大家好！ (Hi, everyone!) This is Mandarin Weekly #96, a free newsletter with links and information for those of us learning Chinese.
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Guide to Pinyin
Beginner If you’re learning Chinese, then you’re likely using Pinyin, using Latin letters to represent Chinese sounds. Here is a guide to Pinyin, including some traps into which many native English speakers fall:
Using 总 (zǒng)
Intermediate The character 总is used in many words, as well as on its own. Here is an introduction to this impotant, frequently used character:
Intermediate How do you get an elephant into the refrigerator? It’ll require several separate steps. In this combination video and blog post, we learn what those steps are, and which Chinese transition words are most appropriate for describing them:
Beginner Is someone you know bragging? You know, about winning the US presidential election, or something similar? Well, you can say that they are 吹牛 皮 (chuī niú pí):
Beginner Have you heard of “Singles’ Day”? It was on November 11th, aka 11/11, because of the four 1s in the date. It has become quite a shopping bonanza, thanks to the online sales. Here is some information, and vocabulary, about Singles’ Day:
Mimicking native speakers
One of the best ways to sound more authentic and fluent is to listen to (and then mimic) native speakers. In the latest Hacking Chinese challenge, we’re asked to try to engage in intensive mimicking, to improve the way our Chinese sounds:
Intermediate Chinese pronouns are similar to those in English, but are used somewhat differently. Here are some examples of mistakes English speakers make when working with pronouns, and how to avoid them:
You paid how much?
Beginner If you’re shopping in China, then you’re probably looking for bargains. And many bargains aren’t advertised; you need to ask for them. How can you ask for a discount?
Lots of it
Beginner If you have a lot of something, you can use the phrase 多了去了 (duō le qù le), as described here:
Intermediate Are you having a dilemma? Unsure of what to do? The phrase 左右为难 (zuǒ yòu wéi nán) might well apply:
Intermediate The character 为 can be pronounced in two different ways (no pun intended) — as wèi and wéi. What’s the difference between the two?
Using 才 (cái)
Intermediate The character 才 can be used in a number of ways,
Talking about sports
Beginner What sports do you play? In this video from eChineseLearning.com, you can learn to talk about them in Chinese:
Intermediate The word 够 (gòu) means “enough,” but it can be used in a variety of useful contexts:
Intermediate How do you say “drawers” (i.e., things in which you store things, such as clothing or papers)? The answer is more complicated than you might expect:
Beginner How do you talk about withdrawing money, such as from an ATM? There are, of course, several ways to describe this action:
生产 (shēng chǎn) vs. 产生 (chǎn shēng)
Intermediate What is the difference between these two words?
Why does Chinese still use characters?
An interesting discussion describing the good and bad points of Chinese characters:
Referring to family members
Intermediate How do you refer to family members? In particular, how would you refer to the husband of your maternal aunt in Chinese?
Intermediate Here are some wordplay-related jokes that you can enjoy in Chinese:
Originally published at Mandarin Weekly (每周中文).