Author Archive | Em Casalena

7 Handy Tools That Give You the Pinyin Subtitles You Want

If you’re learning Mandarin, you might also be interested in Chinese culture. And if you’re interested in Chinese culture, you might have gotten into it through being captivated by Mandarin-language movies and television shows. It’s how we all get sucked …

Learning Mandarin Vocab? Check out These 5 Chinese Vocabulary Builders

Vocabulary is the foundation of any language. After all, you’re reading this right now, aren’t you? Congratulations! You’re using your English vocabulary knowledge at this very moment. We can’t deny that understanding grammar, context and sentence structure is crucial in …

4 Chinese Grammar Checkers All Mandarin Learners Need to Bookmark

Ah, Chinese grammar. The bane of every Mandarin language learner’s existence. We know, English isn’t without its strange grammatical structures. But Chinese grammar is a whole ‘nother ball game. Chinese grammar is both extremely similar to and ridiculously different …

Look It up! 5 Handy Chinese Pinyin Dictionary Apps

Remember when you were a bright-eyed, novice Chinese learner and first looked at 拼音 (pīn yīn) — Chinese romanization? After the initial shock and wondering “What is that?” you probably thought about giving up. Pinyin does this …

Need a Little Variety? Watch These 5 Chinese Variety Shows

Bless the day that Chinese variety shows first came to be. How else were we going to learn Mandarin while feeding our need for instant gratification? Jokes aside, Chinese entertainment is a solid tool for improving your listening, reading and …

7 Entertaining Websites to Read Chinese Manhua Online

Comic book nerds unite! Love reading comic books? Love studying Chinese? There’s a way to combine your two passions: Read Chinese manhua online! Chinese 漫画 (màn huà) — manhua are Mandarin-language comic books that are heavily …

Spread the News! Here Are 6 Chinese News Apps for Android

Your Twitter feed. The morning paper on your doorstep. Televisions in the doctor’s office waiting room. The news is everywhere you look! It isn’t surprising—the news is important. People want to know what’s happening in the world, …

7 Apps for Enjoying and Learning from Chinese Music

Music is in the air. And it’s here to teach you Chinese! We may not generally think of listening to music as a tangible and effective way to learn a new language. But while supplementing music-listening with a course or …

Tapping Tips: 4 Steps to Nailing Chinese Typing Practice

Every Chinese learner wants to connect with native speakers. So at some point, we download Weibo, make an account, customize a cute profile and then… We’re left clueless about how to type in Chinese. Or maybe a learner …

5 Chinese Cartoon TV Shows for Learners of All Ages

You hear a lot about how notoriously difficult Chinese is to learn. Is it actually that rough? The simple answer is “no,” but at the same time, no language is easy as pie to learn. It takes a lot …

Hanzi Dictionaries: 9 Smart Options for Mandarin Learners

If you go to a Chinese-speaking country, you’ll see them everywhere. Those characters. You know the ones. One big aspect of Chinese that leaves potential learners (and those who have been learning Mandarin for quite some time) stumped is 汉字 …

10 Magical Chinese Web Series for Learning Mandarin

Non-English web series are becoming hugely popular around the world. This is true even in primarily English-speaking countries. Netflix has quite the variety of foreign films and series, and Asian media streaming websites like Crunchyroll now have millions of members …

Learn Chinese with WeChat: All About This Killer App

In a world where there’s an app for everything… …one brave piece of tech manages to be an app for everything. 微信 (wēi xìn), or “WeChat,” is a Chinese app that packs many features into the user experience, …

Aha! 13 Online Tools for a Revelatory Chinese Learning Plan

There’s a certain formula to “formal” learning. You go to class, listen to the lecture, go home. You practice reading, writing, speaking and listening for an hour or so. Rinse and repeat. Some Chinese learners might find this a bit …

Next Level! 6 Top Advanced Chinese Lesson Resources Online

Congratulations! You’ve really leveled up. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably feeling a little dizzy from the altitude. And as an advanced learner, you may not know what to do next with your Chinese learning. Chinese is often …

7 Great Kindle Books to Learn Chinese That Won’t Bore You

Love reading but bored with your current options? Don’t worry. Things are about to get more exciting. Because we’re about to get you hooked on some engaging e-book titles for learning and reading Mandarin. Whether we enjoy actual “books” or …

4 Friendly Chinese Chatbots for Mandarin Learning Convos

Chatbots have been a trend for as long as this old writer can recall. Remember in the early 2000s when everyone was using Cleverbot to kill some time? Ever tried thinking of the most obscure character or concept in existence …

How to Stream Chinese TV Online: 5 Rad Resources

Streaming television is all the rage now, isn’t it? Who even has a cable account anymore? With websites like Netflix and Hulu around, people can tune in to their favorite shows with nothing more than a laptop and a WiFi …

The Business-ready Guide: How to Write an Email in Chinese

Remember when they said the ol’ email would be obsolete soon? Remember when everyone thought social media would eat the original communication service of the internet and render it useless? Yeah, right. If you’re an online freelancer or someone who …

How to Talk to (or About) Family and Friends in Chinese

Friends. Food. Feelings. Identities. Weather. Family. Maybe you’re someone who believes labels are too restrictive. That’s totally understandable and okay. Lots of labels can be unnecessary and limiting! But on a practical level, language irrevocably revolves around labeling just about …

Looking for Chinese Channels on Roku? 6 to Check Out

Roku has become a real game-changer. It lets you customize your TV options in a way traditional cable hasn’t. It’s also a massively useful way to learn Mandarin. For those who need to be brought into the loop, Roku …

7 Awesome Mandarin Movies You Can Marathon on Chinese New Year

Think your last ugly sweater party was fun? It’s got nothing on Chinese New Year. This massive annual celebration has everything you need for an awesome party: huge family feasts, parades, music, elaborate decorations and tons of fireworks, …

10 Must-watch Documentaries for Chinese Language Learners

Want to change the world? Make a documentary. Just look at the impact it can have! After Morgan Spurlock’s expose on the dangers of fast food in “Super Size Me,” McDonald’s overhauled their menu to offer healthier options. Kirby Dick’s …

We’re Not Kidding! 4 Kid-friendly Ways to Learn Chinese

How often do you help your child with their homework? Do you find yourself struggling sometimes? Do they seem to figure things out before you do? Isn’t it great being shown up by children? Don’t feel too bad about it. …

7 Dream Jobs Requiring Chinese Language Skills

Having your dream job isn’t just a flighty wish. It can become an absolute reality. Do you want to travel abroad? Do you want to find a job where you can use the skills you’ve worked so hard to hone—speaking …

Learn Mandarin Chinese Step by Step: The Newbie’s Road Map

Are you beginning your journey through Mandarin Chinese? It feels pretty overwhelming, right? There’s the whole tone thing and the scary spoken speed of native speakers (say that ten times fast!). Then you’ve got the wildly unfamiliar terrain of 汉字 …

6 Useful Chinese Gestures for the Chinese Learner

What’s the most insulting gesture you can think of? If you’re from the States, we’re probably both thinking of the same thing. In every culture, people communicate with body language and not just to express romantic interest. Body language …

How to Build a Totally Free Chinese E-book Library

The Library of Congress. The British Library. The Library of Alexandria. …And your e-reader. Want your Chinese learning library to compete with those famously massive ones? You can download hundreds of Chinese e-books straight to your favorite device without spending …

Do Yourself a Favor and Learn These 9 Funny Chinese Phrases

Comedy means a lot to people. The average adult laughs at least four times a day at something. And that something usually involves communication and, ultimately, language. But what’s funny in English may not be quite as funny in …

Learn Chinese on Twitter: 10 Fun Feeds to Follow

Time to get #fluent. Just turn your binge-scrolling time on Twitter into Chinese learning time. We’ve got 10 super interesting, smart and fun Twitter feeds that’ll get you there! By following these accounts, you’ll get everything from daily vocabulary lessons…

33 Basic, Everyday Chinese Phrases That You Need to Know

Have you found yourself staring blankly at a Chinese dictionary full of characters? Thinking that they make about as much sense as Egyptian hieroglyphics? Since you’ve started your journey in learning Mandarin Chinese, this has probably happened once or twice.…

How to Speak Chinese Fluently: A Foolproof Method

Chinese people can’t tell that I’m not Chinese. You might think that if I speak Mandarin Chinese fluently, it must be because I have a natural talent for languages. But if you had been in my first year Chinese language …