Mandarin Weekly #67

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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Pronouncing pinyin

When you first start to learn Chinese, you’re delighted to find out about Pinyin — a way to write Chinese using the Latin alphabet. But you quickly discover that the rules for pinyin are inconsistent with other languages, and even with itself. Learning Pinyin is thus both crucial and frustrating. This post introduces the sounds of Pinyin, helping us to pronounce things according to the rules:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Sports talk

Sports are a great source of slang and metaphors in any langauge, including Chinese. Here are some Chinese-language expressions having to do with sports that you can use to spice up your next conversation:

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Photography vocabulary

Perhaps you already know how to ask someone to take your picture in Chinese — but this guide to Chinese photography-related vocabulary will almost certainly provide you with some new ways to take or edit photos, or even to be the subject of one:

Twitter: @DuChinese

Chinese cities

Thinking of studying in China? Great, but to which city should you go? Here’s a list of the most popular cities for foreign students, along with some descriptions and vocabulary having to do with each city:

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Chinese zodiac

We saw some postings like this back when the new Chinese year began, but it’s never too late to learn your Chinese zodiac symbols, undersatnding which animals come when (and which aren’t included):

Fancy words

Want to demonstrate your fluency and proficiency in Chinese? Use some of these words, which are normally used only by native speakers:

The “walking” radical

The 辶 radical (for “walking”) is used in many characters. Here’s a chart of the most common:

It’s electric

The character 电 (diàn) can be used with many other characters to create new (and often common) words:

Rain-based words

You might already know that 雨 (yǔ) means “rain.” But combined with other words, you can talk about different types of rain:

Careful planning

Want to talk about careful planning? This chengyu (four-character phrase), 精打细算 (jīng dǎ xì suàn) might be just what you need:


The words 本来 (běn lái) and 原来 (yuán lái) are similar in meaning, but not quite the same. When should you use each one?

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Sing a song for you

A gentle, romantic Chinese music video, with characters, Pinyin, and English translation:

Twitter: @ChineseToLearn

Ordering coffee

Want to order coffee when you’re in China? If you want something a bit more interesting than the default “coffee,” then this guide from LearnChineseNow will come in handy:

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

The importance of tones

A short video from BedroomChinese demonstrating the importance of tones:

Twitter: @Chelseabubbly

Choosing a school (and teacher)

What should you look for when learning Chinese? Can you do it on your own, or should you hire a teacher?

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Adding or raising

What’s the difference between 提高 (tí gāo) and 增加 (zēng jiā)? Both have to do with adding or increasing, but is there a distinction?

She’s a good ship

In Engilsh, we refer to ships (and some other nouns, such as countries) as “she.” Is this the case in Chinese?

Listening for tones

How can you not just say tones correctly, but also hear and identify them in other people’s speech?

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