Mandarin Weekly #132


Hi, there! This is Mandarin Weekly #132, a free newsletter read by more than 20,000 students of Chinese around the world.

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Know your numbers Intermediate Grammar

Chinese numbers are a relatively easy part of the language, but (as always) the structure and vocabulary are different from other languages. Here are some tips for everything from counting to multiplying fractions:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Receiving things Intermediate Grammar

What’s the difference between 收(shōu)and 受(shòu)? Both mean “received,” but the Chinese meaning is quite different:

Traditional or simplified characters All Characters

Should you be learning simplified or traditional characters? Or should you even try to do both at the same time? This article lays out the reasons for each, and then some schools that teach one, the other, or both:

Twitter: @FluentU

If you please Beginner Expressions Video

When you speak in your native language, you recognize the difference between giving an order and asking (politely) for someone to help you. Here are some expressions that you should add to your Chinese, to similarly sound more polite:

Twitter: @MandarinHQ

Talking about TV Intermediate Video

Want to talk about Game of Thrones, or other TV shows, with your friends? This video contains a spoiler-free discussion of that specific show, but a lot of words you can use to discuss all things television-related:

Twitter: @ChinesePod

Childrens’ songs Beginner Video

Here are a number of childrens’ songs, some originally in Chinese and some translated from English, that you can hear and watch in Chinese, and then (if you’re not too embarrassed), sing along!

Twitter: @MissPandaChines

Should you learn slang? All Learning

Learning Chinese slang is fun, but is it useful? Will it help us toward fluency?

Twitter: @HackingChinese

This tastes like… Beginner Vocabulary Video

How does your food taste? Is it sweet? Bitter? Or perhaps something else? In this video, we learn the different types of flavors we can discuss in Chinese:

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Pictographic characters Intermediate Characters Video

People often think that Chinese characters are pictures. This is largely untrue, but there are about 600 characters that are pictures. Which are these, and what can we learn from them?

Twitter: @Fluent_Mandarin

Lucky you All Culture

Every culture has things it considers lucky vs. unlucky. What is considered lucky in China?

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Take a little look Intermediate Grammar Video

In Chinese, you can add 一下 () to any verb to indicate you’ll do it a little or quickly, or just to soften the meaning a bit, as demonstrated here:

Directions and locations Intermediate Grammar

If you’re asking for directions, then you’ll need to know how to describe places — or how to understand the response you get from the person you just asked:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Visiting Chengde All Travel

The city of 承德 (chéng dé) contains a summer palace even nicer than the one in Beijing:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Saving face Intermediate Culture

What does it mean to “save face” in China, and what should you do as a result?

Bugs! Beginner Vocabulary

Do you know how to call several common insects in Chinese? Here is your chance to learn:

Twitter: @eputonghua

Travel words Beginner Vocabulary

You’re traveling to China for the first time, and want to learn some basic Chinese. What are some useful sentences to know?

Twitter: @MyTutorMandarin

Sing along All Vocabulary Video

Learn vocabulary and grammar patterns, and a new song, in this video:

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Good night, gorilla Intermediate Story Video

Listen to (and read) the amusing and well-known children’s book, “Good Night, Gorilla,” but in Chinese:

Twitter: @MissPandaChines

Learning strategies All Learning

Are you in China, looking to improve your Chinese? Try some of this author’s strategies, which worked quite well:

Asking them out Intermediate Vocabulary

Want to ask someone out on a date? That’s always tough. Want to ask somneone out on a date using Chinese? Now that’s even tougher. But here is some vocabulary you can use to get by:

Twitter: @Chelsea_bubbly

Advanced reading practice Advanced Story

Here are some stories you can read through to improve your comprehension:

Bedside manner Advanced Grammar

Why and how is the character 床 (chuáng), which means “bed,” used in other expressions?

Flight attendants Intermediate Vocabulary

The word 空姐 (kōng jiě) can mean “flight attendant,” but is it still used politely? Yes:

Also published on Medium.

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