Chinese Conversation Clips – Chinese New Year Traditions

English translation of video content: Chris: So what do the Chinese do to celebrate the new year, what kind of activities are there? Becca: There are a lot of activities. Firstly, the whole country will have a seven day holiday, starting from the first day of the new year. No matter what job you do or which city you work in, everyone enjoys this holiday. People go back home early to prepare to celebrate the festival. Food is closely related to the Spring Festival, so we prepare a lot of Continue Reading

Chinese Conversation Clips – What’s it like for Chinese children learning characters?

English translation of video content: Chris: While at school, is it the case that sometimes you know the word but you are not sure how to write it? Like when you are writing an article, you know the word you want to use, but just not how to write it. What would you do then? Becca: Actually it is true even today. We call it “picking up the pen and forgetting the character”, which means you suddenly forget how to write a character, even the most common and simple ones, when you pick up your Continue Reading

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 Continue Reading

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 choose Shanghai for their Chinese headquarters. As I said earlier, Beijing is more of a centre of 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 tourism in China, we will first think of the Great Wall. It is also one of the seven wonders of the world. Of course, if you come to the Great Wall, to Beijing, there are also a lot of Continue Reading

8 Things to Look For When Choosing a Chinese Teacher

Choosing a good Chinese teacher is one of the key factors that will determine whether you can be successful and persist in learning Chinese, or whether you just end up giving up or becoming demotivated. If you are in China or another Chinese speaking area, at first it can seem like you have an unlimited supply of teachers. After all, you are surrounded by native speakers, who could all potentially help you to learn their language. You might even get offers of help with your Chinese, in return Continue Reading

14 of the best Chinese TV shows to improve your Mandarin

When I was studying Chinese at university I used to watch a fair number of Chinese TV shows, with the aim of improving my spoken Chinese and listening ability. It can be a pretty light-hearted way to keep the language going, even when you can’t face a full page of Chinese characters, or if you’re feeling tired and you’re not in the right frame of mind to practise speaking. When you first start watching Chinese TV shows, you may not be able to understand a lot, but it will give you exposure Continue Reading

15 of the best Chinese movies you won’t want to miss

Watching Chinese movies is a great way to relax if you're learning the language. It's also a great way to get more in tune with Chinese culture, and get into the rhythm of the language. BUT, it isn’t the most effective way to learn Chinese.. Chinese films can also be really hard to understand. The dialogue is often really fast, and there is often a mix of different accents and a lot of slang that beginners wouldn't normally learn. I found them really tough to understand for a long time, Continue Reading

How to get your iPhone/iPad to read out Chinese texts

You might not know this, but all of the recent iPhone/ iPad and iPod Touch models (with iOS 6+) have a Mandarin and Cantonese text-to-speech function built in. Or to put it another way, you can highlight any section of text on the screen and have your device read aloud for you in standard Mandarin or Cantonese. You can get text read from any application, and you can even slow down the speech as you go so you can keep up and read along. For Chinese, there are three voices built in, a Continue Reading

How to remember the tones in Chinese, forever

If you're just getting into Chinese, one of the first things you'll hear about are the tones. And it makes sense, because 'tones' are one of the most essential and distinctive parts of Mandarin. Mandarin actually has fewer sounds than many other languages, and so the language 'makes up' for that by having four different ways in which you can pronounce any given syllable. There are also some syllables which are unstressed. They are always the second or third syllable of a word and they Continue Reading