ChineseClass101.com Blog
Learn Chinese with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Archive for the 'Learn Chinese' Category

The Lunar New Year: Chinese New Year Celebration

As opposed to the Gregorian New Year, the Chinese celebrate the Lunar New Year. This involves an array of Chinese New Year celebrations which are unique to the Chinese culture. By learning more about the Chinese New Year, you’re not only giving yourself a foothold in learning the language, but you’re showing respect for the country.

Learn more about Chinese New Year traditions, along with other Chinese New Year facts, with ChineseClass101.com!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

1. What is Chinese New Year’s?

The Chinese New Year is considered the most important festival in China. The last night of the lunar year is called 除夕 (chúxī), which means New Year’s Eve, and is usually celebrated within the family. On some occasions you may also hear the phrase 小除夕(xiǎo Chúxī)meaning a “small New Year’s eve,” and it refers to an evening that people usually spend with different family members and friends.

These two eves are celebrated with different family members or friends. The very beginning of the new lunar year is called 大年初一 (Dànián chūyī) which means “the first day of the year.” The first full moon, which takes place during the first month on the fifteenth day, is when the Lantern Festival or 元宵节 (Yuánxiāojié) is held, and between the Spring Festival and the Lantern Festival, every day has different customs and practices.

2. When is the Chinese New Year?

Countdown to New Year

The Gregorian date of this holiday varies each year based on the Chinese lunar calendar. For your convenience, here’s a list of the Chinese New Year’s dates for the next ten years.

  • 2019: February 5
  • 2020: January 25
  • 2021: February 12
  • 2022: February 1
  • 2023: January 22
  • 2024: February 10
  • 2025: January 29
  • 2026: February 17
  • 2027: February 6
  • 2028: January 26

3. How is it Celebrated?

Lion Dance

Before New Year’s Eve, many things must be taken care of properly. First and foremost, the whole family should be involved in 扫房 (sǎo fáng), which means “spring cleaning.” The Chinese, as well as many other people, regard the new year as a new beginning. Thus, it’s important to sweep and cleanse the house of everything that happened the past year for a better beginning.

Once the rooms have been cleaned, people attach spring couplets written on red paper to doors and windows to create a fiery sea that’s very joyful. Red is the color Chinese people like to use the most in their big events to wish for good omens.

On New Year’s Eve, many Chinese people will turn on their television set to watch a five-hour-long program that is colloquially called the Spring Night or 春节晚会 (Chūn Jié wǎnhuì). Not only does the Spring Night show have songs, dances, and magic, it also features crosstalk performances, skits, and other typical Chinese performances. Nearly half the people in China usually watch this program.

What children look forward to the most is, of course, receiving New Year’s money, called 红包 (hóngbāo). This literally means “red packets,” because their elders will normally put money into red envelopes and give them out as presents.

However, for young people, the Spring Festival is also a stressful festival. At the dinner table they will often be asked questions by their nosy elders, who ask frustrating questions like “Are you dating someone?”, “Which company do you work at?”, and “How much do you earn in a year?”

4. Additional Information

1- Superstitions about Luck

During the Spring Festival, you are not supposed to say anything unlucky. For example, when a pair of chopsticks drops to the floor while eating Chinese New Year food, you cannot say, 筷子掉了 (kuàizi diàole), which means “oh, they fell.” People have a superstition that saying this phrase may cause the good luck of the new year to also “fall” away.

Instead, you can say 筷落 (kuài luò), which means the same thing but sounds similar to “be happy” in Chinese .

2- Chinese New Year Animals

You may be familiar with the Chinese New Year animals, or the Chinese zodiac. There are twelve animal zodiacs, each one associated with a year as part of a twelve-year cycle. Each new year is the year of one of these animals. For instance, the 2019 Chinese New Year will be the year of the Pig.

By looking at the year you were born, you can determine which Chinese zodiac represents you. This can be a fun activity for learning more about your personality.

5. Must-know Vocab

The Flower Market

In order to fully understand the Chinese New Year celebrations, there’s some vocab you should know. Here’s a list of the most important words.

  • 烟花 (yānhuā) — firework
  • 舞狮 (wǔshī) — lion dance
  • 庆祝 (qìngzhù) — celebration
  • 倒计时 (dào jìshí) — countdown
  • 对联 (duìlián) — couplet
  • 花市 (huāshì) — flowermarket
  • 财神 (Cái Shén) — God of Wealth
  • 年宵 (niánxiāo) — Lunar New Year Fair
  • 拜年 (bàinián) — pay someone a visit during the Chinese New Year
  • 红包 (hóngbāo) — the red envelope
  • 团圆饭 (tuányuán fàn) — reunion dinner
  • 年糕 (niángāo) — rice cake
  • 萝卜糕 (luóbo gāo) — turnip cake
  • 春节 (Chūn Jié) — Lunar New Year

If you want to hear these vocabulary words said aloud, be sure to check out our Chinese New Year vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find an audio with each word’s pronunciation.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it! The Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, traditions, and even its date for the next ten years. We hope you enjoyed learning about this significant Chinese holiday and that you’re to take on Chinese New Year celebrations yourself!

What do you think about the Chinese New Year traditions? How do you celebrate the New Year in your home country? Let us know in the comments!

To learn even more about China’s culture and traditions, visit us at ChineseClass101.com. We offer an array insightful blog posts, vocabulary lists on various topics, and even an online community where you can discuss lessons with fellow Chinese learners. By downloading our MyTeacher app, you can even have access to a personal teacher if you prefer a one-on-one learning experience.

We wish you the best in learning Chinese, and hope you have a happy Chinese New Year!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

Language Learning Tips: How to Avoid Awkward Silences

Avoid Awkward Silences

Yes, even beginners can quickly learn conversational Chinese well enough to carry on real conversations with native speakers. Of course, beginners won’t be able to carry a conversation the same way they could in their native language. But, just knowing a few tips like which questions to ask to keep a conversation going are all you need to speak and interact with real native speakers! But before we get to specific suggestions, let’s first take a closer look at how having real Chinese conversations is so vital to your mastery of the language.

Learning to Carry a Conversation is Vital to Mastery of Any Language

Communicating with other people is the very point of language and conversation is almost second nature in our native tongue. For beginners or anyone learning a new language, conversations aren’t easy at all and even simple Chinese greetings can be intimidating and awkward.

However, there are 3 vital reasons why you should learn conversational Chinese as quickly as possible:

  • Avoid Awkward Silences: Nothing kills a conversation faster than long periods of awkward silence, so you need practice and specific strategies to avoid them.
  • Improve the Flow of Conversation to Make a Better Impression: When you know what to say to keep a conversation going, communication becomes much easier and you make a better impression on your listener.
  • Master the Language Faster: Nothing will help you learn to speak Chinese faster and truly master the language than having real conversations with native speakers. Conversations quickly expose you to slang, cultural expressions, and vocabulary that force you to absorb and assimilate information faster than any educational setting—and that’s a great thing!

But how can you possibly have real conversations with real Chinese people if you are just starting out?

3 Conversation Strategies for Beginners

Conversation

1. Ask Questions to Keep a Conversation Going

For beginners and even more advanced speakers, the key is to learn to ask questions to keep a conversation going. Of course, they can’t be just random questions or else you may confuse the listener. But, by memorizing a few key questions and the appropriate time to use them, you can easily carry a conversation with minimal vocabulary or experience. And remember, the more Chinese conversations you have, the quicker you will learn and master the language!

2. Learn Core Vocabulary Terms as Quickly as Possible

You don’t need to memorize 10,000’s of words to learn conversational Chinese. In fact, with just a couple hundred Chinese words you could have a very basic Chinese conversation. And by learning maybe 1,000-2,000 words, you could carry a conversation with a native speaker about current events, ordering in restaurants, and even getting directions.

3. Study Videos or Audio Lessons that You Can Play and Replay Again and Again

If you want to know how to carry a conversation in Chinese, then you need exposure to native speakers—and the more the better. Ideally, studying video or audio lessons is ideal because they provide contextualized learning in your native language and you can play them again and again until mastery.

ChineseClass101 Makes it Easier and More Convenient Than Ever to Learn Conversational Chinese

Learning Chinese

For more than 10 years, ChineseClass101 has been helping students learn to speak Chinese by creating the world’s most advanced online language learning system. Here are just a few of the specific features that will help you learn conversational Chinese fast using our proven system:

  • The Largest Collection of HD Video & Audio Lessons from Real Chinese Instructors: ChineseClass101 instructors have created hundreds of video and audio lessons that you can play again and again. And the best part is: They don’t just teach you Chinese vocabulary and grammar, they are designed to help you learn to speak Chinese and teach you practical everyday topics like shopping, ordering, etc!
  • Pronunciation Tools: Use this feature to record and compare yourself with native speakers to quickly improve your pronunciation and fluency!
  • 2000 Common Chinese Words: Also known as our Core List, these 2,000 words are all you need to learn to speak fluently and carry a conversation with a native speaker!

In all, more than 20 advanced learning tools help you quickly build vocabulary and learn how to carry a conversation with native speakers—starting with your very first lesson.

Conclusion

Although it may seem intimidating for a beginner, the truth is that it is very easy to learn conversational Chinese. By learning a few core vocabulary terms and which questions to ask to keep a conversation going, just a little practice and exposure to real Chinese conversations or lessons is all it really takes. ChineseClass101 has created the world’s largest online collection of video and audio lessons by real instructors plus loads of advanced tools to help you learn to speak Chinese and carry a conversation quickly.

Act now and we’ll also include a list of the most commonly used questions to keep a conversation going so you can literally get started immediately!

How to Transform Your Daily Commute Into Learning a Language

Learn a language during your commute!

Today, classrooms are no longer the only or even best place to learn a new language like Chinese. More and more people are finding that they can easily learn a language just about anywhere they have a few minutes of spare time, including their daily commute to work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends over 50 minutes a day commuting to and from work, or over 300 hours a year.

Rethinking Your Daily Commute to Work

But rather than simply sitting in traffic and wasting the time, you can instead use your daily commute to literally learn Chinese in just a few short months! ChineseClass101 has developed specialized learning tools that you can use on your commute to work (and home again) to master the language in your spare time. Keep reading to learn how to get your free audiobook to use on your next commute so you can see for yourself how easy it is to transform “dead time” into realizing your dream of learning a new language!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

But before we look at how to transform your commute home into a mini-classroom, let’s take a closer look at 4 reasons why traditional classroom settings just aren’t the best option for most people in today’s fast-paced world.

  • Difficulty Getting to and From Class
  • Learning on Someone Else’s Schedule
  • Very Expensive and May Cost $1,000’s to Complete
  • Can Take Years to Finally Complete Classes and Learn the Language

The simple truth is that traditional classroom instruction is simply not a viable option for most people in today’s very fast-paced, time-starved world. Now let’s examine how you can learn a language faster, more easily, and at far less expense than traditional classes—all during your commute to work and back home again!

Bus

3 Reasons Your Daily Commute Can Help You Master a Language

1. The Average Commute Time is More than 300 Hours Per Year

Between the commute to work and getting back home again, over 6 hours a week is completely wasted and not helping you reach any goals or objectives. But thanks to online language learning platforms with audiobooks and other resources that you can access during your commute, you can easily transform wasted time into tangible progress towards learning a new language. With over 300 hours available annually, your daily commute could provide you with enough time to literally master a new language each and every year!

2. Increase Your Earning Potential While Commuting to Work

How would you like to transform all those spare commuting hours each week into more money for a new car, house, or even a dream vacation? According to research, someone making $30,000 per year can boost their annual income by $600 or more per year by learning a second language. Added up over the course of a lifetime, you can boost your total earnings by $70,000 or more while achieving your dream of learning a new language during your daily commute!

How? From work-at-home translation jobs to working overseas, there are many ways to leverage your second language into more money in your bank account! So instead of wasting your precious time, you can make your commute more productive and profitable and the more languages you learn, the higher your income potential.

3. Repetition is Key to Mastering a New Language

Not sure if it’s practical to learn another language while commuting to and from work each day? Well not only is it possible—learning in your car on the way to and from work each day can actually help you learn and master Chinese or any language much faster! The simple truth is that repetition is absolutely vital to truly internalizing and mastering any language. So, if you listen to audiobooks or even audio lessons on your commute to work and then repeat the same lesson on your commute home, the information is more likely to be “locked-in” to your long-term memory!

Learning

5 Ways ChineseClass101 Makes It Easy to Learn a Language On Your Commute

ChineseClass101 has been helping people just like yourself learn and master Chinese in the comfort of their home, during their daily commute, or any place they have a few minutes of spare time. Here are five features provided by ChineseClass101 that make it easy to learn a new language while commuting to and from work:

1. The Largest Collection of Audio Lessons on Planet by Native Speaking Instructors
Every single week, ChineseClass101 creates new audio lessons by native speaking instructors. All lessons are short, to the point, and guaranteed to improve your mastery of Chinese.

2. Word of the Day
Simply exposing yourself to new information and vocabulary terms helps increase your fluency and mastery of Chinese. So every single day, ChineseClass101 adds a new Word of the Day for you to learn and memorize during your commute.

3. Daily Dose Mini-Lessons
Have a short commute to work but still want to make progress towards learning and mastering Chinese? Not a problem! Our Daily Dose Mini-Lessons are 1-minute or less and designed to improve your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

4. All Content Available on a Convenient Mobile App
You don’t need a PC or tablet to learn Chinese during your daily commute. At ChineseClass101, all of our lessons, tools, and resources are available 24/7 via our Mobile App. That means you can access all of our audio lessons and other tools during your commute to work or any time you have a few spare moments!

5. Audiobooks and Other Supplemental Resources
In addition to the world’s largest online collection of HD audio lessons, ChineseClass101 has also created several audiobooks to enhance your understanding and make it more convenient than ever to learn a language during your commute!

Conclusion

The average commute time of most Americans is over 300 hours each year and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn and master a new language. In fact, you can use the “dead time” during your daily commute to learn a new language and potentially boost your lifetime earnings by up to $70,000 or more! Whatever your motivation, ChineseClass101 has the tools and resources necessary to help you learn a new language each year during your commute to and from work. Act now and we’ll even provide you with a free audiobook to try out on your next commute!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

How to Greet in Chinese - A Good Place to Start Learning Chinese!

How to Say Hello in Chinese

China has always been known for its long-cultivated history and culture. It’s an old country that has built its own characteristics over time. Just like every other country, Chinese etiquette has absorbed the very heart of Chinese culture. By learning how to greet people in Chinese, you’ll be getting a good start in your study of the Chinese language while also becoming a bit more familiar with Chinese culture!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

Greetings are always one of the first things someone learns when studying a new language. They’re the key to ensuring the people you talk to have a good impression of you right from the beginning. A proper Chinese greeting can really open up the gate to a fuller, desired conversation.

If you’re a beginner in learning Chinese, the very first question for you to ask is “How do you say ‘hello’ in Chinese?” There are different Chinese greetings for a number of occasions, so now let’s help you grasp the gist of greeting in the Chinese language like a native! You’ll know all about Chinese greetings in no time!

1. Greetings for Different Times of Day

Like nearly all cultures do, the Chinese language uses different greetings, determined by the different times of day. The Chinese greetings here focus on this.

1- Good morning

If you’ve ever wondered, “How do you say ‘good morning’ in Chinese?” you should know that there are three ways to say good morning in Chinese.

  • 早上好。(Zǎo shàng hǎo.
  • 早安。(Zǎo ān.
  • 早。(Zǎo.

Though they all mean “good morning” as a greeting in the morning, there is a slight difference between them. 早 means “morning,” which is the simplest way to wish someone a good morning.

2- Good noon

  • 中午好。(Zhōng wǔ hǎo.

Not many Chinese people greet like this, and this is rarely spoken in Chinese culture. We’ll discuss how we greet for noontime in Chinese language natively.

3- Good afternoon & Good evening

  • Good afternoon. 下午好 。(Xià wǔ hǎo.
  • Good evening. 晚上好。(Wǎn shàng hǎo.

As we mentioned before, this isn’t a usual way to greet natively in China either. When you say these Chinese greeting phrases out loud, they sound too formal and rigid.

4- Good night

  • Good night. 晚安。(Wǎn ān.
  • Sweet dreams. 好梦。(Hǎo mèng.

“Good night” is a very nice thing to say for Chinese people, especially for teenagers. An interesting fact about its pinyin: If you take all the capitals of those letters, they represent: 我爱你,爱你(wǒ ài nǐ,ài nǐ , which means “I love you, love you.” Thus it has become an important thing for young Chinese couples to say to each other. You can also say this to your Chinese friends to show your care for them.

Chinese Greetings

2. How to Say Hello in Chinese

Your Chinese greeting vocabulary won’t be complete until you know how to say “hello” in Chinese, so here’s a few phrases to keep in mind.

1- The most plain and simple way to say “Hello”:

  • Hello. 你好。(nǐ hǎo
  • Hello (polite form). 您好。(nín hǎo
  • Hello, everyone. 大家好。(dà jiā hǎo

您 is a polite way to say “you,” usually to people who are older or are in a senior position. When Chinese people are greeting like this, they will usually shake hands with you; when you do, remember to lower your head a little and nod your head slightly to show respect. Remember that Chinese etiquette and body language are just as important as the words you use.

2- Introducing your name:

  • My name is… 我的名字是… (wǒ de míng zì shì)

3- How to say “Hi” in Chinese in different forms:

  • Hi. 嗨。(hai)
  • Hello. 哈喽。(hā lo
  • Hey. 嘿。(hēi

These Chinese sayings are often used between young people. The Chinese words here are only translated in Chinese from English based on their pronunciations, thus they’re not a formal way to greet. Don’t worry to much about this! All you have to say is the same thing back at the person!

4- How to Say Hello on the Phone

  • 喂?(wéi)

This is a special Chinese word for the first greeting people make on the phone. 喂 by itself would sound too indifferent, so you might want to add 您好 as well to greet the caller as we mentioned above. If you don’t know who’s calling, you can also make further inquiries such as 请问您是哪位? (qǐng wèn nín shì nǎ wèi?) meaning “Can I please know who this is?”

3. Unique Ways of Saying Hello from Chinese Culture

  • Did you eat? 吃了吗?(chī le ma
  • Where are you going? 这是要去哪啊?(zhè shì yào qù nǎ a

These ways of greeting can make Chinese people feel warmth and friendliness from you since they’re very native ways to greet. Some people may feel bewildered at the thought of why Chinese people would greet by asking if they’ve eaten. This is common due to Chinese culture from a long time ago.

In ancient times, many laborers in China had a very hard time fending for themselves. At that time, people often thought about whether they would have enough food or not, and thus the thing people cared most about was if one was able to get food. As time went on, the habit of asking “Did you eat?” became a common way to greet and has been passed on to many generations till now. With the continuous development of China’s modern culture, this habit is gradually being replaced by some universal polite expressions.

If you ate already, you can answer 吃了,你呢?(chī le, nǐ ne)meaning “I did, how about you?” If you haven’t eaten yet, you can simply respond 还没 (hái méi) meaning “not yet.”

Shaking Hands

4. Greet People that you Haven’t Seen in a While and More

When learning Chinese greetings and introductions, it’s important to know how to appropriately greet someone you haven’t seen in a while—even friends are sometimes apart for days or longer, after all! Learn more about the best Chinese etiquette about how the Chinese greet people they’re meeting after being apart for some time.

1- How have you been recently? 最近怎么样啊?(Zuì jìn zěn me yàng a?

Usually, you want to answer 挺好的 (tǐng hǎo de) meaning “pretty good.” Even if you’re not feeling good—if you don’t want to get yourself into a conversation where you’ll have to explain all that—you should still say you’re doing well just to greet back. If the person is a close friend of yours and you’re willing to explain the situation, you can anwer 不怎么样,因为…… (bú zěn me yàng, yīn wéi…) meaning “Not very good, because…”.

2- Long time no see. 好久不见。(Hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn.

This English saying—which is not grammatically correct—actually comes from the Chinese language. You can say 好久不见 as either a formal or informal way to greet someone in Chinese if you haven’t seen them in a long time. Usually an answer to this would be 是啊 (shì a), and they may next say 我上次见你还是在……的时候 (wǒ shàng cì jiàn nǐ hái shì zài …de shí hòu) meaning “the last time I saw you is when…”.

3- What are you doing? 干嘛呢?(Gàn má ne

This is another typical way to start a conversation. People who ask this may not really expect an answer, and instead are most likely just trying to warm up the conversation before delving into it.

4- How are you? 你好吗? (Nǐ hǎo ma

This is almost the same as 最近怎么样啊?(Zuì jìn zěn me yàng a), and a proper answer to this is also 挺好的 (tǐng hǎo de).

5- What’s up? 最近有什么新鲜事吗?(Zuì jìn yǒu shén me xīn xiān shì ma?)

This Chinese greeting isn’t asked very often either, just like how in English when people ask it, they’re not actually looking for answer, rather just a way to greet. You’ll want to answer 没什么啦 (méi shén me la), meaning “nothing much,” unless you really want to talk about something new.

啦 is one of the most often-used final particles in Chinese, so remember to add it in this phrase in order to make it sound more natural and friendly—otherwise, it may sound cold to the listener. You can learn more about Chinese final particles later as they are extremely helpful and can change the tone of a sentence dramatically.

6- “Have a good day! ” 祝你度过美好的一天!(Zhù nǐ dù guò měi hǎo de yī tiān!)

The Chinese version of this greeting phrase is similar to saying “Have fun today!” However, it would be too raw to speak the literal meaning in Chinese, as native Chinese don’t usually greet like this.

To answer, you can simply reply 好的(hǎo de) meaning “okay” in English. Of course, when you can further grasp the gist of some final particles, you can use them at the end of the sentence to make it sound more casual and friendly.

5. How to Say “Bye” in Chinese

  • Good-bye. 再见。(zài jiàn
  • Bye-bye. 拜拜。(bái bái
  • See you later. 待会见。(dāi huì jiàn)

再见 is the most common way to say good-bye, though its literal meaning is “meeting again.” It can be used for all occasions, such as leaving a party, hanging up the phone, and so on. You can also use 拜拜, which is formed based on the sound of “bye-bye” in English.
待会见 means “see you later,” and should be used if you know that you’re going to meet the other person again very soon, usually within a day. Remember to wave your hands in order to appear more friendly and warm the atmosphere.

6. How can ChineseClass101 Help You Learn More Native Phrases?

Did you have a good time learning all the basic Chinese greeting phrases? If you didn’t get enough, ChineseClass101 will be your paradise for learning more advanced phrases in the Chinese language! It provides a variety of resources that can be easily understood. If you’re ready for more fun Chinese lessons, embark on your journey there soon!

In the meantime, feel free to apply all the Chinese greetings you learned today in our Chinese greetings guide. Good luck!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

How to Celebrate the Chinese Laba Festival in China

Learning about Chinese holidays is one of the best ways to really dig into the country’s culture, which is necessary for optimal language learning. Today we’ll be looking at one of the more traditional Chinese holidays, the Laba Festival (also called the Chinese Laba Rice Porridge Festival).

We’ll be going over what makes the Laba Festival special, including the Chinese porridge they call Laba porridge (or Laba congee) and the celebration’s history. Find out all you need to know about The Laba Rice Porridge Festival on ChineseClass101.com, from its significance to vocabulary you should know!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

1. Why Should You Know About The Laba Rice Porridge Festival?

The Laba Rice Porridge Festival (or simply the Laba Festival) in China, though not actually a Chinese national holiday, is a fascinating occasion rooted in Buddhism, one of China’s most popular religions. By learning about the origins and customs of this day, you’ll also be gaining much insight into the heart of China’s people and the significance of its history.

Essentially, this holiday is the remembrance of when the Buddha first became Enlightened, a moment in the history of Buddhism that is, of course, of great importance. Learn more about the Laba Festival and its place as one of the most popular Chinese holidays and celebrations.

2. What is The Laba Rice Porridge Festival?

The Laba Festival is an important day for the Chinese people, and its name stems from the day on which it takes place—the eighth day of the twelfth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, or Là bā in Chinese.

This traditional Chinese holiday is largely held in commemoration of when Sakyamuni became the Buddha after his Enlightenment. As Buddhism has a fairly strong presence in China today, this is a significant moment in history for Chinese Buddhists.

Like most ancient Chinese holidays and celebrations, this is a day of tradition mixed with more modern interpretation. Even though this isn’t a Chinese national holiday, the tradition of making laba rice porridge and offering it to ancestors remains strong. We’ll talk more about this traditional Chinese dish below.

3. When is it?

Date of The Laba Rice Porridge Festival on Lunar Calendar

The Laba Rice Porridge Festival takes place on the eighth day of the twelfth month on the Chinese lunar calendar. It’s from this that the holiday gets its name, as the day is translated Là bā in the Chinese language. On the Gregorian calendar, this typically takes place sometime in January, though sometimes it takes place in December (as it will in 2023).

For your convenience, here’s a quick list of the approximate date of this holiday for the next ten years:

  • 2019: January 13
  • 2020: January 2
  • 2021: January 20
  • 2022: January 8
  • 2023: December 30
  • 2024: January 18
  • 2025: January 7
  • 2026: January 26
  • 2027: January 15
  • 2028: January 4

4. How is it celebrated?

A Bowl of Porridge

Eating is one of the most important (and most looked forward to!) parts of any holiday, no matter where you are.

As the name suggests, during The Laba Porridge Festival, people make a special porridge called 腊八粥 (làbāzhōu) or Laba congee. This dish takes a long time to make, and preparation for it begins the night before the holiday; cooking starts at midnight, and it’s not ready until that morning.

This is an elaborate porridge, containing a variety of grain, fruit, and vegetable (eight types to be exact, which is why some people also call it “eight treasure congee”). Common ingredients are various types of nuts, prunes, and a Southeast Asian fruit called 桂圆 (guìyuán), or longan. This dish is known to promote good health, due to its fantastic nutritional value.

Not only do the Chinese people eat this porridge themselves, but they first offer it as a sacrifice to their ancestors. In fact, Beijing Laba Congee is an even more elaborate dish, containing twenty ingredients—each one specially picked to ensure high quality so as to please the ancestors it will be offered to.

In the past, it was also custom for those of higher status to offer this porridge to the poor and to monks.

1- Fun Fact

It’s considered 好兆头 (hǎo zhàotou), or a good sign, for there to be Laba porridge left over. This signifies that there will be prosperity among the family who has the leftover porridge. Some people even put this porridge on trees to ensure a plentiful harvest.

5. Must-Know Vocab for The Laba Rice Porridge Festival

Now that you know more about this interesting Chinese holiday, let’s look at some important vocabulary to help you better understand and celebrate it!

Someone picking out longan

  • 佛教 (Fó Jiào) — Buddhism
  • 桂圆 (guìyuán) — Longan (a fruit found in Southeast Asia)
  • 腊月 (làyuè) — Month 12 of the Chinese lunar calendar
  • 腊八 (Là bā) — Day 8 of the Chinese lunar calendar’s twelfth month
  • 粥 (zhōu) — Porridge
  • 岳飞 (Yuè Fēi) — Yue Fei (an ancient Chinese military general)
  • 蒜 (suàn) — Garlic
  • 好兆头 (hǎo zhàotou) — Good sign
  • 白米 (báimǐ) — White rice
  • 红枣 (hóng zǎo) — Dried red jujube
  • 莲子 (liánzǐ) — Lotus seed

To hear the pronunciations of these words, check out our Chinese Laba Rice Festival word list where you can hear audio recordings of each one.

Conclusion

We hope that this article provided you with all the info you need to celebrate the Laba Porridge Festival in China. What do you think is the most interesting part of this holiday? Is there a similar holiday in your home country?

If you want to learn even more about Chinese culture, be sure to visit us on ChineseClass101.com. We provide language learners with a wide array of helpful tools, from vocabulary lists to insightful blog posts. And if you want to get one-on-one training as you master Chinese, be sure to check out our MyTeacher app!

Have fun celebrating The Laba Porridge Festival, and be sure to stay tuned for more articles on Chinese holidays so that you can enjoy all of the traditional Chinese holidays!

We wish you success in your language-learning journey, and meaningful fun during your visit to China.

Learning Chinese Abroad vs Learning at Home

Learning Chinese Abroad vs Learning at Home

Different people have different goals for learning Mandarin. Some may do it to connect with distant relatives or their family heritage. Some do it to pickup up the language for an added edge in the business world. Still others learn the language because they’re naturally drawn to Chinese culture and history. By far one of the most common reasons for learning Mandarin is the desire to travel and use the language in China.

There’s something exhilarating about the idea of wandering abroad and interacting with people in a foreign tongue. It’s certainly a noble and motivating goal, but there is a common misconception about traveling abroad to learn or use a foreign language…

People all too often assume that travel is the language learning cure-all. Somehow once you step off a plane into a foreign country, you magically enter the ideal language learning environment. While traveling to a foreign speaking country certainly isn’t a bad idea, it’s usually not the magic bullet of language learning many assume it to be, especially if you are a beginner.

Traveling in China

The challenges of learning Chinese while traveling in China

If you’re a native English speaker and are traveling in a foreign country, the first and foremost obstacle you’re likely to face is that the foreigners you encounter will speak to you in English. English is quickly becoming the lingua franca of the tourist world. Unless you happen to look or dress like the locals, just about everyone in airports, hotels, and popular tourist spots will expect you to speak English. Your fumbly Mandarin will likely be met with a polite nod and patronizing smile, while the conversation reverts back to English.

Unless you’re highly proficient in the language, the locals you encounter will prefer to defer to English. You’re desire to learn Mandarin will be overshadowed by their lack of patience for your meger speaking skills.

This unfortunate truth also carries over into the area of friend-making. A common dream of language learners is to be able to go abroad and make friends with locals using only a foreign language. It isn’t until you actually work up the courage travel to China and make friends that you begin to realize just how hard this really is for beginner and even intermediate students.

Some learners are mistaken enough to think that just being in China will help them pick up the language. It’s easy to forget that Mandarin is considered by many to be one of the more difficult languages for native English speakers to learn.

Once you’re in China you will likely gravitate toward people who you can easily communicate with in your native English. People are naturally attracted to people they can communicate with. To really practice your Mandarin you will have to fight this urge and work against the grain to find and connect with people who only speak a language you’ve just started to learn. This can be done, but it is difficult.

If by some stroke of luck you are able to engage in a Mandarin exchange, the conversation is likely to be limited to simple and predictable conversations, like ordering food or perhaps purchasing a bus ticket. This is a great way to start using the language. However if it’s the only dialogue you engage in, don’t expect any leaps or bounds in your conversational ability.

Learning At Home

Advantages of learning a language at home

One huge advantage of learning a language at home is that it is much easier to maintain a regular study schedule. Traveling to a foreign country is likely to bring a whirlwind of experiences, but that whirlwind is not conducive to the discipline necessary to learn and master Mandarin. Odds are if you’re in Beijing or Shanghai for the first time, the temptation to see the sights will be greater than the urge to practice Mandarin. Learning a language at home affords you the marvelous opportunity of making language learning a part of your everyday life.

Learning Mandarin at home also allows you to create an immersive environment at your own pace. While it is true that immersion is one of the best ways to learn a foreign language, a full on immersion experience in China can be overwhelming to a beginner. At home you can gradually ease yourself into the “Mandarin swimming pool” step by step. As a new learner you can start by listening to a Mandarin learning podcast. Later on you can begin to enjoy Chinese music, film, TV, and other media.

Also just because you’re not in China doesn’t mean you can’t connect with native Chinese speakers. If you live in or around a large metropolitan area, you’re likely to find a few Mandarin speakers. Look for a local language exchange or meetup group. Because Mandarin is such a widely spoken language, you’re likely to find whole communities of native speakers in some areas. Keep an eye out for Chinese language church services, cultural festivals, and local grocery stores. These are all good indicators that there are more than a few native speakers around.

If you’re unable to connect with one locally there are plenty to connect with on the internet. Try using a free online language exchange to find Mandarin speakers who are learning English. That way you can assist them with English while they in turn help you with your Mandarin.

Final thoughts

I’m not at all suggesting that you shouldn’t travel to China if you are learning Mandarin. If you have the means and ability to go, then by all means do it! Just don’t expect your trip to be a panacea for your language learning ills. If Mandarin is difficult to learn at home it will be just as difficult, if not more, when you’re abroad.

Unless you’re an advance student, studying the language at home holds a slew of surprising advantages. In the end this is great news. It means that every student of Mandarin, regardless of whether or not they can travel to china, has ample opportunity to learn this exquisite and exciting language!

How to Celebrate April Fools’ Day in Chinese

How to Celebrate April Fools' Day in Chinese!

Most everyone is familiar with this day, as it is celebrated nearly everywhere the world. Yet, when exactly is April Fools’ Day? And where did April Fools come from? April Fools’ Day is observed on April 1st every year. This day of jokes and pranks is believed to have stemmed from the 16th-century calendar change in France, when New Year’s Day was moved from April 1 to January 1. This action was taken due to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar.

However, a few people were resistant to the calendar change, so they continued to observe New Year’s Day on April 1st, rather than the new date. They were referred to as the “April Fools”, and others started playing mocking tricks on them. This custom endured, and is practiced to this day around the world!

Table of Contents

  1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day
  2. Chinese Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day
  3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody
  4. How Can ChineseClass101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?
  5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in Chinese - Testing New Technology

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day

Do you want to know how to say April Fools’ Day in Chinese? Well, there are millions of ways and words, but here are the top one million Chinese words you really need to know! Simply click this link. Here are some of them you will find useful:

  1. funny - 有趣 - yǒuqù
  2. joke - 开玩笑 - kāi wánxiào
  3. sneaky - 鬼鬼祟祟的 - guǐguǐ suìsuì de
  4. prankster - 恶作剧的人 - èzuòjù de rén
  5. prank - 恶作剧 - èzuòjù
  6. play a joke - 开玩笑 - kāi wánxiào
  7. humor - 幽默 - yōumò
  8. fool - 傻瓜 - shǎguā
  9. deceptive - 欺骗性的 - qīpiànxìng de
  10. April 1st - 四月一日 - Sìyuè Yī Rì
  11. lie - 撒谎 - sāhuǎng
  12. surprise - 让人惊讶 - ràng rén jīngyà

2. Chinese Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day

Chinese Phrases for April Fools' Day

Don’t limit yourself to practical jokes - use these April Fools’ phrases in Chinese to prank your favorite Chinese friend or colleague!

  1. All classes for today got canceled.
    • 今天所有的课都取消了。
    • Jīntiān suǒyǒu de kè dōu qǔxiāo le .
  2. Someone has just hit your car.
    • 刚才有人撞了你的车。
    • Gāngcái yǒu rén zhuàng le nǐ de chē .
  3. I’m getting married.
    • 我要结婚了。
    • Wǒ yào jiéhūn le.
  4. You won a free ticket.
    • 你赢得了一张免费票。
    • Nǐ yíngdé le yì zhāng miǎnfèi piào .
  5. I’m sorry, but I’ve just broken your favorite pair of glasses.
    • 对不起,我刚刚弄坏了你最喜欢的眼镜。
    • Duìbùqǐ, wǒ gānggāng nòng huài le nǐ zuì xǐhuān de yǎnjìng .
  6. They’re giving away free gift cards in front of the building.
    • 他们在大楼前赠送免费礼物卡。
    • Tāmen zài dàlóu qián zèngsòng miǎnfèi lǐwù kǎ.
  7. A beautiful lady asked me to give this phone number to you.
    • 一位美丽的小姐让我把这个电话号码给你。
    • Yí wèi měilì de xiǎojiě ràng wǒ bǎ zhège diànhuà hàomǎ gěi nǐ .
  8. Can you come downstairs? I have something special for you.
    • 你能到楼下来吗?我给你准备了惊喜。
    • Nǐ néng dào lóuxià lái ma ? Wǒ gěi nǐ zhǔnbèi le jīngxǐ .
  9. Thank you for your love letter this morning. I never could have guessed your feelings.
    • 谢谢你今天早上的情书。我从不知道你的感情。
    • Xièxiè nǐ jīntiān zǎoshàng de qíngshū . Wǒ cóngbù zhīdào nǐ de gǎnqíng .
  10. I saw your car being towed.
    • 我看见你的车正被拖走。
    • Wǒ kànjiàn nǐ de chē zhèng bèi tuōzǒu.
  11. A handsome guy is waiting for you outside.
    • 一个帅哥在外面等你。
    • Yígè shuàigē zài wàimiàn děng nǐ.
  12. I learned Chinese in 1 month.
    • 我学了一个月的中文。
    • Wǒ xuéle yīgèyuè de Zhōngwén.

Choose your victims carefully, though; the idea is to get them to laugh with you, not to hurt their feelings or humiliate them in front of others. Be extra careful if you choose to play a prank on your boss - you don’t want to antagonize them with an inappropriate joke.

3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody

Choose Bad or Good

Right, now that you know the top million April Fools’ words in Chinese, let’s look at some super pranks and tricks to play on friends, colleagues and family. Some April Fools ideas never grow old, while new ones are born every year.

Never joke in such a way that it hurts anyone, or humiliates them badly in front of others - the idea is for everybody to laugh and enjoy the fun! Respect is still key, no matter what day of the year it is.

Cockroach prank

1- Infestation

This trick is so simple, yet so creepy, it’s almost unbelievable. Take black paper, cut out the silhouette of a giant cockroach, a spider or another insect, and stick it inside the lampshade of a table lamp. When the lamp is switched on, it will look like a monstrous insect is sitting inside the lampshade. Or, get a whole lot of realistic-looking plastic insects, and spread them over a colleague’s desk and chair, or, at home, over the kids’ beds etc. Creep-factor: stellar.

2- Which One Doesn’t Fit?

Put the photo of a celebrity or a notorious politician in a frame, and take it to work on April Fools’ Day. Hang the photo on the staff picture wall, and wait. You’ll be surprised how long it can take for people to notice that one picture doesn’t fit.

3- Something Weird in the Restroom

At work, replace the air freshener in the restroom with something noxious like insect killer, oven cleaner or your own odious mixture in a spray bottle. Be sure to cover the bottle’s body so no one suspects a swap.

Or paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish, and leave it at the hand wash basin. It will not lather.

Or, if your workplace’s restroom has partitioned toilets with short doors, arrange jeans or trousers and shoes on all but one of the toilet covers, so it looks like every stall is occupied. Now wait for complaints, and see how long it takes for someone to figure out the April Fools’ Day prank. You’ll probably wish you had a camera inside the restroom. But, unless you don’t mind getting fired, don’t put your own recording device in there!

Funny Face

4- Call Me Funny

Prepare and print out a few posters with the following instructions: Lion Roar Challenge! Call this number - 123-456-7890 - and leave your best lion’s roar as voicemail! Best roarer will be announced April 10 in the cafeteria. Prize: $100. (Lion’s roar is just an example; you can use any animal call, or even a movie character’s unique sound, such as Chewbacca from Star Wars. The weirder, the funnier. Obviously!) Put the posters up in the office where most of the staff is likely to see them. Now wait for the owner of the number to visit you with murderous intent. Have a conciliatory gift ready that’s not a prank.

5- Minty Cookies

This is another simple but hugely effective prank - simply separate iced cookies, scrape off the icing, and replace it with toothpaste. Serve during lunch or tea break at work, or put in your family’s lunch boxes. Be sure to take photos of your victim’s faces when they first bite into your April Fools’ cookies.

6- Wild Shopping

At your local grocer, place a realistic-looking plastic snake or spider among the fresh vegetables. Now wait around the corner for the first yell.

7- The Oldest Trick in the Book

Don’t forget probably the oldest, yet very effective April Fools’ joke in the book - smearing hand cream or Vaseline on a door handle that most staff, family or friends are likely to use. Yuck to the max!

8- Sneeze On Me

Another golden oldie is also gross, yet harmless and utterly satisfying as a prank. Fill a small spray bottle that you can easily conceal with water. Walk past a friend, colleague or one of your kids, and fake a sneeze while simultaneously spraying them with a bit of water. Expect to be called a totally disgusting person. Add a drop of lovely smelling essential oil to the water for extra confusion.

9- Word Play Repairs

Put a fresh leek in the hand wash basin at home or work, and then tell your housemates or colleagues this: “There’s a huge leak in the restroom/bathroom basin, it’s really serious. Please can someone go have a look?!” Expect exasperation and smiles all around. Note that this prank is only likely to work where people understand English well.

10- Scary Face

Print out a very scary face on an A4 sheet of paper, and place it in a colleague’s, or one of your kid’s drawers, so it’s the first thing they see when they open the drawer. You may not be very popular for a while.

11- Wake Up To Madness

Put foamy shaving cream, or real whipped cream on your hand, and wake your kid up by tickling their nose with it. As long as they get the joke, this could be a wonderful and fun way to start April Fools’ Day.

Computer Prank

12- Computer Prank

This one’s fabulous, if you have a bit of time to fiddle with a colleague, friend or your kid’s computer. It is most effective on a computer where most of the icons they use are on the desktop background itself (as opposed to on the bottom task bar).

Take and save a screenshot of their desktop with the icons. Set this screenshot as their background image. Now delete all the working icons. When they return to their computer, wait for the curses when no amount of clicking on the icons works.

13- Monster Under the Cup

This one will also work well anywhere people meet. Take a paper cup, and write the following on it in black pen: “Danger! Don’t lift, big spider underneath.” Place it upside-down on prominent flat surface, such as a kitchen counter, a colleague’s desk or a restaurant table. Expect some truly interesting responses.

Door Prank

14- Prank Door

Write in large letters on a large and noticeable piece of paper: PUSH. Tape this notice on a door that should be pulled to open, and watch the hilarious struggle of those clever souls who actually read signs.

4. How Can ChineseClass101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?

If you happen to visit China, or if you work for any Chinese company, knowing the above Chinese prankster phrases can really lighten up your day. Showing you have a sense of humor can go a long way to cement good relationships in any situation. These phrases are at your disposal for free, as well as are these 100 core Chinese words, which you will learn how to pronounce perfectly.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

Also, don’t stop at learning April Fools’ phrases in Chinese - bone up your Chinese language skills with these FREE key phrases. Yes, ChineseClass101 doesn’t joke when it comes to effective, fun and easy learning.

Now, as a bonus, test our super-learning technology, and learn the Top 1000 most useful phrases in Chinese below! But that’s not all. Read on to learn how you can be eligible for large enrollment discounts at ChineseClass101.

5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in Chinese - testing new technology

Help us by being a language guinea pig! Listen to this video above with embedded cutting-edge, frequency-based learning technology that enables you to learn large amounts of data in record time.

  • Note: This technology is in beta-phase of development, and we invite your input for fine-tuning.
  • To participate: Watch the video for instructions, and leave a comment to rate it. Your comment will make you eligible for large enrollment-fee discounts. To watch the video, please click the play button.

Thank you for helping ChineseClass101! We’re serious about making learning Chinese fun.

5 Most Common Mistakes When Studying Chinese

5 Most Common Mistakes When Studying Chinese

This article is intended to go over some of the most common mistakes committed by students when trying to learn Chinese. The points listed here are based on my experience as a student and as the manager of a small Chinese Academy.

1. Neglecting to study Chinese characters

One of the most complicated aspects of the Chinese language is without a doubt its writing system. Learning how to read and write characters is a difficult task that can discourage many students.

Many students who are anxious to learn Chinese as quickly as possible decide to put aside studying writing to focus on learning how to speak Chinese through the phonetic system (pinyin).

There is no doubt that learning Chinese exclusively through pinyin is the most common mistake committed by people when starting to learn Chinese. Aware of this, over the past years, many “miraculous” Chinese courses based on this principle have appeared, promoting it as an easy way to learn Chinese in a few months. Nonetheless, in Chinese, just like any other language, there are no shortcuts. It’s true that some ways of learning are more efficient than others, but learning Chinese only through pinyin is certainly not the way to go.

While pinyin is very useful in the beginning, it’s problem resides in the phonetics of mandarin. As opposed to in Western languages, words are fairly short in Chinese (normally 1 or 2 syllables) and there are relatively few possible sounds (somewhat more than 400 syllables). Combine this with the fact that in the beginning, the majority of students have trouble differentiating certain sounds and above all the tones, it’s very common for students to quickly feel like everything sounds the same.

The basic unit of Chinese is the character, which represents meaning and not sound. It’s very common to run into characters with very different meanings with exactly the same sound (or very similar sounds). In addition, the formation of new concepts is carried out by combining characters. In other words, the logic of Chinese is found in characters and not in sound.

As opposed to small children who learn through imitation, we adults mainly learn through association, in other words, by using logic. That means that if you overlook the basic unit of the language (the character), it will be impossible for you to learn through association and you will have to limit yourself to imitation, which is very difficult for adults.

To put things simply, people who decide to not study writing make much faster initial progress by omitting one of the most difficult parts. However, their learning quickly comes to a standstill as learning new vocabulary becomes more difficult every day. Many words appear to be the same and completely meaningless.

On the contrary, for people who include characters in their study program, their initial progress is slow, tedious and at times frustrating. Nonetheless, their learning progressively accelerates and incorporating new vocabulary becomes increasingly simple.

If you truly want to learn Chinese and not a couple of sentences to survive, you have no other choice but to learn its writing as well.

chinese character

2. Learning the most commonly-used 3,000 characters

One of the most prevalent urban legends surrounding learning Chinese says that by learning the most frequent 3,000 characters, you can read 99% of texts in Chinese.

It’s true that the 3,000 most common characters cover 99% of texts in Chinese. Nonetheless, knowing them is not the same thing as being capable of understanding a text. In modern Chinese, the majority of words are formed of the union of at least two characters. While individual characters have a meaning in themselves, when they are combined to create a word, their meaning, although it tends to be related, is not always easy to guess.

Basically, learning the most common 3,000 characters, despite being an excellent memorization challenge, is probably the most frustrating and inefficient way to learn Chinese, as it won’t let you read or speak.

There are numerous frequency of use lists based on words and not characters (such as the HSK lists) that are definitely more useful.

learning chinese

3. Learning Chinese because it’s the most spoken language in the world

Learning a new language takes a lot of effort and continuous motivation over a long period of time, especially if it’s a language as different as Chinese. Because of this, before starting to learn a language, you have to be clear about the goal that you are pursuing and create a detailed plan of how you are going to reach this goal.

When people come to my academy and ask me about Chinese lessons, the first thing that I tend to ask them is why they want to learn Chinese. An answer that I often receive is: I want to learn Chinese because it’s the most spoken language in the world. When I hear this answer, I usually tell them how much time and effort they will have to dedicate to studying Chinese if they want to be able to effectively communicate. The majority of them never come back.

This student profile is the main target of “miracle courses”, as in my opinion, they don’t have the adequate motivation to learn the language. Their interest is mainly the result of a passing trend that has been brought into the spotlight by China’s economic power. Because of this, the only thing that they are looking for is for someone to tell them that they can learn Chinese without making an effort.

It is essential that before learning Chinese, you ask yourself what you want to do and what you will achieve by doing so. The more specific your objective, the easier it will be to keep up your motivation over time. Below, I give a few examples of concrete goals:

  1. Learning Chinese to be able to communicate with clients or suppliers from the country and by doing so improving your job prospects.
  2. Learning Chinese to go to China to study a master’s degree or an exchange during the following year.
  3. Learning Chinese because you have a spouse or family member from the country and want to demonstrate your interest in their culture and language.

Like these, there are thousands of good reasons to learn Chinese, but studying must be highly motivated and contain a “reward” for the efforts made. If you’re not going to use the language at all, what point is there in learning it?

Learning Chinese is much more than learning a language; it’s a doorway to understanding a thousand-year-old culture and society that at times isn’t as different as we think it is. Making yourself the habit of studying and giving yourself the right motivation will be your best ally in overcoming the numerous obstacles and frustrations that you will encounter.

chinese writing

4. Believing that because you’ve learned other languages, you know how to learn Chinese

Something that I often run into is people who want to study Chinese and the first thing that they say is that they already speak a couple of languages.

People who already master multiple Western languages mistakenly believe that they can apply their experience with these languages when learning Mandarin. While it’s true that they are at an advantage compared to a monolingual person, as they already know the efforts implied by learning a new language, it’s also true that they are more likely to commit mistakes in the learning process.

Despite coming from different linguistic branches, Western languages have common roots and have influenced one another a great deal over history. This makes it so that their logic and above all grammatical structure are very similar. The origins of Chinese and other Asian languages are very distant from that of Western languages, because of which it is a mistake to approach them with the same logic as in studying much more similar languages.

The common problem among students who speak multiple Western languages is that they try to apply their language structure to Chinese, and over time become frustrated. In the end, they end up saying that Chinese is illogical and impossible to learn.

Chinese has its own logic that is simply very different from yours, because of which the best thing to do is to forget everything you think you know and to try to completely immerse yourself in a different way of communicating.

Learning chinese

5. Spending too much effort on pronunciation and grammar

Don’t get me wrong: grammar and pronunciation are very important in Chinese, but they aren’t everything.

Tones and pronunciation in Mandarin tend to be a headache for many students. Pronunciation errors can be one of the main barriers to being understood by a native speaker. In addition, for many students, Chinese grammatical structures appear confusing and “unnatural” to them, because they are very different from those of their native language.

Because of this, it’s common for people to end up speaking endlessly in a zealous attempt to pronounce every tone perfectly and to place every word in its correct place. The problem with this attitude is that the person listening ends up not understanding anything.

Chinese is a language in which the context where a word is pronounced is very important for understanding its meaning. When speech isn’t fluid, in addition to becoming tedious for the listener, the context is also lost. The problem is that if the listener loses the context, they won’t understand anything.

Forget about speaking perfectly; as a non-native speaker, you can’t set your sights on impeccable pronunciation and not making grammar mistakes. Improving the fluidity of your speech will certainly give you better results than avoiding a couple of mistakes. Keep in mind that what’s important is communicating.

Bio BIO: Sergi worked in Beijing for five years and China changed his life. Upon returning home, he left his job as a researcher to dedicate his time to sharing what he learned in the Middle Kingdom. He is currently the editor of the website Sapore Di Cina, intended for people who would like to go to China to live or travel, and is the co-founder of EsChina Space, a Chinese language and cuisine academy in Barcelona.

How To Say ‘Thank you’ in Chinese

How to Say Thank You in Chinese

In most cultures, it is custom to express gratitude in some way or another. The dictionary defines gratitude as follows: it is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”. Giving a sincere, thankful response to someone’s actions or words is often the ‘glue’ that keeps relationships together. This is true in most societies! Doing so in a foreign country also shows your respect and appreciation for the culture. Words have great power - use these ones sincerely and often!

Table of Contents

  1. 12 Ways to say ‘Thank you’ in Chinese
  2. Video Lesson: Learn to Say ‘Thank You’ in 3 Minutes
  3. Infographic & Audio Lesson: Survival Phrases - Thank You
  4. Video Lesson: ‘Thank You’ in 31 Languages
  5. How ChineseClass101 Can Help You

So, how do you say ‘Thank you’ in Chinese? You can learn easily! Below, ChineseClass101 brings you perfect translations and pronunciation as you learn the most common ways Chinese speakers say ‘Thanks’ in various situations.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

1. 12 Ways to say ‘Thank you’ in Chinese

1- Thank you.

谢谢。
Xièxiè.

The magical words that can bring a smile to any face. For one day, truly mean it whenever you say these words, and see how this lifts your spirit too!

2- That’s very kind of you.

您真是太好了。
Nín zhēnshì tài hǎo le.

This phrase is appropriate when someone clearly goes out of their way to give good service, or to offer you a kindness.

3- Thanks for your kind words!

感谢您的赞美之辞。
Gǎnxiè nín de zànměi zhī cí.

Someone paid you a compliment and made you feel good? That is kind of him/her, so express your gratitude!

4- Thank you for coming today.

感谢您今天的光临。
Gǎnxiè nín jīntiān de guānglín.

This welcoming phrase should be part of your arsenal if you’re conducting more formal meetings with Chinese speakers. If you’re hosting a party, this is also a good phrase when you greet your Chinese guests!

5- Thank you for your consideration.

谢谢您的关心。
Xièxie nín de guānxīn.

This is a more formal, almost solemn way to thank someone for their thoughtfulness and sensitivity towards you. It is also suitable to use when a native speaker has to consider something you submit, like a job application, a project or a proposal. You are thanking them, in essence, for time and effort they are about to, or have spent on your submission.

6- Thanks a lot!

多谢了!
Duōxièle!

This means the same as ‘Thank you’, but with energy and enthusiasm added! It means almost the same as ‘thank you so much’ in Chinese. Use this in an informal setting with your Chinese friends or teachers.

7- Teachers like you are not easy to find.

像您这样的老师不容易找到。
Xiàng nín zhèyàng de lǎoshī bù róngyì zhǎodào.

Some phrases are compliments, which express gratitude by inference. This is one of them. If you’re particularly impressed with your ChineseClass101 teacher, this is an excellent phrase to memorize!

8- Thank you for spending time with us.

谢谢您花时间和我们在一起。
Xièxie nín huā shíjiān hé wǒmen zài yìqǐ.

Any host at a gathering with Chinese speakers, such as a meeting or a party, should have this under his/her belt! Use it when you’re saying goodbye or busy closing a meeting. It could also be another lovely way to thank your Chinese language teacher for her time.

9- Thank you for being patient and helping me improve.

感谢您的耐心并帮助我提高。
Gǎnxiè nín de nàixīn bìng bāngzhù wǒ tígāo.

This phrase is another sure way to melt any formal or informal Chinese teacher’s heart! Teaching is not easy, and often a lot of patience is required from the teacher. Thank him/her for it! It’s also a good phrase to use if you work in China, and want to thank your trainer or employer. You will go a long way towards making yourself a popular employee - gratitude is the most attractive trait in any person!

10- You’re the best teacher ever!

您是有史以来最好的老师!
Nín shì yǒushǐ yǐlái zuì hǎo de lǎoshī!

This is also an enthusiastic way to thank your teacher by means of a compliment. It could just make their day!

11- Thank you for the gift.

谢谢你的礼物。
Xièxie nǐ de lǐwù.

This is a good phrase to remember when you’re the lucky recipient of a gift. Show your respect and gratitude with these words.

12- I have learned so much thanks to you.

我非常感谢你。
Wǒ fēicháng gǎnxiè nǐ.

What a wonderful compliment to give a good teacher! It means they have succeeded in their goal, and you’re thankful for it.

2. Video Lesson: Learn to Say ‘Thank You’ in 3 Minutes

In China, there are numerous ways to say “thank you.” Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways to express ones gratitude.

1- 謝謝。Xiè Xie
By far the most common phrase used to express ones thanks is xiè xie (Thank you.). This is undoubtedly the phrase of gratitude you will here the most throughout your journeys, and conveniently the easiest to pronounce.

As Chinese is a tonal language, it is important to correctly pronounce the tones, as an incorrect pronunciation of a tone can change the meaning of a word and in turn, the meaning of the phrase. In the case of xiè xie, however, the phrase is used so frequently that no matter how badly you mispronounce the tones, this expression of gratitude will be understood. As the phrase xiè xie consists of two of the same characters, it literally means, “Thank(s), thank(s).” However, it is translated as “Thank you.”

2- 謝謝你。Xiè Xie Nǐ
Xiè xie nǐ (Thank you.), or the politer version xiè xie nin (Thank you.[formal]), are common variations of the phrase Xiè xie. (Thank you.). In both of these phrases xiè xie is followed by the word for you, (you) or the politer version nín (you, formal). The literal meaning of these phrases are closer to their English counterpart “Thank you.” as both phrases includes the word you.

3- 多谢。 Duō Xiè
Another polite way to express one’s gratitude is the phrase, Duō xiè. (Thank you so much.) which literally means “Many thanks.” or “A lot of thanks.” The components of this sentence are duō (many) and xiè (to thank). Literally many thanks, but translated as “Thank you very much.”

4- 我很感谢。 Wǒ Hěn Gǎnxiè
Finally there is a phrase that expresses one’s utmost gratitude. This phrase is Wǒ hěn gǎn xiè. (Thank you so much.) which literally means “I very feel thanks.” but is translated as “Thank you so much.” This phrase is reserved for very special occasions, such as when someone does something extremely kind or particularly helpful.

Cultural Insights

Quick Tip 1
The gesture for thank you in Chinese is to cover one’s right hand with the left, and raise them chest or head high while bowing one’s head.

Quick Tip 2
When in a dining situation, the waiter or waitress will often pour beverages for the patrons. A commonly used way of expressing gratitude for this action is to ,tap the table with one’s index and middle fingers. This gesture, often repeated several times, and expresses the receiver’s gratitude as well as that notion “that is enough of what is being poured.”

On the run to China? Wait! You can’t go without some basic language phrases under your belt! Especially if you’re heading to meet your prospective employer! Either in person or online, knowing how to say ‘Thank you’ in the Chinese language will only improve their impression of you! ChineseClass101 saves you time with this short lesson that nevertheless packs a punch. Learn to say ‘Thank you’ in Chinese in no time!

3. Audio Lesson: Survival Phrases - Thank You

5 Ways to Say Thank You in Chinese

Perhaps you think it’s unimportant that you don’t know what ‘Thank you’ is in Chinese, or that it’s too difficult a language to learn. Yet, as a traveler or visitor, you will be surprised at how far you can go using a little bit of Chinese in China!

Click Here to Listen to the Free Audio Lesson!

At ChineseClass101, we offer you a few ways of saying ‘Thank you’ in Chinese that you have no excuse not knowing, as they’re so simple and easy to learn. The lesson is geared to aid your ‘survival’ in formal and informal situations in China, so don’t wait! You will never have to google ‘How do you say thanks in Chinese’ again…!

4. ‘Thank You’ in 31 Languages

For the global traveler in a hurry, here are 31 ways to say ‘Thank you’! These are the first words you need to learn in any foreign language - it is sure to smooth your way with native speakers by showing your gratitude for services rendered, and your respect for their culture! Learn and know how to correctly say ‘Thank you’ in 31 different languages in this short video.

5. Why would ChineseClass101 be the perfect choice to learn Chinese?

However, you need not stop at ‘Thank you’ in Chinese - why not learn to speak the language?! You have absolutely nothing to lose. Research has shown that learning a new language increases intelligence and combats brain-aging. Also, the ability to communicate with native speakers in their own language is an instant way to make friends and win respect! Or imagine you know how to write ‘Thank you’ to that special Chinese friend after a date…he/she will be so impressed!

Thank You

ChineseClass101 Has Special Lessons, Tools and Resources to Teach You How to Say Thank You and Other Key Phrases

With more than a decade of experience behind us, we have taught thousands of satisfied users to speak foreign languages. How do we do this? First, we take the pain out of learning! At ChineseClass101, students are assisted as they master vocabulary, pronunciation, and conversation through state-of-the-art and fun online learning methods. A library replete with learning resources allows for you to learn at your own pace and in your own space! Resources include thousands of video and audio recordings, downloadable PDF lessons and plenty of learning apps for your mobile devices. Each month, we add benefits with FREE bonuses and gifts to improve your experience.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

We accommodate all levels and types of learners, from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, and ChineseClass101 is free for anyone to sign up. However, you can choose to fast track your fluency with lesson customization and increased interactive learning and practicing. Upgrade to Premium, or Premium PLUS to enhance your experience and greatly expedite your learning. With this type of assistance, and pleasurable effort on your part, you will speak Chinese in a very short period of time!

Click Here to Visit ChineseClass101!

Best of all is that you’re never alone! We believe that practice is the holy grail of learning any new language, and we gear our courses to ensure lots of it. Enroll with us, and you gain immediate access to our lively forum where we meet and greet, and discuss your burning questions. Our certified teachers are friendly and helpful, and you are very likely to practice your first ‘Thanks!’ in Chinese on him/her, AND mean it! Hurry up, and sign up now - you will thank us for it.

How to Start Thinking in Chinese

Learn 4 tools and techniques to stop translating in your head and start thinking in Chinese

Going through Chinese lessons is enough to get by and learn the basics of Chinese, but to truly become fluent you need to be able to think in Chinese. This will allow you to have conversations with ease, read smoothly, and comprehensively understand natives. To do this, you need to go beyond just completing daily or weekly lessons.

We naturally translate in our heads because it’s viewed as the easiest way to learn the definitions needed when learning a language. This way of learning can actually hinder your skills and fluency later on. If your brain has to make neural connections between the word you’re learning, what it means in your native tongue, and the physical object the connection will not be nearly as strong. When you bypass the original translation between Chinese and your native language then there is a more basic and strong connection between just the Chinese vocabulary word and the tangible object.

start thinking in Chinese

In this blog post, you will learn the 4 important techniques to easily and naturally begin to speculate about the daily occurrences in your life. The best part is all of these techniques are supported and can be achieved through ChineseClass101.com.

Create Your Free Lifetime Account and Start Learning the whole Chinese Language from the Beginning!

1. Surround yourself with Chinese

Surround Yourself

By surrounding yourself with Chinese constantly you will completely immerse yourself in the language. Without realizing it you’ll be learning pronunciation, sentence structures, grammar, and new vocabulary. You can play music in the background while you’re cooking or have a Chinese radio station on while you study. Immersion is a key factor with this learning process because it is one of the easiest things to do, but very effective. Even if you are not giving the program your full attention you will be learning.

One great feature of ChineseClass101.com is the endless podcasts that are available to you. You can even download and listen to them on the go. These podcasts are interesting and are perfect for the intention of immersion, they are easy to listen to as background noise and are interesting enough to give your full attention. Many of them contain stories that you follow as you go through the lessons which push you to keep going.

2. Learn through observation
learn through observation

Learning through observation is the most natural way to learn. Observation is how we all learned our native languages as infants and it’s a wonder why we stop learning this way. If you have patience and learn through observation then Chinese words will have their own meanings rather than meanings in reference to your native language. Ideally, you should skip the bilingual dictionary and just buy a dictionary in Chinese.

ChineseClass101.com also offers the materials to learn this way. We have numerous video lessons which present situational usage of each word or phrase instead of just a direct translation. This holds true for many of our videos and how we teach Chinese.

3. Speak out loud to yourself
talk to yourself

Speaking to yourself in Chinese not only gets you in the mindset of Chinese, but also makes you listen to how you speak. It forces you to correct any errors with pronunciation and makes it easy to spot grammar mistakes. When you speak out loud talk about what you did that day and what you plan to do the next day. Your goal is to be the most comfortable speaking out loud and to easily create sentences. Once you feel comfortable talking to yourself start consciously thinking in your head about your daily activities and what is going on around you throughout the day.

With ChineseClass101.com you start speaking right away, not only this, but they have you repeat words and conversations after a native Chinese speaker. This makes your pronunciation very accurate! With this help, you are on the fast path to making clear and complex sentences and then actively thinking about your day.

4. Practice daily

If you don’t practice daily then your progress will be greatly slowed. Many people are tempted to take the 20-30 minutes they should be practicing a day and practice 120 in one day and skip the other days. This isn’t nearly as effective because everyday you practice you are reinforcing the skills and knowledge you have learned. If you practice all in one day you don’t retain the information because the brain can realistically only focus for 30 minutes at most. If you’re studying for 120 minutes on the same subject little of the information will be absorbed. Studying everyday allows you to review material that you went over previous days and absorb a small amount of information at a time.

It’s tough to find motivation to study everyday, but ChineseClass101.com can help. It’s easy to stay motivated with ChineseClass101.com because we give you a set learning path, with this path we show how much progress you’ve made. This makes you stick to your goals and keep going!

Conclusion

Following the steps and having patience is the hardest part to achieving your goals, it’s not easy learning a new language. You are essentially teaching your brain to categorize the world in a completely new way. Stick with it and you can do it just remember the 4 tools I taught you today! With them, conversations, reading, and understanding will become much easier. The most important thing to remember is to use the tools that ChineseClass101.com provides and you will be on your way to being fluent!

Learn Chinese With ChineseClass101 Today!