Chinese Learning – Around the Web: 26th of June 2010

Another week has passed in the world of learning Chinese, and rather than bother to write something myself today, here are some decent articles and blog posts from around the web this week, go forth and read!

A couple of links from Sinoglot to start off this week, maintained by a a group of Chinese enthusiasts, Sinoglot covers all things thing Chinese language and culture related.

When “Chinese” Doesn’t Mean Mandarin

When you’re up to your eyeballs in Mandarin textbooks, it’s easy to forget that “Chinese” doesn’t necessarily mean “Mandarin”. There are many dialects of “Chinese”, to the extent that some are worthy of being classified as different languages:

Outside of China proper, in cities around the world, what’s the lingua franca for communities of the Chinese diaspora? Your first instinct will be to say “Pshaw! In this globalized day and age, it certainly is Mandarin, 普通話, 國語, one people, one language bla bla bla.” This may be true for many cosmopolitan places such as Singapore, New York, and Paris but there are still many places where different dialects are the standard.

Technical term translation

If you’ve done any translating whatsoever, or even read more complicated news stories and technical papers, then you’ll likely know this process all too well, but if you’re just starting out, or need a refresher on how to search for technical terms, read on…

Beware of Chinese grammar

If you haven’t read The (Y)east Also Rises yet, it’s a great blog tracking a linguist’s journey into learning Chinese. The latest post discusses about not becoming “lulled into a false sense of language mastery” over Chinese, covering some of the common pitfalls that a learner might encounter:

Assuming Chinese grammar is like English–doesn’t require a lot of elaboration.  This is a mistake made by beginning learners of any language.  This is the stage where learners wonder why they haven’t yet learned how to make plurals (Chinese doesn’t have them) or specify verb tenses (Chinese doesn’t have those either) or gender (nope, not obligatory anyway), or they insist on forcing these things into the language, since they are expressible.

Politics, Chinese Style.

Sinomatter is fast becoming a good resource for opinion and articles for learners of Chinese, this week covering as set of keywords to get you started in the world of politics. If you don’t know you 共產主義 from your 資本主義 then this is the blog post for you.

I thought I might share some vocab on another topic I’m particularly interested in, but often at loss for useful words for in Chinese: Politics. These words aren’t targeted at any specific political situation, merely to give you some useful words if and when a debate pops up.


Pinyin: jījìnfènzǐ /jījí fēnzǐ
Meaning: Activist


Pinyin: jìngxuǎn yùndòng
Meaning: (Election) Campaign


Pinyin: hòuxuǎnrén
Meaning: Candidate

We’re always on the lookout for great blogs for learning about Chinese language and culture, so if you have any decent links share it with us below:

2 responses to “Chinese Learning – Around the Web: 26th of June 2010

  1. Thanks very much for sharing – glad you liked that politics post!

    Writing these kind of posts helps me learn too, and helps to keep me motivated. Win-win.

  2. No problem, that is one of my motivations for keeping up Chinese Hacks. I see a lot of Chinese on posters, and adverts, and signs etc, and having the blog gives me an excuse to analyse the content and see how Chinese is actually used in the real world.

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