Wide Words

What is a word, exactly? With English, a word is ended with a press of a space bar, but in Chinese, there's nothing quite as distinct. Ideas which are one word in English can be anywhere between one and seven syllables in Chinese, and even the simplest, first sentence you may learn in Chinese throws … Continue reading Wide Words

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Air Sewage

Does that count as mist? Or maybe it's fog? Or - hang on - maybe this isn't one of the weather emojis. This is '空气污染' - or 'air sewage', one of the biggest problems facing rapidly industrialising modern China. At first glance, it may appear that it's just the problem of big smelly factories, but … Continue reading Air Sewage

Common Speech

Chinese resources all around the Internet very soon tell you that the term 'Chinese' just won't cut it. Words that you might recognise like 'Mandarin' and 'simplified' are mixed in with terrifying ones like 'Hokkien' - so what's a learner to do? It probably won't come as a surprise that the Chinese language isn't that homogenous. You can … Continue reading Common Speech

Nu Hoo

Unlike words, characters can often reveal hidden insights about the society and views of thousands of years ago, when roughly the same characters were used. The character '女' (nü3), meaning 'female', seems harmless at first glance, such as in ' 女儿' (daughter), ' 女高音' (soprano) and 女朋友 (girlfriend), but when looked at in closer detail, … Continue reading Nu Hoo