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Micro Class Learning|Shopping in a fruit store

6 Dec

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Why learn Mandarin Chinese? These are probably the most moving answers in the world 为什么要学汉语?这可能是世上最动人的答案! Volume II

29 Nov

Uncle Jim · SpeakMandarin

1. 除非你掌握了两门以上的语言,否则你永远无法真正理解一门语言。chú fēi nǐ zhǎng wò le liǎng mén yǐ shàng de yǔ yán ,fǒu zé nǐ yǒng yuǎn wú fǎ zhēn zhèng lǐ jiě yì mén yǔ yán 。

You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.

‒Geoffrey Willans

2. 掌握另一门语言,拥有第二个灵魂!zhǎng wò lìng yì mén yǔ yán ,yōng yǒu dì’èr gè líng hún !

To have another language is to possess a second soul.


3. 不了解外语的人也无法真正了解自己的语言。bù liǎo jiě wài yǔ de rén yě wú fǎ zhēn zhèng liǎo jiě zì jǐ de yǔ yán 。

Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.

‒Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

4. 语言是文化的地图。它为你解答人们从哪里来到哪里去。yǔ yán shì wén huà de dì tú 。tā wèi nǐ jiě dá rén men cóng nǎ lǐ lái dào nǎ lǐ qù 。

Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.

‒Rita Mae Brown

5. 语言是灵魂的血肉,有了血肉,思想就可以奔跑,有了灵魂,语言才得以成长。yǔ yán shì líng hún de xuě ròu ,yǒu le xuě ròu ,sī xiǎng jiù kě yǐ bēn pǎo ,yǒu le líng hún ,yǔ yán cái dé yǐ chéng zhǎng 。

Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.

‒Oliver Wendell Holmes

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中国十大休闲城市 Top 10 Leisure Cities in China

19 Nov

Serena ·

Shanghai(上海Shànghǎi) topped a list of leisure cities(休闲城市Xiūxián chéngshì) in China, followed by Sanya(三亚Sānyà) in South China’s Hainan province and Beijing, according to a report jointly published by the National Academy of Economic Strategy, Tourism Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences as well as Social Sciences Academic Press on Aug 5, 2019.
The report evaluated 290 cities in the country from six aspects: city image and reputation, leisure space and environment, leisure economy and industry, leisure facilities and services, leisure life and consumption, as well as attention to tourism(旅游业Lǚyóu yè).
Eight of the listed cities are eastern(东部Dōngbù), while the other two come from western(西部Xībù) China. Cities in the eastern region have a far better city image and reputation as well as leisure life and consumption than those in western regions, though eastern cities are less competitive when it comes to leisure environment and space.
Here are the top 10(排名前十位Páimíng qián shí wèi)leisure cities in China.

No.10 Lhasa 拉萨

No.9 Xi’an 西安

No.8 Hangzhou 杭州

No.7 Xiamen 厦门

No.6 Qingdao 青岛

No.5 Shenzhen 深圳

No.4 Zhuhai 珠海

No.3 Beijing 北京

No.2 Sanya 三亚

No.1 Shanghai 上海

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ROAST我爱吐槽|Dude~ Try to learn something before you tattoo your bodies! (Ⅱ)

19 Nov


In my last post, I roasted some funny and awkward tattoos I saw on foreigners and mentioned a quite philosophical sentence tattooed on Mr. David Beckham’s body——“生死有命,富贵在天”. As I promised, here I would like to talk more about it and share another story.
Shēngsǐ yǒu mìng, fùguì zài tiān

This Chinese old saying is an allusion to The Analects of Confucius · Yan Yuan 《论语· 颜渊篇》(Lúnyǔ, Yányuān piān).

Literally speaking, it tells a point of view: Life or death is by ones’ fate, while wealth and honor by God. Man proposes, God disposes!

As we all know that there are thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes. Different people often give different interpretation of it. From my perspective, I prefer to understand it this way: We can’t completely control our life and death. Thus, we should do our best to pursuit a wonderful life in our unpredicted future.

Another interesting thing is that I find many foreigners are big fans of China’s Zodiac and often tattoo their zodiac signs on bodies. In their eyes, China’s Zodiac, as a unique Chinese tradition, represents a mysterious oriental power; but they can hardly imagine that:
“Chicken(鸡Jī)”, in addition to the expression of an animal, holds an extremely particular meaning in China that refers to a special kind of people (prostitute); our Chinese people would easily see the deep meaning of this word when reading “鸡”!
I hope that this rock lady will never realize the special meaning of “鸡” commonly understood in our Chinese cultural life.

Sometimes, my friends asked me why many foreigners love to tattoo Chinese characters on their bodies? I guess on the one hand, they reckon the square characters have an alternative kind of beauty and it seems extraordinary; on the other hand, it may be because foreigners also feel that the non-native language gives them a sense of mystery. Of course, it is still a very cool thing to have some tattoos of Chinese characters on body, only when you find a reliable tattoo artist!

(The content above only represents personal insights.)

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肥宅快乐水(An internet buzz word)

6 Nov

Do you still remember what we learned last time?
宅男 and 宅女 means the people who like to stay at home or afraid of social life.

In nowadays, young people in China are not afraid to be called “宅”

“宅”is becoming a lifestyle.

Lie on the bed, watch the TV, play the games. Stay at home all day long, be lazy be relex. Eat the fried chicken and drink the coke when you are hungry.

And this kind of lifestyle may make you fat, so we can call this lifestyle:”肥宅”
肥 means fat
And the popular coca cola is called “肥宅快乐水” .
快乐 means happy
水 means water,here means the drink.

And, just like this patern, you can call the chips “肥宅快乐薯片”

Can you remember them?

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Copyright 2019 by speakmandarin

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#Learn Chinese with little joke#1

24 Oct

BY  Uncle Jim

段子(duàn zi)means funny words or little joke. It’s a popular word in China especially among folks.

In its word-for-word translation,

段(duàn)=paragraph”;子(zi) is a common modality particle following a noun to imply that something is little in size or of little importance.

段子手(duàn zi shǒu)means joke teller. 手 (shǒu) , literally means hand. Similar to English, the word “hand” can imply “person” in Mandarin.

For example,

 熟手(shú shǒu)= experienced hand/old hand.

 鼓手(gǔ shǒu) = drummer.

升旗手(shēng qí shǒu) = flag raiser (word-for-word meaning, raise, flag, person)

段子 一

wǒ yào ràng quánshìjiè dōu zhīdào wǒ hěn dīdiào 。


I want to make the whole world all know that I’m very low-key.

我(wǒ)= I

要(yào)= want


These two characters often go together not only to make the sound rhyme, but also imply “reinforced intention” of speaker. For example, 我(wǒ) 要(yào) 让(ràng) 你(nǐ) 知(zhī)道(dào) 我(wǒ) 的(de) 本(běn)事(shì) = I’ll make you know what I can do.

全世界(quán shì jiè)= whole world

都(dōu)= all, an adverb

知道(zhīdào)= know

低调(dīdiào)this word carries a single meaning of “low-key” or “low-profile”. For example, 我(wǒ) 是(shì) 个(gè) 低(dī) 调(diào) 的(de) 人(rén) = I’m a low-profile man. The opposite word is “高调”(gāodiào)

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6 May

崇祯皇帝与词臣的对话,其实是说“东西”一词源于“五行”。关于这个说法,据说最早发生在宋代理学家朱熹与老朋友盛温如之间,故事说,朱熹在路上遇见其友人盛温如提着篮子上街,问“上哪儿?”回答说“上街买东西(buy things)。”朱熹又问:“为什么不能买南北?”回答说不能,因为按照五行与东、南、西、北、中相配,东属木,西属金,凡属金木类,篮子可盛,而南属火,北属水,篮子不可盛,所以只能买“东西”,不能买“南北”。与此相同的故事还有三个,只是时间晚到清代: 一,乾隆皇帝向纪晓岚请教,同样的问题,同样的回答。二,也是乾隆,说他微服私访翰林书院,四个翰林书生正打牌赌钱。见乾隆来到,慌忙收拾赌具放到一只柳条筐里,乾隆故意问那柳条筐里是什么,一个老翰林的回答也与上同。三,则是从前有一位翰林官外出京游玩,在一个寺院里见几个簟匠师傅从山上砍来毛竹制作竹制品,便向方丈请教:“他们在制作什么物品?派什么用场?”方丈连忙答道:“他们在制作花篮,用来盛东西的。”翰林不懂为什么只能说“东西”,不能说 “南北”,方丈的回答也与上同。所以,“东西”源自“五行”说版本很多,应当说很合乎中国文化的内涵,但没有一个版本指出它始于何时,出自何处。
关于将“东西南北”约略为“东西”的说法,已故著名学者陈望道在《修辞学发凡》中也持同样的观点,而且引用了梁章钜的那段话作为佐证。但笔者认为,此说在逻辑上仍然欠妥。“春夏秋冬”指时间,约略为“春秋”后仍指时间,其义不变。但“东西南北”指方位,约略“东西”后反指物品,其义大相径庭。故此只可聊备 一说。


2 Jan





月饼 / yuè bǐng Moon cake

25 Sep

In China, the tradition (传统 chuántǒng) of eating moon cakes in the Mid-autumn Festival (中秋节 zhōngqiū jié) can be dated back (追溯 zhuīsù) to the Tang Dynasty (唐朝 Tángcháo) in ancient China. The round moonshape cake means reunion (团圆 tuányuán) and happiness (幸福 xìngfú).
It was one Mid-autumn Festival in Tang Dynasty when General (将军 jiāngjūn) Li and his army (军队 jūnduì) defeated (打败了 dǎbàile) the Hun (匈奴 xiōngnú) army. The emperor (皇帝 huángdì) was in such a good mood (心情 xīnqíng) that he shared (分享 fēnxiǎng) his round cake with his ministers (大臣们 dàchénmen). Therefore, the moon cakes became the victory (胜利 shènglì) food for General Li and his army on that day. The tradition was passed on through generations. Even today (今天 jīntiān), Chinese people around the world will share moon cakes in celebrating the reunion of Mid-autumn Festival.
The traditional moon cakes have a round crust (表皮 biǎopí) filled with different fillings (馅 xiàn) such as sweet bean paste (红豆沙 hóngdòushā) and lotus seed paste (莲蓉 liánróng). Today, many derivatives of the moon cakes have been invented (发明 fāmíng) based on the modern (现代的 xiàndàide) taste (口味 kǒuwèi). Ice cream (冰淇凌 bīngqīlíng) moon cake is the traditional crust filled with ice cream. Fruit (水果 shuǐguǒ) moon cakes have fresh fruits as stuffing. There are even sea food moon cakes and whole wheat moon cakes.
Now, it’s time for you to find out your favorite moon cake! Please talk with your Chinese teacher at about your mid-autumn Festival.


2 Aug

     It has been said that the process of learning a language is a long journey. It the same as Chinese language study. Learners need to keep going as more and more new words have yet to emerge. (语言学习一个不断更新的过程,汉语也是一样,新词汇层出不穷,学习者自然也要不断的充实自己的词汇库。)

     今天我们来讨论“汉子”这个词,对了,这不是“汉字(hàn zì; Chinese Characters)”是“汉子(hàn zi; man/strong man)”。“他真是条汉子!”这是我们经常能听到的关于“汉子”的说法,是指一个男人很勇敢,有责任感(zérèngǎn; responsibility),勇于担当,或者力气大,能力强。这个词通常情况下都是指男人的,带有很强烈的性别色彩。注意,这里的量词(liàng cí; measure word)要用“条(tiao)”才更加能体现出“汉字”这个词的味道!但是现在,“女汉子”这个词越来越流行(liú xíng; popular)了起来,我们现在经常能听到这样的说法:“我真是条女汉子啊,昨天自己扛了一袋大米回家!(I’m just like a real man because I carried a huge bag of race to home!)”“她就是个女汉子,独立抚养孩子好多年。(She is very great since she took care of her kid by herself for many years!)”以此来表示对当事人的佩服(pèi fú; admire )和认同(rèn tong; self-identity ),也是同样表示这名女子有担当,能力强,独立又能干,当然也有很多时候表示力气大,不娇气。

       不得不说”女汉子”这个词汇的出现和演变是语言的发展,但是究其原因,我们也能看到社会变迁(biàn qiān; change)的缩影(suō yǐng; microcosm)。不是吗?妇女越来越能顶半边天,社会地位不断提高(tí gāo;),经济能力,教育水平不断提升,随着各种能力的逐渐被认可(rèn kě; approve),男人和女人趋向于平等(píng děng),于是本来坚定的形容男人的词汇也就慢慢的发生了改变。这是一个很有意思的现象,希望大家能够多多讨论。