Learning Chinese? 10 BLOGS you should know about

Blogs can be a great source for tips & tricks, ideas and inspiration, even free resources like reading materials, cheat sheets, video’s and podcasts. Blogs come an go though and some of them have already turned into online fossils. So when I made this top 10, I looked for four things:

  • Engaging and fresh content
  • Relevance
  • Passion
  • Integrity

Top 10 blogs for learning Mandarin

ONE: Sinosplice

This is a great blog by John Pasden, an expert and Mandarin nerd “who’s been around” for a long time. He has published a great series of graded readers for Mandarin learners. Check out his list of resources and inspiring podcasts. It’s a great starting point by someone who knows every obstacle on the way, but maybe a little too nerdy and old-school for some.

TWO: Hacking Chinese

Hacking Chinese is a blog by Mandarin expert Olle Linge from Sweden who has studied for four years in Taiwan and teaches Chinese and English. Having a solid background in linguistics, he answers almost all questions related to successfully learning Mandarin Chinese. His main advise for language learners: “If you don’t take responsibility and think for yourself, it will take ages to reach a decent level, but if you become aware of how to learn and study efficiently, fluency is within reach.” Olle also organizes the “monthly extensive reading challenge“. The main goal here is not “intensive reading” but reading as much Chinese as you can below or at your current level.

THREE: FluentU

FluentU is more like a corporate blog which has a team of (freelance) writers blogging for them. They don’t always share the most practical advice, they do post a lot of relevant tips and ideas though. If you’re wondering what apps you might want to use and which Chinese movies to watch, this is the right place.

FOUR: Chinese Zero to Hero

Chinese Zero to Hero is not a blog, it’s a very well built website for Chinese learners. Lots of useful resources for listening, reading and grammar and they keep improving and expanding the website. I’ve grown very fond of the transcribed YouTube videos and their music database. You can even adjust the website’s settings to your personal taste (show / hide Pinyin, simplified / traditional characters etc.). Great work.

FIVE: Chineasy Blog

This is another corporate blog and similar to FluentU you’ll find a broad variety of topics here, not everything directly related to learning Mandarin, but interesting and engaging articles nonetheless. If you’re a fan of the Chineasy approach to character learning, you’ve come to the right place. What the blog lacks, is a categorization of content by topic, level, date etc.

SIX: Sapore di Cina

This website as well is a lot broader than just focusing on mastering Mandarin. I included it because of its practical tips for foreigners interested in traveling or even living in China.

SEVEN: Just learn Chinese

This blog by native Chinese speaker Grace (currently living in Toronto, Canada) hasn’t been updated for several years and has some technical issues, but its content and resources are just to great to ignore. If you are looking for free reading material on your level, you might get lucky here. Or look for tips, for example on how to express disagreement in Chinese.

EIGHT: Chinese Hacks

Chinese Hacks is a widely-varied blog where you find all kinds of practical advise, ideas and inspiration. I particularly enjoy the Chinese idioms covered on his site. Pity it’s not being updated anymore.

NINE: Chinese Breeze

Chinese Breeze is run by three authors who studied Mandarin in China and offer their advise to other learners. This main overview by Kevin Peters, who taught English in Xinjiang for four years, is especially useful for starting learners.

TEN: chineseffect.com

Chineseffect.com also deserves mentioning. This is a fun website for learning and practicing vocabulary created by FM_Yunfei. The team behind it put a lot of effort not only in the content and exercises but also in the webdesign. Now the website requires some technical updates though…

Related post: China podcasts

Check my post on podcasts about China!

What’s your favorite Chinese learning blog? Please feel free to comment down below.

花儿乐队 – 果汁分你一半 (2006)

The flowers – I share half a cup of my juice with you (2006)

我要那个那个那个
那个那个那个
那个那个那个啊
你要那个那个那个
那个那个那个
那个那个那个啊

月亮弯弯 绵绵绵绵缠缠
果汁分你一半 爱相互分担
长路漫漫磕磕磕磕绊绊
果汁分你一半 爱相互扶搀
今晚多么美满
约会相当浪漫

我果汁分你一半
我结账你买单谁跟谁别细算
我果汁分你一半
偶尔我也会烦
脸色说翻就翻
我果汁分你一半
就算怎么艰难也要保持乐观
我果汁分你一半

月亮弯弯绵绵绵绵缠缠
果汁分你一半 爱相互分担
长路漫漫 磕磕磕磕绊绊
果汁分你一半 爱相互扶搀

我要那个那个那个
那个那个那个
那个那个那个啊
你要那个那个那个
那个那个那个
那个那个那个啊
当喜欢上自然 一个眼神交换

我果汁分你一半
我吃饭你刷碗 不是我要偷懒
我果汁分你一半
偶尔你也会乱 发脾气不敢管
我果汁分你一半
向前向后攻占 粘我阴魂不散
我果汁分你一半

月亮弯弯绵绵绵绵缠缠
果汁分你一半 爱相互分担
长路漫漫 磕磕磕磕绊绊
果汁分你一半 爱相互扶搀

我要那个那个那个
那个那个那个
那个那个那个啊
你要那个那个那个
那个那个那个
那个那个那个啊
我要那个那个那个
那个那个那个
那个那个那个啊
你要那个那个那个
那个那个那个
那个那个那个啊

月亮弯弯 绵绵绵绵缠缠
果汁分你一半 爱相互分担
长路漫漫磕磕磕磕绊绊
果汁分你一半 爱相互扶搀
月亮弯弯 绵绵绵绵缠缠
果汁分你一半 爱相互分担
长路漫漫磕磕磕磕绊绊
果汁分你一半 爱相互扶搀
啦啦啦…

Corona virus: 口罩都卖完了!

After the Mexican flue, SARS and MERS it was about time the world got hit by another pandemic. Allegedly, this time it all started on a Wuhan wet market where the locals buy their portion of snake and armadillo meat. In this post, I share some virus-related key vocabulary and firsthand footage from Corona-survivors.

Shortage of face masks

To start on an optimistic note: Did you know that if you’re still alive today, you’re a virus-survivor too? (One of 7.7 billion people)! If you were planning to go to China, you might want to postpone your next trip though and wear one of those trendy face masks if you use public transport, just in case. That is if you can still lay your (disinfected) hands on one. For this Chinese YouTuber it all seems too late.

With English and Chinese subtitles.

China is red

It’s a very, very serious situation, so I did some homework on the virus-related key vocabulary that you read in the Chinese news. “For your daily apocalypse click here”. The virus is everywhere. It’s amazing how quickly bad news spreads and people start panicking. (Positive news about China usually doesn’t make it to Germany, it’s mostly bad, though more and more people (mistakenly) sympathize with “the Chinese way” of governing, although they don’t live there themselves). Even here in Europe many ten thousands miles away from the disaster zone the news is dominated by it. Online news papers provide hourly updates as if the world will perish. It’s almost like a drug.

Map of confirmed corona virus cases.
China is red again! This is a map of how the virus is spreading. You can see in which countries cases have been confirmed.

Business opportunities

But where disaster strikes, you’ll also find business opportunities! Do you think 25 bucks is a good price to protect yourself against virus infection? The Asian girl on the picture sure does. Did they pick an Asian girl for a reason or is it just me? From what I hear masks in Germany and many other countries are sold out at the moment.

Amazon product information for face masks. Prices are rising.
口罩都卖完了!

武汉加油!

Meanwhile people in Wuhan can’t go nowhere, so during the long cold nights they started shouting at each other to uplift their spirits. A rather unusual spectacle, isn’t it? It’s hard to imagine a complete lock-down on such a gigantic city.

武汉加油!
新冠病毒Xīnguān bìngdúNew corona virus
感染新冠病毒的人gǎnrǎn xīnguān bìngdú de rénPeople infected with the new corona virus

Who can you trust?

In this video “teacher Mike” discusses the latest rumors about the virus. Which media can you trust, the western or Chinese news? Where does Mike get his info from? After all he lives there, so he needs to know. Unfortunately, no subtitles.

Virus vocabulary

感染gǎnrǎnto infect
感染新冠病毒的人gǎnrǎn xīnguān bìngdú dí rénpeople infected with the new corona virus
受到病毒感染shòudào bìngdú gǎnrǎnget infected with the virus
无症状感染者wú zhèngzhuàng gǎnrǎn zhěpeople that are infected but do not display any symptoms
传染他人chuánrǎn tāréncontaminate others
有传染力yǒu chuánrǎn lìto be contagious or to have “contaminating power”

The ultimate learning video

I finally found a video that walks you through all the Corona-related vocabulary that you need to understand Chinese news reports about the virus. Chinese and English subtitles. Very clear pronunciation.
确诊quèzhěnconfirmed diagnosis
确诊病例quèzhěn bìnglìconfirmed cases
死亡人数sǐwáng rénshùnumber of dead people
2%死亡率2% sǐwáng lǜdeath rate of 2 %

What’s this Corona virus anyway?

For real in-depth information about the virus you need to listen to Li Yongle Laoshi, cause he can explain almost everything. He’s one of the first people I see explaining something about the virus itself: how it behaves and how it multiplies and so on. With Chinese subtitles.
封城fēng chéngsealed city
宣布”封城”xuānbù”fēng chéng”to announce that the city is sealed
武汉wǔhànWuhan
症状zhèngzhuàngsymptoms
无症状携带病毒者wú zhèngzhuàng xiédài bìngdú zhinfected people without symptoms
治疗zhìliáomedical treatment
接受治疗jiēshòu zhìliáoreceive medical treatment
扩散kuòsànto spread
病毒扩散bìngdú kuòsànthe spreading of the virus

Go shopping, decrease panic

In this video German vlogger Thomas阿福 shows us the “shopping situation” in Shanghai. Are prices really skyrocketing as rumor has it? You can add to the panic as I’ve written above but you can also try to decrease panic and hysteria like Thomas does here. Great job!

An expert opinion…

I’ll finish here with a message of hope from German professor and virus expert Rolf Hilgenfeld, interviewed by German Youtuber Thomas阿福. Hilgenfeld states that the Corona virus won’t be able to multiply forever. Scientists are testing vaccinations right now. Once enough people have been in contact with the virus and produced antigens, the growth will decrease and the pandemic will stop. A matter of 6 to 12 months, he estimates. Let’s hope the situation gets better soon.

王菲 – 紅豆 (1998)

Faye Wong – 紅豆 (1998)

还没好好的感受 雪花绽放的气候
我们一起颤抖 会更明白 甚么是温柔
还没跟你牵着手 走过荒芜的沙丘
可能从此以后 学会珍惜 天长和地久

有时候 有时候
我会相信一切有尽头
相聚离开 都有时候
没有甚么会永垂不朽
可是我 有时候
宁愿选择留恋不放手
等到风景都看透
也许你会陪我 看细水长流


还没为你把红豆 熬成缠绵的伤口
然后一起分享 会更明白 相思的哀愁
还没好好的感受 醒著亲吻的温柔
可能在我左右 你才追求 孤独的自由

有时候 有时候
我会相信一切有尽头

相聚离开 都有时候
没有甚么会永垂不朽
可是我 有时候
宁愿选择留恋不放手
等到风景都看透
也许你会陪我 看细水长流


有时候 有时候
我会相信一切有尽头
相聚离开 都有时候
没有甚么会永垂不朽
可是我 有时候
宁愿选择留恋不放手
等到风景都看透
也许你会陪我 看细水长流

任賢齊 – 心太軟 (1996)

Richie Jen – Too softhearted (1996)

你总是心太软 心太软
独自一个人流泪到天亮
你无怨无悔的爱着那个人
我知道你根本没那么坚强

你总是心太软 心太软
把所有问题都自己扛
相爱总是简单 相处太难
不是你的 就别再勉强

夜深了你还不想睡
你还在想着他吗
你这样痴情到底累不累
明知他不会回来安慰

只不过想好好爱一个人
可惜他无法给你满分
多余的牺牲 他不懂心疼
你应该不会只想做个好人

喔 算了吧
就这样忘了吧 该放就放
再想也没有用
傻傻等待 他也不会回来
你总该为自己想想未来

你总是心太软 心太软
独自一个人流泪到天亮
你无怨无悔的爱着那个人
我知道你根本没那么坚强

你总是心太软 心太软
把所有问题都自己扛
相爱总是简单 相处太难
不是你的 就别再勉强

夜深了你还不想睡
你还在想着他吗
你这样痴情到底累不累
明知他不会回来安慰

只不过想好好爱一个人
可惜他无法给你满分
多余的牺牲 他不懂心疼
你应该不会只想做个好人

喔 算了吧
就这样忘了吧 该放就放
再想也没有用
傻傻等待 他也不会回来
你总该为自己想想未来

你总是心太软 心太软
独自一个人流泪到天亮
你无怨无悔的爱着那个人
我知道你根本没那么坚强

你总是心太软 心太软
把所有问题都自己扛
相爱总是简单 相处太难
不是你的 就别再勉强

不是你的 就别再勉强

不是你的 就别再勉强

不是你的 就别再勉强

屠洪刚 – 中国功夫 (1997)

Tu Honggang – Chinese Kongfu (1997)

卧似一张弓
站似一棵松
不动不摇坐如钟
走路一阵风

南拳和北腿
少林武当功
太极八卦连环掌
中华有神功

卧似一张弓
站似一棵松
不动不摇坐如钟
走路一阵风

南拳和北腿
中国功夫
少林武当功 太极八卦连环掌 中华有神功

棍扫一大片
枪挑一条线
身轻好似云中燕
我们豪气冲云天

外练筋骨皮
内练一口气
刚柔并济不低头
我们心中有天地

卧似一张弓
站似一棵松
不动不摇坐如钟
走路一阵风

南拳和北腿
少林武当功
太极八卦连环掌
中华有神功

清风剑在手
双刀就看走
行家功夫一出手
他就知道有没有

手是两扇门
脚下是一条根
四方水土养育了
我们中华武术魂

东方一条龙
儿女似英雄
天高地远八面风
中华有神功

东方一条龙
儿女似英雄
天高地远八面风
中华有神功
中华有神功

李娜 – 青藏高原 (1994)

Li Na – Tibetan Plateau (1994)

是谁带来远古呼唤
是谁留下千年的祈盼
难道说还有无言的歌
还是那久久不能忘怀眷恋

我看见一座座山一座座山川
一座座山川相连
呀啦索
那可是青藏高原?

是谁日夜遥望着蓝天
是谁渴望永久的梦幻
难道说还有赞美的歌
还是那仿佛不能改变的庄严

一座座山川相连
呀啦索
那就是青藏高原
呀啦索
那就是青藏高原