I saw an interesting Chinese forward called 小学生造句 (“elementary school students make sentences”). Obviously, the sentences produced are not exactly what the teacher was looking for. Here are some of the more amusing ones (some understanding of Chinese grammar may be required):
Yes, not often are such bold words warranted when discussing online resources for grammar, but in this particular case, it’s pretty much required.
I’ve spent a nice chunk of my career on Chinese grammar, whether it’s explaining grammar structures in ChinesePod podcasts, working on the Chinese Grammar Wiki, or helping individual AllSet Learning clients. And two things that have become clearer and clearer to me are:
There are certain things that all learners struggle with at different stages of acquisition of Mandarin Chinese (this is consistent with the SLA concept of “order of acquisition”)
Most learners have no idea what to expect…
One of my teachers at AllSet Learning is doing his masters thesis on online resources for learning Chinese, and naturally, he was intrigued by what we’ve built so far at the Chinese Grammar Wiki. So he decided to research the topic and help us out at the same time by doing a learner questionnaire.
Sinosplice readers, we could really use your help! It should only take a few minutes. The questions are easy.
- If you’ve never used the Chinese …
I recently wrote about my personal experience with the particle 嘛 (not 吗), and how a dictionary entry helped me get a feel for how the particle is used. That dictionary entry, again, is from the Oxford Concise English-Chinese Chinese-English Dictionary (blog post here):
嘛: ma (助) 1 [used at the end of a sentence to show what precedes it is obvious]: 这样做是不对～！ Of course it was acting improperly! 孩子总是孩子～！ Children are children! 2 [used within…
I remember quite distinctly the way I learned the sentence-final particle 嘛. I had only been studying Chinese for a little over a year, and thus was quite familiar with the yes/no question particle 吗, but not this new 嘛, which seemed a bit more complex. I might have studied it before and just ignored it, but once I was on the streets of Hangzhou and hearing it all the time, I knew it was time to …
It’s hard to believe I’ve been working on this project for a whole year, and also thinking about it, in some form or another, ever since founding AllSet Learning. Today, I’m quite happy to finally release the AllSet Learning Grammar Wiki.
What is it? Well, in a nutshell, it’s a mini-Wikipedia devoted entirely to Chinese grammar. Think comprehensive, think interlinked, think referenced. I’ve felt for a while that Chinese grammar has needed its own champion online, and …
This topic came up in an AllSet Learning client’s lessons recently, and I’m certainly a proponent of 啤酒 education, so I thought I’d share this useful info on Sinosplice:
Units of Beer
- 1 drop = 一滴
- 1 glass/cup = 一杯
- 1 can = 一听
- 1 bottle = 一瓶
- 1 6-pack = 半打
- 1 12-pack = 一打 (same as “a dozen”)
- 1 case = 一箱 (quantity may vary)
- 1 keg = 一桶
- Remember that for all uses of 一 …
Learners of Chinese confront the “de triple threat” of Chinese structural particles pretty early on. You see, there are three different characters to write what sounds exactly the same to the ear. The three characters are 的, 得, and 地, each pronounced “de” (neutral tone) when serving as a structural particle.
If you’re just trying to improve your listening and speaking, you don’t really need to worry about this issue. If you’re working on your writing, however, you’re going …
One of our teachers at AllSet Learning introduced a hilarious Chinese article to me on the grammatical usage of the phrase 他妈的 (often abbreviated as “TMD”). The most appropriate translation of 他妈的 in English is usually “fucking” (in the emphatic sense), so if that offends you, stop reading now.
The origin of this article is unclear to me, but it dates back to at least 2009 (here’s a copy). Anyway, I found the article both funny and instructional, so …