Word of the Week

Two sentence mini-lessons, featuring useful, high frequency expressions.
  • January First?

    January First?

    Chinese people have a name for the first of January, but they don’t actually celebrate it. Their historic lunar calendar starts on a different day. The first of January is called Yuán dàn (元旦), but it has no real significance. The real Chinese New Year starts on the second new moon following the Winter Solstice. So it can occur anytime betwee...

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  • Winter Solstice

    Winter Solstice

    Winter Solstice is Dōngzhì (冬至) in Chinese. Dōngzhì festival has been celebrated for thousands of years. It is a time for friends and families to get together and mark the passing of time. Chinese people often make tāngyuán (湯圓), balls of glutinous rice with a sweet treat inside. They are often brightly colored and served in a bowl of sweet bro...

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  • Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving is just around the corner. The Chinese don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but they do have a word for it: 感恩节 (gǎn ēn jié). You can impress your Chinese friends with your mastery of their language. You can watch the video here, and be sure to come back and use the audio-infused tables below to practice the sentences and vocabulary. ...

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  • Xīgua Tián bù Tián?

    Xīgua Tián bù Tián?

    If you want to take a photo of a Chinese friend, first ask this question: “Xīgua tián bù tián?” (Is watermelon sweet?). They will always answer with a smile. Why? Three reasons. First: in order to pronounce “tián” you need to smile, just like saying “yī” (one). Second: everyone loves watermelon. Third: if ...

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  • Wǒ xiān zǒu le

    Wǒ xiān zǒu le

    A common expression used by Chinese people is 我先走了 (Wǒ xiān zǒu le). Literally translated it means “I am leaving first”. This typical way of saying good-bye is used when leaving a group earlier than others. It is kind of like “I gotta get going”. Listen to the exchange below by clicking on first column. To check out the vo...

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