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绕口令 (ràokǒulìng) Tongue twisters!

One good way to pay attention to your tones, and those sounds in Chinese that are so similar, is to spend some time breaking your mouth. I mean 绕口令 (ràokǒulìng) tongue twisters, of course! I know it may seem like they just exist to annoy people and bite their tongues, but this one really does…

时间 (shíjiān) Time

Today, we’re going to talk about 时间 (shíjiān) time. General time, to be specific! It’s confusing sometimes, because it doesn’t match up in your head with how, logically, it probably should. Ahh, but the Chinese language has evolved that way, so that’s how it is. Let’s take a look at the confusion: 去年 (qùnián) is…

繁體 (fántǐ) Traditional, 简体 (jiǎntǐ) Simplified, and 拼音 (pīnyīn.) What’s the deal?

So you may have heard some of these words bandied about, and you’re wondering to yourself, what’s going on here? Why is it so complicated? Is Chinese that complicated? Languages are not unchanging, they’re a fluid body of knowledge, and that is never more clear than with the Chinese language. Once upon a time, in…

爱好 (àihào) Hobbies

If we can muster up the energy after a long day of work, we probably should do something good for our health, like one of the exercises we mentioned in our exercise post a couple of weeks ago. So, you know how to say what your hobby might be (like how I love to 跳舞…

世界上最大的望远镜 (shìjiè shang zuì dà de wàngyuǎnjìng) The world’s largest telescope

The construction of Tiānyán, the world’s largest telescope
Above: photos between 2009 and 2016, when the telescope was completed. Last week, the world’s largest telescope was completed. Where is it, you ask? China! Where else 😛 It was built in a valley in 平塘 (Píngtáng) County, 贵州 (Guìzhōu) Province. 五百米口径球面射电望远镜 (wǔbǎi mǐ kǒujìng qiúmiàn shèdiàn wàngyuǎnjìng) is its name, abbreviated to FAST (Five-hundred-metre…

运动 (yùndòng) Exercise

Cong Yan doing 40kg stone exercises
Just three years ago, 1.63m tall Cong Yan weighed in at 115kg. The fear of obesity prompted him to make the decision to lose weight by exercising. Starting off with a 30kg stone on his head, Cong began taking three kilometre walks. Now, Cong can easily walk three kilometres, perform two martial arts sets, and…

熊猫 (xióngmāo) Pandas!

Baby pandas!
We bring you some fantastic news from the past week! Twin baby pandas were born on Monday! Ahem. Mother 雅莉 (Yǎ Lì) gave birth to the twins on Monday morning. They weigh just 144 and 113 grams, and both are female. So far they are unnamed. In Chinese, we call pandas 熊猫 (xióngmāo,) which—awesomely—is “bear…

Memory Centre: 木 (mù) and 山 (shān)

We haven’t had a Memory Centre post in a while, so now seems like a good a time as any! 木 (mù,) meaning ‘tree,’ is a good character to learn, because it gets used a lot as a radical in many different Chinese characters. We’ll delve more into radicals later, but in short, they are…

端午节快乐!(Duānwǔjié kuàilè!) Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

Dragon Boat race during 端午节 (Duānwǔjié)
Hello again everyone, we’re terribly sorry about the sporadic updates recently T_T we were having some website migration issues, but they’re all fixed up now! So, yesterday was 端午节 (Duānwǔjié,) a festival dedicated to the memory of a famous poet and minister named 屈原 (Qū Yuán,) who lived during the Warring States period of ancient…

Unlocking the 五二零 (wǔ èr líng) 520 code

五二零 (wǔ èr líng) 520
It is said that China has the most holidays-that-aren’t-really-holidays, also known as “festivals for the fun of making up new festivals.” If you didn’t know already (and we’ll touch up on it more in a later lesson,) Chinese people really love plays on words. We really love them. We also love attributing meaning to everyday…