Mandarin Weekly (每周中文) #104, 2017-January-09

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #104, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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Comparisons with 比 (bǐ)

Beginner In Chinese, you make comparisons with 比. But there are several ways to do this, and several grammar patterns that will allow you to compare different things in different ways, as this video from shows:

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Songs for Chinese New Year

Beginner Chinese New Year is later this month. Here are several children’s songs about the new year, with characters and (very cute) music videos:

Twitter: @AlsSydney

Chinese holidays in 2017

Chinese holidays are unusual, and often result in odd work schedules before and/or after. Here is a list of official and unofficial Chinese holidays in 2017, along with some videos showing what the celebrations look like:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Happy New Year!

Beginner Chinese New Year begins soon, which means that it’s almost time to give your friends some appropriate greetings. Here is a long list of such greetings, with characters, pinyin, and even a video from an episode of 快乐汉语 (kuài lè hàn yǔ):

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Tallying in Chinese

In Western countries, we often tally in groups of five lines — four vertical ones, and a diagonal line to finish each group. In Chinese, tallying works similarly, but using the character 正, as displayed here:

Twitter: @ChinaHopeLive

Eating in 西安 (xī’ān)

Beginner Looking for something good ot eat in Xi’an? Here are some interesting local delicacies, including the characters and some background:

Twitter: @spoonhunt

How to die eating

Intermediate I’m not convinced by all of the nutritional advice and science provided here, but this video from provides some fun sentences and vocabulary about unhealthy foods:

Twitter: @chineseclass101

In my opinion…

Intermediate Want to express an opinion? Start your statement with 早我看来 (zài wǒ kàn lái):

Twitter: @eputonghua

Basic emotions

Beginner Feeling happy? Angry? This short video from quickly introduces a number of useful vocabulary words:

Twitter: @ChineseWithEmma

Splitting the bill with AA

Beginner If you go out to dinner in China, don’t expect to split the bill, which is rare. But if you somehow do, then it’s described as AA制 (zhì):

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Holiday ticket snatchers

Intermediate With Chinese New Year comes the transportation crush, when many residents of China travel to see their families. But what can you do if no tickets are left? Ticket “snatching” services are the answer, as described in this article:

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Spring and Autumn period

Advanced Practice your reading, and learn some history at the same time, with this passage about China more than 2,000 years ago:

Japanese vs. Chinese

It’s common (in my experience, anyway) for people to believe that Chinese and Japanese are similar languages. While this isn’t true, they’re not completely disconnected from one another, either. Here are some similarities and differences between the languages, which might be useful for students of Chinese who know Japanese, or for those of us who just like to learn about languages:

A short legend

Intermediate A short story in intermediate Chinese (with downloadable pinyin and audio):

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Popular Internet terms

Advanced What online expressions were popular in China in 2016? Here is a list, with pinyin and audio:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Using 的 (de) to describe categories

Intermediate In Chinese, you can describe a category of things as ___ 的, in which all of those things have that quality. Here are some examples and explanations:

One-character vs. two-character words

Intermediate Some two-character words, such as 应该 (yīng gāi), sometimes exist in one-character versions, such as 该 (gāi). Is one more casual or modern than the other?

Using 些 (xiē) vs. 点 (diǎn)

Beginner What is the difference between 些 and 点 when expressing small numbers or amounts? Can they be used interchangeably?

Practicing speaking

Beginner What are some good strategies to practice (and improve) your speaking?

Can 弟弟 (dìdì) mean a little cousin, as well as a brother?

Beginner The word 弟弟 means “younger brother,” but can it also be used to describe a cousin or other relative?

Call and be called

Beginner The word 叫 (jiào) can be used to describe calling someone or something, but also how someone is called:

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