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Let’s Talk About Jiaozi
Chinese Dumplings Jiaozi
Post by Eva  

It is said that culturally, China is divided into Northern and Southern China; there are also other differences: sense of humor, people’s character (hard in the North, and soft in the South); the fact that the North enjoys central heating throughout the winter (while we are stuck with a dry (useless) A/C here, South of Read More…

Let’s Talk About Baijiu
Chinese Baijiu
Post by Eva  

Ouch, just hearing its name brings back the last hangover. Do not be fooled by its innocent sounding name; even though BáiJiǔ (白酒) could literally be translated as ‘White Wine’, its correct translation should be ‘White Spirits’. And spirits it shall give you! This baby sports around 40-60% alcohol by volume and it’s not delicious Read More…

HSK: A Necessary Evil?
Studying for HSK
Post by Eva  

I am sure that anyone who has ever tried studying Chinese has encountered the infamous HSK or HànYǔ ShuǐPíng KǎoShì (Chinese Level Test). HSK is a standardized test of Chinese as a foreign Language, similar to its English and American counterparts IELTS and TOEFL. There’s an old version with eleven levels (still revered by the Read More…

Chinese Calendar
Happy Year of Horse
Post by Eva  

Like everything else in China, the Chinese calendar is also super old (accounts differ: some say 2000 years ago, some 4500 years ago). In former times, this calendar was like an almanac, full of useful tips for farmers, as well as weather predictions and inauspicious or auspicious signs – the auspicious days can still be Read More…

‘Beijinghua’: What’s With All the Random ‘R’s’ in Chinese?
Beijing Hua - Beijing Dialect
Post by Eva  

So, speaking/using/studying Chinese you must’ve noted the constant (and seemingly random) intrusion of rough sounding r’s. If you’ve ever wandered why this is so, please read on. First of all, when I say Chinese, what I mean is a standard Chinese called Mandarin, which is a variant based on Beijing pronunciation. In Beijing, apparently, they Read More…

Feeling lucky? Think twice!

Post by Eva  

In Chinese everything seems to have an underlying meaning, and the same is true for numbers: numbers 8 and 9 are lucky, while number 4 is the most unluckiest of them all. Here is why: 8 is pronounced Bā and sounds (at least to Chinese ears) like Fā, which means ‘to prosper’. You will hear Read More…

The Difference Between Kuai Le and Yu Kuai

Post by admin  

Student Question: You gave us in lesson 14 “Zhu Ni Sheng Ri Kuai Le” for “wishing you a happy birthday” and in lesson 30 Wang says “Zhu Ni Ding Hun Yu Kuai” which you explained as “wish you a pleasant engagement”. Are the expressions “Kuai Le” and “Yu  Kuai” inter-changeable or would you use them Read More…

Typing PinYin on the Mac Computer

Post by admin  

This is a short tutorial to teach you how to type PinYin on the Mac Computer. Firstly, we need to update your computer settings to be able to type PinYin:  

Techniques for Learning Chinese Independently

Post by admin  

When it comes to learning Chinese, or any kind of language, I believe in having a system, a routine, if you will. Learning a language is a long and potentially dull task that has to be cut into little pieces, and digested daily. While a routine is easily established when you are attending classes – Read More…

Chinese Tea Appreciation

Post by admin  

Like many people, I drink a lot of Tea. In fact, it’s consumed the most after water in the world.   Although most tea is harvested by machinery, the best teas are hand picked. Raw green tea is processed to produce 6 or more types of tea: White, Yellow, Oolong, Green, Black and Pu-Erh.   Read More…

The Difference between Ai4 and Ei4

Post by admin  

A student wrote me the following email: I am having trouble distinguishing between the sound of “ai” and “ei”. In your lessons, examples such as , “Ai” “Tai” “Duo Gei” and “Wei Shen Me” are all sounding to my ears very much the same as the sound I use in Australian English for “way” or Read More…

Short History of the Chinese Mandarin Language

Post by admin  

Aside from being hailed as the most populated country and one of the largest countries in the world, China is also very well-known as the land of many languages and dialects. As listed by Ethnologue, China has almost 300 living languages and local dialects. Originally, Chinese language is part of the Sino-Tibetan language family and Read More…

Short Guide #18: Planning for Weekend in Chinese

Post by Simone  

Download the PDF Here   Nǐ zhōumò yǒu shénme ānpái? 你周末有什么安排? Do you have any plans for the weekend? Nǐ xiǎng qù sànbù mā? 你想去散步吗? Do you want to go for a walk? Nǐ xiǎng hé wǒmen yìqǐ qù mā? 你想和我们⼀起去吗? Do you want to come with us? Wǒmen zài zhènshàng guàngle liǎnggè xiǎoshí. 我们在镇上逛了两个小时。 Read More…

Short Guide #17: Talking About Family in Chinese

Post by Simone  

Download the PDF Here   Nǐ hé nǐde fùmǔ zhù ma? 你和你的父母住吗? Do you live with your parents? Nǐ yǒu xiōngdì jiěmèi ma? 你有兄弟姐妹吗? Do you have brothers and sisters? Wǒ yǒu liǎnggè xiōngdì, yígè jiějie. 我有两个兄弟,⼀个姐姐。 I have two brothers, and one sister. Wǒ fùqin liùshíyī suì, wǒ mǔqin wǔshísì suì. 我父亲61岁,我母亲54岁。 My father Read More…

Short Guide #16: Celebrating a Birthday in Chinese

Post by Simone  

Download the PDF Here   Jīntiān shì wǒde shēngrì, wǒ yāoqǐng le suǒyǒu rén. 今天是我的生日,我邀请了所有人。 Today is my birthday, I invited everyone. Wǒ shōudào hěnduō lǐwù, wǒde péngyǒu men hěn hǎo. 我收到很多礼物,我的朋友们很好。 I received a lot of gifts, my friends are very nice.  Wǒmen pāi le hěnduō zhàopiàn, yíqiè dōu hěn wánměi. 我们拍了很多照片,⼀切都很完美。 We took Read More…

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