Mandarin Weekly #58

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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People characters

A number of characters can be used to indicate people. In this posting, we learn about six such characters, and what sorts of people they can be used to describe:

What are measure words?

One of the biggest surprises I encountered when starting to learn Chinese was “measure words,” the words that we use to count objects. What are these words, how do we use them, and which ones should we know?

Twitter: @Fluent_Mandarin

New Year money — for adults

You might have heard of the 红包 (hóng bāo), or red envelope, in which parents give their children money on Chinese New Year. It seems that some workplaces have a similar system for employees:

Buying on Taobao

Taobao is the largest shopping site in China (and probably the world). How can you use it

Twitter: @DuChinese

Journey toward Chinese

Olle Linge is famous for his “Hacking Chinese” site — but even he didn’t grow up speaking Chinese. How did he learn, and what can we learn from his path to fluency?

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Have a good trip!

The chengyu (4-character expression) 一路平安 means, “boy voyage.” How and when can you use it?

One tone change

The number one, 一, is usually a first-tone character. But it can change to be a third or fourth tone in many cases. This video from LearnChineseNow introduces and demonstrates this tone change:

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Visiting family

Emma, from, is out with her niece in China. Watch the video, and learn a bunch of Chinese words and expressions:

Twitter: @ChineseWithEmma

Complimenting male friends

If you want to give your male friend a compliment, what can you say? This post contains five suggestions for how to make your male colleagues and friends feel good about themselves:

Baby names

How do Chinese parents pick a name for their child?

Color of sunlight

Another story (read out loud, with Pinyin and characters, as well as translation) — this time, about the color of sunlight:

Twitter: @ChineseAtEase

Chinese slang

What are the latest slang terms in Mandarin Chinese? This article introduces some of them — in many cases, words that you might already know, but with a new meaning attached:

Twitter: @FluentU

Collective nouns

You might have noticed that Chinese has a large number of collective nouns (e.g., “sheep” and “fish”). Why and how is that?

Twitter: @DigMandarin

New Year guests

You should visit a Chinese family for their New Year celebration! Why, and what you can learn, is listed here:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Pronouncing that “e”

English speakers often make the mistake of assuming that the pronunciation of “e” (or other letters) is similar to that of English — but it isn’t, as this discussion points out:

Languages vs dialects

We often hear that Mandarin is a “dialect” of Chinese. But what’s the difference between a dialect and a language?

Business origins

Why is the word for business 生意 (shēng yi), wihich includes the character for “life” or “grow”?

The sound of “x”

Pinyin has an “x” character, which sounds to Westerners like “sh,” but isn’t. How should it sound?

Lacking something

When should we use each of the characters help with 不 ,没 ,and 非?

Uses of 可 (kě)

We can use 可 (kě) in a few different ways, including ot express “so very ___” something is:

When do we use 的 (de)?

One of the first words you learn in Chinese is 的. But when and how do you use it in a sentence?

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