Recent Posts

9 great apps to boost your Chinese reading skills

This comprehensive review explores nine apps designed to enhance Chinese reading skills for learners at various proficiency levels. The Chairman’s Bao and Du Chinese, which are well-known for their extensive libraries and graded materials, face competition from newer apps like Dot Languages and mylingua, introducing AI features.

Chinese vocabulary notes (February + March 2024)

In this edition: declining marriage rates in China, interview with the winner of the world’s largest Chinese competition, English skills of Chinese people, 996 work culture, banning TikTok (or not) and the canceled Prime Minister’s press conference.

Chinese text correction: ChatGPT vs professional Chinese teacher

Experiment: can ChatGPT correct my badly written Chinese texts better than a Chinese teacher?

Improving Chinese reading & writing: one month using maayot – a review

Maayot is a fairly new app that helps to improve your Chinese reading, writing and speaking. It is nicely designed and powered by a dedicated team in Hongkong. I tested it for one month. Here’s the summary of my experience learning Chinese with maayot.

Discussing ChatGPT’s learning tips for Chinese learners – from complete beginners to advanced

Since ChatGPT knows everything, I asked the AI-tool for his best learning advice for Chinese learners. Not just random learning advice, but broken down into learning tips for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners. The results can be taken seriously. Find out which learning advice ChatGPT has in store for your current language goals.

Chinese vocabulary notes (January 2024)

The new year has begun and I’m back making my Chinese vocabulary notes. In this edition: the showdown between Thomas Afu and Laolei, caving in China and the state of Chinese masculinity.

The Chinese cultural revolution – in 10 movie classics

In this blog I recommend 10 must-see films about (or made during) the Chinese cultural revolution, complete with indication of subtitles and difficulty level.

Review: Hanping Chinese Pro + Hanping Camera + Hanping Popup

This summer I visited China and instead of using Pleco, I’ve been using Hanping Chinese Pro for a change, as well as testing Hanping Camera and Popup. Here’s my review of all three Hanping apps for Android.

Knowing your learning style to master Chinese

You’re starting to learn Chinese? While smart learners think about their learning plan, very few ever consider their preferred learning style. Why not discover yours in the next 5 minutes?

10 extremely helpful YouTube channels for learning Mandarin

You want to improve your Mandarin skills? For some of the greatest online resources for Chinese you don’t have to look far: they can be found on YouTube. But where to start? This is my updated top 10 of YouTube channels for learning Chinese.

Chinese vocabulary notes (June 2023)

In this edition: Chinese young people don’t want to marry anymore, the little mermaid and Chinese beauty standards, cycling in good old Wuhan, relaxation in Hongkong, high housing prices in Shanghai and last but not least international (Chinese) marriage.

10 great movies about rural China

Rural China is the raw reality most Chinese people come from. Here are 10 film recommendations about the Chinese countryside, including some real classics.

Chinese vocabulary notes (May 2023)

In this edition: Chinese girl in Rwanda, Chinese uncle helps Afghan family, what do Chinese men think about cheating, a new Chinese song called 花园种花, a Chinese idiom called 人各有志, Beijing drifters and ‘white paper protests’ in Shangha

Chinese vocabulary notes (April 2023)

In this edition: methods to fight insomnia, China’s First Lady giving an interview, living off-grid in China, cheating partners and Taiwanese history (and two idioms 甩锅 + 擦边球).

Learning Chinese with ChatGPT – a game changer?

Is ChatGPT merely a hype or will the AI language model transform the way we learn Chinese and other foreign languages? What can it do and what can it do not? 5 ways it can assist with learning and practicing Chinese.

Chinese Vocabulary Notes 16

Chinese vocabulary notes (February + March 2023)

In this edition: Wuhan retired workers protest, new trend of middle-aged people leaving first-tier cities, Chinese spy balloon, perfectionism, pregnancy and “Red Roulette”.

HSK 9 - how hard is the exam

How hard is HSK 9?

In 2020 the introduction of three new HSK levels shocked the global Chinese learning community. Where HSK 6 used to be the ultimate certification of Chinese language skills, now you can aim for HSK 9. But how difficult is HSK 9 and what skills do you need to pass the exam?

Chinese vocabulary notes (January 2023)

In this edition: the Chinese documentary 书记 (2010), Mandarin-teaching TikToks, taking the HSK 9 exam, 2023 life goals and ChatGPT.

Tutoring platforms: Chinese lessons on a budget?

Thinking of booking Chinese lessons, but not sure how much you’re willing to spend or how many lessons your money can buy? This is how many Chinese lessons 250 $ can get you.

Film tip: 书记 – The Transition Period (2010)

A Chinese county level official in his prime. The Mainland Chinese documentary “书记” introduces Guo Yongchang, secretary of the Gushi County Party Committee, who “rules” over 1.6 million people in Southern Henan. The film covers the three months before secretary Guo leaves his post and ends up in prison.

Chinese vocabulary notes (December 2022)

The final edition from 2022: the death of Jiang Zemin, job hunting in Taiwan and the white paper revolution in China. Happy new year to all serious Chinese learners! Keep studying, keep growing!

Chinese vocabulary notes (November 2022)

In this month’s edition: returning to China (回国), emigrating from China, German chancellor visits China, energy crisis, compliments, growing up in China, Chinese economy and finally China’s one child policy.

You don’t have to go to China to learn Chinese!

The bad news: China won’t stop its zero-Covid policy anytime soon (or will it?). The good news: you don’t have to go to China to learn Chinese.

Chinese vocabulary notes #12

Chinese vocabulary notes (October 2022)

In this month’s edition: Chinese health expert explains China zero-covid policy, Xi’ great power diplomacy, China’s demographic trap and the Chinese immigrant experience in Germany.

Why do so few non-native learners manage to truly master Chinese tones?

From all the people learning Chinese and reaching a relatively high level of proficiency only a few ever seem to truly master the Chinese tones. By that I mean they speak fully fluent and sound so “native” that it would fool native Chinese speakers. Why is that? Are Chinese tones just too damn hard or is it laziness on our part?

Chinese vocabulary notes (September 2022)

In this month’s edition: Chinese public opinion on Mao Zedong & Kim Jong-Un, successful Chinese immersion in Britain, sex education in China, parenting – yes or no, Chinese phonetics master class, lockdown in Chengdu and cycling in Changsha.

9 things to expect from a good Chinese teacher

Are you taking Chinese classes or planning of doing so? In that case, nothing is more important than finding the right teacher. Here are 9 things I look for when it comes to Chinese teachers.

Chinese vocabulary notes (August 2022)

In this month’s edition: Chinese idols, what Chinese think about the Taiwanese question, parenting made in China and last but not least, Afu got COVID and how it impacts the Chinese-speaking YouTube community…

Online Chinese courses vs face-to-face Chinese courses

Does online Chinese class truly beat a face-to-face Chinese course or is it the other way round? Which type of course does suit your personal situation and learning needs best? Here’s my personal look at the pros and cons of on- and offline Chinese courses.

Chinese vocabulary notes (July 2022)

In this month’s edition: bitcoin explained in Chinese, what do people in China have to say about the Johnny Depp – Amber Heard trial, the story of Will hart (fluent in Chinese after 1.5 years), apartment hunting in Taipei and more!

Online Chinese classes with GoEast Mandarin – my experience

Looking for online Chinese classes to get to the next level? I took a few online classes with GoEast Mandarin. In this review, I’ll cover how it works, what it costs and what’s the added value.

Preparing for HSK 6 with flashcards: 2500 words in 500 days?

How long does it take to learn all HSK 6 vocabulary by relying on a spaced repetition flashcard app like Daily Chinese? And can it work?