Shall we cook Chinese in Chinese?

Well, despite the unhealthy aspects of too much oil or condiment, most people would fall for the scrumptious taste of Chinese food. After learning some basic Chinese, have you ever wondered how do we say grill, bake, steam, panfry, deep fry or cold salad in Chinese? Let’s get started. 凉(liáng)拌(bàn) → salad with dressing served cold…

Dining out?

Some of my students feel the Chinese language is easy to understand when you consider the different characters or words as building blocks, however they feel the language is sometimes too abrupt or even rude. For example, let’s talk about the useful phrases when we dine in a restaurant. Key Sentences Meaning W:几(jǐ)位(wèi)? G:7位(wèi)。 Waitress:…

Let’s count to a billion!

We’ve done the basic counting from 0 to 99, now let’s add on more zeros to spice things up a little. One crucial rule is that in the Chinese and Japanese language, we group zeros in fours for  bigger numbers. Here are the rules: 2 zeros → 100  一(yī)百(bǎi) a hundred 3 zeros  → 1000一(yī)千(qiān)…

6 Shades of Green

We love our tea. 喝(hē)=drink    茶(chá)=tea Icebreaker lines: A: 你(nǐ)喜欢(xǐhuan)喝茶(hēchá)吗(ma)?Do you like drinking tea? B: 喜欢(xǐhuan)。Yes, I do. or 不(bù)喜欢(xǐhuan)。No, I don’t. And the almighty: 你(nǐ)呢(ne)? How about you? And you? Lines to use for small talk: 我(wǒ)喜欢(xǐ huan)喝(hē)茶(chá)。 I like drinking tea. 我(wǒ)不(bù)喜欢(xǐ huan)喝(hē)茶(chá)。I don’t like drinking tea. 你(nǐ)喜欢(xǐ huan)喝(hē)什么(shénme)茶(chá)? What kind of…

How’s the weather today?

Weather is always a good topic when comes to small talk. The basic structure of describing the weather is quite simple, see the following key sentences: Key Sentences Meaning 1.今(jīn)天(tiān)天(tiān)气(qì)怎(zěn)么(me)样(yàng)? How’s the weather today? 2. 今(jīn)天(tiān)是(shì)晴(qíng)天(tiān) It’s sunny today. 3. 今(jīn)天(tiān)下(xià)雨(yǔ)。 It’s rainy today. 4. 今(jīn)天(tiān)刮(guā)风(fēng)。 It’s windy today. 5. 今(jīn)天(tiān)有(yǒu)雾(wù)。 It’s foggy today. 6….

A smooth taxi ride

During my lessons, I’d always spend some time to teach the different choices of words and ascents in different Mandarin speaking regions: China(Beijing) vs. Singapore. One simple example is the taxi ride. Here’re the key sentences used in Singapore during a taxi ride: Key Sentences Meaning Uncle*, 去(qù) Orchard Road**。 Uncle, go to Orchard Road. 可(kě)以(yǐ)走(zǒu) ECP 吗(ma)? Can we…

Lego or Cucumber?

A friend of mine has lived in Beijing for 2 years, the other day he was joking about his Chinese and said he still couldn’t figure out mum(妈 mā) and horse(马 mǎ) after hours of classes. Most people think that by putting themselves in the language environment, they could pick up the language quickly and automatically. To…

Shall we count?

Counting is pretty straight forward in Chinese, as long as you know primary school mathematics. Basic building blocks for numbers (0~10): 零(líng) 一(yī) 二(èr) 三(sān) 四(sì) 五(wǔ) 六(liù) 七(qī) 八(bā) 九(jiǔ) 十(shí) Let’s do some simple maths: 十(shí)一(yī) –> 11=10+1 二(èr)十(shí) –> 20=2×10 三(sān) 十(shí) 五(wǔ) –> 35=3×10+5 Once you know this rule, you can count from 0 to 99.

Tone deaf ?

People all say that if you are tone deaf, there’s no way that you can master a new language, especially a super tonal one such as Chinese. Well, I’d say it takes more effort, but definitely possible– not all Chinese people have perfect pitch. Immerse yourself in the language, just like when you were a…

Learn at your own pace

Many of my students ask me whether there is a particular sequence of learning Chinese, yes there is, but it’s as simple as the following: Know the Romanised pronunciation system first — Hanyu Pinyin. (This will help you to speak before recognising the characters, also help you to learn new characters as time goes by.)…