Mandarin Weekly #85

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #85, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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The Chairman's BaoThe Chairman’s Bao is the first online Chinese newspaper, written and simplified for students of Mandarin. With an archive of over 1,300 HSK (3-6+) graded news-based lessons, with up to five more published daily, TCB has four times more content than any other Chinese news-based reader. Throw in cross-platform access and synchronization – website, iOS and Android apps – as well as a whole host of exclusive features to aid language learning such as: comprehensive grammar points, live dictionary and intelligent flashcard system, TCB is the ultimate Chinese learning companion. Learn in a way that’s compelling, engaging and current. I highly recommend this resource, especially if you wish to really improve your reading and listening skills in a fun and contextual manner!

80% comprehension

How much of native-speed Chinese do you understand? 90%? 80%? In this blog post, we get an indication of the different levels — and why progress often seems so slow and frustrating, even when it’s not.

Twitter: @SkritterHQ

Chinese breakfasts

What do people in China have for breakfast? Here are some examples, to fill out your vocabulary (and perhaps your appetite):

Totally powerless?

Unable to do anything about something? Here’s an expression (无能为力, or wú néng wéi lì) that you can use to describe it:


Chinese conjunctions can be tricky! Here is a second batch of them from the folks at Written Chinese:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Vegetarian? Vegan?

If you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or otherwise have dietary restrictions, then eating in China can pose a challenge. In this video from ChinesePod, learn how to describe what you do and don’t eat in Chinese, so that you can enjoy food in China while remaining true to your principles:

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Reading handwritten Chinese

Your Chinese reading is pretty good, eh? Well, how well can you read handwritten Chinese? As this post points out, this is often a tough skill to achieve; here are some hints and suggestions for getting there:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

80 ways to be polite

Chinese is big on politeness in conversation. How can you ensure you’re speaking politely? Well, here are 80 (!) phrases to get you started:

Twitter: @carlfordham

Ordering food on the phone

Want to order food on the phone in Chinese? Chelsea is at it again, with a video describing how to do this:

Would you please…

How do you ask someone to do you a favor in Chinese? Here are some phrases to use when requesting help:

Twitter: @DuChinese

Chinese names to avoid

Choosing a Chinese name? Great! But don’t make the mistake of choosing a name that sounds super-cool, only to discover that it (or something that sounds like it) has some negative connotations…

Pokemon in Chinese

Playing Pokemon Go? If so, then perhaps you want to tell your friends about your favorite ones in Chinese. provides us with the Chinese names for several of the most popular Pokemon characters:

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

Computer terms

I work in the computer industry, and thus often want to discuss my work in Chinese. This list of computer- and Internet-related terms will help quite a bit:

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Not yet

How can you say that something hasn’t yet happened? A brief introduction to the 还没…呢 (hái méi… ne) grammar pattern:

Beginner phrases

Planning to visit China soon? Here are some important phrases to know before your trip:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Bad-news phrases

You don’t want to be on the receiving end of these sentences, presented by

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Learn Chinese via cooking

If you enjoy cooking, then one great way to improve your Chinese is by cooking Chinese dishes — and using the native vocabulary to do so! Here are some tips for using Chinese in the kitchen, and tips for reading recipes:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

How needed is it?

Two phrases (必须 and 必需), both pronounced bì xū, have similar meanings and identical pronunciations — but learning the difference is important!

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

Pronouncing s/sh/x

Pronouncing these sounds is challenging for many Westerners; here are some tips for sounding more native:

Using 之

What does the 之 (zhī) character mean, and how is it used?

做 vs. 作

These two characters sound the same, and mean almost the same thing. But they aren’t interchangeable, as discussed here:

Where to start?

So, you want to learn Chinese, and even aim toward fluency? What’s a good path to take, including resources and strategies?

Different sentences, same meaning

This simple question about which version of a sentence is “more correct” leads to a discussion of verb placement:

Being social

Three words have similar meanings, all about communication and being social. But which means which?

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