Mandarin Weekly #127
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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?
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:
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:
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:
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?
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?
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:
Bento boxes for lunch Intermediate Vocabulary
How 便当 (biàn dāng), known as “Bento boxes,” became popular in Taiwan:
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:
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:
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:
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?
Originally published at Mandarin Weekly (每周中文).