Mandarin Weekly #83

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #83, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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A new Chinese-reading game

Want to improve your Chinese reading? Of course you do! Olle Linge of Hacking Mandarin fame has produced a new game that is designed to improve and reinforce your reading skills:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Short stories

When you get beyond introductory grammar and vocabulary, you want to start reading stories. Where can you find good short stories in Chinese?

Twitter: @FluentU

Money, money, money

Money is a central part of our lives. Here are some great Chinese words and phrases having to do with making and receiving payments:

Getting around

It’s nice to travel to China, but even better to travel inside of China. How can you communicate about transportation in Chinese? This blog post should make it all clearer, with many useful words and phrases:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Taipei or Taibei?

If you have ever wondered why the capital of Taiwan is sometimes written “Taipei” and sometimes “Taibei,” this article explains it, with great linguistic detail:

One character, multiple pronunciations

When I started to learn Chinese, I took some comfort in thinking that perhaps characters are hard, but at least they’re distinct, right? I remember getting worried when I discovered that many characters have the same sound. And then, my surprise turned into worry when I found out that many characters have mulitple sounds. But hey, that’s just part of the game. Here’s a fuller explanation of those characters with more than one pronunciation:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Favorite Chinese apps

What mobile apps are most popular among Chinese phone users? Here’s a list of some of the things your Chinese friends have undoubtedly installed:

Twitter: @DuChinese

Buying a cellphone

Planning to buy a cellphone in China? Make sure you know the vocabulary beforehand — brands, features, payments, and the like:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Buying electronics

And if you’re going to buy non-cellphone electronics, you’ll have other words to learn:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Driving in Chinese

Driving in China seems terrifying to me. (Just being a passenger is difficult enough!) But if you just want to discuss driving in Chinese, has a video that provides the basic vocabulary you’ll need:

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Tree parts

Can you name the parts of a tree in Chinese? Here’s a quick vocabulary builder to help you out:

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Work too hard?

Are you a workaolic? Of course not; you can stop whenever you want to, right? (I’ve been telling my family that for years…) How can you describe such a “problem” in Chinese?

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Hotel vocabulary

If you visit China and stay in a hotel, then these words will probably come in handy:


One of my favorite activites when traveling, including to China, is going to the supermarket. (OK, I’m weird.) Here is a list of useful supermarket terms for your next trip:

Chinese sports

Many Chinese hobbies and activities are a bit surprising for Westerners visiting for the first time. Here is a list of such activities (not quite “sports,” I’d say), which you can especially expect to see if you walk through public parks and areas:

Twitter: @YoYoChinese


Want to enjoy some fruit? Of course you do, especially now that so many good summer fruits are in season. Here are some popular fruits, and their Chinese names:

The eyes have it

What are the different parts of the eye in Chinese? A short, graphic primer:

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Odd sentence ordering

One of the key rules in Chinese is that the words should go in a certain order. But that order isn’t always obvious, as this discussion shows:

Chinese schools

How do you say “high school” in Chinese, and can its definition sometimes vary?

Beer — one character, or two?

If you can use 啤 (pí) for beer, why do people say 啤酒 (pí jiǔ)?

Vocabulary building

What strategies have people used for building (and retaining) vocabulary?

Amusing to outsiders

When you’re learning Chinese, do things sometimes seem odd to you, but normal to native speakers? This thread has a few such examples:


When do we need to use 在 (zài) to indicate a location, and when don’t we?

Older girlfriend

In English, we will still use the term “girlfriend” for older people. But can you say 女朋友 to describe an older couple’s female part?

Multiple adjectives

If something is both A and B, how can we express that in Chinese? There are a number of options, with subtle differences between them:


There area few different ways to indicate that you’re focused, or focusing on something, in Chinese. Here is an explanation of the differences:

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