Airport Vocabulary List ~ Learning Chinese

Mandarin Chinese vocabulary related to the airport. Audio clips aid in Mandarin pronunciation, and animated Chinese characters show the proper stroke order of each airport vocabulary item.
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Airline Representative

English: Airline Representative
Pinyin: dì qín rén yún
trad: 地勤人員
simp: 地勤人员

Audio Pronunciation

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Airline Terminal

English: Airline Terminal
Pinyin: háng zhàn
trad: 航站
simp: 航站

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Airplane
Pinyin: fēi jī
trad: 飛機
simp: 飞机

Audio Pronunciation

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Airsickness Bag
English: Airsickness Bag
Pinyin: yùn jī ǒu tǔ dài
trad: 暈機嘔吐袋
simp: 晕机呕吐袋

Audio Pronunciation

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Arrival and Departure Monitors

English: Arrival and Departure Monitors
Pinyin: dǐ dá jí qǐ fēi yíng mù
trad: 抵達及起飛螢幕
simp: 抵达及起飞萤幕

Audio Pronunciation

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Baggage Claim Area

English: Baggage Claim Area
Pinyin: xíng lǐ lǐng qǔ chǔ
trad: 行李領取處
simp: 行李领取处

Audio Pronunciation

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Boarding Area

English: Boarding Area
Pinyin: dēng jī qū
trad: 登機區
simp: 登机区

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Carousel
Pinyin: xíng lǐ zhuǎn pán
trad: 行李轉盤
simp: 行李转盘

Audio Pronunciation

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Check-in Counter

English: Check-in Counter
Pinyin: dēng jì guì tái
trad: 登記櫃台
simp: 登记柜台

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Cockpit
Pinyin: jià shǐ cāng
trad: 駕駛艙
simp: 驾驶舱

Audio Pronunciation

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Control Tower

English: Control Tower
Pinyin: kòng zhì tǎ tái
trad: 控制塔台
simp: 控制塔台

Audio Pronunciation

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Customs Officer

English: Customs Officer
Pinyin: hǎi guān rén yún
trad: 海關人員
simp: 海关人员

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Customs
Pinyin: hǎi guān
trad: 海關
simp: 海关

Audio Pronunciation

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Declaration Form

English: Declaration Form
Pinyin: bào guān biǎo
trad: 報關表
simp: 报关表

Audio Pronunciation

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Flight Attendant

English: Flight Attendant
Pinyin: kōng fú yún
trad: 空服員
simp: 空服员

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Gate
Pinyin: dēng jī mén
trad: 登機門
simp: 登机门

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Helicopter
Pinyin: zhí shēng jī
trad: 直升機
simp: 直升机

Audio Pronunciation

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Luggage Carrier

English: Luggage Carrier
Pinyin: xíng lǐ yùn sòng yún
trad: 行李運送員
simp: 行李运送员

Audio Pronunciation

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Overhead Compartment

English: Overhead Compartment
Pinyin: zuò wèi shàng fāng xíng lǐ xiāng
trad: 座位上方行李箱
simp: 座位上方行李箱

Audio Pronunciation

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Oxygen Mask

English: Oxygen Mask
Pinyin: yǎng qì miàn zhào
trad: 氧氣面罩
simp: 氧气面罩

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Passenger
Pinyin: chéng kè
trad: 乘客
simp: 乘客

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Pilot
Pinyin: fēi xíng yún
trad: 飛行員
simp: 飞行员

Audio Pronunciation

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Tray Table

English: Tray Table
Pinyin: cān zhuō
trad: 餐桌
simp: 餐桌

Answering the Question “Can You Speak Chinese?” ~ Learning Chinese

Be sure to practice your Mandarin Chinese every chance you get. With just a few words and phrases, you can have a simple conversation with a native speaker.

Here are a few useful phrases to explain your level of Mandarin and whether you understand or not. Note that there is a difference between understanding spoken Mandarin (听的懂; tīng dé dǒng) and written Chinese (看的懂; kàn dé dǒng) – the difference between understanding the sound (听; tīng) and the sight (看; kàn) of the language.



Audio clips are marked with ►

When starting a conversation in Chinese, you may need to explain your level of Mandarin Chinese so that your conversation partner knows what to expect. Here are a few different ways to answer the question: do you speak Chinese?

Do you speak Mandarin?
►Nǐ huì shuō Zhōngwén ma?
(trad) 你會說中文嗎?
(simp) 你会说中文吗?

I speak Mandarin.
►Wǒ huì shuō Zhōngwén.
(trad) 我會說中文。
(simp) 我会说中文。

I speak a little Mandarin.
►Wǒ huì shuō yīdiǎndiǎn Zhōngwén.
(trad) 我會說一點點中文。
(simp) 我会说一点点中文。

Yes, a little.
►Huì, yī diǎn diǎn.
(trad) 會,一點點。
(simp) 会,一点点。

Not very well.
►Bú tài hǎo.

My Mandarin is not good.
►Wǒ de Zhōngwén bù hǎo.

I only know a few words.
►Wǒ zhǐ zhīdao jǐge zì.
(trad) 我只知道幾個字。
(simp) 我只知道几个字。

My pronunciation is not very good.
►Wǒ de fāyīn búshì hěnhǎo.​
(trad) 我的發音不是很好。
(simp) 我的发音不是很好。
If you are with another person, you may be to answer for them if they do not speak Chinese.

For example:

Does your friend speak Mandarin?
►Nǐ de péngyou huì shuō Zhōngwén ma?
(trad) 你的朋友會說中文嗎?
(simp) 你的朋友会说中文吗?

No, my friend doesn’t speak Mandarin.
►Bú huì, wǒ de péngyou bú huì shuō Zhōngwén.​
(trad) 不會, 我的朋友不會說中文。
(simp) 不会, 我的朋友不会说中文。
With these phrases, you can explain your level of Chinese beyond just speaking but also in terms in writing.

Do you understand (spoken) Mandarin?
►Nǐ tīng dé dǒng Zhōngwén ma?
(trad) 你聽得懂中文嗎?
(simp) 你听得懂中文吗?

Do you understand (written) Mandarin?
►Nǐ kàn dé dǒng Zhōngwén ma?
(trad) 你看得懂中文嗎?
(simp) 你看得懂中文吗?

I can speak Mandarin, but I can’t read it.
►Wǒ huì shuō Zhōngwén dànshì wǒ kàn bùdǒng.
(trad) 我會說中文但是我看不懂。
(simp) 我会说中文但是我看不懂。

I can read Chinese characters, but I can’t write them.
►Wǒ kàn dé dǒng Zhōngwén zì dànshì wǒ bú huì xiě.
(trad) 我看得懂中文字但是我不會寫。
(simp) 我看得懂中文字但是我不会写。
Your conversation partner might check in from time to time to make sure you’re understanding everything that is being said. If they are speaking too fast or inaudibly, here are some helpful phrases you can ask.

Do you understand me?
►Nǐ tīng dé dǒng wǒ shuō shénme ma?
(trad) 你聽得懂我說什麼嗎?
(simp) 你听得懂我说什么吗?

Yes, I can understand you.
►Shì, wǒ tīng dé dǒng.
(trad) 是, 我聽得懂。
(simp) 是, 我听得懂。

I can’t understand you very well.
►Wǒ tīng bú tài dǒng nǐ shuō shénme.
(trad) 我聽不太懂你說什麼。
(simp) 我听不太懂你说什么。

Please speak more slowly.
►Qǐng shuō màn yīdiǎn.
(trad) 請說慢一點。
(simp) 请说慢一点。

Please repeat that.
►Qǐng zài shuō yīcì.
(trad) 請再說一次。
(simp) 请再说一次。

I don’t understand.
►Wǒ tīng bú dǒng.
(trad) 我聽不懂。
(simp) 我听不懂。
Don’t be shy! The best way to learn new words is to ask.

If you’re trying to convey an idea in a conversation but find that you can’t, ask the person you’re talking to if they can give it a try. Then, try and bring up that phrase again and again in future conversations; repetition is good practice for memorization.

How do you say XXX in Mandarin?
►XXX Zhōngwén zěnme shuō?
(trad) XXX 中文怎麼說?
(simp) XXX 中文怎么说?

Learn to Speak and Read Mandarin Chinese ~ Learning Chinese

Interested in learning Mandarin Chinese? You’re not alone. Mandarin is one of the most popular languages for business, travel, and pleasure.

Many people think that learning Mandarin Chinese is difficult. There is no doubt that learning to write Mandarin Chinese characters presents a formidable challenge that can take years to master. Learning to speak Mandarin Chinese, however, is fairly simple because there are none of the verb conjugations that are found in many Western languages.

Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, which means that the pitch of a syllable can change its meaning. There are four tones in spoken Mandarin: high; rising; falling and rising; and falling.

These kinds of tones are also used in English for emphasis or inflection, but Mandarin tones are entirely different. The tones are the most challenging part of spoken Mandarin, but once the concept has been absorbed, Mandarin vocabulary and grammar is surprisingly easy.

We have several articles and exercises to help you master the four Mandarin tones. You should practice your tones every day until you can pronounce them and recognize them easily.

Take advantage of the sound files that are included in these tone lessons by repeating them until you can accurately produce the four tones.

Practicing the Four Tones
The next step is to combine the tones with each other. These exercises will help:

Starting with the First Tone
Starting with the Second Tone
Starting with the Third Tone
Starting with the Fourth Tone
Test your ability to recognize Mandarin tones by taking this quiz:

Mandarin Tone Audio Quiz
Most people hold back learning Chinese characters until they have at least a basic understanding of the spoken langauge.

Fortunately, there is an alternative way of reading and writing Mandarin that is based on the Western (Roman) alphabet – Romanization.

Romanization transposes the sounds of spoken Chinese into the Roman alphabet so that learners can read and write the language. There are several systems of Romanization, but the most popular is Pinyin.

All of the lessons on this website use Pinyin, and it is also used in the majority of textbooks and other learning materials. Being able to read and write Pinyin is essential for studying Mandarin Chinese.

Here are some Pinyin resources:

Pinyin Pronunciation
Pinyin Romanization to Learn Mandarin
Write Chinese Characters Using Pinyin
Wean Yourself From Pinyin
There are a few stumbling blocks when it comes to Mandarin grammar. Sentence construction is often quite different from Western languages, so you must learn to think in Mandarin rather than trying to translate from one language to another.

Take heart, though. In many ways, Mandarin grammar is very easy. There are no verb conjugations, and you never have to worry about subject / object agreements.

Here are some articles and lessons on Mandarin grammar:

Mandarin Sentence Structure
Mandarin Pronouns

Measure Words
Mandarin Questions
Mandarin Negative
Once you’ve got the basics of tones and pronunciation, you can begin to concentrate on expanding your vocabulary. Here are some vocabulary-building resources:

Mandarin Greetings
Mandarin Numbers
Mandarin Colors
City Names
Country Names
Asking the Way
Where Do You Live?
Using the Phone
We have several audio quizzes which can help you in your study of Mandarin by testing your listening comprehension.

Tone Quiz
Numbers from One to Ten
Mandarin Dates
What time is it?

The neutral tone in Mandarin Chinese ~ Learning Chinese

Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, meaning that the pitch contour of a syllable influences the meaning of that word. This is introduced in all basic textbooks, often even before the first chapter begins. Mandarin Chinese has four tones that are often introduced properly (with the exception of the third tone, which is often not described clearly at all).

The neutral tone in Mandarin Chinese

However, there is also a neutral tone which is sometimes glossed over.

It appears on reduced syllables and only appears in the second syllable in two-syllable words or in between full syllables, such as the middle of a three-syllable construction when the middle syllable has a grammatical function. An example of the first case would be 孩子 (háizi) “child; children” and an example of the second would be 对不起 (duìbuqǐ) “I’m sorry”.

The neutral tone is not a fifth tone

This is not a fifth tone as some people claim, it’s what happens when the tone is reduced or removed. That means that the basic characteristic of the neutral tone is that it should not keep the original tone of the character! It can be influenced by several things, but mainly the tone of the preceding character or the intonation of the sentence as a whole.

Even though some neutral tones can be pronounced in several different but correct ways, there is a default neutral tone that you should learn. The normal way of describing tone height in Mandarin Chinese is to use a scale from 1 to 5 where 1 is very low and 5 is very high.

To give you an idea how this system works, here are the standard way of writing the four full tones:

First tone (high, level): 55
Second tone (rising): 35
Third tone (low or dipping): 21(4)
Fourth tone (falling): 51
The default neutral tone should then be as follows after each of these tones:

After a first tone: 2 (low)

After a second tone: 3 (mid)
After a third tone: 4 (high)
After a fourth tone: 1 (very low)
It’s not as complicated as it looks

This looks more complicated than it really is. In essence, the neutral tone falls except after a third tone when it rises. These are the only two things you need to remember, fine-tuning the height of the neutral tone will occur quite naturally by listening to natives and speaking with them. Do remember that the neutral tone is usually high after a third tone, though, since this produces a unique contour.

Intonation and the neutral tone

As I said in the introduction, the neutral tone is free to change according to the situation rather than depending on the tone of the syllable itself. The patterns I have given above work well as the default reading, but you should be aware that native speakers usually deviate from this depending on context. This is similar to intonation in English where we lower the pitch of statements and raise it for questions. This is true for Chinese as well, so a neutral tone in a question is likely to be higher than in a statement.

Finally, it should also be mentioned that there is a difference between fixed neutral tones (i.e. words that can only be read with a neutral tone and it would be wrong to read it with a full tone) and reduced syllables in normal phrases.

For instance, the 来 (lái) in 起来 (qǐlái) is often reduced to a neutral tone, but this doesn’t mean that you absolutely have to read it with a neutral tone. How often these reduction occur depends largely on which type of Mandarin we’re talking about. For example, in Taiwan, people reduce syllables much less than in Beijing.

Why Mandarin Chinese is easier than you think ~ Learning Chinese

Mandarin Chinese is often described as a difficult language, sometimes one of the most difficult ones. This is not hard to understand. There are thousands of characters and strange tones! It must surely be impossible to learn for an adult foreigner!

You can learn Mandarin Chinese

That’s nonsense of course. Naturally, if you’re aiming for a very high level, it will take time, but I have met many learners who have studied for just a few months (albeit very diligently), and have been able to converse rather freely in Mandarin after that time.

Continue such a project for a year and you will probably reach what most people would call fluent. So definitely not impossible.

How difficult a language is depends on many things, but your attitude is certainly one of them and it’s also the easiest one to influence. You stand little chance of changing the Chinese writing system, but you can change your attitude towards it. In this article, I’m going to show you certain aspects of the Chinese language and explain why they make learning a lot easier than you might think.

How difficult is it to learn Mandarin Chinese?

Of course, there are also things that make learning Chinese harder than you think (or perhaps as hard), sometimes even the same things from different angles or on different proficiency levels. That, however, is not the focus of this article. This article focuses on the easy things and is meant to encourage you. For a more pessimistic outlook, I’ve written a twin article with the title: Why Mandarin Chinese is harder than you think.

If you already study Chinese and want to know why it’s not always easy, perhaps that article will provide some insights, but below, I will focus on the easy things.

Difficult or easy for whom? With what goal?

Before we talk about specific factors that make learning Mandarin easier than you might think, I’m going to make some assumptions.

You are a native speaker of English or some other non-tonal language not related to Chinese at all (which would be most languages in the west). You might not have learnt any other foreign language, or perhaps you’ve studied one in school.

If your native language is related to Chinese or is influenced by it (such as Japanese, which largely uses the same characters), learning Chinese will become even easier, but what I say below will be true in any case. Coming from other tonal languages makes it easier to understand what tones are, but it’s not always easier to learn them in Mandarin (different tones). I discuss the downsides of learning a language completely unrelated to your native language in the other article.

Furthermore, I’m talking about aiming for a basic level of conversational fluency where you can talk about everyday topics you’re familiar with and understand what people say about these things if targeted at you.

Approaching advanced or even near-native levels requires a whole new level of commitment and other factors play a bigger role. Including the written language also adds another dimension.

Why Mandarin Chinese is easier than you think

Without further ado, let’s get into the list:

No verb conjugations – Partly because of bad teaching practice, many people associate second language learning with endless verb conjugations. When you learn Spanish or French and care about being accurate, you need to remember how the verb changes with the subject. We have this in English too, but it’s much easier. We doesn’t say we has. In Chinese, there are no verb inflections at all. There are some particles that change the function of verbs, but there are certainly no long lists of verb forms you need to memorise. If you know how to say 看 (kàn) “look”, you can use it for any person referring to any period of time and it will still look the same. Easy!
No grammatical cases – In English, we make a difference between how pronouns are handled depending on if they are the subject or the object of a sentence. We say “he talks to her”; “him talks to she” is wrong. In some other languages, you need to keep track of different objects and sometimes also not only for pronouns, but for nouns as well. None of that in Chinese! 我 (wǒ) “I, me” is used in any situation referring to myself in any way. The only exception would be plural “we”, which has an extra suffix. Easy!
Flexible parts of speech – When learning most languages other than Chinese, you need to remember different forms of the words depending on what part of speech they belong to. For example, in English we say “ice” (noun), “icy” (adjective) and “to ice (over)/freeze” (verb). These look different. In Chinese, though, these could all be represented by one single verb 冰 (bīng), which incorporates the meaning of all three. You don’t know which one it is unless you know the context. This means that speaking and writing becomes much easier since you don’t need to remember so many different forms. Easy!
No gender – When you learn French, you need to remember if each noun is meant to be “le” or “la”; when learning German, you have “der”, “die” and “das”. Chinese has no (grammatical) gender. In spoken Mandarin, you don’t even need to make a difference between “he”, “she” and “it” because they are all pronounced the same. Easy!
Relatively easy word order – Word order in Chinese can be very tricky, but this mostly becomes apparent at more advanced levels. As a beginner, there are a few patterns you need to learn, and once you’ve done that, you can just fill in the words you’ve learnt and people will be able to understand. Even if you mix things up, people will usually still understand, provided that the message you want to convey is relatively simple. It helps that the basic word order is the same as in English, i.e. Subject-Verb-Object (I love you). Easy!
Logical number system – Some languages have really bizarre ways of counting. In French, 99 is said as “4 20 19”, in Danish 70 is “half fourth”, but 90 is “half fifth”. Chinese is really simple. 11 is “10 1”, 250 is “2 100 5 10” and 9490 is “9 1000 400 9 10”. Numbers do get a little bit harder above that because a new word is used for every four zeroes, not every three as in English, but it’s still not hard to learn to count. Easy!
Logic character and word creation – When you learn words in European languages, you can sometimes see the word roots if you’re good at Greek or Latin, but if you take a random sentence (such as this one), you can’t really expect to understand how each word is constructed. In Chinese, you actually can do that. This has some significant advantages. Let’s look at a few examples of advanced vocabulary that are really easy to learn in Chinese but very hard in English. “Leukemia” in Chinese is 血癌 “blood cancer”. “Affricate” is 塞擦音 “stop friction sound” (this refers to sounds like “ch” in “church”, which has a stop (a “t” sound), then friction (the “sh” sound)). If you didn’t know what these words meant in English, you probably do now after looking at a literal translation of the Chinese words! These are not exceptions in Chinese, this is the norm. Easy!
These are just some of the more obvious reasons that reaching a basic level in Chinese is not as difficult as you think. Another reason is that Chinese is much more “hackable” than any other language I’ve learnt.

The difficult parts are easier to hack

What do I mean by this? “Hacking” in this case means understanding how the language works and using that knowledge to create smart ways of learning (this is what my website Hacking Chinese is about).

This is especially true for the writing system. If you approach learning Chinese characters like you would learning words in French, the task is daunting. Sure, French words do have prefixes, suffixes and so on and if your Latin and Greek are up to par, you might be able to use this knowledge to your advantage and be able to understand how modern words are created.

For the average learner, however, that’s not possible. It’s also the case that many words in French (or English or many other modern languages) can’t be broken down or understood without doing serious research into etymology first. You can of course break them down yourself in ways that make sense to you.

In Chinese, however, you don’t need to do that! The reason is that one Chinese syllable corresponds to one Chinese character. That gives very little room for change, meaning that while words in English can gradually lose their spelling and morph over the centuries, Chinese characters are much more permanent. They do of course change, but not that much. It also means that the parts that make up the characters are in most cases still present and can be understood on their own, thus making understanding a lot easier.

What all this boils down to is that learning Chinese needn’t be all that hard. Yes, reaching an advanced level takes a lot of time and effort, but getting to basic conversational fluency is within reach for all those who really want it. Will it take longer than reaching the same level in Spanish? Probably, but not that much if we only talk about the spoken language.


This article was meant to convince you that you can learn Chinese. Of course, an article like this also has its dark twin, why learning Chinese is actually very hard, especially if you go beyond just basic oral communication.

School Vocabulary ~ Learning Chinese

Mandarin Chinese names of the things, places and people commonly found at school. Each entry has an audio file for pronunciation and listening practice.
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English: Abacus
Pinyin: suànpán
trad: 算盤
simp: 算盘

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Atlas
Pinyin: shìjiè dìtú
trad: 世界地圖
simp: 世界地图

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Backpack
Pinyin: bēibāo
trad: 背包
simp: 背包

Audio Pronunciation

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Book Shelf

English: Book Shelf
Pinyin: shūjià
trad: 書架
simp: 书架

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Book
Pinyin: shūběn
trad: 書本
simp: 书本

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Bookcase
Pinyin: shūguì
trad: 書櫃
simp: 书柜

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Calculator
Pinyin: jìsuànjī
trad: 計算機
simp: 计算机

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Chair
Pinyin: yǐzi
trad: 椅子
simp: 椅子

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Classroom
Pinyin: jiàoshì
trad: 教室
simp: 教室

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Desk
Pinyin: shūzhuō
trad: 書桌
simp: 书桌

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Dictionary
Pinyin: zìdiǎn
trad: 字典
simp: 字典

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Encyclopedia
Pinyin: bǎikēquánshū
trad: 百科全書
simp: 百科全书

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Eraser
Pinyin: xiàngpí cā
trad: 橡皮擦
simp: 橡皮擦

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Homework
Pinyin: zuòyè
trad: 作業
simp: 作业

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Library
Pinyin: túshūguǎn
trad: 圖書館
simp: 图书馆

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Notebook
Pinyin: bǐjìběn
trad: 筆記本
simp: 笔记本

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Paper
Pinyin: zhǐ
trad: 紙
simp: 纸

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Paperclip
Pinyin: huí wén zhēn
trad: 迴紋針
simp: 迴纹针

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Pen
Pinyin: bǐ
trad: 筆
simp: 笔

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Pencil
Pinyin: qiānbǐ
trad: 鉛筆
simp: 铅笔

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Ruler
Pinyin: chǐ
trad: 尺
simp: 尺

Audio Pronunciation

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School Bus

English: School Bus
Pinyin: xiào chē
trad: 校車
simp: 校车

Audio Pronunciation

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English: School
Pinyin: xuéxiào
trad: 學校
simp: 学校

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Scissors
Pinyin: jiǎndāo
trad: 剪刀
simp: 剪刀

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Stapler
Pinyin: dīng shū jī
trad: 釘書機
simp: 钉书机

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Students
Pinyin: xuésheng
trad: 學生
simp: 学生

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Teacher
Pinyin: lǎoshī
trad: 老師
simp: 老师

Audio Pronunciation

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English: Thumbtack
Pinyin: tú dīng
trad: 圖釘
simp: 图钉

“Because” in Chinese ~ Learning Chinese

Learning how to say “because” in Chinese will expand your vocabulary by enabling you to answer questions. The Chinese phrase for “because” is 因為, in traditional form, or 因为 in simplified form. Its Mandarin Chinese pinyin is “yīnwèi.” 因為 / 因为 can also mean owing to, or on account of.

The first character 因 (yīn) means “cause,” or “reason.” The second character 為 (wèi) is defined as: to be; to be; to do; to serve as; to become.

Together, 因為 / 因为 means “because.”

因為 / 因为 is pronounced as ►yīn wei. 因 is in the 1st tone, and 為 / 为 is in the 4th tone. In terms of tone numbers, 因為 / 因为 can also be written out as: yin1 wei4.

“Because” typically comes at the beginning of Chinese sentences. 因為 / 因为 … 所以 (yīn wei…suǒyǐ) is a common sentence structure that means “because…and so.”

Audio files are marked with ►

►Yīn wei tái fēng de guān xì, suǒ yǒu de bān jī dōu qǔ xiāo.
Because of concerns about typhoons, all flights have been canceled.

►Yīn wei tiān qì tài rè, suǒ yǐ tā hūn dǎo le.
She fainted because of the hot weather.

Yīnwèi wǒ méiyǒu shàngkè, suǒyǐ wǒ méiyǒu tōngguò kǎoshì
I didn’t pass the test because I didn’t study.

Pinyin Romanization to Learn Mandarin ~ Learning Chinese

Pinyin is a Romanization system used to learn Mandarin. It transcribes the sounds of Mandarin using the western (Roman) alphabet. Pinyin is most commonly used in Mainland China for teaching school children to read and it is also widely used in teaching materials designed for Westerners who wish to learn Mandarin.

Pinyin was developed in the 1950’s in Mainland China and is now the official Romanization system of China, Singapore, the US Library of Congress, and the American Library Association.

Library standards allow for easier access to documents by making it easier to locate Chinese language materials. A worldwide standard also facilitates the exchange of data between institutions in various countries.

Learning Pinyin is important. It provides a way to read and write Chinese without using Chinese characters – a major hurdle for most people who want to learn Mandarin.

Pinyin provides a comfortable base for anyone trying to learn Mandarin: it looks familiar. Be careful though! The individual sounds of Pinyin are not always the same as English. For example, ‘c’ in Pinyin is pronounced like the ‘ts’ in ‘bits’.

Here’s an example of Pinyin: Ni hao. This means “hello” and is the sound of these two Chinese characters: 你好

It is essential to learn all the sounds of Pinyin. This will provide the foundation for proper Mandarin pronunciation and will allow you to learn Mandarin more easily.

The four Mandarin tones are used for clarifying the meaning of words. They are indicated in Pinyin with either numbers or tone marks:

ma1 or mā (high level tone)
ma2 or má (rising tone)
ma3 or mǎ (falling rising tone)
ma4 or mà (falling tone)
Tones are important in Mandarin because there are many words with the same sound.

Pinyin should be written with tone marks to make the meaning of the words clear. Unfortunately, when Pinyin is used in public places (like on street signs or store displays) it usually does not include the tone marks.

Here is the Mandarin version of “hello” written with tones marks: nǐ hǎo or ni3 hao3.

Pinyin is not perfect. It uses many letter combinations which are unknown in English and other Western languages. Anyone who has not studied Pinyin is likely to mispronounce the spellings.

Despite its shortcomings, it’s best to have a single system of Romanization for the Mandarin language. Before the official adoption of Pinyin, the differing Romanization systems created confusion about the pronunciation of Chinese words.

Shanghai TV Festival 上海电视节

Shanghai TV Festival (上海电视节 Shanghai Dianshijie) is an international competition with the theme of peace, friendship, communication and cooperation. It aims to deepen the understanding among countries, strengthen the friendship and promote the development of TV art. Since 1986, the Shanghai TV Festival has been held once every two months (biennially), with the approval from the Standing Committee of the People’s Congress of Shanghai.

The White Yulan Prize (白玉兰奖 Báiyùlán Jiǎng) of Shanghai TV Festival is named after the city flower of Shanghai white Yulan, which symbolizes beautiful art and justice. The prize is issued by the State Administration of Radio, TV & Film of China and the Shanghai People’s Government. The judging panel is made up of famous experts from home and abroad.

The prize is composed of 14 awards in 2 categories. In TV series, awards include Best TV Series, TV Series Jury Special Award, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenwriter, and Best Technology; while in documentaries, awards include Best Documentary Jury Special Award, Best Human Documentary, Best Human Innovation Documentary, Best Human Documentary Photography, Best Nature Documentary, Best Nature Innovation Documentary, and Best Nature Documentary Photography.

In addition, the festival will hold other activities such as International TV & Film Show, International TV & Film Market, International Radio, Film & TV Equipment Exhibition and Conference. Shanghai TV Festival, as one of the channels for the import and export of Chinese TV programs, has effectively promoted exchanges among countries, expanded the market, and strengthened the cooperation.

With the participation of world-famous companies and a high-tech content, the festival provides an opportunity for China to get a better understanding of the development trend of the world’s TV industry through the exhibition of Chinese and foreign TV programs and most advanced TV and film technologies in the world.

As a show of international TV programs, the festival has been changed from a mutually beneficial activity to the market-oriented trade fair of TV programs and it will continue to develop towards an internationalized, specialized, and market-oriented art gala.

The Potential Complement DE ~ Learning Chinese

There are three DE particles used in Mandarin Chinese: the possessive de (的), the adverbial , and the potential complement de (得). If you want more general information about how to use these three, check this overview: The three DE particles in Mandarin. In this article, we’re going to look at the potential complement, written 得.

The potential complement de is used to show the outcome of an action or event (what was the result), or to describe it in more detail (how was the action performed).

The action can be habitual (i.e. he walks slowly) or a particular event (i.e. he sang well last night).

The potential complement de is placed after a verb. This structure is followed by a phrase which shows the result of the preceding action:

Here is an example of how this can express a result:

wǒ tīng de dǒng
I understand (literally: I listen and understand as a result of that)

And here’s an example when 得 is used to describe how the verb was performed:

Tā shuō de hěn hǎo.
He speaks well.
In the example above, the de 得 particle comes after the verb shuō (speak), and the following phrase (hěn hǎo) describes how the speaking is done.

Pinyin English Traditional Characters Simplified Characters
Nǐ tīng dé dǒng ma ? Do you understand (what was said)? 你聽得懂嗎? 你听得懂吗?
Bàozhǐ wǒ kàn dé wán. I finished reading the newspaper. 報紙我看得完。 报纸我看得完。
Tā pǎo de chuǎnbúshàng qì lái. He was out of breath from running. 他跑得喘不上氣來。 他跑得喘不上气来。
Tā chàng gē chàng de hěn hǎo. He sings very well. 他唱歌唱得很好。 他唱歌唱得很好。
Xiāng Gǎng bǐ Běijīng de tiānqì rè dé duō. The weather in Hong Kong is much hotter than Beijing. 香港比北京的天氣熱得多。



Other uses of the character 得

Pleas note that the character 得 has other uses and can be pronounced in many different ways:

得 de (neutral tone) – potential complement or adverb marker as discussed in this article
得 dé (second tone) – to achieve, to reach, for example in: 得到 (to get, achieve)
得 děi (third tone) – to must, to have to, as in: 我得走了 (I have to go)