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Hacking the Chinese Menu (Eat and Be Merry)

Post by Eva  

Oh, the dreaded Chinese menu. Here you are, sitting comfortably in a small restaurant in China, hungry and ready to dig into some big bowl of noodles or a pile of dumplings. The waiter comes by and hands you the menu. Oh no, no pictures! And, what’s worse, no English translations either. Sure, the translations Read More…

A word about Chinese martial arts

Post by Eva  

Martial arts have a long history in China, with the first origins dating back to at least 2,000 years ago, to a time when China was dominated by warlords, bandits and foreign invaders. They can largely be divided into two forms: armed and unarmed arts. The former include disciplines such as spearmanship, archery and swordsmanship Read More…

Top 10! Resources for writing Mandarin Chinese

Post by Eva  

1. Lang-8 Established back in 2006, Lang-8 today boasts more than 750,000 users from 190 different countries around the world. The concept of Lang-8 is simple: new users register on the website and provide the information on which language they want to learn or are currently learning (target language) and which is their native language. Once their Read More…

You ask; we answer

Post by Eva  

Recently one of our students asked us this question: I was reviewing some of the words we have learned in Module One, and I need some clarification on the different words for happy. So far I have learnt Kai1xin1, Kuai4le, and Gao1xing4. Could you please help me understand the distinction between these words? And here is our Read More…

5 tips on food etiquette in China

Post by Eva  

In an informal setting there are hardly any special rules for dining in China and as a foreigner you will often be excused for any potential mistakes. But, if you find yourself in a business setting, for example, attending a formal banquet, there are a couple of things that you should bear in mind in Read More…

Top 10! Tools for learning characters and vocabulary

Post by Eva  

Our students often ask us: what are some good, free resources for studying Chinese? We are here to answer those questions! These days, there are plenty of  resources for studying Chinese available, some better than others, some paid, some for free. To make things easier for you, we have broken them down into separate categories, and we’ve Read More…

You ask; we answer!

Post by Eva  

Dear LearnMandarin, I need help with grammar. When speaking 的, 得 and 地 all sound the same (de). They are all used for grammar purposes and seem to be used all the time. What’s the best way to learn the differences between the three and how can I use them correctly? This in an excellent question and something Read More…

Online Chinese dictionary: finding the right one

Post by Eva  

For the past couple of months Chinese learners throughout the world have been mourning the death of one of the most used and loved online Chinese dictionaries (did I mention it was free?) by the name of Nciku. Yes, for a couple of months before being shut down the site has been acting up,  yes, it Read More…

I speak Chinese. But which?

Post by Eva  

I am sure that all of our readers are already aware of the fact that the term ‘Chinese’ (language) refers to more than one variant of the language. Usually, people refer to standard Chinese 普通话 (PǔTōngHuà), also known as Mandarin Chinese, which is the official language in Mainland China and Taiwan, is one of four Read More…

Let’s Talk about Chinese Cinema

Post by Eva  

The majority of movies featured here were created by one of the members of the so-called fifth generation of Chinese movie directors. The five generations correspond to historical periods: silent films; first sound films during the 1920s and 1930s; films from 1949 through the Cultural Revolution; films after the Cultural Revolution; and the fifth generation, Read More…

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make me a match

Post by Eva  

As we are approaching the Spring Festival, many young Chinese are dreading their visit home. The long travel, the rigid traditions with no room for rest and, of course, all the nosy personal questions that one would rather avoid. Particularly afflicted are single women over the age of thirty. Though they might be successful in Read More…

Chinese New Year Series III

Post by Eva  

In our previous post we already discussed such esoteric terms as heavenly stems and terrestrial branches, but I am afraid there is more to come. In order to understand the many roles that the traditional calendar has in China, as well as understand the rules that govern how the calendar is set up, we will Read More…

You ask; we answer!

Post by Eva  

Recently, one of our students asked us this question: “Chinese grammar is proving to be a challenge! The difference between the subject of the verb and the object is often not clear to me. For example, I have seen both the following as greetings when you first meet someone… Jian dao wo hen gaoxing. Jian Read More…

Chinese New Year Series II

Post by Eva  

The basic unit of the Chinese calendar is 日 (Rì) which means ‘the sun’ and we translate it as ‘a day’. A day was defined as a period of time which involves the exchange between the light and the darkness. The astronomers then had to decide when exactly should a day start and end . Read More…

Chinese New Year Series I

Post by Eva  

We are approaching the Chinese Spring Festival (春节 ChūnJié) or the Chinese New Year. The coming year, celebrated on the 19th of February, will be the  year of the goat (羊 Yáng). 19th February must sound like an odd date to celebrate the beginning of something, but let’s see what are the reasons behind it. Read More…

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