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Mandarin Learning Tips Blog

10 Chinese Words With No English Equivalent

Joe Milazzo | November 15, 2016

Every language has at least one word or phrase that defies translation. Brazilian Portuguese has "saudade" (a wistful attachment to someone or something now distant or absent; almost nostalgia, but with more passion). Danish is famous for the word "hygge," which describes a very specific kind of comfort, one that is grounded in what we often describe in English as “rustic charm.” This language phenomenon comes from name concepts or emotional conditions unique to originating cultures. 

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Chinese Characters With Multiple Pronunciations

Patrick Kim | November 11, 2016

It is common for Chinese characters to have more than one meaning, but did you know that characters can also alter their pronunciation in different contexts? These rather frustrating characters are called 多音字 (duō yīnzì), and comprise about 20% of the 2,400 recommended to learn if you want to be able to read a newspaper. Some of these characters change pronunciation in tone only, while others can also change part or all of their pinyin. If you want to reduce the amount of time it takes learn Chinese, then it might be necessary to learn these the hard way, one-by-one. However, don't get caught up if you are having trouble memorizing all of these -- as time goes on, enough exposure and practice with Chinese will help you understand each of the differences in their situation context. Once you're there, you are sure to impress with your subtle understanding of Chinese.  

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6 Terms Of Endearment In Chinese

Jinna Wang | November 10, 2016
You were a) on vacation, b) at a friend’s party, or c) on a popular online dating app when you met the boy/girl of your dreams in China. You gather up the courage to  introduce yourself, and soon the two of you are magically and madly in love. You’re even thinking about spending the upcoming holidays together.
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What Are Mandarin Tone Pairs?

Joe Milazzo | November 08, 2016

Imagine language as a painting. Grammar and syntax provides the frame and the canvas. The pigments that play across this surface? Vocabulary. But what is responsible for the blending, shading and distinctly painterly touch with which these colors are applied? Intonation is perhaps the most subtle and most difficult to master aspect of any new language.

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Why Do So Many Chinese People Have The Same Last Name?

Jinna Wang | November 01, 2016

As anyone who has lived in both China and the United States will tell you, there are major cultural differences between the two countries. For example, the toilets in the U.S actually provide toilet paper. One of the differences that struck me the most when I moved to the United States are the difference in names.

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How To Introduce Yourself In Chinese

Jinna Wang | October 20, 2016

As a Mandarin Chinese tutor, I work with students ranging from elementary school to graduate school. Their level of Chinese fluency might differ, but one question I always get is: “How do I introduce myself?”

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