Mandarin Weekly #127


Hi, there! This is Mandarin Weekly #127, a free newsletter read by more than 19,000 students of Chinese around the world.

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The fifth tone All Pronunciation

We normally talk about four tones in Chinese, but there are actually five. What is the fifth, or “neutral,” tone, and how are we to pronounce it?

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

How long must you study? All Learning

How long do you need to learn Chinese before it is useful? This is a hard question to answer, because there’s no one way to respond. But here are some thoughts about what is necessary, and what you can expect to accomplish:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Pronouncing e, ü, üe Beginner Pronunciation Video

Three vowel sounds (e, ü, and üe) are often hard for non-natives to pronounce. Here is some practice on this subject:

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Du Chinese review All Reviews

Looking to improve your Chinese reading skills? Du Chinese, an app that helps you to practice (and which sometimes sponsors Mandarin Weekly) is reviewed here:

Basic introductions Beginner Story

Here’s a short dialogue from the introductions at a business meeting:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

The evolution of 几 (jī) Beginner Characters

How did the character 几 evolve over time, how did it get its current meaning(s), and which characters include it as a component?

Twitter: @DecodeChinese

You want how much?!? Intermediate Travel Culture

You can often haggle over the price of things in China, at least in the markets. (Although I’ve also successfully bargained at government-owned tourist shops, much to my great surprise.) How does bargaining work, and what are some tips to make it less stressful and more successful?

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Visiting 昆明 (kūn míng) All Travel

The city of 昆明, in China’s southwest, contains many interesting things to see, as this article describes:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Bento boxes for lunch Intermediate Vocabulary

How 便当 (biàn dāng), known as “Bento boxes,” became popular in Taiwan:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

I’m so annoyed! Intermediate Vocabulary Video

Have you ever been annoyed? Of course. But have you ever told others that you’re annoyed in Chinese? This video show how to express your agitation:

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Rental bikes Beginner Vocabulary

If you have traveled to China lately, you have almost certainly seen the huge number (and variety) of brightly colored rental bikes. Here is some history and a description of such bikes, along with some vocabulary to describe them:

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Going to 山西 (Shān xī) All Travel

The province of shan xi isn’t too far from Beijing, and offers many interesting things to see:

The story of King Midas Advanced Story

The ancient (Greek) story of King Midas and the golden touch, in Chinese:

The caves of 敦煌 (Dūn huáng) Advanced Story

A story about caves containing ancient paintings:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

I used to know it Intermediate Grammar

How would you say that you used to know something, but that you’ve since forgotten it?

Excuse me Beginner Expressions

How would you say “excuse me” in Chinese? The answer, of course, depends on the context:

Families and family members Beginner Vocabulary

How would you say a “family member” in Chinese?

欢喜 (huān xǐ) vs. 快乐 (kuài lè) Intermediate Vocabulary

Both 欢喜 and 快乐 represent happiness. When is each used?

Also published on Medium.

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