Word of the Week

Two sentence mini-lessons, featuring useful, high frequency expressions.
  • Lost a Sock

    Lost a Sock

    Have you ever lost something in the laundromat? Most people have, but we seldom notice until we get home. Here is a quick Mandarin lesson, just in case it happens to you. Interesting Grammar Pattern “Zhǎo bù dào” means “to search without success” In English we have two words: “search” means to look for something...

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  • Unipiper


    If you live in Portland, sooner or later you are likely to encounter the “Unipiper”. This post will help you explain this guy to your Chinese friends. Also, the post has a bonus part 2 for more advanced students. The tables below are wired for audio. Click on the first column, in any row, to hear the pronunciation. Conversation PinyinCh...

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  • Rè Shuǐ

    Rè Shuǐ

    There are many reasons why Chinese people believe that drinking hot water (热水, rèshuǐ) is good for you. From a health perspective it is believed to enhance your vital energy (正气, zhèng qì… or qì). They believe that when you drink cold water you are exhausting your yang (阳, yáng) because you are wasting it on warming your core. Some...

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  • Páshān


    The literal translation of 爬山 (páshān) is “mountain climbing”, but, in common usage, it refers hiking in a primitive natural area. Check out the simple dialog below. Grammar notes: Unlike English, Chinese sentences do not use tense, instead they use “aspect markers”. Which are fairly simple, but take some getting used to. ...

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  • Spring Festival

    Spring Festival

    Chinese people follow two calendars. They use the Solar (Gregorian) calendar for daily life, and the Lunar calendar for festivals and holidays. The sun and the moon are not in synch, which is why Spring festival never falls on the same date twice in a row. This year it is on Feb 5. Spring festival actually lasts for 15 days, from the new moon to the ful...

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