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Chinese Dialects...Explained!

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Hello, everyone! Thank you for following our blog and your interest in Chinese language and culture. In an earlier article, I mentioned that in China there is a large variety of dialects方言(fāng yán). Today we dig deeper into the dialects of China, how many of them there actually are and also how different each one can be. The Chinese language has both spoken and written forms. Written Chinese has evolved in three stages, Classical Chinese古文(gǔ wén), Literary Chinese文言文(wén yán wén) and ...

Chinese Phrases for Department Store Shopping - In Beijing!

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Today we follow Peter on a shopping adventure in a department store in Beijing. Peter is studying in a Masters program for Chinese at Beijing Foreign Studies University. He arrived at Beijing last November with only winter clothes. Now it is May, and he needs to get new clothes for the summer. His Chinese friends recommended Xidan Department Store, 西单商场 (xī dān shāng chǎng), which is nationally well known with more than 70 years of history and an excellent reputation. Peter likes high ...

Mandarin Vowels Guide - Tips from a Mandarin Teacher

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Vowels are the most indispensible component of a syllable. Mandarin has three types of finals composed by three types of vowel: simple vowels, nasal vowels and compound vowels. This article will focus on finals, to examine English speakers’ difficulties and give tips to improve pronunciation. There are 35 finals in Mandarin: 6 simple vowels, 13 compound vowels and 16 nasal vowels. 1. Single vowels: o, e, ü Simple finals are composed by a single vowel. There are three particular ...

Mandarin Consonants

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Pronunciation is of vital importance especially in mandarin. Initials, finals, and tones are combined in fixed ways to produce a total of 1,600 possible distinct syllable sounds in Chinese (compare to 16,000 for English and 100 for Japanese). As long as you pronounce one syllable sound wrong, you can get a completely different word. This article will focus on initials, to examine English speakers’ difficulties and give tips to improve pronunciation. Mandarin initial sounds are composed by ...

Chinese Speaking Patterns: Ordering in a Restaurant

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Ever eaten with your friends at a Chinese restaurant? Then you may have seen the waiters and waitresses speak Mandarin to their Chinese customers. Though it may sound foreign to you now, this lesson will teach you how to use common restaurant phrases in Chinese and make you seem like a natural Chinese speaker to your friends and guests. Let’s begin our lesson by walking into the restaurant and approaching the counter with your party of five. In this situation you tell the person working ...

BUYING AND BARGAINING IN CHINESE - 讨价还价

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Bargaining is a rule in China, at least, at the many markets and back-street clothes stores. Bargaining is an art, and all Chinese people are born sellers. So if you are unfamiliar with this process, you can easily spend a lot of money and buy practically nothing, while knowing some necessary tips will help you to come back from shopping with a bunch of bags and a smile on your face. I still remember my frustration when I first went shopping in China. My friend and I decided to separate, ...

How to Address Someone in Chinese, with Cultural Explanations

Hills Learning 1 6784 Article rating: 4.2

APPELLATIONS IN CHINESE 称呼 ( cheng1hu0) Language is the carrier of culture. An example of this in Chinese is the appellation system, which reflects the relationship between speakers and the cultural connotation. Compared with the English system, the Chinese system is much more complex with more types and a wider scope of application. Interestingly in China it is quite uncommon to address each other simply by names. Perhaps it can be explained by the fact that China has experienced a ...

Learning Chinese: Greetings in Daily Life (打招呼 (da3 zhao1hu0)

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Greetings is a very important subject in almost any language study because it is among the most used expressions in a language, and they often allow us to start and end a conversation. Chinese, like all languages, has its own set of unique greetings which may be seemingly strange to learners of the language (this is particularly true if the two cultures are vastly different).  Let me introduce you to the most commonly-used Mandarin greetings, along with the corresponding pinyin ...

中国語の学習~ビギナーにとって必須のフレーズ

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新しく言語を学ぶことは大変なことです。新しいボキャブラリーや文法、発音という難関が待ち受けています。マンダリンの学習は、他の言語の学習と似ていますが、独特の難しさもあります。なぜなら、英語、ドイツ語、ロマンス語と違い、マンダリンの文字には四つの声調があるからです。実際、論理言語ですが、最初は難しく感じるでしょう。それでは、どこから始めたらよいのでしょうか?基本的なフレーズから始めるのがよいと思います。 「こんにちは」はとても大切な言葉です。会話を始める前に、「こんにちは」というと、フレンドリーな態度を示すことが出来ますし、また万人に通じる挨拶です。你好<Ni Hao>は、マンダリンで「こんにちは」という意味です。<nee how>と発音し、状況、年齢や地位に関わらず使うことが出来ます。マンダリンは四つの声調があるため、<Ni Hao>は第二声と第三声が用いられます。你好<Ni2 Hao3>と言ってから、話し始めると自然でしょう。また、我叫~<Wo3 Jiao4>は、「私の名前は~です。」という意味です。フランクという名前の場合は、我叫Frank<Wo Jiao ...

Learning Chinese - Necessary Phrases to Learn for any Beginner

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Learning any new language can seem daunting. New vocab, new grammar and new pronunciation are a challenge. Learning Mandarin Chinese is not unlike learning any language but there are some distinct difficulties. Unlike English or any Germanic or Romance language, Mandarin Chinese is written with characters and spoken with four tones. Though it is actually a very logical language, at first, it is difficult for native English speakers. So where do you start? A great place to begin is some basic ...

Learn Chinese NYC - The Chinese Pronunciation System (Pin Yin) - Initials

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Congratulations on choosing to learn Chinese Pinyin! Whether you're an advanced or a complete beginner, developing your pinyin skills is essential for any Chinese language learner. Once someone has perfected the pinyin system of sounds, they can basically read and communicate with any Chinese person. The only criteria is that the Chinese person needs to remember their pinyin! Debunking the Myths about Pinyin A lot of foreigners looking to learn Chinese see the pinyin system as developed ...

Why Businesses Should Learn Chinese

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The buzz language in New York City these days is Chinese. Whenever you speak with someone about new business opportunities China will usually enter into the conversation. But is Learning Chinese really worth it? In a bilingual world where Chinese people are moving to New York City, you would think just a trusted in house translator would suffice for companies doing business in China. This article will argue that at least learning the basics of Chinese can jump start your business and give ...

Learn Chinese NYC - Basics for Pronounciation and the Four Tones

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Congratulations on choosing to learn the new buzz language in New York City, Chinese. When learning Chinese it's important to first learn the pronunciation of the language. Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, with 4 tones that can change and distinguish the meaning of words. It's important to become familiar with the tones in the beginning, mastering the tones will take time and energy with a trained teacher. Don't worry though, Cantonese has 7 tones, and Vietnamese has 9 tones, so ...

Learn Chinese NYC - Where to Start and The Basics

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Congratulations on choosing to learn the most prominent Asian language for the new decade in 2010. Learning Chinese has become the new linguistic pursuit in schools throughout NYC. Individually when networking I've also come to find out that businessmen, government employees, parents concerned about their children's future, or just individuals interested in Asian language or culture have all at least discussed the possibility of learning Chinese. The possibilities with the language seem ...

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