Mandarin Weekly #46

Mandarin Weekly #46

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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Learning to hear tones

Speaking the tones in Chinese is hard for those of us learning the language, but hearing them can often be even harder. In this post, Olle from Hacking Chinese describes how we can improve our sensitivity to tones, for better comprehension and speaking:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Everything and nothing

A great video from ChinesePod telling us how to say the words “everything,” “nothing,” and so forth:


Another video from ChinesePod, describing different types of personalities (and how to say them in Chinese):

Breaking up is hard to do

This post, from the World of Chinese, contains many expressions that we can use in Chinese to describe relationships (and their ends):

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Story time

Grace from Just Learn Chinese has another story in simple Chinese, with characters and then (when moused over) pinyin and translation:

Twitter: @graceJLC

Spatial relations

A great video from Helpful Chinese Resources, demonstrating the different places that things can go, and how to describe them relative to one another:

Fun homophones

Chinese has a huge number of homophones (i.e., words that sound the same, but mean different things). Hollie at Written Chinese has collected a number, and provides us with some of the more amusing ones:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Slang, slang, and slang

Three collections of Chinese slang for DigMandarin:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Basic numbers

Learning the characters for numbers in Chinese is both easy and useful. In this post, Oksana introduces a number of them, and shows how they can be combined in various ways:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Waiting for a Person

Chinese to Learn provides a nice love song in Chinese, with Chinese characters, pinyin, and English translation. Improve your listening and your reading at the same time:

Twitter: @ChineseToLearn

Do you love me?

Chris from Fluent in Mandarin offers a love song, with characters and pinyin, for a popular (if old) song:

Twitter: @FluentInMandarin

Can you really become fluent?

Chris from Fluent in Mandarin asks whether it’s possible to become truly fluent in Chinese. His answer: Definitely, but it will take time.

Twitter: @FluentInMandarin

Easy reading

FluentU provides us with a list of books (some for children, or for the young at heart) that are good for beginning Chinese readers:

Twitter: @FluentU

“Magic wand” sentences

What are some good all-purpose conversational phrases and sentences you can use in Chinese? Here are a number of useful ones to keep in mind:

Voiced initials

You’ll often find Chinese books and lessons talking about “voiced initials.” What are they, and what can/should we do to learn and understand them?

Only children

China’s one-child policy, recently changed, is the subject of much international discussion. How would you describe someone as being an only child?

How do you say “sticker”?

Some people asked whether “sticker” is transliterated into Chinese, but it turns out that you can say 贴纸 (Tiē zhǐ), or “sticky paper”:

Dedicating a book

How would you dedicate a book (or other work) to someone? There are both traditional and modern (colloquial) ways to do so:

Taping up a package

If you have to tape up a package, what words should you use?

Saying “percent”

“Percent” should be 百分之 (bǎi fēn zhī), but not everyone says it that way. Why not?

Dealing with frustration

What should you do when your Chinese isn’t improving as quickly as you would like? And when you don’t have anyone with whom you can practice?

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