How to Use Question Words in Chinese

Here are the basic question words you'll need to know in Chinese:   什么 shénme what 哪里 哪儿 nǎlǐ/nǎr where 哪(个) nǎ (ge) which 谁 shéi or shuí who 什么时候 shénme shíhou when 为什么 wèishénme why 怎么 zěnme how 多少 duōshao how many/much Unlike in English, 'what, who, where, which, how much' don't go at the beginning of the sentence in Chinese. They go in the same place as the thing you are asking about if the sentence was a Continue Reading

How to Form Questions in Chinese

There are a few different ways to ask questions in Chinese. One of the simplest is to take a statement and make it into a question by adding the character 吗 ma to the end of the sentence. Some examples: 你是中国人 Nǐ shì zhōngguó rén You are Chinese 你是中国人吗? Nǐ shì zhōngguó rén ma? Are you Chinese? 你喜欢喝茶 Nǐ xǐhuān hē chá You like to drink tea 你喜欢喝茶吗? Nǐ xǐhuān hē chá ma? Do you like to drink tea? 他是学生 Tā shì xuéshēng He is a student 他是学生吗? Tā shì xuésheng ma? Is he a Continue Reading

Learn Chinese Through Famous Classical Poems

If you are interested in Chinese culture and literature, then you can’t afford to ignore exploring Chinese poetry. Chinese poems often get skipped over when learning Chinese as a second language because there are so many other more imminent, practical things you have to learn! But don’t get me wrong, there is rich wisdom and beauty in Chinese poetry. Poetry is held in high regard in Chinese literature and can be dated back to as early as the 1st millennium BC. The height of Chinese poetry is Continue Reading

Chinese Characters Explained (4) Meaning + Pronunciation Component

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' put together. And this time, I want to teach you about the most common type of Chinese characters out there: around 80-90% of characters work like this, so if you only read Continue Reading

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

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 more ideas put together. These characters can also be called 'compound ideograms' or 会意字 huìyìzì in Chinese. Ancient lexicographers claimed that about 13% of Chinese characters 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 drawings. And that's not really a good thing, because it isn't exactly true. Yes, it is true that some Chinese characters are based on 'pictures of things', but estimates 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 Chinese as much as possible: I thought up example dialogues in my head, and practised thinking of what I would say in different situations. I would try to interpret what friends 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 zài nǎlǐ jiànmiàn? Where shall we meet? 我们6点在酒店见面吧 wǒmen liù diǎn zài jiǔdiàn jiànmiàn ba Let’s meet at the hotel at 6:00 好的,一会儿见 hǎo de, yīhuì'er jiàn Okay, see you Continue Reading

Shopping For Souvenirs – Survival Chinese Bites

Key Chinese words and phrases from the video: 有没有明信片? yǒu méi yǒu míngxìnpiàn? Do you have postcards? 我想买三张 wǒ xiǎng mǎi sān zhāng I want to buy three. 一共多少钱? yīgòng duōshao qián? How much is that altogether? 10 块钱 shí kuài qián 10 yuan 还要别的吗? hái yào biéde ma? Anything else? 不用了, 就这些 bùyòngle, jiù zhèxiē No, just these things. 有袋子吗? yǒu dàizi ma? Do you have a bag? 谢谢 xièxie Thank you Continue Reading

Shopping For Clothes – Survival Chinese Bites

Key Chinese words and phrases from the video: 我想买一件衬衫 wǒ xiǎng mǎi yī jiàn chènshān 
 I would like to buy a shirt 我可以试穿一下吗? wǒ kěyǐ shìchuān yīxià ma?
 Can I try it on? 有没有L号? yǒu méi yǒu L hào?
 Do you have this in L? 
还有别的吗? hái yǒu biéde ma? Do you have any others? 多少钱? duōshao qián
? How much is it? 
便宜一点可以吗? piányi yīdiǎn kěyǐ ma? Can you make it a bit cheaper? Continue Reading