Learn Mandarin Blog

The times are changing – and so is the Chinese society. One Chinese artist tried to express what modern social labels in China look like. We already had a look at it two weeks ago in the post Social Labels 2.0, Part One. This week, it’s time for Part Two!   6. 鸡血系养生派 (Chicken Blood Health Group) 鸡血系养生派 Jī Xiě Xì...
Chinese learners often struggle with polyphones – characters with two or more pronunciations. In this article, we will look at 5 common Chinese polyphones.   Chinese Polyphones: One Character, Two Meanings In simple words, polyphones are Chinese characters which, depending on the context, have two or more pronunciations. Chinese polyphones often make a sentence (or even the...
A few years ago, some social labels in China became so popular, they even made their way into Chinese language textbooks. Almost everyone who studies Chinese came across one or two of them: 白领族 báilǐngzú (white collars), 啃老族 kěnlǎozú (adults still living with and depending on their parents), 蚁族 yǐ zú (“ant tribe”, college graduates who are forced to live in...
Why is it so important to learn Chinese characters when you study Chinese? Some people say it’s not important. For them, being able to hold a decent conversation is more rewarding than writing and memorizing the characters. No doubt, all people have different goals. But this week, we’ve found you 10 reasons to learn Chinese characters – and explain why it...
Very often in Chinese, you will come across words that share the same pronunciation, but are written using different characters – the so-calles Chinese homonyms. In this article, we are going to take a look at 4 pairs of homonyms, which are frequently used in both daily conversations and in academic topics.   Same Sound,...
According to the Chinese calendar, 2019 is going to be the “Year of the Pig”. So today, let’s look at pigs in Chinese culture – and see how these animals have been regarded in China through history.   Pigs in Traditional Chinese Culture Since the dawn of time, Chinese people have had a special kind of affection towards...
Last week, we looked at Keanu Reeves, Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale speaking Chinese in The Day the Earth Stood Still, Limitless, and Batman Begins, respectively. Let’s continue the journey of exploring Mandarin Chinese in Western movies! And today, let’s look at Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, From Paris with Love, and Pearl Harbor.   Mandarin Chinese...
The word 元旦 yuándàn, which refers to the first day of the New Year in China, has a long history. But which New Year does it refer to – the Lunar or the Gregorian? And what’s the difference difference between 元旦 yuándàn and 春节 chūnjié?   Origins of New Year in China The first and earliest mention of 元旦...
For the past two weeks, we’ve been exploring Mandarin Chinese spoken by actors and actresses in Western TV Shows. Some of them turned out to speak Chinese really well! So today, we’re going to turn to movies – and explore Mandarin Chinese in Western movies. The questions are the same: What phrases did the characters use? How good...
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Our blog offers tips and advice on living and studying Mandarin in China, and explores the stark cultural differences between the East, the West — and everything else in between.

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