How many Chinese characters do you need to know to achieve fluency in the language?
The simple, unabridged answer is…:
Even if you couldn’t read or write a single Chinese character but you could have a full conversation with …
How would you describe yourself?
It depends on the context, doesn’t it?
Are you filling out a social media profile? Meeting someone face-to-face for the first time? Writing a cover letter for a job application?
For Chinese language learners, writing …
Note: Chinese words in this article will be written in simplified characters, then traditional characters, then accompanied by the pinyin and meaning, e.g., 中国 / 中國 (zhōng guó) – China.
What do all these …
Beginner Chinese conversation scripts are the worst.
No, that’s not a typo.
Imagine you look up a scripted example dialogue in Mandarin and read through it.
You download PDFs with lists of words and phrases for Chinese conversations and practice …
Real-world Mandarin writing is a beautiful mess.
Like with any written language, there are various styles.
There are tons of fonts.
There’s unfathomably bad handwriting.
It’s a lot to deal with.
But learning the basics will set you up to …
“The characters are so complicated!”
“There are soooo many characters!”
“There’s no alphabet!”
These are three of the most common reasons people don’t want to read and write Chinese.
Here’s what those reasons would sound like if they were …
Navigating the seas of Chinese grammar isn’t easy.
That can often mean “not fun.”
It’s enough to drive you to an existential crisis.
Unfortunately, you can’t just ignore Mandarin grammar.
But we’re here to help.
There are a handful …
Some friends of mine recently organized a hike that ended up being a steep, arduous, bruising climb.
When they got to the top, they found a group of nicely dressed people, young and old, picnicking.
Turns out, if they had …
My uncle picked us up from the airport in Suva, Fiji, around 4 a.m. local time.
As we drove to his house, I leaned my head back and looked through the sunroof at the stars.
Being from California, I was …
In my second week of learning Chinese, my teacher taught us the phrase “你吃饭了吗” (nǐ chī fàn le ma).
This literally means, “Have you eaten?” but it’s often used the way “How are you?” is used in English.
If you travel in China, you’ll be given this style of directions. Give them one quick read:
Exit the apartment complex from the side gate.
Go to the right and walk to the Songyuan Road subway station.
Take the …