大家好！ (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #102, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.
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Intermediate How do you compliment someone in Chinese? And if you’re given a compliment, how do you respond? Here are some options, at different levels of difficulty, for you to use:
Using a dictionary
Intermediate If you want to say something but don’t know how, you might use a dictionary to find the appropriate term. How do you do this without using the completely wrong one?
Beginner You might think that adjectives are a simple subject, similar to adjectives in other languages. And in many ways, that’s right. But adjectives in Chinese can be a bit different and trickier than other languages, as explained here:
I’ll be off my phone… never
Beginner Are you addicted to your phone? Do you have friends who are addicted, checking their e-mail, messages, news, and social media every few minutes? If so, here’s a useful term: 手机控 (shǒu jī kòng), or “phone addict”:
Beginner Talking about “Chinese food” is like talking about “European food” — yes, there are some overall similarities, but each region of China has its own style, ingredients, and spicing. Here is an introduction to the various types of Chinese food you might encounter in China:
Doer of things!
Intermediate A brief introduction to the suffix 者 (zhě), which can be added to numerous words to give you a noun:
Beginner Pinyin is a great way for Westerners to learn to read and pronounce Chinese. There’s just one problem: The Latin letters you’re used to from you native language don’t map to the sounds you’re used to hearing and saying. Here’s a brief video introduction, from ChineseClass101.com:
Using 之 (zhī)
Intermediate What is 之, and when would we use it? A short video introduction from LearnChineseNow.com:
Beginner It was Christmas this week, and while China doesn’t celebrate Christmas per se, there are lots of decorations, sales, and other seasonal specials. Here are some Christmas-related words in Chinese:
Christmas songs (in Chinese)
Intermediate Want to sing your favorite Christmas songs in Chinese? Here’s your chance, with these translations (using characters and sung in a video, but, no pinyin):
Breakfast in China
Beginner Breakfast in China isn’t like in other countries; here are some typical Chinese breakfast foods, along with their names in Chinese:
Beginner What do leftover eggs have to do with Christmas? A Chinese pun, along with other Chinese customs around Christmas:
Intermediate Want to practice your multiplication tables in Chinese? Of course you do! Not only will it teach you some Chinese, and also give you a cute rhyme, but it might even help you with math in your native language:
A new (and in my opinion, quite beautiful) love song, with video, characters, pinyin, and translation:
I’m asking you to do it
Beginner A common sentence structure in Chinese is sometimes called “pivotal,” and involves the first subject asking the second subject to do something. You’ve probably said such sentences before; this is your chance to understand and formalize it:
Where am I?
Intermediate If you travel in China, you’ll likely get lost. How do you get where you need to go? Ask the locals! Here are some pointers and tips for asking for directions, including a number of common, useful phrases for getting back on track, via a variety of modes of transportation:
Joke-telling in the wild
Beginner What happens when you try to tell a joke in Chinese in a shopping mall? A brave volunteer did this for ChinesePod.com, and then had his pronunciation analyzed for everyone’s benefit:
Naïve and generous
Intermediate The phrase 冤大头 (yuāndàtóu can be useful when describing someone who isn’t so wise about using their money:
Identifying parts of a character
Intermediate When you start to read Chinese characters, you learn that many characters have a “meaning” part and a “phonetic” part. How can you identify them, and when is the difference not obvious?
Beginner Why do we use the character 开 (kāi) to describe boiling water?
Who or what rains?
Beginner To say “it’s raining” in Chinese, say 下雨 (xià yǔ). Why is there no subject?
What does 以 (yǐ) mean?
Advanced In literary Chinese, what does 以 mean?