Mandarin Weekly #148

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This is Mandarin Weekly #148, a free newsletter read by more than 20,000 students of Chinese around the world.

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Of characters and horses All Characters

Are Chinese characters pictorial representations of ideas? Yes, sort of — but they’re also much more than that:

Twitter: @larbchina

Using 淘宝 (táo bǎo) Advanced Culture

If you’ve ever been to China, you have probably heard of 淘宝. What’s it like to use, and how does it compare with other marketplaces? Here’s an advanced (native) description that is both good practice and useful to know:

Bon voyage! Intermediate Vocabulary Video

How can you wish someone a pleasant journey? Here’s a useful phrase, and many examples of how to use it:

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Eating exotic Chinese snacks Intermediate Vocabulary Video

When I visit China, I’m always amazed (intrigued? shocked?) by the types of snacks sold and eaten. Here are some examples of Chinese snacks and foods that you might find a bit unusual:

Twitter: @ECLSchool

Six Chinese movies Advanced Culture

Want to improve your listening skills, or just be up on some good culture? Here are some movies that you can watch to do both at the same time:

Twitter: @FluentU

Hot pot Intermediate Food Story

One of my favorite types of Chinese meals is hot pot; here’s a story that describes an interaction at a hot pot restaurant. Just reading the story makes my mouth water:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Going to the mall Beginner Story

Going to the mall? So are the people in this story, who have multiple transportation options:

Twitter: @imandarinpod

Intro to writing Beginner Characters Video

Chinese characters seem impossible to learn, and they’re certainly challenging — but you can learn them, if you learn the patterns. This video introduces some of them, such as important components to notice:

Twitter: @chineseclass101

Chinese superfoods Beginner Food

Gujiberries? Green tea? China is the source of many of today’s popular health food trends. Read about their origins, and how to talk about them in Chinese:

Twitter: @WrittenChinese

If time could flow backwards Advanced Story

An autobiographical story about being left behind as a child while the author’s parents worked elsewhere:

Measuring time Intermediate Grammar

And now, measure words having to do with time! If you’re interested in counting seconds, generations, or anything in between, this will be useful:

Twitter: @DigMandarin

Complements of degree Intermediate Grammar

In English, we modify verbs using adverbs. Chinese often uses “complements of degree,” in which we modify a verb after the verb itself. It’s often easier to understand than to explain, as you can see here:

Tasty punishment Intermediate Story

Read (and listen to) a story about reward and punishment:

Chinese songs All Culture

Here are some popular Chinese songs, in characters and with Pinyin — not for the music, but to improve your understanding and vocabulary:

All by yourself All Characters

The character 自 (zì) refers to oneself, and leads to many different useful, common words:

Twitter: @MandarinBP

Honestly! All Characters

Learn about the character 正 (zhèng) which means “honest” and “upright”:

Twitter: @MandarinBP

Thickness vs. capacity Intermediate Grammar

The characters 度 and 量 are both used to describe measurements, but in different ways. Here are some insights of what to use when:

Planning in advance Beginner Grammar

Can you use 以前 () to talk about things you haven’t yet done?

Multiple verbs, how many 了 ? Advanced Grammar

If you’re describing multiple actions, do you need 了 (le) once per action, or all together?


Originally published at Mandarin Weekly (每周中文).

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