1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

Mandarin Language Blog

By

Follow me on:

Exchanging Gifts In Mandarin

Monday July 30, 2012

Be sure you know the rules for giving and receiving gifts when visiting China or Taiwan. Chinese customs are much different from those in the USA or Europe.

Living In Mandarin

Sunday July 29, 2012

The best way to learn Mandarin Chinese (or any other language) is to spend time in the countries where it is spoken. Living in China or Taiwan gives you the chance to immerse yourself in the culture and to use the language on a daily basis.

Arriving in China or Taiwan without any Mandarin language skills may seem intimidating, but fortunately there is an excellent guide to help you along. Survival Chinese is the perfect companion for living in Mandarin.

Learning To Read Chinese Characters

Saturday July 28, 2012

An excellent text for learning to read Chinese characters is The Lady In The Painting.

Read my review...

Mandarin Vocabulary

Saturday July 28, 2012

There are several ways to learn new Mandarin vocabulary. Before gaining conversational skills, books and software can help with the basics. My review section covers a wide rand of materials, including my latest review - Chinese For Dummies.

Acquiring new vocabulary is easy once you master the basics of the new language. Now you can have conversations and talk about a wide range of subjects from Chinese medicine to cultural topics such as traditional Chinese games.

Mandarin Phrases For Chinese Medicine

Wednesday July 25, 2012

Traditional Chinese medicine has been used for thousands of years. It remain popular in China and Taiwan, and it is growing in acceptance around the world.

Follow this link to learn some Mandarin phrases for Chinese medicine.

Time To Read And Write?

Monday July 16, 2012

I recently received this email:

I am a New Zealand high school student who has been studying Mandarin for over a year. I have been learning to speak the language with a self-taught course (FSI Standard Chinese), watching Chinese television and films and having conversations. I began learning after a two-month trip to China to visit family last year. (My mother is Chinese.) I can hold conversations on everyday topics in Mandarin and understand what I hear quite well, but I cannot read or write yet. Could you please give me some advice on when I should begin to learn Chinese characters, and what courses I could use?

My Reply:

You are right to hold off on learning Chinese characters until you have a basic understanding of the spoken language. Chinese characters can be a subject unto itself, requiring much more effort than learning to speak Mandarin Chinese.

It sounds like your current level of Mandarin will aid you in your study of Chinese characters, so I think that you are well prepared to begin learning to read and write.

There are many self-study materials for learning Chinese characters. Check out my reviews as a starting point. You may also be able to find a teacher in your community who offers group or private lessons.

Oxford Beginner's Chinese Dictionary

Thursday June 28, 2012

A good Mandarin English dictionary is essential for learning Mandarin Chinese. If you are just starting out with Mandarin, I recommend the Oxford Beginner's Chinese Dictionary to get you started. Specifically designed for looking up English definitions, it also has reference sections on grammar, measure words, and language usage.

Read my full review...

If you are a visual learner, perhaps DK Visual Dictionaries Mandarin Chinese English Bilingual Visual Dictionary will appeal to you, although I have some reservations about its usefulness.

And if you are overwhelmed by the difficulty of Mandarin Chinese, try reading Knee Howdy to see how easy Mandarin really is.

Learning Chinese Characters

Wednesday June 27, 2012

There are many methods, textbooks, and apps to help you learn Chinese characters. Nonetheless, it remains a formidable task for the average Westerner studying Mandarin Chinese.

One of the best approaches to learning Chinese characters I've seen is Chinese Characters: A Genealogy and Dictionary, by Rick Harbaugh. Read my review...

Stative Verbs

Monday June 25, 2012

Abigale writes:

I have a question about the "Mandarin Comparisons - Bi - More than" article. You call the comparison words like "expensive" and "tall" Stative Verbs, but in fact they're not verbs. I believe the verb in the examples would be "is (to be)" and words like "tall" would be adjectives. Should they actually be called Stative Adjectives? Or is there a reason they're called verbs even if they aren't?

Good question - and one that gets at the basics of Mandarin Grammar. You are quite right that "expensive" and "tall" are adjectives in English, but in Mandarin Chinese they also function as verbs, because the sentence 他很高 - Tā hěn gāo (He is tall), does not have a "to be" verb. The literal translation is "He very tall."

So 高 (gāo - tall) is classified as a stative verb, one that describes a relatively unchanging state.

Read more about stative verbs...

Chinese Zodiac

Thursday May 31, 2012

Learn Mandarin Chinese words and phrases related to the Chinese Zodiac and the animal signs:

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.