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Taking A Taxi In China - Vocab and Key Phrases

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While riding from point A to point B in a taxi, you will spend roughly 20% of the time actually driving. For the rest of the time in a cab, you’ll spend, 15% beeping the horn, 40% changing lanes, 15% driving on the sidewalk, and 10% driving in the wrong lane. This is just one of the many jokes about Chinese taxi drivers. But with more and more cars on the road and stricter traffic laws, the majority of taxi drivers today try to drive following local laws. So please sit back in your next ...

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 ...

Mandarin or Cantonese? - Neither

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Whenever you find out a person's ethnic to be Chinese, the instant question that arises is "Mandarin or Cantonese?" "Neither, I'm Fujianese." There are so many different languages in China that it can actually sum up to hundreds. Having different languages also means having different family cultures. I, myself, have grown up very differently from other friends in Chinatown (even though we grow up in the same neighborhood). After Chinese New Year, me and my friends always had a ...

The Revered Chinese Calendar

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大家好!(I feel great to be here again!) This is the second article on the Chinese New Year series. In the last article, we learned how to greet Chinese during the New Year and how to appreciate the Spring Couplets. Today we will look at the Chinese calendar, which is more in tune with the natural rhythm of the universe and the earth compared to the regular calendar. We will mainly talk about the Chinese numerals and the Solar terms, the 24 points in the Chinese calendar that match particular ...

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 ...

Chinese New Years Festival - The Beginning and the End

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Hello everyone! Welcome back to our series on the Chinese New Year Festival. Last time, we looked at the Chinese lunar calendar and how the solar terms play a significant role in the lives of Chinese people. This time we continue our journey about the longest holiday in China. We will dive into the plenty of interesting food and all sorts of celebrations and ceremonies for this holiday season. We will have a feast! 腊八节/là bā jié/. Laba Festival. Preparations for New Year festivities ...

Chinese New Year Explained! Traditions, Greetings, Etc.

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Hello, everyone! Welcome back from a wonderful Christmas and New Year holiday. In America and many other countries, the most important holiday season once a year has come to an end and it is time to work to make 2015's resolutions come true. But across the Pacific Ocean, people in China haven’t officially crossed over into the new year. January 1st in China is called 元旦/yuán dàn/ and is celebrated by taking a 3-day national holiday; but the beginning of the Chinese New Year is the Spring ...

Christmas in China—When East Meets West

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Merry Christmas everybody! 圣诞快乐/shèng dàn kuài lè/! Thank you for your interest in learning Chinese and your support in 2014. I will do my very best to introduce you to more interesting things about China and more useful Chinese learning techniques in the coming year. The US now is filled with a festive atmosphere. Do you wonder how Chinese people, on the other side of the globe, spend Christmas day? Do they celebrate this religious and cultural western holiday? The answer is yes and ...

Top 5 Chinese Scary Movies

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Top 5 Chinese Horror Movies With Halloween fast approaching, we thought we'd take a shot at naming the top 5 scariest Chinese movies of all time. After discussing with both our teachers and students, here's a general list that we came up with for you to watch this coming Halloween. Just in case your favorite isn't here, please either post a comment on this article or you can visit our Facebook Page this week to place your vote on our choices. NUMBER 5 - The Eye  I, II, III - (見鬼) A ...

Chronicles of Nanyang - Back in China

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This article series is from a Hills Learning student, Loraine, who took our intensive course over the summer of 2012. She writes about living in China and her experiences learning about the Chinese language and culture. Dear Friends, After spending the summer in the U.S. visiting family and friends, I’ve returned to China to work for a second year at Nanyang Normal University.  It’s been wonderful to get back to all of the things that made my first year here so special—the students, my ...

Speak Chinese Like a Native! Five Popular Chinese Idioms/Slangs

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Popular Chinese Idioms Everyone realizes that learning idioms of a foreign language is an interesting way to sound “native-like”. For English as second language learners, UrbanDictionary is an awesome place to check out interesting popular English idioms. However, it is a pity that there is no such a counterpart the Chinese language as of yet. This article picks out five of the Top 10 popular Chinese idioms of 2012, selected by an authoritative Chinese language magazine, “Yao Wen Jue ...

Chronicles of Nanyang - The Spring Semester

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This article series is from a Hills Learning student, Loraine, who took our intensive course over the summer of 2012. She writes about living in China and her experiences learning about the Chinese language and culture. Dear Friends, So much has happened since my last update, both for me personally and in the world.  My heart goes out to everyone who was affected by the bombing at the Boston Marathon.  It’s hard to be outside of the U.S. at times like this, and I thank all of you who ...

Chronicles of Nanyang - Lantern Festival and Reflections

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This article series is from a Hills Learning student, Loraine, who took our intensive course over the summer of 2012. She writes about living in China and her experiences learning about the Chinese language and culture.   Dear Friends, Ni hao from Nanyang.  Spring has been slow in coming to China, here one day and gone the next.  We are all still wearing our coats, both indoors and out. In my last letter, I had just come back from my winter travels and Chinese new year.  But ...

Chronicles from Nanyang - Happy Chinese New Year

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This article series is from a Hills Learning student, Loraine, who took our intensive course over the summer of 2012. She writes about living in China and her experiences learning about the Chinese language and culture. Dear Friends, I hope the year 2013 is off to a great start.  Here in China, we’re getting ready for yet another new year, this one according to the lunar calendar.  The coming year will be the year of the snake, and it will begin on February 10th.  What most Chinese ...

All about Chinese New Year—Traditions and Food

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Would you like to enjoy a New Year celebration that is fifteen-day-long and with different celebrations on each day? Chinese Spring Festival is the answer. Lunar calendar Unlike most of the western countries, Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) is not on January 1st .  Since Chinese people use the lunar calendar in addition to western Gregorian calendar, the actual date of Spring festival varies every year based on the lunar cycle. However it always falls on January or February. The ...

Chengyu - Chinese Idioms - Cultural Facets

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Chinese Idioms 活到老,学到老  (成语) An idiom is a figure of speech that isn’t taken literally. For example, in English we have idioms such as “don’t let the cat out of the bag,” and “to have a cake and eat it too”, when we are not really talking about letting cats out of bags, or eating a piece of cake. There are numerous proverbs, sayings and idioms in every language. But why do I want to devote a whole article to Chinese idioms if it is such a normal linguistic phenomenon? Because, in ...

Chinese Lunar New Year and Holidays

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The three most important holidays in the Chinese calendar are the Lunar New Year, the Dragon Boat Festival, and the Moon (Mid-Autumn) Festival. The Lantern Festival is the last day of the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls on the 15th day of the Chinese Lunar New Year. The main theme of the holidays is for people to get together with family. The Chinese holidays are all based on the lunar calendar so they are on different dates as compared to the western calendar. Lunar New Year In ...

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