大家好！ (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #86, links and information for those of us learning Chinese.
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This week’s links
Using 了 and 过
Expressing past behavior can be tricky for newcomers to Chinese, and the use of both 了(le) and 过 can be hard to comprehend. Here is a summary of how to use them, separately and together:
When is it?
What time is it? What day is it? When will you finally finish that project you owe? All of these questions are easy to answer in Chinese, once you understand how to describe the time and day:
How can you use the word 不管 (bù guǎn) to indicate “regardless” or “no matter what”?
20 easy characters
Reading Chinese can seem daunting, or even impossible, when you first start. Here are 20 easy (and common) characters that you can learn and use quickly:
Using 家 as a suffix
We know that 家 (jiā) can mean “home,” but it can also be used to describe an expert or a professional:
Gotta do it
How can you say you need to do something? This video and blog post will help you to set you straight:
De de de
Three words in Chinese sound the same, and have similar meanings — but they’re not identical. LearnChineseNow.com provides a video introduction to 的, 得, and 地, all pronounced “de,” and when we would use each:
Learning Chinese via commercials
Commercials are a great window into modern societies, and can also be a great way to learn words and usage. Here is an introduction to Chinese commercials, and some examples of good ones:
When you’re in China, being able to read street signs is both useful and fun. Here are some helpful tips on some of the most common phrases used on such signs:
Feel bad about yourself
Want to feel foolish? Probably not. Want to feel foolish in Chinese? Well… maybe, if it’ll help your speaking skills, right? In this video from ChineseClass101.com, you can learn 10 phrases that are meant to make you feel bad:
All about Henan
Where is Henan province, and what is there? An introduction to this region, including relevant vocabulary:
The name says it all
So many times, a word in Chinese is a description of the thing itself. How appropriate, then, that there is an expression that describes this situation — the name describes the thing itself:
Buy it now!
The Internet has produced all sorts of new and interesting commercial opportunities. One of them is a “flash sale,” offering deep discounts for a short time. As this video from EChineseLearning.com describes, such a sale is known as as 秒杀 (miǎo shā):
Getting around a building
Here, from ChineseClass101.com, is a short dialogue and quiz to test your listening skills — this time, in getting around a building. Can you follow the directions?
Here’s a video (with characters and pinyin) of a famous song, 我只在乎你 (wǒ zhǐ zài hū nǐ) to help you with your listening and vocabulary:
When and how do you use a double negative in Chinese? Here are some examples, and explanations of the impact:
How do you say “hello” in Chinese? This might seem like an obvious question, but the answer can be a bit complex:
Which “day” should we use?
There are two words for “day” in Chinese, 天 (tiān) and 日 (rì). When do we use each one? Are they basically interchangeable?
There are different ways to indicate your opinion or judgment about something in Chinese; here is a discussion of the options, and their connotations:
How do you say “toilet paper” in Chinese? It turns out that there are multiple ways to say it:
Can you use the word 请 (qǐng) to mean, “treat someone,” or “take them out”?
Simplified characters’ origins
How were simplified characters developed from the traditional ones? This short discussion points to several books and other resources on the subject: