Mandarin Weekly #60

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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Basic phrases

If it’s your first time in China, and you’re still new to Chinese, you’ll want to have at least a few basic phrases under your belt. Here are a few good ones to learn:

Beyond the basic phrases

This list of Chinese phrases is one of the most practical I’ve seen, ranging from asking waiters when your food will arrive, to complaining that the WiFi isn’t working:

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Formal addressing

How do you address people with particular titles, positions, or jobs?

Twitter: @Fluent_Mandarin

Discussing the Oscars

The Oscars have been awarded, with many winning (and even more losing) movies, actors, and directors. How can you discuss the Oscars in Chinese with your friends?

Twitter: @DuChinese

Chinese movie names

If we’re already on the subject of movies: Can you name your favorite movies? Perhaps, but can you name your favorite movies in Chinese? This extensive list will provide you with some good vocabulary, as well as conversation starters and some entertainment (when you see how some movie names are translated):

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

What you won’t learn

So, you’re taking Chinese lessons. Great! But your class won’t teach you everything — which means that for those topics, your own your own. In this article from Olle Linge, we get insights into what we cannot expect from our teachers and courses, and thus will have to work on alone:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Expressing the passive voice

How can we use the character 被 (bèi) to express the passive voice?

Kitchen vocabulary

If you like to cook, then you need to know how to describe your tools. Here are some common Chinese words for items you’ll find in a kitchen:

You’ve got talent

Here are some chengyu (four-character idioms) that have to do with work and talent:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Flowers of China

China is a huge country, with many types of flowers. However, some have particular significance. Here are 10 of the most signfiicant ones, with explanations of their meanings:

Implicit vs. explicit Chinese

How can (and should) you use Chinese? This two-part series from Olle Linge lays out some theory, and then some strategies, for improving your Chinese:

Authentic Chinese food

“Chinese food” as served in the West, and Chinese food as served in China, are rather different. Here are some authentic Chinese dishes you’re unlikely to see outside of China:

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Street food

China has a great variety of “street food” — what are they selling, and how do you talk about it in Chinese?

Ways to talk

Chinese has a huge number of words that involve talking. When should each one be used?


What’s the difference between 听不懂 (tīng bù dǒng) and 不明白 (bù míng bái)? Do they mean the same thing in terms of understanding?

Talking about children

Chinese has several ways to talk about children. In which cases should you use each word?

Different types of “if”

只要 (zhǐ yào) and 如果 (rú guǒ) are similar in meaning, both having to do with “if.” How are they different?

Majoring in Chinese

Is it useful to major in Chinese? What sorts of career options does it open up?

Learning traditional characters

If you have learned simplified characters, how hard is it to learn the traditional ones?

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