Mandarin Weekly #128



Hi, there! This is Mandarin Weekly #128, a free newsletter read by more than 19,000 students of Chinese around the world.

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Chinese-learning app roundup All Reviews

There are lots of apps for your phone and tablet that can help you to learn (or just improve) your Chinese. Which ones should you use?

Hard sounds Beginner Pronunciation Video

Some sounds in Chinese are hard for non-native speakers to say. Here are some of them, along with hints for saying them correctly:

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Useful expressions All Expressions

Want to sound more native? Including traditional Chinese idioms into your speech can help. Here are some especially useful ones, many with parallels in Western speech:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Confusing grammar Intermediate Grammar

A number of grammar patterns seems similar when you first start to speak Chinese, but are actually used differently. Here are some commonly confused patterns, and when they should be used:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Into the haze! Intermediate Learning

A new game, “Into the haze,” has you trying to find your brother after a disaster occurs in your city. The catch? You need to use Chinese to communicate. Play this game, and you’ll not just be having fun, but also improving your Chinese:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

Starter questions Beginner Vocabulary

Want to strike up a conversation in Chinese, but aren’t sure quite what to say? Here are some questions you can ask — although I must say, some of them seem a bit personal, at least to me:

Awkward! Intermediate Grammar Video

Have you ever found that when speaking Chinese, the locals give you a funny look, understanding what you meant but being mildly surprised that you would say things that way? In this lesson, you can learn how to soften your speech and make it more polite:

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Reading app shootout All Reviews

If you want to improve your reading in Chinese, then there are three apps (Du Chinese, The Chairman’s Bao, and Decipher Chinese) that you might consider. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Note that the first two have sponsored Mandarin Weekly in the past:

Apps for traveling in China All Reviews Travel

If you’re planning to travel to (or in) China, then you might want to install a few apps before you leave. Here is a roundup of the best apps for travelers:

40 easy characters Beginner Characters

New to Chinese? Here are 40 easy characters (and words) that you can learn right away:

Twitter: @MyTutorMandarin

Bottoms up! All Vocabulary

Planning to go out for a drink with friends? Or with colleagues? Here is a guide to what, and how, you can drink in China — with a particular emphasis on the “how,” given the unwritten rules of etiquette that you should observe:

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

On the phone Beginner Vocabulary

Speaking on the phone is something we do all of the time — but the first time you do it in Chinese, it can be a bit daunting. Here are hints for how to speak on the phone, including vocabulary, etiquette, and how to ensure that you understand what they’re saying:

Twitter: @FluentU

Little Apple All Culture Video

The song 小苹果 (xiǎo píng guǒ), or “Little Apple,” was a major hit in China a year or so ago. It’s still extremely catchy, with a funny (andn weird) video. Here is the music and video, if you haven’t enjoyed them yet — along with the lyrics, in characters and pinyin:

Twitter: @ChinaHopeLive

Ouch Beginner Vocabulary Video

Not feeling well? Here are some useful vocabulary words to describe your aches and pains:

Twitter: @ECLSchool

All by myself Intermediate Grammar

When you say 自己 (zì jǐ) in Chinese, are you referring to “myself,” “yourself,” or “themselves”? It all depends, as described here:

Chinese money Beginner Vocabulary

What do Chinese banknotes look like, and how do you call them in Chinese?

Twitter: @eputonghua

In the family Beginner Vocabulary

How do you refer to relatives in Chinese? This chart (and audio) will help:

Twitter: @eputonghua

Others Beginner Grammar Video

How can you say “a different” something — different person, different restaurant, different dress, or a different place?

Twitter: @ECLSchool

The eyes have it Intermediate Story

How can your eyes be open, but you’re still unable to see? This short story introduces a saying about keeping your eyes open to the truth:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Learning from mistakes Intermediate Story

Even Confucius makes mistakes, but he learns from them:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

I’m so impressed Intermediate Grammar

How would you say that you’re so impressed by someone’s Chinese?

无奈 (wú nài) and 有奈 (yǒu nài)? Advanced Vocabulary

What do these mean, and how are they used in modern Chinese? (From the answers, I would seem that 有奈 isn’t actually a word at all.)

Meaning of 气 (qì) Advanced Vocabulary

What does the character 气 mean in the word 贵族气?

Also published on Medium.

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