Chinese Poem: 早发白帝城 (Zǎo fā bái dì chéng)

Here’s another Chinese poem I’ve recently memorised, named 早发白帝城 (Zǎo fā bái dì chéng) by 李白 (Lǐbái) :   朝辞白帝彩云间, 千里江陵一日还, 两岸猿声啼不住, 轻舟已过万重山. Zhāo cí bái dì cǎiyún jiān, qiānlǐ jiānglíng yí rì huán, Liǎng’àn yuán shēng tí bú zhù, qīngzhōu yǐguò wàn chóngshān.   Here’s my suggested translation, followed up with an explanation: Setting off early […]

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Chinese Nursery Ryhme: 小白兔 little white bunny

My daughter recently taught me this nursery rhyme. I really like it so I’m going to do a translation: 小白兔,白又白, 两只耳朵竖起来, 爱吃萝卜和青菜, 蹦蹦跳跳真可爱! Xiǎo bái tù, bái yòu bái, liǎng zhī ěrduǒ shù qǐlái, ài chī luóbo hé qīngcài, bèng bèngtiào tiào zhēn kě’ài! Unlike many of my previous poems I can’t really find translations […]

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Chinese Poem: 春曉(chūnxiǎo) Spring Dawn

In celebration of the first day of spring, here’s a beautiful Chinese poem called 春曉 chūnxiǎo (Spring Dawn) that comes to mind: 春眠不覺曉, 處處聞啼鳥, 夜來風雨聲, 花落知多少. Chūn mián bù jué xiǎo, chùchù wén tí niǎo, Yè lái fēngyǔ shēng, Huā luò zhī duōshǎo. There are various translations available online and many have been done by more formally […]

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Chinese Phrase: 一桶水不响, 半桶水晃荡

One of my personal favourite Chinese phrases that resonates deeply with me is 一桶水不响, 半桶水晃荡 yī tǒng shuǐ bù xiǎng, bàn tǒng shuǐ huàngdang. “A full bucket of water is not noisy, A half bucket of water sloshes.” — here’s a video explanation I made on my Youtube Channel    Explanation The phrase is a metaphor, it […]

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Chinese poem — 静夜思 (jìngyè sī) Nostalgia

One of the most famous, classical and beautiful poems in Chinese was written in the Tang dynasty by the poet Li Bai. Like many famous poems in Chinese this one has been translated into English by a number of people into a number of translations. However, like any aspiring Chinese student I too want to take […]

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Chinese poem — 悯农 (mǐn nóng)

One of the most famous and meaningful poems in Chinese is called 悯农 (mǐn nóng). Most young children in China, even from the age of three or four know this poem. It traces its origins to ancient Chinese so the language is not typical of modern Mandarin.   锄禾日当午, 汗滴禾下土, 谁知盘中餐, 粒粒皆辛苦! chú hé rì dāng wǔ, […]

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Verb – Noun (object) combinations in Chinese (动宾 Dòng bīn)

In Mandarin Chinese you will frequently encounter situations where verbs are not used alone but accompanied with a specific noun. In English this is called “collocation”, defined as a juxtaposition of two words close together more often than they would usually occur together. Introduction In many instances in Chinese, verbs and objects are put together […]

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The three “can” words in Chinese (会, 能, 可以)

In English, the word “can” has several senses, in Chinese some of those senses have actually been “mapped” into separate words. This article and video explain the three senses in Chinese and shows examples of how to use them correctly Introduction Something interesting about comparing various languages is that in some languages one word is […]

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“Yes” and “No” in Mandarin Chinese

It’s a simple question right? How do you say “yes” or “no” in Mandarin Chinese? Unfortunately sometimes simple questions have complex answers, and in this case something as simple as “yes” and “no” has a relatively intricate answer — that’s what makes it so interesting! In this article I attempt to explain that simply and intuitively. Let’s start with […]

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