Beginner in Chinese?

Sign up to get a free basic Chinese course complete with MP3 audio, 
plus learning tips and video lessons! 

Chinese Conversation Clips – High Speed Trains in China

English translation of video content:

Chris: For example, if we are in Beijing, where can we go by high-speed train?

Becca: Actually many places.

Chris: Like Shanghai. We can arrive in Shanghai in five hours.

Becca: Yes, It takes only five hours to get to Shanghai on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway. If you take the Beijing-Guangzhou railway, you will be in Guangzhou in seven or eight hours.

Chris: So from Beijing, you can go to Xi’an, northeastern China, and southern cities like Guangzhou and Shanghai directly.

Becca: Also to the east, [cities] like Shangdong and Qingdao.

Chris: Yes, you can go to Shandong and Qingdao by high-speed train. I’ve heard that there is a direct railway, I don’t know whether it’s an EMU or high-speed train, from Beijing to Lhasa. Is that right?

Becca: The Beijing-Tibet Railway has been in operation for many years. But I am not sure about its speed. People in Beijing can take the train to western regions, such as Yunnan and Tibet.

Chris: So some sections of the railway may not be so quick, but you can go there by train, however the railway system is still underdeveloped. In Yunnan, many places don’t have a high-speed railway. You have to take the old green trains, and they are quite slow. Perhaps you can only travel by high-speed train between the big cities, but some cities have yet to develop their high-speed train system.

Becca: Yes. And I know that in remote and mountainous areas, they have had to drill through mountains, and build the railway in the mountains, which is a major engineering project, so..

Chris: In some places, it is difficult to build railways. Actually talking a high-speed train is similar to traveling by air. For instance, a security check is also required in the train station, right?

Becca: Yes. That’s mainly due to people’s rising security awareness in public places over the last few years.

Chris: Security checks are everywhere in China.

Becca: Mainly in populated areas. In fact, it’s not just in China. A lot of five-star hotels and major tourist attractions in Africa and Dubai have security checks. Maybe security checks are necessary in populated areas.

Chris: So it’s a bit like taking a plane.

Sign up here to get access to the full transcripts with Chinese characters and Pinyin:

Chinese Conversation Clips – The Differences Between Beijing and Shanghai

English translation of video content: Chris: What’s the difference between Shanghai and Beijing, for example? What are the characteristics of Shanghai? Becca: According to my understanding, the financial industry is probably more developed in Shanghai, compared with Beijing. Shanghai’s commerce is also more developed than Beijing, like investment banks, banks and consulting firms, they may […]

Continue reading...

Chinese Conversation Clips – The Top Tourist Sites to Visit in China

English Translation of video content: Chris: The first topic we are going to discuss is the tourist attractions that are most worth visiting in China. So Becca I don’t know if I can ask you, first of all, what tourist attractions worth visiting are there in China? Becca: I think that when we talk about […]

Continue reading...

Chinese Characters Explained (4) Meaning + Pronunciation Component

Types of Chinese Characters Part 4

This is the 4th and final part of my new series explaining how Chinese characters work in depth. Part 1 was about Chinese characters that look like physical objects or animals. Part 2 was about Chinese characters that represent ideas. Part 3 was about characters that are a combination of two or more ‘idea components’ […]

Continue reading...

Chinese Characters Explained (3) Ones That Are Two Ideas Put Together

chars video 3

Welcome to part 3 of my series explaining how Chinese characters work in detail. In part 1 I introduced the Chinese characters that look like things, and part 2 was about Chinese characters that represent ideas. The third type of Chinese characters that we need to talk about is Chinese characters that are two or […]

Continue reading...

Chinese Characters Explained (2) Ones That Represent Meanings

In the first part of these new series explaining Chinese characters in detail, I talked about Chinese characters that look like things. The second major type of Chinese characters are what I call ‘ones that represent ideas’. These characters are not pictures of things. Instead, they represent concepts such as ‘up’ or ‘down’, ‘middle’ or […]

Continue reading...

Chinese Characters Explained (1) Ones That Look Like Things

There are a lot of misconceptions about Chinese characters. One thing that I hear very often is that Chinese characters are “just like pictures of things.” The popularity of the Chineasy series of books has done a lot to spread this idea – a lot of people are starting to think that Chinese characters are just like […]

Continue reading...

Review of ‘Cantonese Conversations’

Cantonese Conversations Screenshot

I’ve written about my interest in Cantonese on this blog before, and how I went about learning Cantonese, but it’s not a topic I normally talk about on this site very much: after all, Mandarin is the most widely spoken Chinese dialect and this site is called Fluent in Mandarin! However, Cantonese is what’s spoken […]

Continue reading...

Building Fluency in Chinese – A Review of Glossika

[Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links] When I was learning Chinese, it was clear that just working through the beginners’ textbooks wasn’t going to be enough; I needed more practice to build up fluency. So, I devised all sorts of methods to force myself to get out of my comfort zone and start thinking in […]

Continue reading...

Making a Dinner Date – Survival Chinese Bites

Key Chinese words and phrases from the video: 我想请你吃饭 wǒ xiǎng qǐng nǐ chī fàn I want to treat you to a meal 你今天晚上有空吗? nǐ jīntiān wǎnshang yǒu kòng ma? Are you free tonight? 有空 yǒu kòng Yes I’m free 不好意思, 我今天晚上没有空 bùhǎoyìsi, wǒ jīntiān wǎnshang méiyǒu kòng Sorry, I’m not free tonight 我们在哪里见面? wǒmen […]

Continue reading...