for two different types of noun)? This short chart from Decode Mandarin Chinese makes it clear:

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Hey there, good looking!

How can you say that someone is good looking in Chinese? The latest slang, according to Sarah at Speak Up Chinese, is to say 颜值高 (yán zhí gāo). More about this phrase, with examples, are in the post:

Twitter: @SpeakUpChinese

Learning tones with Morse Code

Tones are hard to learn — hard to hear, and hard to say. But Warp Speed Chinese has an interesting idea, thinking about Morse Code (you know, dots and dashes) to improve your tones and pronunciation. The first of this series is here:

Twitter: @WSChinese

They learn how many?!?

How many characters do Chinese children learn to read in school? And at what age? This short anecdote, from Joel and Jessica about their six-year-old, certainly put me to shame:

Twitter: @ChinaHopeLive

Addicted to phones

In China, as elsewhere, some people cannot go without checking their phones all of those time. Such people are known as 手机控 shǒu jī kòng, as described in this eChineseLearning blog post:

Twitter: @ECLSchool

North American countries

You might know how to say “United States” in Chinese, but how about other country names? This list, from Sasha at Transparent Language, should help you to tell people where you’re from, or where you’ve never visited:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Ways to build

Three different verbs — 盖 (gài) ,修 (xiū ),and 建 (jiàn) — can be used, in various ways, to describe building or fixing. How are they similar and different?

Uses of 先 in a sentence

The word 先 can be used to mean “first,” but has a few other uses, as well:

Sitting in a chair, a grammatical exploration

How, in Chinese, can we say that someone is sitting in a chair? The discussion of which sentence is correct leads to a discussion of the 者 (zhe) construct, which (sort of) turns a Chinese verb into a gerund.

Established in …

How can an organization say that they were established in a certain year? A question with multiple answers.

Studying by yourself

What’s the difference between 自习 (Zì xí) and 自学 (Zì xué)? Both involve self-learning ,but slightly different types:

Learning computer-related words

What are the best ways to learn computer-related words, so that you can use (or just talk about using) your computer in Chinese? This discussion points to several resources, as well as some of the differences between the vocabularies of different types of Chinese relating to computers and technology:

Nothing to lose

How would you say “I have nothing to lose” in Chinese? Some suggestions:

Using 了 to soften a sentence

Why was 了 added to the end of a sentence? To soften its impact somewhat:

Using 和 to link nouns

When you learn about 和 in Chinese, you hear that it’s not the same as “and” in English. This discussion explores the issue a bit:

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