Fun Learning Chinese

Join me and my Chinese tutor as we explore everyday Chinese vocabulary in ways that make sense to an adult learner.

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Join me and my Chinese tutor as we explore everyday Chinese vocabulary in ways that make sense to an adult learner.
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-07-28 01:44
last episode published
2019-07-27 12:52
publication frequency
28.05 days
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Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Chinese Lesson Blurb: Can You Politely Say 閉嘴 Shut Your Mouth

If you see something on your friend’s teeth and want to save him embarrassment, you might want to politely suggest he shut his mouth. You might think to say in a hushed voice that only he can hear: 閉嘴 ㄅㄧˋ ㄗㄨㄟˇ bì zuǐ shut, close + mouth, lips You might...
Laura Blodgett author

Chinese Lesson Blurb: 太扯了 Too Far Fetched

It happens all the time. The story stretches beyond believability. That is when you want to be able to use this phrase: 太扯了! (ㄊㄞˋ)(ㄔㄜˇ)(ㄌㄜ˙) (tài))(chě)(le.) (too, very, extremely)(to tear, to pull)(emphasis) (That is) too far fetched! You will notice ...
Laura Blodgett author

God and the Snail 上帝和蝸牛 in Chinese

A young Taiwanese friend recently shared this Chinese parable with me. It all starts with being asked to take a snail for a walk… but first, some useful vocabulary: Now, what can you learn from a snail? 上帝給我一個任務,叫我牽一隻蝸牛去散步。 (上帝)(給)(我)(一個)(任務), (ㄕㄤˋ ㄉㄧˋ...
Laura Blodgett author

The Bluetooth Speaker Speaks Chinese 藍牙音響說中文

It was time for a very specific Chinese lesson. Here is some important vocabulary involved: We are not sure what happened. The speaker doesn’t come with any specific directions. There is nothing online. Still, it is a very good speaker and so we just s...
Laura Blodgett author

Politicians Should Meditate More 政客們應該多多冥想 in Chinese

Taxes are cross cultural Taxes are one of those things that prove the major things in life are cross-cultural. We talked about love not long ago, so we will just swing to the other extreme! And with taxes comes some basics about politics, because the t...
Laura Blodgett author

Chinese Lesson Blurb: Using 卻 to Spotlight Contradiction

Politicians are masters of contradiction Politicians have a way of making rules for everyone else and exempting themselves. So it is no wonder that the common use of 卻 ㄑㄩㄝˋ (què) to indicate contrast came up in writing my latest blog on taxes (coming s...
Laura Blodgett author

Fishing in the Swamp 在沼澤裡釣魚 in Chinese

I will go almost anywhere with my husband I have told my husband I will go with him anywhere … except the Amazon jungle. Our vacation in Belize has confirmed to me that this is a good decision on my part! Here is some vocabulary that I use to talk abou...
Laura Blodgett author

My Girl Has Already Been Taken 我女兒已經名花有主 in Chinese

This is a love story Relationships make the world go round. Most people still like to use some sort of cultural signal to let others know they are ‘in a relationship.’ It is both helpful and fun. Another of my daughters is now “taken.” Before I tell yo...
Laura Blodgett author

Squirrels Racing on My Roof 松鼠在屋頂上賽跑 in Chinese

Squirrels are one kind of wild animal that is not having any trouble adapting to human civilization. Personally, I am conflicted about squirrels. On one hand they are cute. On the other hand, they are just invasive rodents with bushy tails. My Chinese ...
Laura Blodgett author

Christmas is Coming Soon 聖誕節快到了 in Chinese

Just a couple of elves to help me? I like Christmas time, but there can be complications. It can take some tricky scheduling to get all the fun things done AND attend to daily responsibilities! Or it can be a festive excuse to put aside some of the mun...
Laura Blodgett author

The Squirrels Hold a Meeting 松鼠開會 in Chinese

How to get your Chinese tutor to tell you a good story As I was driving my Chinese tutor out to lunch a few weeks ago, a squirrel ran by. She proceeded to tell me about a Secret Society of the Squirrels meeting she had accidentally witnessed. Okay, I m...
Laura Blodgett author

The Math of Losing Weight 減肥瘦身法的數學 in Chinese

Weighty matters Both weight loss and math can seem mysterious at times. After discussing it all with my Chinese tutor, who grew up in Taiwan, I have to think that the subjects of weight loss and math are cross-cultural in many important ways. In today’...
Laura Blodgett author

From Hamburger to Chocolate 從漢堡到巧克力 in Chinese

Who’s hungry now!? My Chinese tutor is very concerned about me being hungry. No matter what time of day I go for a lesson, no matter if I tell her I have just eaten, and even if I tell her I’m bringing my own lunch, she prepares some food for me. So on...
Laura Blodgett author

Happiness Keeps You Sweet 幸福讓你保有甜蜜 in Chinese

5 Keys to Life This 5 sentence guide to life is full of not only encouragement, but also a lot of useful Chinese vocabulary. Don’t worry, it will be translated below.   Here is some specific vocabulary that may help to hear as distinct words in order t...
Laura Blodgett author

Change Languages on Facebook 在臉書上變更語言 in Chinese

Reading Facebook in Chinese to get back to English You can probably figure out how to change your Facebook profile to Chinese, but changing it back to your native language could be a challenge. I thought it would be fun to visit my profile in Chinese o...
Laura Blodgett author

If You Forget to Set Your Alarm 如果你忘了設定鬧鐘 in Chinese

It all begins in the morning… One thing leads to another, but you do have choices along the way! Here is a humorous look at what might happen if you forget to set your alarm. But first, some vocabulary to tune your mind and ear to Chinese: 設定          ...
Laura Blodgett author

Alaskan Grizzly Bears and Salmon Bones 阿拉斯加灰熊和鬼魚骨頭 in Chinese

My husband is an adventurer and he likes to fish. Seriously, I’m glad that he has the chance to go off into the wild and I know he is experienced and smart about being out there. Still, I like to express my concerns. He makes me laugh with his response...
Laura Blodgett author

It Depends on the Mosquitoes Outside 那要看外面是否有蚊子 in Chinese

Mosquitoes seem to be everywhere During the summer, you almost certainly need to say some things about mosquitoes! Where are the mosquitoes? What should you wear? And, very importantly, should you slap a mosquito when it lands on another person??!! Her...
Laura Blodgett author

Raising Goat Kids 飼養小山羊 in Chinese

If you don’t think goat kids are cute, you haven’t met one. One of the keys to practicing a foreign language is to have things of interest to talk about. Baby goats (kids) are very interesting to me right now, since I just brought two home. Whether you...
Laura Blodgett author

Things That Will Happen Soon “快”發生的事情 in Chinese

I first learned about the character 快 as meaning fast. Another common use of it is to mean soon. My tutor wrote some sentences to help me practice using it that way. First, here is some vocabulary it may be helpful to get more familiar with:   冰箱      ...
Laura Blodgett author

Can’t Keep Up 跟不上 in Chinese

One of the meanings of 跟 (see pronunciation and definitions below) has to do with ‘following closely.’ When you add 不 and 上 after it, it means you can’t keep up. The sequence of tones (first tone ⇾ second tone ⇾ fourth tone) make it particularly easy t...
Laura Blodgett author

Experiences That Make Me Feel Very Afraid 那些我想起來就覺得驚心動快的經驗 in Chinese

那些我想起來就覺得驚心動魄的經驗 (那些)(我)(想起來)(就)(覺得)(驚心動魄)(的)(經驗) (ㄋㄚˋ ㄒㄧㄝ)(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄒㄧㄤˇ ㄑㄧˇ ㄌㄞˊ)(ㄐㄧㄡˋ)(ㄐㄩㄝˊ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄐㄧㄥ ㄒㄧㄣ ㄉㄨㄥˋ ㄆㄛˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄐㄧㄥ ㄧㄢˋ) (nà xiē)(wǒ)(xiǎng qǐ lái)(jiù)(jué de.)(jīng xīn dòng pò)(de.)(jīng yàn) (those)(I)(come to mind)(at once)(to feel)(extremel...
Laura Blodgett author

What is Happiness 什麼是幸福?

Every language has particular ways you can play with it. The character of the Chinese language makes it easy and normal to make up words. The lack of filler words makes it easier to construct sayings in short patterns. My tutor did this recently when s...
Laura Blodgett author

What is Your Life Philosophy 你的人生哲學是什麼?

My Chinese tutor and I got a bit philosophical last week. It began when we were discussing vocabulary that had to do with having enough time. (Look for this in a future post). She taught me the idiom in the second sentence, then asked me this question:...
Laura Blodgett author

More Ways to Use 打 :「打」有更多用法

More on why 打 can be such a fun character Recently, my tutor went over many ways to use 打 ㄉㄚˇ (dǎ). We also discussed the parts of the character 打 and how they relate to its meaning. Then, for the next lesson I had she had quite a few more ways she wan...
Laura Blodgett author

The Many Ways to Use 打 :「打」有很多用法

Finding the hand in the action The character 打 has the particle in it that is derived from the character 手. Here are their respective pronunciations, along with basic translations: 打 ㄉㄚˇ (dǎ) to beat, to strike, to hit, to break, to type 手 ㄕㄡˇ (shǒu) h...
Laura Blodgett author

Chinese Lesson Blurb: 孔子曰 Confucius says

  When my Chinese tutor was a young girl in school, she remembers being taught about Confucius. When Confucius was quoted, they were always supposed to use the ancient way of saying “says” which is 曰 ㄩㄝ (yuē). (If you aren’t familiar with the Chinese p...
Laura Blodgett author

Available 有空,沒事,有錢,可以用,有賣,空缺 in Chinese

Sometimes English words seem vague to native Chinese speakers. Most of you have learned that there is no direct translation for “yes” and “no” in Chinese. Answers to questions are given by using the verbs involved in the question. The word “available” ...
Laura Blodgett author

Chinese Lesson Blurb: 沒關係就是有關係

  In English, there is a common saying “Methinks thou dost protest too much.” It is spoken in mock old English because it is a modification of a Shakespeare quote from Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” The modification makes it applic...
Laura Blodgett author

Translating the Chinese of Deshun Wang the 80 Year Old Model

Who is Deshun Wang? Deshun (sometimes spelled Dushun) Wang is an 80 year old Chinese actor. You can listen to his short bio on YouTube here. (disregard the Arabic, it was the only video I could find to embed here.) You can follow along with the transcr...
Laura Blodgett author

Chinese Almost Counting Words 大致上算是計數詞彙

Do you know what an “almost counting word” is? Do you realize how much everyone uses them in everyday conversation? We all use such words that approximate or hint at counting, but these words are not precise or accurate. Many almost counting words are ...
Laura Blodgett author

Figure It Out 算出來,想出來 … in Chinese

  The English phrase figure it out means to solve, to understand, to reason out This is consistent with the definitions of the word figure, which have to do with both to form or shape and mathematical calculations. This basic concept is still present i...
Laura Blodgett author

The Ups and Downs of 一 Yī in Chinese

The Chinese word and character  一 (yī) is one of the first that people learn, and for good reason. My dictionary devotes about 6 pages of words made with it. It not only means “one,” but is used as the equivalent for the English articles “a” and “an.” ...
Laura Blodgett author

The Many Faces of Chinese Names

Why do Chinese people choose English names? Every Chinese person I have met has had an English name. Whether they were living in Taiwan, living in the United States, or on a cruise ship, each one of them has introduced themselves by their English name....
Laura Blodgett author

Chinese Lesson Blurb: One Handed Counting Idioms

Idioms in any language are phrases that are not well explained by literal translation. I have been introduced to some counting idioms as my Chinese tutor and I work on translating my (English version) children’s book A Million Rocks. The book is about ...
Laura Blodgett author

Are You Coming or Going 進來或出去 in Chinese

People are always coming and going. Suppose someone asks you:   你知道我的兒子在哪裡? (你)(知道)(我的)(兒子)(在)(哪裡) (ㄋㄧˇ) (ㄓ ㄉㄠˋ) (ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄦˊ ㄗ˙) (ㄗㄞˋ) (ㄋㄚˇ ㄌㄧˇ) (nǐ)(zhī dào)(wǒ de.)(ér zi.)(zài)(nǎ lǐ) (you)(to know)(my)(son)(at)(where) Do you know where my son is?...
Laura Blodgett author

Chinese Lesson Blurb: Key Chains and Donuts

A fun word association that came up in my Chinese lesson today is going to help me remember how to say “key chain,” or more accurately “key ring,” in Chinese. 鑰匙圈 means “key chain.” Let me break it down. 鑰匙    ㄧㄠˋ ㄕ˙ (yào shi.) means “key” 圈        ㄑㄩㄢ...
Laura Blodgett author

Are You Finished 你完成了嗎 in Chinese

The other day I accidentally told my Chinese tutor that I was perfect.   我說「我完全了!」 (我)(說)「(我)(完全)(了)!」 (ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄕㄨㄛ) [(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄨㄢˊ ㄑㄨㄢˊ) (ㄌㄜ˙)] (wǒ)(shuō) [(wǒ)(wán quán)(le.)!] (I)(to say, to speak) [(I)(complete, whole, totally, entirely)(intensifies pre...
Laura Blodgett author

You Want to Do More of Something 你想要多做某件事情 in Chinese

你想要多做某件事情 (你)(想要)(多)(做)(某件)(事情) (ㄋㄧˇ) (ㄒㄧㄤˇ ㄧㄠˋ) (ㄉㄨㄛ) (ㄗㄨㄛˋ) (ㄇㄡˇ ㄐㄧㄢˋ) (ㄕˋ ㄑㄧㄥˊ) (nǐ)(xiǎng yào)(duō)(zuò)(mǒu jiàn)(shì qíng) (you)(think to want)(more)(to do)(some + MW for affair)(affair, matter, business, thing) You want to do more of something S...
Laura Blodgett author

得 is a pò yīn zì 是一個破音字

破音字 ㄆㄛˋ ㄧㄣ ㄗˋ are kind of like Chinese homonyms. In English, homonyms are words that sound the same, but are spelled differently (look different) and have different meanings. Examples: here and hear. Are you here? I can’t hear you! The translation of 破...
Laura Blodgett author

Just Want 只要, Just Think 只想, Just Have 只有, and Just Am 只是 in Chinese

Recently, my Chinese tutor decided to help me understand the possibilities and nuances for using the character 只 ㄓˇ (zhǐ) in combination with some other common verbs. Like many things in language learning, the best way to get a better grasp of usage is...
Laura Blodgett author

Understanding the words he 他, she 她, and it 牠 or 它 in Chinese

Understanding the Chinese pronouns that are translated to he, she, or it requires knowing a couple of things. First of all, the pronouns that mean he, she, or it in Chinese all sound the same, but have different characters. 他 ㄊㄚ (tā)  “he” 她 ㄊㄚ (tā)  “...
Laura Blodgett author

What Color is Your Crayon 你的蠟筆是什麼顏色 in Chinese

你的蠟筆是什麼顏色 (你的)(蠟筆)(是)(什麼)(顏色) (ㄋㄧˇ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄌㄚˋ ㄅㄧˇ) (ㄕˋ) (ㄕㄣˊ ㄇㄜ˙) (ㄧㄢˊ ㄙㄜˋ) (nǐ de.)(là bǐ)(shì)(shén me.)(yán sè) (your)(wax + pen, pencil, or brush = crayon)(to be/is)(what)(color) What color is your crayon?   The basic colors in Chinese are fairly st...
Laura Blodgett author

When You Are Lost 當你迷路的時候 in Chinese

當你迷路的時候 (當)(你)(迷路)[(的)(時候)] (ㄉㄤ) (ㄋㄧˇ) (ㄇㄧˊ ㄌㄨˋ) [(ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄕˊ ㄏㄡˋ)] (dāng)(nǐ)(mí lù)[(de.)(sh́í hòu)] (just at)(you)(to get lost)[(adjective marker)(time, when, moment, juncture)] When you are/get lost   我常常很容易地就迷路了。 (我)(常常)(很)[(容易)(地)](就)❶(迷路)(了) (ㄨㄛˇ) ...
Laura Blodgett author

What Mood Are You In 你今天的心情怎麼樣 in Chinese

Like it or not, there are stereotypes and bantering between men and women of all cultures. Sometimes it can be quite entertaining, like in some of the sentences that my tutor taught me recently as sort of a twist to Valentine’s Day. First, some vocabul...
Laura Blodgett author

Understanding the i’s in Pinyin

The use of the letter “i” in pinyin can be confusing. Pinyin is the use of the ABC’s, such as is used in English, to symbolize sounds in the Chinese language. Sometimes the pinyin sounds are fairly similar to the English sounds, and sometimes they are ...
Laura Blodgett author

When the Chicken Tries to Talk with the Duck 雞同鴨講 -a Chinese Idiom

  當我跟中文老師聊天關於我在墨西哥度假說不同語言的經驗時, (當)(我)(跟)(中文)(老師)(聊天)(關於)… (ㄉㄤ) (ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄍㄣ) (ㄓㄨㄥ ㄨㄣˊ) (ㄌㄠˇ ㄕ) (ㄌㄧㄠˊ ㄊㄧㄢ) (ㄍㄨㄢ ㄩˊ) (dāng)(wǒ)(gēn)(zhōng wén)(lǎo shī)(liáo tiān)(guān yú) (just at)(I)(with)(Chinese language)(teacher)(chat)(about) …..(我)(在)(墨西哥)(度假)(的)(經驗)...
Laura Blodgett author

Driving in the Snow 在雪地上開車 in Chinese

在雪地上開車 (在)(雪)(地)(上)(開車) (ㄗㄞˋ) (ㄒㄩㄝˇ) (ㄉㄧˋ) (ㄕㄤˋ) (ㄎㄞ ㄔㄜ) (zai4) (xue3) (di4) (shang4) (kai1 che1) (at, on) (snow) (ground) (on) (drive car) Driving in the snow 在雪地上開車很難。 (在)(雪)(地)(上)(開車)(很)(難) (ㄗㄞˋ) (ㄒㄩㄝˇ) (ㄉㄧˋ) (ㄕㄤˋ) (ㄎㄞ ㄔㄜ)(ㄏㄣˇ) (ㄋㄢˊ) (zai4) (xue3) (...
Laura Blodgett author

Preparing for Thanksgiving 準備過感恩節 in Chinese

準備過感恩節 (準備)(過)(感恩節) (ㄓㄨㄣˇ ㄅㄟˋ) (ㄍㄨㄛˋ) (ㄍㄢˇ ㄣ ㄐㄧㄝˊ) (zhun3 bei4) (guo4) (gan3 en1 jie2) (to prepare) (to celebrate) (Thanksgiving) Preparing for Thanksgiving❶   上週因為要過感恩節,我們不斷地忙著。 (上)(週)(因為)(要)(過)(感恩節),(我們)[(不)(斷)](地)(忙)(著) (ㄕㄤˋ) (ㄓㄡ) (ㄧㄣ ㄨㄟˋ) (ㄧㄠˋ) (ㄍㄨ...
Laura Blodgett author

An Interview with My Chinese Tutor

Transcript: Me: Today, I am going to interview my Chinese tutor, who I know by the name of              Vesta. (turning to Vesta) But what is your Chinese name? Vesta: 黃顗篟             ㄏㄨㄤˊ ㄧˇ ㄑㄧㄢˋ            (huang2 yi3 qian4) [you may […]
Laura Blodgett author