A Beginner’s Look At China’s Tea Culture

teaIt’s impossible to think of China without also thinking of tea, which has been a key aspect of Chinese language and culture for thousands of years.  It’s used for both medicinal and social purposes, and has been the subject of art and poetry dating back to the Tang Dynasty.  Tea is commonly used as a way to welcome guests into one’s home, facilitate conversation, and digest food after a meal.  But to understand how firmly tea culture is rooted in China’s mindset, one must understand the history behind it. Continue reading

Book Review: The Good Wife

goodWe tend to focus on the bright side. It’s in our nature. But life is not always a joyride and Susan Blumberg-Kason experienced this first hand in China. However comforting it is to hear about expats who made it and made the best out of their stay in China, the truth is that cultural differences, gender inequalities, clashing habits and incompatible traditions can easily stand in the way and turn one’s Chinese dream of immersion into a nightmare. Good Chinese Wife is Blumberg-Kason’s autobiographical account of how an attempt to live in an intercultural marriage with a Chinese man went entirely wrong. For the occasion of the book’s release on July 29th, we contacted Susan and had a great discussion with her about love, China, failure, strength and literature. Here is what she has to say. Continue reading

Become a Teaching Nomad

teaching nomadMany of you contact us with questions about teaching English in China. A teaching job is definitely a perfect way for one to get to know the country, interact with its people, learn the language and, in doing so, make a proper living! To provide answers to all these questions, we reached out to the people behind Teaching Nomad, one of the most established and interesting organizations that work as intermediaries between teachers and schools in China. This interview will definitely help you clarify a thing or two about teaching opportunities in China. Continue reading

A word a day keeps the doctor away

logoThis week we bring to you a very interesting website to help you get your vocabulary going! Learn Chinese Every Day is a tool that was developed with a sole focus: simplicity. Min Min, it’s creator, decided to help Chinese learners overcome the difficulties they encounter while learning the language by implementing a simple rule: learn one character a day, learn it well, and by the end of every study week you will feel certain about what you know. We asked her to present her work to us and show us how her website works. We hope that this will help you start another exciting week of language learning! Continue reading

Book Review: How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit?

Dragonfruit Front CoverOne of the basic conclusions westerners are bound to make when in contact with the Asian world is that they stand out. This is the exact feeling that Shannon Dunlap experienced when she first roamed the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She realized she was sticking out; that stepping into the market was like stepping into a cultural pothole. The shorts she wore made her feel displaced as her hiking boots did in Thailand. Continue reading

YoYo Chinese: A fun way to learn

yoprofileFor those in quest of a direct, efficient and alternative approach to the Chinese language, Chinese Tools presents YoYo Chinese, founded and run by Yangyang Cheng, a multi-talented and energetic lady, who agreed to answer some of our questions regarding her extremely successful teaching method. With a diverse background spanning education, entertainment, and entrepreneurial ventures, Yangyang is the founder and on-camera host of Yoyo Chinese. She is responsible for supervising all aspects of Yoyo Chinese operations with heavy emphasis on course development. Let’s hear what she has to say! Continue reading

The Mezzofanti Guild: Donovan Nagel on solving the mystery of language learning

Donovan picWhen people choose to become polyglots, they don’t simply do it to add linguistic skills to their CV lines. Rather, they do it to adopt a totally new lifestyle involving, on the one hand, endless hours of strenuous efforts and tongue-twisting exercises, and on the other hand endless opportunities to travel, meet people and get to experience other cultures. Today, we bring you a man who took the leap and dove deep into languages. Donovan Nagel is Australian-born but became a citizen of the world. He was raised in a monolingual environment but can now think and talk in several languages. He is an active blogger and an ardent lover of languages and everything associated with them. Here is what he told us about his language-learning experiences! Continue reading

ImmerQi – An alternative way to get to know China

immerqiFor all of you, language learners, who are thinking of taking the plunge and moving to China in order to experience from up close what this faraway, appealing and strange place has to offer, we are happy to present ImmerQi, an organization that can help you figure out what to do or where to go, but also provide you with support throughout your stay in China. Chinese Tools interviewed Reece Ayers, the company’s International Marketing Coordinator and here is what he has to say! Continue reading

Simon the Omniglot on Languages, Travelling and Blogging

simonIntroducing Simon “Omniglot” Ager, a man who is fluent in English, Mandarin, French, Welsh and Irish; can get by in Scottish Gaelic, Manx, German, Spanish and Japanese, and has a basic knowledge of Taiwanese, Cantonese, Esperanto, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Russian, Breton, Dutch, and British Sign Language (BSL). He studied Chinese and Japanese at universities in the UK, Taiwan and Japan; worked in Taiwan for 5 years; then returned to the UK and spent time working as a web developer; and now makes a living from his own website, Omniglot.com.

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5 encouraging things they don’t tell you when you start learning Chinese

by Chris Parker 

chineseLet’s face it, learning Chinese can be very daunting when you first start. To make matters worse, Mandarin is often referred to as the “most difficult language to learn,” and even Chinese people often believe the idea! However, once you start learning, you find that it’s actually quite easy to put words together and start speaking the language, and you can quickly start to recognize Chinese characters. Hopefully you’ve managed not to be dissuaded by all the hype about how “difficult” Chinese is, but if not, maybe the following facts will convince you… Continue reading