Mandarin Weekly #159


This is Mandarin Weekly #159, a free newsletter read by more than 21,000 students of Chinese around the world.

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About Mandarin Weekly All Learning

Ever wonder about Reuven, the publisher of Mandarin Weekly? Here’s an interview that can help to shed some light on the person typing what you’re reading right now:

Special constructs Intermediate Grammar

Like all languages, Chinese has some special constructs that you can and should use. Here are a few of them:

All about Spring Festival All Culture

Spring Festival (aka Chinese New Year) is approaching! With it, there are lots of greetings, foods, and (if you’re in China) travel to enjoy. (Or not, in the case of travel.) Here are some primers on Chinese New Year:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

How’s the weather? Beginner Vocabulary

What is the weather like today? (And how about tomorrow?) Here are some phrases and words you can use to discuss the weather:

Twitter: @FluentU

A moment Intermediate Grammar

Are you going to look at something quickly? Wait for someone for just a bit? Then you probably want to use the 一下 (yí xià) grammar pattern:

Twitter: @MandarinBP

Untranslateable words Intermediate Vocabulary Video

Some words are hard or impossible to translate directly from Chinese into English. Here are some examples, and how you can use them in your Chinese:

Twitter: @YoYoChinese

Get 10% off for Yoyo Chinese with coupon code “mweekly”

Making dumplings All Food

Dumplings are always a popular Chinese staple, but they’re particularly popular around Chinese New Year. Here are some things to know about dumplings, as well as a recipe to make them on your own:

Twitter: @MissPandaChines

Saying “or,” with some help from Hamlet Beginner Grammar Video

How do you say “To be or not to be” in Chinese? More specifically, how can you say “or” in a question context?

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Sign up for ECL, and get one free week by mentioning “Reuven Lerner”

Taking the metro Beginner Travel

The Beijing subway (metro) is a popular, quick, and relatively cheap way to get around town. Here are some useful tips and vocabulary words for using it:

Twitter: @ChineseLanguage

Get it over with! Intermediate Story

Sometimes, it’s worth getting through a short pain now, than to prolong it. Here’s a story that teaches this lesson (and a Chinese idiom):

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Not feeling well? Intermediate Vocabulary

If you’re not feeling well in China, you’ll need to describe body parts, as as well as your feelings. Here is a (listening) lesson that can tell you what to say:

Duolingo review All Reviews

Duolingo is a famous app for learning languages on your phone or tablet. How does its Chinese-learning app stack up? It’s not too bad, according to this review:

Twitter: @Ltlmandarin

Learning resources All Learning Reviews

What apps and sites can you use to learn Chinese better? There are a lot of them out there; here are some mentions and reviews of the most popular and effective:

Twitter: @hutongschool

Buying online Beginner Story

Want to buy online? Of course! Everyone’s doing it, especially in China. Here’s a short story about e-commerce:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Singalong children’s song Beginner Video

Learn some new vocabulary in this cute children’s song that has become a hit among Chinese children. (And don’t be embarrassed if you’re an adult; we won’t tell):

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Sign up for ECL, and get one free week by mentioning “Reuven Lerner”

Making plans Intermediate Vocabulary

Making plans? Then you can talk about it formally (as you’ve probably learned in class), or casually with slang, as we learn here:

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Click here to sign up for ChineseClass101

Character changes Advanced Characters Story

Chinese characters have evolved over time, as this story describes:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

A bit too late… Intermediate Expressions Story

You’re too late — you’ve closing the barn door after the horses have left the stable! Here’s a story demonstrating this in Chinese:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

See you! Beginner Grammar Video

How do you say “goodbye” in Chinese? Here are a few options:

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Click here to sign up for ChineseClass101

When *that* happened Beginner Grammar Video

How do you say, “when” something happened, or at a particular time? Here’s a full explanation of the phrase 的时候 (de shí hòu):

Twitter: @Mandarin_Monkey

The “metal” radical Intermediate Characters

One of the most important parts of learning to read Chinese characters is the identification of “radicals,” the small part on the side of a character that helps with its classification. Here’s an introduction to the “metal” radical, used in such things as gold and silver, but also in money:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

Fork in the road Advanced Vocabulary

What Chinese character should be used to describe a “fork” in the road, 叉 (chā) or 岔 (chà)?

Give it a try Advanced Grammar

There are a number of ways to say that you want to “try” to do something, but what are the differences between them:

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