Author Archive | Daniel Lal

The Half-hour Guide to Learning Basic Mandarin Writing

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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 Mandarin Learner’s Guide to (All 214!) Chinese Radicals

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“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 …

How Many Chinese Characters Do I Need to Know? HSK-inspired Vocab Goals

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The simple, unabridged answer:

Zero.

Even if you couldn’t read or write a single Chinese character but could still have a full conversation with a native Chinese speaker, wouldn’t you be fluent?

Okay, sure…

But let’s get real.

Whether …

Learning Chinese Grammar? Own It with These YouTube Videos!

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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 …

How to Learn Chinese by Reading It, Even If You “Can’t”

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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 …

Simple Chinese Words: Vocab to Tune Your Learning

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A man sat down at a public piano and played an entire Beethoven piece from memory.

It sounded beautiful, so I approached him and asked what other songs he could play.

“That’s the only one I know,” he replied.

“Even …

Don’t Panic: Your Guide to the Chinese Pronunciation Galaxy

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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 …