Mandarin Learning Tips Blog

6 funny Youtube channels to improve your Chinese listening skills

Pierre Cerchiaro | January 16, 2019

Watching videos is one of the best ways to improve your Mandarin listening skills when you are not living in China. By watching videos, you can not only learn new words and listen to different accents, but also know more about Chinese culture. The advantage of these channels is that they all have Chinese subtitles (and actually most of them also have English ones), so you can not only listen but also try to read at the same time, and write down what you think is interesting to learn. Thus, your reading and writing skills will improve as well. 

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7 Complicated Chinese characters local people struggle to write

Pierre Cerchiaro | January 07, 2019

The total number of characters present in the Chinese language differs according to the sources, although the majority tend towards an estimate between 50,000 and 60,000 (the Dictionary of Chinese Variant Form, published by the Taiwanese Ministry of Education, has 106,230 characters, but with many variations). The number may seem frightening, but there is no need to know such a quantity of characters in everyday life, a few thousand are amply sufficient to be able to read 99% of the writings.

But among all these characters still in use, one invariably attracts attention, due to its complexity and the number of its features. The award goes to the "biáng" character (which is a type of noodles) with 57 lines! Its complexity is such that it is impossible to write it from a keyboard, neither to find it in the dictionary. Yet, you can see this character in a lot of local restaurants in the province of Shaanxi. It can also be used as a punishment in some schools in China, such as Chengdu in Sichuan province.

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5 sentences to bargain in Chinese like a boss

Pierre Cerchiaro | December 25, 2018

 Negotiating is an art in China that not everyone is able to master, and it is even more challenging when Chinese is not your native language. Even though nowadays most Chinese people purchase online, there are still some famous places in China where the only way to purchase something at an affordable price is to haggle hard. These places, also known as “fake markets” (because of their counterfeit products), are becoming more and more popular among tourists because it has become a fascinating activity for those who want to immerse themselves in the Chinese culture. Some places well-known for their bargaining experience are the Silk Market in Beijing, the AP Plaza in Shanghai, the Garment Wholesale Center in Guangzhou, and the Luohu Commercial Center in Shenzhen.

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7 Chinese songs that reached 100 million views on Youtube

Pierre Cerchiaro | November 22, 2018

Recently everyone is talking about KPOP, but Chinese songs are often underestimated. Listed below are seven Chinese songs that have reached 100 million views on Youtube, and that you should definitely add on your playlist if you haven’t yet.

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What is the difference between the HSK test & TOCFL test?

Pierre Cerchiaro | November 12, 2018

The HSK and TOCFL exams are the two official Chinese language exams that may be required when applying for a job, university, or even scholarships, in China or Taiwan. It can also help you in your working visa application (in China) and can attract employers all around the world since these certifications can give you more credibility regarding your Mandarin language skills.

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Why Chinese Grammar Sounds Like Yoda Speak

Sara Lynn Hua | May 30, 2018

Yoda is a beloved character from the Star Wars franchise that despite being a Jedi Master, has not quite mastered English. One of the defining characteristics of Yoda is the peculiar order of his words when he speaks. 

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