Le (了) Doesn’t Just ‘Mean’ The Past Tense: How To Use Le in Chinese

A lot of Chinese learners believe that 了 *means* the past tense in Chinese. But that's not quite true… 了 is not a character with a tangible meaning that can be translated To say it refers to the past tense is too simplistic, it has a number of different usages. 了 often indicates that a situation has changed In this case, its meaning could be interpreted as: 'and that's the situation now'. Sometimes it can be used similarly to 'ya' in Spanish, e.g. Ya esta – that's enough Continue Reading

Understand Chinese Measure Words in 1 Video

In English, you would say 'a piece of paper' or 'a kilo of apples' The 'piece' and 'kilo' are a bit like measure words in Chinese. In English you wouldn't say, 'a piece of phone' or 'a piece of shirt' But in Chinese you need to use measure words like this a lot of the time. 一个苹果 Yī gè píngguǒ A 'piece of' apple (an apple) 一头大象 Yī tóu dàxiàng A 'piece of' elephant (an elephant) 两条鱼 Liǎng tiáo yú Two 'pieces of' fish You use measure words in Chinese whenever you are Continue Reading

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

Chinese Conversation Clips – WeChat, the Most Popular App in China

English translation of video content: Chris: And there is one app that we can call a super app. It’s called WeChat. Can you tell us what kind of app WeChat is? Becca: I first came into contact with WeChat in around 2011 or 2012. At that time, WhatsApp was already really popular outside China. But in China, there weren’t so many people using WhatsApp. Later I found a lot of people began to use an app to send short messages. You didn't get charged for sending an SMS, it only used up your Continue Reading

Chinese Conversation Clips – Chinese Foods You Have to Try

English translation of video content: Chris: OK. So if you come to China and want to eat out, is there any dishes that you must order, or dishes that you recommend, apart from hot pot, which we’ve talked about already? Becca: I think if you come to Beijing you should definitely try Beijing Roast Duck, and there are also many dishes are adapted to foreigners' tastes, because I have many foreign friends and I often recommend these dishes to them. I know that if many foreign friends order Continue Reading

Chinese Conversation Clips – The Best Universities in China

English translation of video content: Chris: So, can you tell us what famous universities there are or what good universities there are in China? Which universities do you think are the good ones? Becca: In the comprehensive university ranking of Chinese universities, Peking University and Tsinghua University rank first and second, they are still in the main positions. And besides these universities there are Fudan University and Tongji University in Shanghai, these two universities are Continue Reading

Chinese Conversation Clips – Primary School in China

English translation of video content: Chris: This time we will discuss what kind of experience it is going to school in China. Let’s start from primary (elementary) school. First let me ask a relatively simple question, that is, in China, at what age do children usually start school? Becca: Usually around the age of seven, and now some children go to school earlier and earlier, but even the earliest would be at least six years old. Chris: This formal education, does it start from Continue Reading

Chinese Conversation Clips – Chinese Liquor (Baijiu)

English translation of video content: Chris: First question, what kind of alcohol do Chinese people generally drink? Becca: In fact, the most famous type of Chinese liquor is“Baijiu” It is a kind of thick and transparent liquid distilled from grain. Chris: Is it because of its transparency that it is called “Baijiu”? Becca: Yes, it has no colour, so it is called “white liquor” (Baijiu). A lot of Chinese people drink red wine and beer too, so baijiu, red wine, and beer are top three Continue Reading

Chinese Conversation Clips – Tea Drinking in China

English translation of video content: Chris: What rituals are there for tea drinking? Does everybody make their own cups of tea and drink by themselves, or drink with a group of people? What are the rituals? Becca: Speaking of which, tea culture originated in China a long time ago and has a history of maybe thousands of years. There may be thousands of years of history. Tea ceremony in many countries, including Japanese and British tea cultures nowadays, may originate from Chinese tea Continue Reading

Chinese Conversation Clips – Mid-Autumn Festival

English translation of video content: Chris: What kind of holiday is the Mid-autumn Festival? Becca: Mid-autumn Festival is also one of the Chinese traditional festivals. It’s on August 15th in Chinese lunar calendar each year, when the moon is considered to be the most round. Chris: It’s the most round that day. Becca: Yes, because it is in the middle of the month. The moon is the most round on the 15th of the eighth lunar month, and the eighth month is in the middle of autumn, so Continue Reading