Mandarin Weekly #79

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #79, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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Download all of the links from Mandarin Weekly #79

Chinese pronouns

Pronouns are such a part of our everyday conversation, it’s easy to forget how important they are. In this post, we learn about pronouns in Chinese, including in questions:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Spit it out!

Is someone hesitating, or unable to tell you what they really think? Here’s a great video from, teaching you a useful phrase (吞吞吐吐, or tūn tūn tǔ tǔ):

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Using 那个 like a native

那个 (nà ge) means “that,” but it can be used in a variety of other ways to make your Chinese sound more fluent. Here are some examples:

Twitter: @DuChinese

Bad friends

Don’t like the company someone is keeping? You can describe the friends as 狐朋狗友 (hú péng gǒu yǒu):

Two kinds of “we”

The word 咱们 (zá men) is a way of saying “we,” including the person with whom you’re speaking. It’s only used in northern China, but can help you to understand what a northerner is saying:

Just passing through

The character 过 (guò) means to “pass,” but can be used along with other characters to create a variety of words:

Twitter: @DigMandarin


How do we talk about days in Chinese? (That is, today vs. tomorrow, vs. many other options.) has a short video on the subject:

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Avoiding an answer

Don’t want to answer a question? Here are some ways to hedge your response, providing you with some ambiguous cover:

Twitter: @chinese4us

Using native textbooks

It might seem like a great idea to improve your Chinese by reading textbooks for Chinese children. There are good and bad sides to this, as described here:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Apps for learning

Most Chinese learners seem to use a few apps to improve their vocabulary, reading, and general comprehension. Here is a roundup of such apps:

Using 也 (yě) and 还 (hái)

These two characters have similar meanings, but are used in different contexts. Here is a (fairly exhaustive!) list of examples of when you might use each one:

Ordering street BBQ

When you’re in China, you can’t get away from the many stands selling food of various sorts. Here’s a dialogue that demonstrates how to order from such a stand:

Twitter: @MandarinHQ


A nice list of Chinese fruit, with pictures:

AP Chinese

Are you a US high school students planning to take the AP Chinese exam? Here is what to expect, as well as some hints on how to practice:

Twitter: @FluentU


Here is a short list (with rather cute drawings) of animals, with their Chinese names:

Sing your vegetables

Here’s a short video, aimed at children, to learn the words for some vegetables in Chinese:

Reading vs. seeing

There are several different ways to say “read” in Chinese; what’s the difference between them?

Lending vs. borrowing

When do you use 借 (jiè) and when do you use 贷 (dài)? Don’t they both mean “borrow” or “lend”?

Money money money

What’s the difference between saying 钱 (qián) and 金钱 (jīn qián)?


The English word “life” has several meanings, which translate into different words in Chinese:

Learning without studying

Many Chinese words for “learn” would seem to imply studying or practicing. What about learning just through life, over time?

Frequently confused characters

What characters are frequently confused? How do you distinguish between them?

Download all of the links from Mandarin Weekly #79

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