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General Chinese

eChineselearning provides a huge number of Chinese resources for Chinese language learners. The materials in this section are designed to teach Chinese to non-native Chinese learners of various skill levels. These basic Chinese language materials are edited by eChineselearning's professional teaching staff. And best of all, they are totally FREE! If you are interested in learning Chinese, the basic Chinese language resources in this section will be of a great use to you!

Today, we’ll teach you how to make Chinese friends! Or, at least the very first step: greetings. You’ll learn how to greet people in Mandarin Chinese, ask them how they are doing, and reply when they ask you. Sit back, listen, and you’ll be able to show off with a few sentences yourself in no ...

Many phrases in spoken Chinese take on completely new meanings when just one or two words are changed. Take the phrase we will learn today for instance: “大不了(dà bù liǎo).” You will find that this versatile phrase is used a lot in daily conversations. Let’s have a look!
1. “大不了(dà bù liǎo)” = At worst
“大不了(dà bù ...

In a previous lesson we learned how to address young Chinese women, so how about young Chinese men?
In general, depending on different situations and the age of the person speaking, there are four ways to address young Chinese men:
“帅哥(shuàigē)” literally means “handsome man.” This casual term is usually used to address peers in informal situations. ...

There is a saying in English that goes, “Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you.” In Chinese, this same phrase can be translated as “麻烦没有来找你, 你就永远不要去找麻烦(Máfan méiyǒu lái zhǎo nǐ, nǐ jiù yóngyuǎn búyào qù zhǎo máfan),” or, in brief, “不要自找麻烦(búyào zì zhǎo máfan).” The moral here is, don’t seek out trouble, and in Chinese ...

Do you know what Chinese people say when trying to get everyone to smile for a photo? While Western people usually say “cheese” when taking photos, in China, people usually shout out “茄子(qiézi)!” which means “eggplant.”
Why Western people usually say “cheese” when taking photos? Here’s the story.
The idea of saying words that force your mouth ...

A number of Chinese words are related to certain colors. We have introduced a few of these in the past, like “眼红(yǎnhóng),” “黑心(hēixīn),” and “绿帽子(lǜmàozi).”  Today we will take a look at another common one: “白眼(báiyǎn).” This literally means “the whites of your eyes,” something that shows when rolling your eyes. If you show the ...

Previously, we introduced two other Chinese words related to the character “霸(bà)”: “学霸(xuébà)” and “麦霸(màibà).” In this issue we will learn about another one, which is “霸王餐(bàwángcān).”
Literally, “霸(bà)” means “to dominate, lord over, tyrannize over or rule by force” and “王(wáng)” means “king.” Together, “霸王(bàwáng)” refers to “an overlord or an overbearing ruler” and “餐(cān)” ...

Compliments play an important role in maintaining good social relationships. After all, it never hurts to make others feel good about themselves! Let’s learn how to pay your Chinese friends compliments in Mandarin.
First, let’s have a look at the most common sentence structure for compliments.
Nǐ + hǎo/zhēn + adj.
你 +  好/真     + adj ...

The term “铁公鸡(tiěgōngjī)” comes from the Chinese idiom “铁公鸡,一毛不拔(tiěgōngjī, yìmáo bùbá) You can’t pluck a feather from an iron rooster.” Here, “铁(tiě)” means “iron” and “公鸡(gōngjī)” means “rooster,” but what the term “铁公鸡(tiěgōngjī)” is really used to refer to is a mean, stingy person who won’t spare a cent.
Tā shì gè tiěgōngjī, xiǎngyào tā ...

The Chinese word “火(huǒ)” literally means fire, but the word also has a few other meanings:
First, to describe something/somebody that is very popular.
For instance, “最近这个节目很火(Zuìjìn zhège jiémù hěnhuǒ) This show is really popular these days.”

Second, to refer to getting angry.
For example, “不要为了一点小事发火(Búyào wèile yìdiǎn xiǎoshì fāhuǒ) Don’t get angry over such a trivial matter.”


For Chinese learners, one major difficulty you may face during your Chinese studies is the pronunciation of the four tones. These include the 1st tone which is level, the 2nd tone which rises, the 3rd tone which falls then rises, and the 4th tone which falls sharply. Getting the right tone is quite important since ...

Asking What Something Is:
Zhè shì shénme?
这    是  什么?
What is this?

Beginner Level/初级(chūjí)

Joey: Zuìjìn tiānqì búcuò, zánmen qù páshān ba!
Joey: 最近   天气   不错, 咱们    去    爬山   吧!
Joey: The weather is fine recently. Let’s go hiking!
Amy: Kěshì wǒ juéde tài rè le, háishì gǎitiān qù ba!
Amy: 可是  我  觉得 太 热 了,还是   改天  去  吧!
Amy: I think it’s too hot. Let’s change to a different day!
改天(gǎitiān): v change to a different day

Intermediate ...

Nǐhǎo, hěn gāoxìng rènshi nǐ.
你好, 很   高兴       认识  你。
Hello, nice to meet you.

Here, “高兴(gāoxìng)” means “happy” and “认识(rènshi)” is “ to meet”. This sentence is always used when first meeting new friends or acquaintances.
Lǐ Yuè: Nǐhǎo, wǒ shì Lǐ Yuè.
李月: 你好,我   是  李月。
Li Yue: Hello, I am Li Yue.

Wáng Dōng: Nǐhǎo, wǒ shì Wáng ...

Zhāng Qíng: Xiàzhōu jiùyào qīmòkǎoshì le!
张晴:           下周      就要    期末考试  了!
Zhang Qing: We will have the final exam next week!

Lǐ Chéng: Shìya. Nǐ fùxí de zěnmeyàng le?
李成:     是呀。你复习得 怎么样    了?
Li Cheng: Yeah. How’s your preparation going?

Zhāng Qíng: Hái méi kāishǐ fùxí.
张晴:          还   没   开始  复习。
Zhang Qing: I haven’t begun to prepare yet.

Lǐ Chéng: Wǒ ...

In last week’s test, we learned about the idiom “喝西北风(hē xīběifēng)”, which means getting nothing to eat or having to live on air. Now in this issue we will get to know about two other kinds of “风(fēng)”: “东风(dōngfēng)” and “耳边风(ěrbiānfēng).”

“东风(dōngfēng)” comes from the idiom “万事俱备, 只欠东风(wànshì jù bèi, zhǐ qiàn dōngfēng),” which means that ...

We have previously introduced Sichuan’s “麻辣(málà)” and Hunan’s “香辣(xiānglà)” flavors. In this last issue of our three-part sizzling-hot tour of China we will learn about one more unique kind of “spiciness” — the “酸辣(suānlà) sour spiciness” of “贵州(guìzhōu).” The special climate of Guizhou Province is, in a word, “天无三日晴(tiān wú sānrì qíng),” meaning ...

In China, “辣椒(làjiāo) chili” has rich cultural connotations. The fire-red chilies, connected with feelings of joy and celebration, symbolize colorful and thriving lives. What’s more, the character “交(jiāo) make friends or associate with someone” is a homophone of “椒(jiāo)”, suggesting that making good friends with others can help you make a good fortune, get a ...

Mention of the word “spicy” often reminds people of hot peppers, which turn red when ripening. In China, red color is the color of auspiciousness and prosperity, symbolizing good luck, happiness, and a rich life.
Most people from southern China love spicy food, especially those from Sichuan, Hunan, and Guizhou provinces. These places frequently have wet ...

Yesterday, May 6, 2015, was a special day called 立夏(Lì xià),” the seventh solar term of the 24 Chinese Solar Terms This is the day that marks the beginning of the hot summer in China. These days,
the maximum air temperatures of most cities in south China exceed 30°C (86°F)! Can you feel the “热 (rè) heat”?
Stroke order:

In Chinese, “热 (rè)” can be used to describe burning hot weather, but this term is also often used to describe certain popular and trending activities, such as “汉语热 (hànyǔrè) Mandarin fever,” “健身热 (jiànshēnrè) fitness fad,” “股票热 (gǔpiàorè) ...

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