Mandarin Weekly (每周中文) #111, 2017-February-27

大家好! (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #111, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.

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Eating vegetarian

Beginner If you’re a vegetarian, then you’ve probably discovered the hard way that in China, even vegetarian food can contain some meat. (“It’s just a little bit…”) How can you tell people that you’re a vegetarian? Here is some background, and some suggestions:

Spring cleaning

Intermediate Spring is almost upon us, and it’s thus time to start thinking about cleaning our homes. Here are some words and phrases having to do with cleaning, to ensure that your house sparkles and that you can describe such sparkling in good Chinese:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Don’t call your wife an old hag!

Beginner There are numerous terms for “wife” in Chinese. One of these is 老婆 (lǎo po), which you might think means you’re calling your wife old. But the truth is more complex:

Shopping phrases

Beginner Planning to shop in China? Here are some useful, basic phrases that you can use to try out your Chinese:

Long noodes, long life?

What do people eat on their birthdays in China? One common food is long noodles, representing a (hoped-for) long life:

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Chinese chess

I had long heard about Chinese chess, but never really thought about how it worked as a game. Here’s a great introduction to it, including the vocabulary you’ll need to describe and play:

Little by little

Intermediate The word 越 (yuè) can be used in two different patterns to describe things changing over time:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Poet descendants

Advanced The poet 徐志摩 (Xú zhìmó) was killed in a plane crash. Here is a short story about his descendants:

Comprehension-based learning

What is comprehension-based learning, and how can it help you to improve your Chinese? Moreover, what are the factors that make it so successful?

Twitter: @HackingChinese

It’s all relative

Beginner How can you make comparisons? The expression 比较 (bǐ jiào) lets you say that A is better than B:

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

La La Land music in Chinese

Beginner In this video from, you can learn an original, easy Chinese song set to the music from La La Land:

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Dating advice

Intermediate Here is a short story about dating, advice, and relatives:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

The many uses of 在(zài)

Intermediate The word 在 can be used as a verb, preposition, and more. How can you separate and classify these different uses?

Why is a week 星期 (xīng qí)?

Advanced The character 星 (xīng) means “star,” but what does that have to do with weeks?

Also published on Medium.

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