Mandarin Weekly #90

chinese-learning大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #90, with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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ImageThe 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!

Happy National Day!

Beginner If you’re in China, then you’re celebrating “National Day” this week. Here are some words and phrase, from, s to describe National Day and what’s happening then:

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Say “ahhh”

Intermediate Don’t feel good? Need to go to the doctor in China? Here are some useful words and phrases that’ll help you get through your visit in Chinese:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese


Intermediate The word 烦 (fán) means to “annoy,” and can thus be of great use when dealing with anyone from salespeople to friends — either to tell them that they’re annoying you, or that you’re sorry for annoying them with your request:

So long, farewell

Beginner How do you say “goodbye” in Chinese? The simple answer is 再见(zài jiàn), but there are other words and phrases you can use, as well:

Twitter: @ninchanese

Biggest, best, lesson ever

Intermediate How can you say that something is the most, the biggest, the most extreme? This video from describes useful Chinese terms for this:

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Not too short, please

Intermediate I’ve never gotten a haircut in China — partly because I’m sure that I’ll say something wrong, and end up looking different than I want. Here’s a video with some useful haircut-related vocabulary that can come in handy, to ensure you get the look you want:

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

US elections

Advanced The US presidential election is in full force. Don’t depend on people in China for great political punditry, but this article includes some interesting reactions from Chinese citizens who watched the debate, and described their thoughts in Chinese:

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Lucky and unlucky numbers

Intermediate If you visit China, you’ll quickly discover that people love the number 8, and hate the number 4. (On my first visit to China, my client very excitedly told me that their office was on the 8th floor.) Why do numbers have this significance, and what else should you know about it? has a video that’ll explain all:

Twitter: @LearnChineseNow

From all over

Intermediate How can you say “from everywhere” in Chinese? The phrase 五湖四海 (wǔ hú sì hǎi) is what you want:

Very convincing

Intermediate Are you sure about something? I mean, really sure? I mean, completely convinced? If so, then you are 心服口服 (xīn fú kǒu fú):

Simple dialogues

Beginner Here are some simple, two-sentence dialogues, along with questions, to test your reading ability and vocabulary:

Driving in China

Beginner It’s hard enough to cross the street in China; driving there takes true nerves of steel. As if that’s not enough, you need to know some Chinese words and phrases about driving:

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Snakes with feet

Intermediate A children’s story about snakes and feet, from

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Using 在

Intermediate To newcomers to Chinese, zai (zài) can be confusing. That’s because it can be used in a number of ways, including as both a verb and as a preposition. This post and video give numerous, useful examples:

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Movie words

Intermediate Want to see a movie? Want to make a movie? Here are some useful film-related terms in Chinese:

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Useful idioms

Intermediate As you become more fluent, you’ll want to express increasingly complex ideas using idioms. Here are several that you can already start to incorporate into your speech:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Learning via board games

Intermediate It’s often said that you can (should) surround yourself with as much Chinese as possible, to improve your fluency. Here’s an idea: Play board games in Chinese! You’ll not only have fun, but improve your language skills:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

What’s the point?

Intermediate How do you describe percentages, and/or the decimal point, in Chinese?

Character origins

Intermediate Chinese characters have evolved over time, and the history of their forms can be fascinating. Where can you learn about this history?

Using 当

Intermediate The character 当(dāng) can be used in a number of ways, and helps to make your sentences richer. Some examples:


Beginner How can you say that something tastes good in Chinese? Here are a variety of words and phrases that get this idea across:

Twitter: @chinese4us


Advanced What’s the best way to talk about surviving a natural disaster?


Advanced The verbs 喝 (hē) and 飲 (yǐn) both mean “to drink.” What’s the difference between them?

Traditional Chinese readers

Advanced Where can you find readers (i.e., books for learners) in traditional Chinese?

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