Peeling the Layers: Unlock the Chinese Alphabet

Is there a “Chinese alphabet”? In short: no. The fact that all languages have alphabets pushes us to look for equivalents of our own alphabet in other languages. And while in Arabic or Korean we can talk about alphabets (understood as a set of phonetical characters used to create words), in the case of Chinese … Read more

Unpacking Identity: Understanding ‘To Be’ in Chinese

How do we say “to be” in Chinese? Without this most basic verb, we cannot really communicate: it is usually the very first verb we get to know when learning a new language. As it usually happens, there are many ways to express presence in Chinese, because it is an old language, very rich in … Read more

Ask the Right Questions: Learning to Say ‘Why’ in Chinese

“Why” seems to be a very simple word, yet Chinese is such a complex language that it has many ways of saying it. The biggest difference here is between spoken and written Chinese. Since you have already started learning this language, you might have heard about it already: Chinese has a very rich formal language … Read more

Stripping Complexity: An Intro to Chinese Sentence Structure

When you have a conversation with Chinese people, you may find that the structures of the sentences they use are quite flexible. There are many kinds of structural relationships in modern Chinese sentences. A single word can form a sentence, in addition to the sentence composed of a single word, a specific sentence is always … Read more