Tag Archives: colloquial

Random Trivia #12 – Interesting Conditions

Test your English and Chinese vocabulary level! See how many of these words you can guess. Today’s theme is interesting conditions. Here’s a tip: most of them (but not all) end in 病 bìng (“sickness”) or 症 zhèng (“disease”). Also note many of these are new and popular expressions in Chinese, and some do not […]

Top 80 Most Common Polite Expressions in Chinese

Polite expressions (礼貌用语 lǐmào yòngyǔ) are often neglected by learners of Chinese. They are rarely covered in textbooks, and there is a general misconception that Chinese does not have many such expressions. While “manners” as we understand them in English-speaking countries are not typically observed in modern-day China, it would be incorrect to claim that […]

Basic Spoken English 《基础英语口语》

Basic Spoken English is now ready for download. Check it out! I wrote this textbook last week for Chinese students wishing to improve their spoken English (英语口语), but English teachers in China may also find this a useful resource in the classroom. The first lesson includes a breakdown of all the basic sounds of the […]

33 Funny Words in Chinese

Let’s try something a bit lighter today. Here’s 33 words in Chinese I’ve collected over the years that I think are pretty funny when translated literally. Some of them also reveal a little bit about Chinese culture and thinking. Enjoy! 33 Funny Words in Chinese A computer is an “electric brain” (电脑). A cactus is […]

Another 45 Mandarin Sentences with Chinese Characteristics

(This post is a continuation from my previous article “45 Mandarin Sentences with Chinese Characteristics“.) The following is a collection of sentences in Mandarin which I believe are special in some way. What do I mean by “special”? Well, let’s just say grammatically and structurally they’re not exactly typical, and in most cases they stand-alone […]

104 More Common Erhuayin Words in Mandarin

This is a follow-up to my previous post about 128 Common Erhuayin Words in Mandarin. 天儿 tiānr: 1. day 今天是什么天儿?What’s the day today? 2. weather 聊天儿: to chat 大白天儿说梦话:to talk in a delusional fashion; to speak as if one’s head is in the clouds; to sound as if one is daydreaming 影儿 yǐngr: shadow 电影儿: […]

128 Common Erhuayin Words in Mandarin

The following is a list of 128 most common 儿化音 (erhuayin, erhua) words in Mandarin. For the uninitiated, erhuayin is when you add 儿 on the end of a word. Simple examples include 好玩儿 (hǎowánr, “fun”) and 画画儿 (huàhuàr, “to paint; to draw”). Note that I haven’t included incidences where erhuayin is added on the […]

45 Mandarin Sentences with Chinese Characteristics

The following is a collection of sentences in Mandarin which I believe are special in some way. What do I mean by “special”? Well, let’s just say grammatically and structurally they’re not exactly typical, and in most cases they stand-alone as independent expressions. Plus, many of them contain elements of Chinese culture that set them […]

A Detailed Guide to One-Character Verbs in Mandarin

The following is a comprehensive outline of 90 per cent of the advanced one-character verbs you’ll encounter in written and spoken Mandarin. Criteria for inclusion: 1. The verb must be able to function by itself as one-character or with a complement. Compounds will not be included. 2. The verb must either have both an original […]

Top 11 Mandarin Speech Particles

Criteria: common enough to be known by most native speakers, but special enough to only be used in specific situations. 1. 哼 hēng – “humph!” – cute, feminine, expresses disagreement in a pouting (撒娇) tone – 哼,有什么了不起!— Humph! What’s so special about that? 2. 咳哟 hāiyō – “heave-ho!”* – 咳哟,这货物怎么这么沉呢?— Heave-ho! How can these goods […]