Yes, Minister on democracy (Chinese subtitles)

Didn’t expect the Chinese subtitles there. I guess it really is a small world after all nowadays. Anyhow, I took it as a sign to share it. Didn’t have time to do a transcription of the Chinese characters unfortunately. Maybe at some point.

I really have to look for more stuff like that, but unfortunately when the subtitles are part of the video that can be difficult to search for.

Pining for Pinyin

An Ol

When I started out learning Mandarin I was always annoyed by pinyin, but it turns out the real problem is that it so poorly supported. Sure, there are some issues with it, Bopomofo certainly looks more elegant, but pinyin is the standard and if just learning the (relatively) few rules and irregularities by rote is too much for you–frankly, maybe Mandarin isn’t for you.

Okay, this is a bit of a case of do as I say, not as I do, but it’s still true. Continue reading


藏宝用字 [藏寶用字] —— How’s this as a Chinese title for “Things Beyond Z”? Does that work? Any suggestions for improvements or an alternative? Would 拥 or 永 work better? (This is yet another of those attempts that I really should’ve left to a native speaker or least consulted one before posting, but I couldn’t resist.)

藏 / zàng / depository
宝 [寶] / bǎo / treasure
用 / yòng / to use, usefulness
字 / zì / letter,symbol,character,word
用字 / yòngzì / to use letters
包藏 / bāocáng / to contain, to harbor, to conceal

As a German title I’ll use “Nicht allein das ABC”, taken from Wilhelm Busch‘s Max und Moritz.

(Translations/titles in other languages I’d be very interested in, by the way.)
Continue reading

Links: Sexy Mandarin [links to nsfw sites]

I haven’t taken a closer look at this yet, but it’s an interesting approach. Seems a bit sleazy perhaps to show women in lingerie to teach Chinese, but I’m not one to judge. ;)



A Wild Hanzi Appears! [some adult language, links to nsfw site]

I took kind of a me-day yesterday and was planning on another one today, just relax catch up on some of the webcomics I read. But in one of them a Chinese character turned up and got me curious, plus It was relevant in other ways so I thought, why not make a blog post about it? Still sort of against my no-work-at-all-today rule, but no need to be too rigid there either. Besides, who am I to say no when the universe drops me a “subtle” hint? (I’m not really superstitious in that way, but sometimes I wonder…)

This is the character:

Easy enough to look up if you know your stroke orders. I like it. Good choice for a tattoo.

实 [實] /  shí / real, true, honest, really, solid, fruit, seed, definitely

xiaoma /⇒  mdbg

Continue reading

Beating My Own Drum

Hello everyone. Did you know today is the Dragon Boat Festival?

It’s a very important Chinese festival that has to do with… uh… dragonboats and dragons and boats and there’s drums and poetry and… something about balancing an egg at noon? To be honest, I didn’t really have time to do research.

Also, it’s my birthday (I’m sign of the Fire Dragon, incidentally) so perhaps I may be forgiven for showing off a bit. If you want to indulge me and have a look at ⇒ this (⇒ annotated via and at ⇒ this (⇒ link to pdf – check out page 9). Isn’t that something? Best serendipitous birthday presents ever!

To be serious for a moment, I really do feel quite honored and am very delighted.

So. All right. Got dragons covered, got drums covered. Now, let me see, pretty sure I’ve got boats somewhere… okay, here’s one, and there’s another one. Anything else? Oh, right, egg balancing… how about this? …seems a bit wobbly… okay, this one’s more auspicious, I suppose:

Giraffe hatching from egg
Hatching Giraffe



vcws.org学联精彩  – 特别报道 [annotated via]

ordway.org2017  Children’s FestivalGu Gu Drum Group / Study Guides2017 festival study guide (pdf!)

Idiom: Precarious as a Pile of Eggs – 危如累卵Hatching Giraffe


Pinyin tone mark placement mnemonic

This seems like something you would pick up automatically over time, but somehow it’s not. At least on my part, I kept having problems with remembering it. There’s different ways of putting the rules, but what works best for me is:

  • The tone mark goes on the vowel that’s first in this sequence: a o e i u (ü)
  • Except for -iu, where it goes on the u
⇒ youtube: the 6 Vowels for Chinese Pinyin (Chels Teaches Chinese)

Alternative mnemonic: All vowels in use