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One Car in Flames and An Army of Ten Thousand Keyboards – The Anatomy of a Chinese PR Disaster

It was a very hazy and smoggy day in Beijing, seemingly just like any other. I was just sitting in my office in the middle of the city, doing a bit of light editing work. A couple of reports about small middle class issues, cooperation between Mainland China and Taiwan, and a bit of finger-pointing […]

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Why it’s easy to learn Chinese

When I say that it’s easy to learn Chinese, I don’t mean that you can become fluent in a few weeks or without effort, but that getting to a functional level reading and speaking Mandarin Chinese is in fact fairly straight-forward. Let me explain why. Learning to speak Firstly, Chinese is simply a set of […]

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How to get past a beginner / intermediate level in Chinese

I got an email a couple of days ago from a blog reader who wrote “I watched your video where you spoke Chinese and would say I understood about 75% of it, however I know I would have no chance of replicating it if asked to speak.  How often have you encountered people like me […]

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101 Reasons Why Learning Chinese Is Easy

Is learning Chinese hard? An age-old debate among language learners is whether Chinese is exponentially more difficult to learn than other languages. Here are 101 reasons why it is easy to learn to understand, speak, read and write Mandarin Chinese, why there are actually a lot of things in your favour and how there are […]

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Language courses for the self-learner have got to improve

It has become a trend now for people to learn languages on their own, using ‘teach yourself’ style language courses. A myriad of products have sprung up for those who don’t want to pay for a full class, and want to learn in their own time, at their own speed and on their own terms. […]

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10 of the most unusual English brand names in China

A light hearted post today. Since I came to Beijing this time, I have noticed changes in branding in China. I have seen just how many Chinese retail brands are on the rise and how many Chinese clothing and household shops can be seen in trendy shopping malls, alongside familiar Western brands. Brands in China […]

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How persistence will get you to an expert level in Chinese

Yesterday, I published a guest post on ‘Fluent in 3 Months’, a language learning website that I have been a fan of for a long time. I am very grateful to Benny Lewis, the ‘Irish Polyglot’ for hosting me! Head to the homepage of his travel and language learning blog to find out more. Recently, a […]

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TV in China – What TV Stations and Shows Are Popular?

I have written already on how to watch Chinese TV online. Watching TV shows can be a great way to improve your language skills, increase your listening comprehension in a language or pick up the latest slang, all in a very relaxed way! It is worth saying that watching TV in China is a very […]

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Should you learn simplified or traditional Chinese characters?

A common question I get asked by beginner Chinese learners is: should I learn simplified Chinese characters or traditional Chinese characters. Do I need to learn both? Should I learn one type first and then the other? Before I answer the question, let me start with some facts. 1. Simplified Chinese characters are mainly used […]

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Why does the West still understand so little about China?

China and the West were historically very closed off from each other. China was largely self-sufficient and didn’t trade with distant nations. It was difficult for foreigners to enter the country and exchanges were few. These days, there are dozens of flights in and out of China every day, billions of pounds worth of business […]

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