Mandarin Weekly (每周中文) #110, 2017-February-20

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #110, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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Giveaway: Five one-year subscriptions to Zizzle App

It’s time for another giveaway!


Everyone who has learned Mandarin knows that Chinese characters are a unique challenge: For reading fluency, a staggering amount of 3000 characters is required, each character with its own shape, pronunciation, meaning and tone. And to complicate things even more, it is hard to infer this information just by looking at the character.

The developers of Zizzle App have experienced this problem first-hand while living in China. They try to solve this dilemma by turning Chinese characters into engaging visualizations and memorable short stories. For every single Chinese character, Zizzle creates a mnemonic story that employs techniques like association, visualizations and linkwords. Furthermore, Zizzle breaks down complicated Chinese characters into components to help you understand the structure of the Chinese language. The effectiveness of the Zizzle method was independently verified by the University of Munich.

In Zizzle, characters are organized in decks according to the HSK levels, themes (like business, travel or food) and the most commonly used Chinese textbooks (i.e. Integrated Chinese). The learning process with Zizzle is further supported by an intelligent testing system, a spaced repetition algorithm, bite-sized lessons and a smart search function.

The app also includes a handy list of common words and phrases associated with every character and gives you audio support to practice your own pronunciation.

And of course, you get all these great features with the perks of having them in a mobile app! Learn whenever you want and wherever you are, be it in your bed, together with your learning buddy in a café or on your commute to work.

Five readers of Mandarin Weekly will receive free, one-year subscriptions to Zizzle for either iOS or Android. But it gets better — for each friend of yours who signs up for the giveaway, you get another three entries! So if three of your friends sign up, you get a total of 10 entries in the giveaway.

Enter by clicking here!

Liking some, all, or no sports:

Intermediate In this video from, we learn not only how to talk about certain sports, but also how to say that we like some, all, or none of them:

Time sentences

Beginner Using time in Chinese sentences can be a bit tricky, because the phrasing (and order) is set. Here are some sample sentences you can use, both to learn the vocabulary and get used to the structure:

Chinese tournaments on WordSwing

Intermediate Want to improve your reading, and compete with others as well? WordSwing makes it possible, as described in the latest from Hacking Chinese:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Lantern festival legend

Intermediate Here is an intermediate-level story about the Lantern Festival, which took place earlier this month:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Lantern festival legend

Intermediate Here is an intermediate-level story about the Lantern Festival, which took place earlier this month:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Well wishes

Beginner How can you wish people well in Chinese? Here is a collection of 10 common phrases that you can use to wish your friends, family, and colleagues a good weekend, holiday, or just a good day:

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Where should you learn Chinese?

Beginner There are many places to learn Chinese, in many different Chinese cities. What are the relative advantages and disadvantages of each area?

Get a bad job, put on weight

Intermediate A short essay with characters, pinyin, and audio about how your job can affect your health and weight:

Twitter: @ChineseAtEase

What is 风水 (fēng shuǐ)?

Even people who don’t visit China or learn Chinese have likely heard of 风水. What is it, and how much influence does it have in modern China?

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

An Lushan

Advanced The An Lushan rebellion was a huge event in world history; read about it in Chinese:

Hearing voices

Beginner When you read your native language, do you hear a voice in your head? How about when you read Chinese? That voice, known as subvocalization, is an indication of less than fluent reading. For more details, and suggestions for getting rid of it, read here:

Ordering food

Beginner You go to a restaurant in China, want to use your Chinese, and — well, now what? This short guide to ordering in restaurants will hopefully give you some confidence:

Twitter: @MyTutorMandarin

Oodles of noodles

Beginner When you think of Chinese cuisine, one of the first things you think about is noodles. But there are many types of noodles, and each has a different name. Here is a summary of different noodle types and dishes:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

50 ways to love your lover

Beginner With Valetine’s Day increasingly celebrated in China, this is a good time to give you lots of ways to say “I love you” to the special person in your life:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

What to read?

Beginner One of the best things you can do to improve your Chinese is read, and read extensively. Here is a great summary of what to read, how to read it, and why it can help, along with suggestions for reading material for learners:

Twitter: @FluentU

Listening practice: Choosing a bank

Beginner Which bank is best for you? This video from asks you to answer that question based on a short story:

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Using 份 (fèn)

Beginner The measure word 份 is used in a variety of places to indicate a “part” or “portion” or frequency:

Twitter: @eputonghua

Giving comfort (sort of)

Intermediate When something in life goes bad, you often want to hear helpful words from your friends and relatives. Here are some phrases you can use to try to make someone feel better — or at least feel somewhat less bad:

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Serial verb phrases

Advanced When you have three verb phrases in a row, is there an implied dependency or timeline?

Types of republics

Intermediate A “republic” is a certain kind of country. Do both 民國 (mín guó) and 共和国 (gòng hé guó), which translate as “republic,” mean the same thing?

Far apart

Intermediate In trying to understand the character 相 (xiāng), we discover a four-character idiom:

Using 消费 (xiāo fèi)

Advanced Why and how can you use the term 消费?

Making things stricter

Advanced A translation request leads to a discussion of 加严 (jiā yán):

Also published on Medium.

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