I now offer you a slice-of-life just exactly as it was told to me by one of my Chinese students. The thing that’s so interesting about it is that both people in the story are native speakers of Chinese, speaking Continue reading Méi shì 没事 vs. Méi cuò 没错
A friend just came back from Taiwan where he (somehow) met a local bear expert. The man told him: “On the mainland they call pandas ‘xióng māo’ 熊猫, but here in Taiwan we say ‘māo xióng’ 猫熊.” Regional differences are Continue reading Taiwanese “Panda” = “adnaP”
Here’s a little trip down grammar lane, trying to get to the bottom of how the English word “one” can be translated so many different ways in Chinese. It might surprise you how the Chinese say: 1. “one of my Continue reading My One Friend
[Update: June 26, 2014. Julie Tha Gyaw at Yoyo Chinese just wrote an excellent related post: How Chinese People Want to Be Greeted] I was waiting for my turn at the ping pong table the other night, when an older teacher started Continue reading Nǐ hǎo 你好: A Very Fake Greeting
As I’m sure my English-speaking readers would agree, the agent marker “-er” is tough for Chinese learners. We use it all the time in English (3 times in the previous sentence) but it’s not so readily available in Chinese. Example Continue reading Tennis Players and Drummers
Quiz time! 1. Look at the picture 2. Answer the question (to yourself) 3. Check the answer below (no peeking!) Question This is a picture of graffiti advertising for machine drilling a new well (jī zuàn jǐng 机钻井). I asked Continue reading Doubt: Harder Than You’d Suspect
In my last (real) post there was a whole lot of “bu yao-ing” going on to tell someone not to do something. Well, now I’m going to ask a question that I feel I’ve never really gotten to the bottom Continue reading bié 别 vs. bú yào 不要
As promised, here’s a little bit about how you have to be careful where you put your bù (不). There are some tricky things that can throw you for a loop if you’re translating English into Chinese (which is what Continue reading A Bit about Bù 不
As I finished these measure word posts I had to ask myself (again), “Why does Chinese have all these darn measure words?” Is it like the tones, which seem to exist only to keep foreigners from learning Chinese? As I Continue reading Why does Chinese have measure words?
See also: Top 10 measure words to know As a friend who recently arrived in China said, “Yes but do they really USE all of those measure words?” I don’t know about all. But yes, unfortunately, they do use a Continue reading Which measure words do they really use?