Mandarin Weekly #48

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

Please tell your Chinese teachers, fellow students, and others about this free resource.

To receive Mandarin Weekly in your e-mail inbox every Monday, just use the subscription box on the left side at Or follow us on Twitter, at @MandarinWeekly!

Types of Chinese characters

Reading Chinese requires work, for sure. But once you understand the structure of the characters, learning new ones (and understanding even those you don’t yet know how to read) is simpler than you might think, as explained by Anna from FluentU:

Twitter: @FluentU

Hair, hair everywhere

This amusing (and useful!) video from ChinesePod gives you the vocabulary you need to talk about all of the hair on your body. Yes, all of your hair, even the stuff we generally don’t discuss:

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Why doesn’t Chinese have an alphabet?

In this insightful article that you can show to your friends who aren’t learning Chinese (or to yourself, when you’re struggling to learn characters), Chris from Fluent in Mandarin describes why Chinese doesn’t have an alphabet, and why this isn’t necessarily a bad thing:

Twitter: @Fluent_Mandarin

Location, location, location

Chinese lets us add prepositions to many words, to indicate a location relative to that word. Oksana from Dig Mandarin provides a number of examples, along with an explanation:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Winter solstice words

Going to be in China on the winter solstice? (I will!) Here are some phrases you can use on that day (and in this season), including special foods eaten at this time of year:

Twitter: @FluentU

Big and little

Chinese characters bites

Chris from Fluent in Mandarin is back with even more short takes on Chinese characters. This time, he’s looking at 时, 年, and 得:

Twitter: @Fluent_Mandarin

Tone trainer

You can (and should) train yourself to hear the tones in Chinese. But how, short of spending lots of time with an instructor? Written Chinese offers a “tone trainer,” a program that you can use to try to identify tones:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

The “roof” radical

Another collection of characters from All About Chinese is out, this time with the 宀 (mián) radical, which means “roof,” and can be found in lots of characters:

Chinese reading challenge

Olle Linge is back with another Hacking Chinese challenge. This time, read as much as possible:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Getting a drink

This short video from ChineseClass101 gives you some listening practice, with a short story and a question you need to answer. Can you answer it?

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Your schedule in Chinese

This article from Sasha at Transparent Language provides the days of the week, parts of the day, and even how to tell time in Chinese — and then a chart into which you can insert your schedule, by day and time:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Getting around in Beijing

How can you get aorund in Beijing? It’s easier than you might think (as I know from many visits to that city)! Here are some hints, as well as Chinese vocabulary words, you can use to get around:

The four seasons

This short video from LearnChineseNow teaches the four seasons of the year in Chinese:

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Improve your listening skills

Are you finding it hard to understand Chinese when natives speak it? (Yeah — me, too!) Well, in this post at Sapore di Cina, Furio provides us with a number of recommended steps we can take to improve our comprehension:

Uncomfortable roots

We often like to find out the origins of Chinese characters. But what if the characters have origins that make us uneasy? A discussion, with many examples:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Don’t make this mistake

Think that Chinese is tough? Ask the Chinese reporter who was fired for confusing two characters in an article:

Asking questions

When I first started to learn Chinese, I was told to put 吗 (ma) at the end of a sentence, to turn it into a question. But of course, things are more complex than that; there are other question words, and they work differently:

I’m cold; you should put on a sweater

How can you tell someone to put on some more clothes, or thicker clothes, because of the cold weather?

The (Chinese) Force Awakens

Get some reading practice (and increase your nerd cred) by watching this Star Wars movie trailer with Chinese subtitles:

Repeating words

When can we double a Chinese word, and how does the doubling changing the meaning?

Saying “the other”

There are several ways to say “other” in Chinese. This discussion points to the differences bewteen these dfiferent words:

Writing a paper

Writing a paper for class? Here’s how you can say that, and other written school assignments, in Chinese:


In English, we often use “well” as a filler word. What is the Chinese equivalent?

Using 的 with a verb

In some cases, we use 的 (de) not to indicate possession, but rather to turn a verb into a noun, which we can then reference. In interesting discussion about a small word:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *