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Archive for the 'Living in China' Category

Everything to Know About Chinese Business Etiquette and More

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We’re all social animals, and we all interact with each other in a certain way in order to achieve the most harmony possible, depending on our cultural background and generational differences. Every country has a set of rules about etiquette for its own unique culture. China, a country that evolved over thousands of years of history, of course has its secrets for developing the great civilization it hosts today.

But what is Chinese etiquette?

Chinese etiquette (especially Chinese business etiquette!) can differ greatly from that of western countries. Some Chinese etiquette rules may be exactly the opposite, so don’t be surprised when you hear them. These unspoken Chinese etiquette customs help Chinese people build their respect, bonds, and understanding between each other. Some of the modern Chinese etiquette we’re going to introduce here is the heart of Chinese society, so be careful and keep them in mind so that you don’t embarrass yourself!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Discuss Etiquette
  2. Chinese Table Manners and Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts for Dining
  3. Do’s and Don’ts for Sightseeing
  4. Do’s and Don’ts for Greetings
  5. Do’s and Don’ts for Visiting a House
  6. Do’s and Don’ts When Riding Public Means of Transportation
  7. Do’s and Don’ts for Business Occasions
  8. Do’s and Don’ts for Celebrations
  9. Let ChineseClass101 Help You Master the Language & Culture!


1. How to Discuss Etiquette

If you’re wondering how to learn Chinese etiquette, first things first. Let’s have a little warm-up and start with the most useful phrases for discussing basic Chinese etiquette. Mastering these phrases is a wonderful place to start your learning journey in Chinese etiquette.

  • When talking about DON’Ts, use this sentence pattern:

    In Chinese: 你不应该[动词] -> 你不应该擤鼻涕。
    Pinyin: Nǐ bù yīng gāi [dòng cí] -> Nǐ bù yīng gāi xǐng bí tì.
    In English: Don’t [verb] -> Don’t blow your nose.

  • When talking about DO’s:

    In Chinese: 你应该[动词] -> 你应该带个礼物过来。
    Pinyin: Nǐ yīng gāi [dòng cí] -> Nǐ yīng gāi dài gè lǐ wù guò lái.
    In English: You should [verb] -> You should bring a present.


2. Chinese Table Manners and Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts for Dining

Hygiene

Do’s:

  • Do join the toasts or initiate one at the table.

    In Chinese etiquette, dining usually requires toasts at the table, especially when it’s a formal occasion where you’re eating with elders or people you need to show respect to. If you’re new to the Chinese dining table, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed by the number of toasts Chinese people do. However, toasts in Chinese table etiquette is a tradition, and a way to show your respect and kindness to the people you’re eating with. While initiating a toast, you can simply say (the wishing words may be altered):

    In Chinese: 我来敬您一杯酒,祝您万事如意。
    Pinyin: Wǒ lái jìng nín yī bēi jiǔ, zhù nín wàn shì rú yì.
    In English: Let me raise a glass of wine to you and wish that all your wishes will come true.

  • Do show that you’re willing to try all the food.

    If a Chinese person is passionately inviting you to try the dishes, do feel free to try them to show that you’re embracing his hospitality.

Don’ts:

  • Do not stick your chopsticks perpendicularly on rice.

    In Chinese etiquette, chopsticks shouldn’t be put in the rice this way. This is considered bad etiquette in China, and is thought to bring bad fortune. Although it sounds superstitious, many traditional Chinese people do pay attention to details like this.

  • Do not mind sharing food on the same plate.

    Unlike in western restaurants, most of the Chinese dishes in Chinese restaurants are shared among everyone, which is the family style. Thus, be prepared for this when you’re eating with Chinese people. You’ll have to pick dishes that will please both you and your dining partners. Also, remember to always leave the last piece of a dish for other people to show your kindness.

  • Do not mind when others (especially elders) get food for your plate.

    Most Chinese elders are likely to have the habit of getting food for you with their chopsticks, sometimes even despite your own preferences. When this happens, remember not to refuse their kindness and just pretend that you’re glad to have the dishes.


3. Do’s and Don’ts for Sightseeing

Bad Phrases

Sightseeing is an area where Chinese culture social etiquette is important to keep in consideration. Here are a few Chinese etiquette tips to help you go sightseeing in a polite and respectful manner.

Do’s:

  • Do walk on your right side.

    As most countries do, Chinese people prefer to walk on the right side of the road to provide convenience for other people who walk in the opposite direction.

  • Do always stay in lines when it’s necessary.

    As you all know, China is a crowded country. As a tourist, it may be time-consuming to wait in line for things. However, it’s a basic Chinese social etiquette rule to do so. People who cut in line are considered extremely rude in China.

Don’ts:

  • Do not throw trash as you want.

    Considering that China is having a severe environmental problem right now, throwing trash on the road is especially prohibited. Choosing to litter anyway is totally against Chinese culture customs and etiquette today.

  • Do not touch property if it’s not allowed.

    China is a country full of ancient properties and a long history. Many properties are protected stringently to preserve their historical beauty. Remember to be careful when you touch a property, and treat them gently.


4. Do’s and Don’ts for Greetings

Shaking Hands is a Very Basic Manner When You Greet Someone In China.

When it comes to Chinese etiquette, greetings are an important aspect of the culture to keep in mind. Here are some Chinese introduction etiquette rules that you should follow when greeting.

Do’s:

  • Do shake hands, especially when you meet someone for the first time.

    In Chinese body language etiquette, shaking hands is a basic way of greeting someone you’re not very familiar with.

  • Do bow when it’s needed.

    Bowing is viewed as a formal way of greeting people who you show special respect to. For example, in China, students sometimes bow to their teachers.

Don’ts:

  • Do not ask people about age or income.

    In Chinese etiquette, money (income) and age are considered extremely personal topics. If these happen to be a taboo for the person you’re greeting, you may cause embarrassment for them and yourself.

  • Do not hug someone you’re not close with as a way of greeting.

    Hugging someone is very common in western culture, even when meeting people for the first time. Nevertheless, there is a huge difference here between China and western countries. In China, hugging is not a common way of greeting. If you hug someone who’s not close to you, your enthusiasm may overwhelm the person who’s not used to this method of greeting.


5. Do’s and Don’ts for Visiting a House

Thanks

Next up in our guide on Chinese etiquette: visiting friends. Here are some tips for how to act when visiting someone’s home in China.

Do’s:

  • Do bring a gift if you’re visiting someone important.

    It’s a great way to show your kindness by bringing a little gift when invited to visit a house.

  • Do arrive on time.

    Being on time is a way to show your level of respect for the person you’re visiting. This is also considered Chinese professional etiquette, so do keep punctuality in mind.

Don’ts:

  • Do not feel frightened if the family is hosting you with too much hospitality.

    Chinese people are very hospitable. You may never know how much preparation they’ve done for your arrival. They may buy lots of additional food and clean the house thoroughly just to welcome you warmly.

  • Do not go into bedrooms without an invitation.

    In China, it’s considered rude to visit the bedrooms in a house without the homeowner’s permission or invitation.

Remember that a Bedroom is the Most Private Place in a House.


6. Do’s and Don’ts When Riding Public Means of Transportation

Do’s:

  • Do care for elders, pregnant women, disabled people, and kids, by giving your seat to them if necessary.

    It’s a custom in China to give your seat to people who need more care when on a bus or subway. Elders, pregnant women, disabled people, and young children are all considered as such.

  • Do stay in line while waiting for a bus.

    There are usually bus numbers written on the ground for people who are waiting for different buses. Be careful to wait by the right numbers and stay politely within the line.

Don’ts:

  • Do not push other people when the place is crowded.

    Sometimes the public transportation in China can get incredibly crowded due to China’s huge population. When this happens, remain calm and try not to push people around by stabilizing yourself.

  • Do not lean against the doors on a bus.

    You’ll see this reminder on most of the buses in China because it’s extremely dangerous when the door opens. If you don’t follow this rule, it will not only put you in danger, but may also cause inconvenience for people who need to get on the bus.


7. Do’s and Don’ts for Business Occasions

Business

Now it’s time for Chinese business etiquette tips. If you plan on working in China, or are visiting for work-related purposes, knowing basic Chinese etiquette for business is essential.

Do’s:

  • Do prepare a business card.

    Although this is a digital era, in China, a business card is still of high value during a business occasion. Be sure to bring a professional business card that represents your personal expert profile.

  • Do dress professionally.

    If you notice, Chinese people have a focus on appearance in many things. A professional look will definitely serve as a crutch to help you succeed during a business occasion.

Don’ts:

  • Do not cross your legs while sitting down.

    When it comes to Chinese etiquette, businesses are often uncomfortable with you crossing your legs (even if most people in casual situations are totally comfortable with this). During a business occasion, it’s considered bad-looking and rude.

  • Do not overly use Internet slang.

    Many people in modern society may be used to speaking with Internet slang in daily life. However, it’s extremely unprofessional to do so during a business occasion and may damage your professional profile.


8. Do’s and Don’ts for Celebrations

Don’t Forget to Remain Good-Mannered While Enjoying a Fabulous Celebration!

Even when celebrating, there’s some Chinese traditional etiquette that you need to be mindful of. Here are the do’s and don’ts for celebrations in China.

Do’s:

  • Do pay great attention to how you present the package for a gift.

    Chinese people place heavy importance on the presentation of a gift. When you prepare a gift, be sure to wrap it carefully enough.

  • Do give out some money to the newly married couple when you’re invited to a wedding.

    Giving out money is a traditional gift for weddings in China. Even though you’ve prepared a gift already, the money as a gift for the newly married couple is still essential!

Don’ts:

  • Do not open your gifts in front of the giver.

    This is another huge cultural difference between western countries and China. In western countries, it’s considered good manners to show people how much you’re pleased with the gift by opening it in front of the giver. However, in China, it’s not appropriate to open a gift immediately in front of the giver (unless the person asks you to do so).

  • Do not accept a red packet without refusing it first.

    You may have the opportunity to visit people during the Chinese New Year. As a tradition, elders may give red packets that include money inside to youngsters as a way to celebrate the new year. In western cultures, it’s rude to refuse a gift, so this may surprise you. But it’s actually rude to accept a red packet immediately from the elders. To show respect, you’ll have to ask them to take it back, which is very unlikely for them to do so. But refusing the gift is still a necessary process before finally accepting it.


9. Let ChineseClass101 Help You Master the Language & Culture!

It’s great that you’ve made it through the whole article! I’m certain you’re now well-informed and almost an expert on basic Chinese etiquette. As long as you follow the guidelines in this article, you’ll most likely excel in performing your best of manners.

If you still don’t feel confident enough, why not try our lessons at ChineseClass101.com to gain more interesting knowledge related to Chinese culture and obtain professional teaching? You’re only one click away from the real adventure!

But before you go, let us know in the comments if you learned any new Chinese etiquette facts! What are they? Are there any situations we missed? We look forward to hearing from you. :)
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Pursue Your Career in China — How to Find a Job in China

China is a large country with a great variety of demands for its market, and due to the rapidly growing internationality and the increasing economy, the appearance of foreign workers in China is more and more common. It’s not as difficult as you thought to set sail for your career in China. The international job opportunities in China are larger than you can imagine.

Working in China can bring a series of advantages to you considering its skyrocketing economy and the income for inflation getting higher and higher in most international companies. Therefore, foreigners with international experience are able to find a range of foreigners-friendly jobs in China, with an advantage.

Now, if you’re planning to find a job in China and establish your own footing in the society, this article is definitely the treasure you’re looking for!

Start with a bonus, and download the Business Words & Phrases PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

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Table of Contents

  1. The Special Requirements to Work in China
  2. Where to Start Finding Employment in China
  3. The Utilization of Networking for Jobs — Chinese Job Sites
  4. Essential Chinese Phrases for Business Occasions and Interviews
  5. Some Other Communities Offline to Find Jobs in China
  6. Chinese CV, Interview, and Resume Tips
  7. Conclusion

1. The Special Requirements to Work in China

Chinese Visa

Though it’s not required to know the Chinese language in order to work there, according to different needs in different companies, the ability to speak Chinese fluently will bring you more benefits. Generally, jobs that require the ability to speak Chinese offer you a better salary. So far, the top-paying jobs in China are about finance, human resources, computer science, etc…

Generally, most foreigners in China find jobs teaching their first language to begin with. There’s a huge advantage for native English speakers since many Chinese parents wish their children to have perfect English. Therefore, jobs in China for English speakers are in high demand.

If you’re planning to start your career in China as a foreigner, one of the priorities for you to take care of is the work visa for you to work in China. There are pretty specific visa requirements for foreigners to work in China, so we’ll just give you some of the basics. Remember to go to a local embassy or a visa service center to get your application done. Of course, there’s a good selection of different visa types; the best one for you depends on how long you’ll be staying in China. Usually, the best type for a foreigner working in China is a Z-type visa. According to your personal situation, the type of visa you need may vary. For example, if you’re extremely expert in your profession, you’ll be able to apply for an R-type visa.

2. Where to Start Finding Employment in China

Which cities are the best fit for foreigners looking to find jobs in China? Check out the top four cities below.

1- Beijing

As the very capital of China, Beijing has certainly been a positive influence in the growing economy in China. When it comes to working and living in China, Beijing isn’t likely to let you down.

2- Shanghai

Shanghai is the center of finance and developed businesses in China. Recently, the first Disneyland in the Chinese mainland opened in Shanghai in 2016.

3- Guangzhou

With a strong cultural background, Guangzhou’s retail sales, household deposits total both takes the first three place in China, and its human development index takes the first position in China so far. It is also known as a popular place for immigrants.

4- Shenzhen

As one of the first cities to go through a revolution in China, Shenzhen has remained friendly and open to other cultures ever since, and its GDP is outstanding.

These four cities should be your absolute first options to go to when you decide to work in China as a foreigner. As four of the most prosperous cities in China, they are also more populous and therefore have a more competitive job market. Fortunately, as a foreigner, your identity may provide you a shortcut in those internationally developed countries that other native Chinese citizens won’t have access to.

3. The Utilization of Networking for Jobs — Chinese Job Sites

Gadgets

1- WeChat

https://web.wechat.com/

Once you’re all settled in China, you might want to download the application and register for a WeChat account immediately. It’s one of the most essential medias for Chinese people and the most common way to communicate via social media, being a significant Chinese job search website. You can even take the posts from your WeChat to use as your “second business card.” If later you’re in contact with people who are related to your work, it’s necessary to post carefully because many individuals think the content of your posts represent who you are.

There’s a word—guanxi—in Chinese, or 关系. Its literal meaning is “relationship,” and further, it talks about your personal connection and class within the business social circle. Nowadays, it’s commonplace to get a job through guanxi for many Chinese citizens; they’re skilled at utilizing the sources they have. Thus, WeChat can be a great tool for you to get updated information on jobs if you’ve already established some guanxi of your own. This will open doors for you to see posts regarding job opportunities.

2- LinkedIn

https://www.linkedin.com/

LinkedIn, as an internationally popular service for employment, now has a partnership with WeChat. You can easily link your LinkedIn to WeChat, making it convenient for other people to review both your professional profile and social media profile. Again, once that’s done, you’ll be responsible for establishing a proper public figure through your posts on WeChat.

3- Job Lead China

https://www.jobleadchina.com/job

Job Lead China is an excellent recruitment service provider and works as a bridge to build a connection between foreigners and the Chinese employment system. All the enterprises there are verified, and the platform provides a series of thorough services including analyzing the needs of the company, conducting profession search and background investigation, performing customer interviews, identifying candidates, and providing follow-up service after the trial stage. This is one of the most popular Chinese job hunting sites for good reason!

4- JobsiteChina

https://www.jobsitechina.com/Index_en.aspx

JobsiteChina is another platform that focuses on international employment. It provides a wide-range of expert services for job opportunities in China for foreigners, such as a Headhunter service, advertisement, CV downloading, and so on. There, you’ll also find some detailed guides for the procedures related to having a job in China.

5- 51Job

https://www.51job.com/

51Job is one of the largest platforms for local online lists of jobs in China. The application process is simple and easy; you can just post your resume and search for jobs for free. But keep in mind that this isn’t recommended for foreigners who cannot speak Chinese fluently, since everything is navigated in Chinese. Remember, there are many agents who can be a great help for you to start a job, but sometimes it’s not necessary to go through them. Thus, it’s important to learn to recognize the agents apart from the direct enterprises.

4. Essential Chinese Phrases for Business Occasions and Interviews

Here’s a list of some of the most important phrases to know when it comes time for that big interview or other business occasion, including the most common interview questions in China.

1- Business Card Exchange

  • In Chinese: 请问能和您交换一下名片吗?
  • Pinyin: Qǐng wèn néng hé nín jiāo huàn yī xià míng piàn ma?
  • In English: Can we please exchange the business cards?

2- Thanking for the Interview

  • In Chinese: 感谢您能给我这次参加面试的机会。
  • Pinyin: Gǎn xiè nín néng gěi wǒ zhè cì cān jiā miàn shì de jī huì.
  • In English: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to go to this interview.

3- Asking When to Expect Notice

  • In Chinese: 请问您什么时候能通知我录取结果呢?
  • Pinyin: Qǐng wèn nín shén me shí hòu néng tōng zhī wǒ gù yòng jié guǒ ne?
  • In English: Can I know when I will get the notice?

4- Greet All the Interviewers

  • In Chinese: 大家好。
  • Pinyin: Dà jiā hǎo.
  • In English: Hello, everyone.

5- When Asked if You Have Questions After Interview

  • In Chinese: 针对我们公司,您还有什么想问的吗?
  • Pinyin: Zhēn duì wǒ men gōng sī, nín hái yǒu shén me xiǎng wèn de ma?
  • In English: Is there any other question you have for our company?

6- When Asked to Introduce Yourself

  • In Chinese: 请给我们简单介绍一下你自己。
  • Pinyin: Qǐng gěi wǒ men jiǎn dān jiè shào yī xià nǐ zì jǐ.
  • In English: Please briefly introduce yourself for us.

7- When Asked for Work Experience

  • In Chinese: 能给我们简单介绍一下你之前的工作经历吗?
  • Pinyin: Néng gěi wǒ men jiǎn dān jiè shào yī xià nǐ zhī qián de gōng zuò jīng lì ma?
  • In English: Can you please briefly introduce your working experience before?

8- When Asked to Introduce Your Personal Strengths

  • In Chinese: 能给我们简单介绍一下你的个人优势吗?
  • Pinyin: Néng gěi wǒ men jiǎn dān jiè shào yī xià nǐ de gè rén yōu shì ma?
  • In English: Can you please tell us about your personal strength?

5. Some Other Communities Offline to Find Jobs in China

Job Fair

Job fairs are held in populous areas, and you’ll have to pay attention to the advertisement for the off-site job fairs both online and offline. Your network may just be your main source of information about these job fairs, so don’t forget to utilize some of the Chinese job searching sites above and continue to build strong connections!

There are two main websites that update the job fairs for many cities in China. You can find more information about them by clicking the city you are interested in.

Taking Notes

6. Chinese CV, Interview, and Resume Tips

1- Stay Humble

Traditionally, Chinese people attach great importance to the trait of being humble. Though during an interview or a business occasion, or in your resume, you’ll have to paint yourself in a presentable and confident image, you should remember not to overdo it so much that people form a bad impression of you as being arrogant. This is certainly one of the most important things to know when it comes to finding a job in China.

Interviewing

2- Nice Resume Photo

You may want to include a good portrait of yourself in your resume, as a nice appearance can instantly leave a positive impression. Make sure you choose a recent photo, which showcases the professional image of yourself.

3- Shake Hands if there’s a Chance

Small details can make a huge difference when landing a job in China. Don’t forget to shake hands when you meet your interviewers as well as when you leave. It shows a great deal of respect for the people who you offer to shake hands with. Remember to offer your hands gently to your interviewers or potential business partners when you have a chance.

Two Woman Shaking Hands

4- Organize Your Resume Neatly

The overall visual effect is important for a resume in China as well, despite the content. Keep your resume neat and well-organized to leave a good first impression for the viewers.

Resume

5- Try to Show as Many Accomplishments as You Can

Rather than your own evaluation of yourself, Chinese resume evaluators prefer to focus on your personal accomplishments. Personal evaluation can be biased; they would like to recognize your true strengths by the things you’ve accomplished previously.

7. Conclusion

Though it’s possible to find a job in China as a foreigner without speaking good Chinese, the skill of speaking Chinese will give you a much greater advantage when it comes to securing a decent career and helping you communicate to your co-workers more smoothly to establish a harmonious working environment.

ChineseClass101.com, provides a set of systematic and useful resources for studying Chinese. For example, there are professional teachers who can help you improve your Chinese language skills in order to find a job and further prepare for the interview. Don’t hesitate to take hold of this great advantage and learn more about how to find a job in China!

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6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

There are plenty of destinations where you can get by with English, but sometimes you want to do better than just ‘get by’. Here are 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination.

What are the 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination?

1. You will be able to discover your destination better than other tourists.
Getting by is one thing, but actually experiencing a trip abroad is quite another. No amount of guidebooks and online research can compensate for a basic lack of language ability. Speaking the language of your destination permits you to explore that destination beyond the regular tourist traps. Your language skills will not only allow you to dig into all the hidden gems of your destination, but they will also allow you to mingle with the locals to get a true experience on your holiday. Think of it this way: you’re not restricted to talking to the people at the tourist desk anymore.

2. Knowing how to communicate with local police or medical personnel can be life-saving.
Before you leave for your destination, make sure you learn how to ask for help in that destination’s local tongue. Do you know how to ask the waiter if this dish has peanuts in it? Or tell your host family that you’re allergic to fish? Can you tell the local doctor where it hurts? Moreover, an awareness of an environment improves your chance of remaining safe inside it. For example, walking around a busy marketplace, dazzled by an unfamiliar language, signs and accents will instantly render any tourist a more attractive mark for pickpockets. Communicating with other people, asking questions and looking confident will make you look like a semi-local yourself, and will ward off potential thieves.

Click here for Chinese Survival Phrases that will help you in almost every situation

3. It helps you relax.
Traveling is much less stressful when you understand what that announcement at the airport was saying, or if this bus line reaches your hotel. These things stress you out when traveling and they disappear when you understand the language. This allows you to focus on planning your trip in a better, easier way.

Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.

4. Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.
Sometimes those relationships turn into friendships, and other times they’re nothing more than a lively conversation. Either way, as Nelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” When you approach someone – even staff at a store or restaurant – with English, rather than their own language, an invisible divide has already been erected. Making even a small effort to communicate in the language of the place you’re visiting can go a long way and you’ll find many more doors open up to you as a result.

Click here for the Top 25 Chinese Questions you need to know to start a conversation with anyone

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

5. You’ll be a better ambassador for your country.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we know very little about other countries and cultures, especially the local politics. And what we do know is often filtered to us by the media, which tends to represent only certain interests. When you can speak the local language, you’re able to answer questions that curious locals have about your country and culture. Are you frustrated with how your country is presented in global news? Are you embarrassed by your country’s leaders and want to make it clear that not everyone is like that where you’re from? This is a very good opportunity to share your story with people who have no one else to ask. We all have a responsibility to be representatives of the place we come from.

6. Learning another language can fend off Alzheimer’s, keep your brain healthy and generally make you smarter.
For more information, check out this blog post about the 5 Benefits of Learning a New Language.

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid for Chinese Learners

Hey everyone today we are going to show some common mistakes that Chinese learners make so that you guys know what to look out for!

Common Error #1:
Incorrect word order when forming questions:
English speakers tend to use English word order when forming questions with question words. In English, the question word comes at the beginning of the sentence. In Chinese the question word comes at the end of the sentence.

Common Error #2:
Making verbs past tense:
getting the particles 了 and 过 mixed up. Put in a simple way, 了 is used for a completed action. 过 is used to indicate previous experience.

Common Error #3:
Negating verbs:
Getting the 不 and the 没 mixed up. Put in a simple way, the 不 is used to negate action verbs in present, future, or when speaking about habitual actions. 没 is used when the action either did not happen, or isn’t complete yet.

Common Error #4:
In an attempt to be polite, using too many words:
A lot of Chinese learners, in an attempt to translate what is polite in their own language end up adding too many words to their sentences, confusing the people that are listening. One tip we have is to Listen to how a Chinese person who is learning English tends to speak and try to follow that pattern in Chinese.

Common Error #5:
Being so afraid about having a standard accent or the correct tones:
Some beginners are too afraid to speak because they are afraid of making mistakes, but the best way to fix this is by practicing! Chinese is a hard language so don’t be afraid to make mistakes! You will improve!

We would love to hear your stories and any other mistakes that you guys think are common for students of Chinese! Feel free to leave us a comment and share!

Top 5 Tools for Learning Chinese

Today we are going to give you our top 5 recomended tools to help you with mastering Chinese.
1.ABC Dictionary by John DeFrancis

This is a great pinyin dictionary with great definitions and easy lookup system

2. Adsotrans

This is a really good online super-dictionary, found at www.adsotrans.com. Just paste in any Chinese text and let Adso analyze it. Mouse over the results to see what the words mean in English, and how to pronounce them. There are numerous other features that come with this dictionary as well. Check it out!

3. Chinese Pera-kun

A firefox plug-in that lets you get translation for Chinese text by putting your mouse over the word.
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3349

4. Flashcards

Try our flashcards on the site, chineseclass101.com. Simply add words from any of our lessons to your word bank, then go to the flashcards tab and they will be automatically populated for you.

5. Google’s Character Writing Software

Use pinyin to input Chinese characters. Google’s intuitive software will predict what words you want to use, and will allow you to string along sentences.
https://www.google.com/ime/pinyin/

6. Pinyin Chart

Come to www.chineseclass101.com and use our pinyin chart with audio for each of the sounds of Chinese to familiarize yourself with the pronunciation of pinyin as well as to perfect you own pronunciation.

Ok, I know we said top 5, but we thought all 6 of these products were so good we would include them all! If you guys have anymore ideas please leave a comment and let us know!

Chinese Society

Hey everyone, today we are going to be discussing the social structure of China.

Beijing

Beijing is also a city of contrasts.  The political, educational and cultural center of China, the history of Beijing can be traced back over 3,000 years.  With such historical relics as the Forbidden City, the Ming Tombs, and the Great Wall in close proximity, Beijing is a place one can get in touch with the China of old.  However, with the recent economic progress and the frenzy of new construction and infrastructure for the 2008 Olympics, Beijing is now a changed city.

Family Life

Introduction: Families in China are generally still quite traditional, and the family is a focal point of life. Most holidays center around family gatherings and meals, and filial piety is an important and still is a very valid part of Chinese society.  In many cases, adult Chinese children will live with their parents (if their parents live in the same city), with the parents aiding them with household duties such as cooking and parenting.  Thus, though China is modernizing very quickly, traditional family values are still very strong.

Work Culture and Economy

Introduction: China’s economy is ranked number 3 in the world and is strong in manufacturing, being called by some ‘the world’s workshop’.   Almost every major multi-national company not only has an office in China; they deem China as vital to their global corporate strategies.  Though foreign companies account for a lot of business in China, the State-owned companies continued to dominate the list of the biggest companies in China, taking the top ten spots. Some well known multinational companies in China are Boeing, Volkswagon, Microsoft and Nokia.

This is just some of examples of what Chinese society is really like today! Be sure to explore more about this society to understand it more!

Chinese Cuisine part 2

Last week we discussed the basics of Chinese cuisine, well this week we are back to talk about our favorite subject some more, food! This week we will be discussing dishes we strongly recomend, and some other dishes that we recomend for the brave!

Top Chinese Foods to Try

  • 小 籠包 (xiǎolóngbāo) - Probably the most famous Shanghai dish: these small steamed dumplings are steamed in a basket and stuffed with meat and a tasty broth inside. The connoisseur bites a little hole into them first, sips the broth, then dips them in dark vinegar (醋 cu) to season the meat inside.
  • 油条 (yóutiáo) lit. oil stick - Long, deep-fried donut. A very popular breakfast in China. Typically consumed in the morning with soy milk (dou jiang 豆浆), the youtiao is a long, deep-fried stick of dough.
  • 羊肉串 (yángròu chuàn) Barbecued meat skewers (Typically from street vendors) - Generally made from lamb, these Xinjiang-style meat kebabs are delicious.
  • 拉面 (lāmiàn) Lanzhou-style lamian - Fresh hand-pulled noodles; look for a tiny restaurants with staff in Muslim dress. These fresh noodles have a flavor very atypical of most noodle dishes you will find in China.
  • 点 心 (diǎnxīn) Cantonese / Guangzhou / Hong Kong-style Dim Sum - The small snacks usually eaten for lunch/breakfast in these southern regions of China and in Hong Kong are a highlight.

Top 5 Chinese Foods for the Brave

  • Stinky Tofu - Locals will forever be asking you if you’ve tried this fermented tofu specialty, so you might as well cave and do the deed. Think ‘french cheese’ rather than ’smelly socks’ and you just might enjoy it.
  • Century Eggs - They’re not really a century old, though they do look it. Black, gelatinous, strong salty flavor… these delicacies are preserved in salt and ash for 100 days.
  • Drunken shrimp - Shrimp marinated live, and served live. Watch out for the splashing wine. You eat them after they drown.
  • Seahorse - Though it feels somehow wrong on many levels to eat cute animals that feature in Disney cartoons, at least you’ll have something to write home about.
  • Bird’s Nest Soup - Don’t let the saliva base of this broth turn you off from this healthful aphrodisiac.

Chinese Cuisine part 1

The focus of this lesson was to teach about Chinese cuisine
Basics of Chinese Cuisine

  • Many people are surprised on their arrival in China to find that what they thought was Chinese food is nowhere to be found.
  • Another challenge is that the names of Chinese dishes, even in Chinese, can be very cryptic, making ordering a challenge, even if you find a menu with English translations. Chinese dish names are generally completely irrelevant to the ingredients.
  • Rice is generally a staple of the south, with noodles featuring in as well.
  • Northern China features dishes made with wheat flour, such as noodles, dumplings, steamed buns, and thin pancakes.
  • Where meat is often the focal point of many western meals, it is the starch-rice or noodle-that is the starting point and palette for Chinese meals.

Regional Cuisines

  • There are 8 main regional cuisines in China; the flavors vary from hot and spicy, to sweet and oily, even pungent and sour.
  • The main cooking methods employed are stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming and stewing.
  • Chinese kitchens rarely have an oven, though there are various specialties that are roasted.

Famous Seasonal Dishes

  • The Hairy Crab of Shanghai comes into season in October/November. A local delicacy that is exported around the country and beyond. One of the most savored parts of the hairy crab are the sperm in the males, and the eggs in the females.
  • Hot pot is a warming food that is popular in the winter. A large pot of broth is set to boil, and the diners cook their own meats, vegetables and seafood by boiling them in the soup.
  • In mid-to-late September, the mid-autumn festival is celebrated. Mooncakes are ubiquitous at this time of year, and are gifted and re-gifted amongst friends, relatives and from employers to employees.
    • Mooncakes are round, like the moon, and have a pastry-like crust with a flavored filling; from lotus paste to sweet red bean; even salty egg yolks.

Table Etiquette

  • Chinese food is generally prepared in bite-sized pieces that can easily be picked up with chopsticks. A knife at the table is considered barbaric.
  • It is a demonstration of utmost hospitality and respect for the host to dish food onto his guest’s plate. Often, this will be done repeatedly, despite futile pleads on the eater’s part to being full.
  • It is fine to leave some food in one’s plate, as if one cleans the plate, it is a signal to the host to put more food onto it!
  • In China, dishes are served communally, and there are no serving spoons. The diners all use their own chopsticks to dip into the dishes.
  • Never stab your chopsticks into your rice bowl and leave them there. This is the worst of all Chinese dining faux pas, as it is related to a funeral tradition.

Food as Medicine

  • From bird’s nest soup to deer antlers, Chinese food therapy dates back as early as 2000 BC.

Well thats all we have for today! What is the most unique Chinese food you have ever eaten? Please leave us a comment and let us know!

Test Your China Knowledge

The focus of this lesson is to test your knowledge about China. This lesson will build your basic knowledge of China by quizzing you on 5 areas of Knowledge: Geography, Pop Culture, Travel, Economics and Myth Busting!! Are you ready?

1)What percentage of China’s 1.3 billion people live in urban areas?
A) 10% 
B) 40%
C) 50%
D) 90%

2)China has the following number of provinces:
A)22
B)23
C)34

3)Following are three famous Chinese people. One is a famous singer, one a politician, and one a sports star. Match the person with their profession:
王菲 刘翔 胡锦涛
(Liú Xiáng)(Wáng Fēi) (athlete) 
(Hú Jǐntāo) (politician) (singer)

4) Rank in correct order the most popular travel destination in China:
Shanghai Beijing Xi’an 

5) What year did the economic reforms that transformed China’s economy into a market-oriented economy take place in?

6) Fortune cookies originated in China. True or False? Read the rest of this post »

Top 6 Must-Know Phrases (one for getting out of trouble…)

The following are 6 essential phrases guaranteed to be the best thing you ever learned in Chinese!

  1. 谢谢 (xièxie)  “Thanks.” The Chinese aren’t big on ‘please’, but they love thank you so much that they’ll often hit you with a barrage of it, ‘xiexiexiexiexiexiexiexie’.
  2. 听不懂 (tīngbùdǒng) “I don’t understand what you are saying.” This phrase is going to be your best friend, go-to and solace. 
  3. 你好 (nǐhǎo) “hello” If you don’t know it yet, we don’t know where you’ve been.
  4. 不知道 (bù zhīdào) “I don’t know.” You may hear this phrase more than use it, however learn from the Chinese how to bu zhidao every situation you wish to evade, play dumb about, or avoid.
  5. 不好意思 (bùhǎoyìsi) “Sorry.”  Buhaoyisi literally means ‘bad feeling’, and can be used to apologize to all the dainty toes your oversized foreign feet will step on in the crowded subway, to repent over some cultural faux pas you likely don’t know you’ve committed, or to just curry favor, in general.
  6. 让一下 (ràng yīxià) “Let me through.”  Buhaoyisi’s slightly stronger cousin. Use this when you’re trapped in a subway car and can’t get out, or stymied in your efforts to crowd-worm through a city of 18 million people.

There you go.  Just don’t blame us if #4 doesn’t work ;)