Mandarin Weekly #77

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #77, with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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Talking about characters

How can you describe Chinese characters in Chinese? This might seem like a trivial problem, but it’s not; given the large number of homophones, you often need to be able to distinguish between characters. This excellent article tells you how native Chinese do it, and how you can use these techniques in your own learning:

http://www.hackingchinese.com/talk-chinese-characters-chinese/

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Forming new words

Many newcomers to Chinese are surprised to find that characters can be words, but that many words require multiple characters. How are these characters combined to form new words? Here are some general rules and explanations, with many examples:

http://www.decodemandarinchinese.com/learn-better/how-is-a-word-formed-in-modern-chinese-ii

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Confused characters

I’m at the point in my Chinese reading in which I know enough characters to mix them up. This useful (and long!) list brings together characters that many beginners confuse, putting them next to each other so that we can see and remember the differences:

http://carlgene.com/blog/2016/06/top-258-most-commonly-confused-chinese-characters/

Twitter: @carlfordham

Phonetic components

If you’re like me, you’re constantly encountering characters you’ve never seen before. Alphabetic languages tell you how to pronounce new words, but how can you do that with characters? These secret is the phonetic component, as described here:

https://ninchanese.com/blog/2016/06/29/chinese-character-phonetic-components/

Twitter: @ninchanese

Multiple subjects

If you want to talk about more than one subject, you should be using 都 (dōu). Here is a video from EChineseLearning demonstrating how to do it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIW-WjK6vm4

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Location words

Where are you now? Where are you going? Where are things located? Location words are needed to express many ideas. In this two-part series, you can learn all about how to express location in Chinese:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/location-words-chinese-one/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Location words

Where are you now? Where are you going? Where are things located? Location words are needed to express many ideas. In this two-part series, you can learn all about how to express location in Chinese:

http://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/location-words-in-chinese-part-two/

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Using 不但。。。而且

Want to express “not only X, but also Y”? You can do that in Chinese with 不但。。。而且, as demonstrated in this short video with a large number of examples:

http://chinesefor.us/chinese-sentence-structure-1601/

Twitter: @chinese4us

Using the phone

Have you ever made a phone call in Chinese? If not, here are some hints for how to start:

http://www.hanbridgemandarin.com/article/daily-chinese-learning-tips/how-to-make-and-answer-phone-calls-in-chinese/

Ordering takeout

Now that you can use the phone for basic Chinese conversations, how about making a takeout restaurant order?

http://www.learnchinesechina.com/site-content/40-blog/1740-how-to-order-food-delivery-in-china

Myths about characters

For many people studying Chinese, learning the characters is a challenge. There are so many! Maybe you should just use Pinyin (the Romanized script)? Here are some myths about characters that you might want to consider:

https://themandarincornerblog.com/2016/07/02/3-myths-about-chinese-characters/

Restaurant interview

Ever wonder what it’s like to work in a Chinese restaurant? Here’s a short interview, in Mandarin Chinese, with the Cantonese manager of a restaurant:

http://mandarinhq.com/2016/06/chat-with-a-cantonese-restaurant-manager/

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Graduating?

This is the end of the academic year in much of the world, including in China. Here are some useful graduation-related words and phrases for you to use:

http://www.e-putonghua.com/zone/index.php/2016/06/29/new-words-collecting-graduation/

Tone colors

Pleco and many other Chinese dictionaries use colors to identify different tones. How and why should you do this, and how useful is it?

https://zhongruige.wordpress.com/2016/07/02/on-tone-colors/

Twitter: @zhongruige

Chinese tongue twisters

Every language has tongue twisters, but Chinese has some really great ones — in part, I’m sure, because so many of the sounds are similar. Here are some good ones to practice, or to get your (soon-to-be-former) friends to try:

http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2016/06/30/chinese-tongue-twisters/

Twitter: @FluentU

Popular Chinese dishes

Anyone who visits China quickly discovers that Western “Chinese food” is quite different from actual Chinese cuisine. Here are some popular Chinese dishes you might want to try when visiting:

http://www.echineselearning.com/blog/whats-your-dish-try-the-10-most-popular-in-china

Twitter: @ECLSchool

I need your opinion

Want to get someone’s opinion? How can you say that in Chinese? CrazyFreshChinese provides the answer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQL-X5fIOVI

Asking for forgiveness

How do you say “I’m sorry” in Chinese? There are actually many ways; this video contains 10 of them:

http://chinesefor.us/hts1601-say-sorry-chinese/

Twitter: @chinese4us

You’re so cow! (Huh?)

Want to tell someone how great they are in Chinese? A common phrase is to say they’re 太牛了 (tài niú le). Why are cows so great?

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19364/where-did-the-phrase-%e5%a4%aa%e7%89%9b%e4%ba%86-come-from

It’s it true…

The phrase 难道 (nán dào) can be used to express surprise that something isn’t true:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19355/how-to-use-%e9%9a%be%e9%81%93-in-chinese-sentences

Beginnings and endings

How can you talk about the beginning of something, or the end of something? Some great examples that will come in handy:

http://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19337/how-to-refer-to-beginning-middle-end-in-mandarin

Please correct me!

Speaking Chinese with a native, and want to ask them to correct your non-native language skills? Here’s how you can ask to be corrected:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/4qlosf/how_do_you_say_please_correct_me/

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