Mandarin Weekly #147



This is Mandarin Weekly #147, a free newsletter read by more than 20,000 students of Chinese around the world.

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Ideograms Beginner Characters

Some Chinese characters are hard to learn, remember, and make sense of. But others do try to mimic the idea they represent. Here are a number of these, along with the bigrams (i.e., two-character words) that we can form from them:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Directional complements Intermediate Grammar

In many cases, you can take a Chinese verb and add a directional component to it, altering its meaning. (Think of “throw up” vs. “throw out” vs. “throw at,” and you’ll get the basic idea, although it’s much more extensive and standard in Chinese.) Here is an introduction to this important idea, and some good examples:

Famous Chinese myths All Culture Story

You’re likely familiar with biblical and Greek myths, and perhaps some from other cultures in the world. But what are Chinese myths, and how do they express themselves in modern Chinese culture?

Twitter: @MyTutorMandarin

Using 就 (jiù) Beginner Grammar Video

You can use 就 in a few different ways; this video describes a number of them:

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Winter is coming Intermediate Culture Vocabulary

Winter is now arriving, and China marks it in various ways. Here are some terms and cultural ideas that have to do with the weather as it gets colder:

Text games for learning Chinese Intermediate Learning

Want to improve your learning through some fun games? Introducing text games for learning Chinese, a new way to improve your fluency and understanding:

Twitter: @HackingChinese

The blind men and the elephant Intermediate Story

This classic story is retold here in slow Chinese:

How not to learn Chinese All Learning

Some people try to learn Chinese on their own, and they generally fail. Why? Because they don’t take certain ideas into account:

Twitter: @MandarinBP

League of Legends Intermediate Vocabulary

League of Legends is a multiplayer video game — and when you play it on Chinese servers, everything is in Chinese! This is great for improving your vocabulary and comprehension, but you might need a boost to get started, which this post provides:

Chinese dialects All Culture

You might have heard that Chinese is a family of languages, with a number of dialects, varieties, or other such terms. What does this mean, and how close are the various languages to one another?

Singles’ day All Culture

November 11th (11.11) is “Singles’ Day,” which is described as a “holiday,” but which is actually an excuse to do lots of shopping, and especially online shopping. What is it, and how did it start?

Twitter: @MyTutorMandarin

Traditional vs. simplified characters All Characters

What are the differences between traditional and simplified characters, and what are the trade-offs?

Twitter: @WorldOfChinese

Quick tone practice Beginner Pronunciation Video

Want to improve your tones? Keep track of them with this four-character sentence, explained in a short video:

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Visiting 平乐古镇 (píng lè gǔ zhèn) All Travel

The ancient town of Pingle can be an interesting view of ancient Chinese life, and it’s not too far from Chengdu:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Survival phrases Beginner Vocabulary

Planning to visit China, but you haven’t yet learned much Chinese? Here are some basic phrases you can and should learn before visiting:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Buying eyeglasses Beginner Vocabulary Culture

Buying eyeglasses is a standard sort of actiivty, but have you ever done it in Chinese, or even in China? Learn some vocabulary and the way in which an exam is done:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Promotion Beginner Story

A short story about getting promoted at work:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Yes! Beginner Vocabulary

There isn’t any one word for “yes” in Chinese, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any way to say “yes.” Instead, there are many ways, as shown here:

Twitter: @ChinesePod

More measure words Intermediate Grammar

Here’s another list of mirror words you can use when discussing speech, writing, and machines:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Listing examples Intermediate Grammar

Where can you use 比如 (bǐ rú) in a list of examples — only at the beginning, or at the end, as well?

Character simplification Advanced Characters

A mixed simplified-traditional character results in a long and fascinating discussion about the simplification of Chinese characters:

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