Learn Chinese Synonyms: “二” and “两”

January 26th, 2010 by sophiesong

Many students confuse about “二” and “两”, so today we talk about “二” and “两”.

The two words both stand for two, but they are different in usage.

1. “二” is used in ordinal number, decimal and fraction.

For example: 第二天 (the second day), 第二次 (the second time),第二名 (second place), 三分之二 (two-thirds), 一点二五 (1.25)

And “两” is mostly used before ordinary quantifiers.

Notice that “二” is widely used in traditional Chinese measurement.

二尺布 (2 feet long cloth), 二里地 (1 kilometer)

2. The digit “two” in the “个” (the first) or “十” (the second) position to the left of the decimal point is mostly pronounced as “二”, such as二十二, while in “千” (the fourth), “万” (the fifth) or “亿” (the ninth) position, is mostly pronounced “两”. When a whole is divided into two halves, we say in Chinese it is divided into “两半儿”.

3. “两” can also stand for “some” and “several”, but “二” can not.

“我还想多住两天” (I want to live a few more days.)

“我还想多玩两天” (I want to play a few more days.)

Learn Chinese idiom: 自相矛盾 Self-contradiction

January 18th, 2010 by sophiesong

The phrase comes from a story. Once upon a time there was a man of a state of Chu who had a spear and a shield for sale. In praising of his shield he said “my shield is so solid that nothing can cut it through.” He also praised his spear “my spear is so strong that it can pierce through anything.” Right now, a man came and asked “what will happen if your spear is used to pierce your shield?” He was unable to give an answer and escaped from the market as soon as possible.

It is impossible for the strongest shield to coexist with a spear that finds nothing impenetrable.

Learn Chinese Synonyms: “不” and “没”

January 4th, 2010 by sophiesong

Why we can’t say “昨天我不见到他? 他一年以前没会说汉语。”

Because “不” and “没” the two words, as adverbs, are both used for negative purpose. But they are different in the following point.

1. “不” is used to negate the nature or state of something, while 没 (有) means the ownership or existence of something.



2. “不” is used to negate a statement about the future, while 没 (有) about the past.

So we should say: 昨天我见到他?

3. “不” usually collocates with words like “会,可以,是,像,能” ect, to negate a hobby, possibility and willingness, but “没” has no usage like this.

So we should say: 他一年以前会说汉语。

4. “不” is used to negate non-action verbs as well as action verbs, but 没 (有) to negate action verbs only.



Learn Chinese Synonyms: “美丽” and “漂亮”

December 28th, 2009 by sophiesong

Chinese have so many synonyms. And synonyms are difficult to foreign students.

For example:

“美丽”, “漂亮”

1. As adjectives, the two words both indicate good-looking, but are different in usage. when a woman is referred to, both “美丽” and “漂亮” can be used, but when a man is referred to, only “漂亮” is used.


2. When a thing is referred to, “美丽” is mostly used for something abstract while “漂亮” for some thing concrete.

美丽的传说  美丽的心灵  美丽的幻想

我买了一件漂亮的衣服。 盖了一幢漂亮的大楼。

3. “漂亮” can also be used figuratively to indicate “brilliant” or  “excellent ” or “wonderful”.


4. “漂亮” can be used in germination like “漂漂亮亮” but “美丽” can not

5. “美丽”is mostly used in writings while “漂亮” in spoken language.

How to write Chinese characters-Stroke Sequence

December 22nd, 2009 by sophiesong

Chinese characters are written in a shape of square, therefore they are known as square-shaped characters consist of various strokes formed by different dots or lines as the basic components.

There are six basic strokes of Chinese characters. They are the horizontal strokes (heng 横), the vertical stroke (shu 竖), the left-falling stroke (pie撇), the right-falling stroke (na捺), the dot (dian 点) and the rising stroke (ti提). Other types of strokes are derived from the strokes mentioned above, and thus know as the derived strokes.

There is a particular sequence in which the strokes must be written. If it is followed, the writing can be smooth and fast.

A horizontal stroke is written before a vertical stroke.
十:一 十

The sweeping stroke to the left is written before the sweeping stroke to the right.
八: 丿 八
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History of Chinese charater and its categories

December 22nd, 2009 by sophiesong

A Chinese script of one from or another has been in existence for over 5,000 years. The origins of Chinese script are shrouded in mystery, and various legends exist to explain its creation. One such legends tells how Cang Jie (仓颉), a minister of the Emperor Huang Di (黄帝), observed the footprints of birds and animals. He noticed that each one was distinct and recognizable. Inspire by this, Cang Jie drew pictures of objects, simplifying them by reducing the number of lines. These were the first pictographs, called xiang xing (象形) by the Han lexicographer Xu shén (许慎).

Certain items could be represented very well by pictographs. For example: animals, plants, parts of the body and so on. We can see that over the time some of the characters tend to lose some of their resemblance from the original during the development.
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Teaching Chinese is my favorite job

December 2nd, 2009 by sophiesong

I am a mandarin teacher. I love this job, because teaching Chinese as a second language is a bridge that connects China and world. China is a country with 5,000 years history and magnificent culture. I love Chinese when I was a child and I determined to spread it to every corner of the world and let more people know about China, and let more people love Chinese. That is why I choose teaching Chinese as a second language as my major in the university.

From now on I have four–year experience in teaching foreign students Chinese. My students come from USA, Britain, Korea, Thailand, Australia, France and India. I try my best to help students with Chinese phonetics, Chinese characters, Chinese culture, HSK, oral Chinese and writing. I feel pride and exciting when students can understand Chinese and speak Chinese.

I try my best to make the class lively let the student feel comfortable and useful. I enjoy every class with my students. They vary in their ages and Chinese levels, but they all enjoy learning Chinese and they’ve made great progress so far. Now we are not only teachers and students we are friends too.

I am so happy that more and more people learn Chinese now, I will do my job to take my teaching to a higher level and I hope more and more people can enjoy Chinese learning with me.