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

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 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

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

Review of ‘Cantonese Conversations’

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 in Hong Kong and Macao, so if you live there or you are interested in either of these two places, then Cantonese is what you will want to learn. Contrary to what people say, 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

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