Today’s Mandarin language point is 消费降级. 消费 (xiāofèi – to consume) + 降级 (jiàngjí – to downgrade) = 消费降级 (xiāofèi jiàngjí – consumption downgrade). From a cultural perspective, the phrase 消费降级 symbolizes the current idea business/economic climate in China; i.e. the cooling off of the Chinese economy. As of writing today, the Shanghai Composite Index … Read moreMandarin Vocabulary: “消费降级” Consumption Downgrade
Just when you think Beijing has cleaned up it’s act, you get hit with a 200+ AQI day. Of course, polluted air in China has been a trend for a while now, especially in Beijing. And perhaps it is a sign of the times that I am complaining now when its only a little below … Read moreAir Pollution Returns to Beijing
Interested in learning a language outside of the traditional, sugarcoated world of textbooks and classrooms? Why not try using your phone? Today I used a notification from the update of my bank app as an opportunity to study some more Chinese (note: bank is 农业银行 – Agriculture Bank of China). I’ve documented my translation process … Read moreLanguage Learning Documentation: Translating an App Notification
One of the coolest parts about living in China is the opportunity to refine your tea drinking palate. Although I still haven’t given up coffee completely, there are lots of interesting, different types of teas which I’ve come to know since moving here. One type which is relatively unknown in the U.S. is pu’er (普洱茶). … Read moreTea and Tea House Culture
Above you will see an advertisement from the back of a bus stop just outside of the U-Town shopping center. The poster shows two shop owners not accepting cash, stating they prefer customers use their digital wallets (不收现金). The poster was sponsored by the People’s Bank of China (中国人民银行) and interestingly at a time when the … Read moreFormal Mandarin Chinese (五道口 banner example)
Some of my best childhood memories are of going to hockey games in the winter time. My friends and I used to drive up to the local university on Friday nights to catch the game. Sitting in the bleachers, we ate popcorn while we watched big hits, slap shots, and good ol’ fashion hockey fights. … Read moreCan the NHL Help Ice Hockey Grow in China?
Today in Chinese class we came across a news article which showed a young man with 11 older sisters. Quite the big family, but not especially newsworthy. Why then did we read the article? In turns out that the eleven sisters recently bought their younger brother a house in Shanxi, China. Of course, we all … Read moreWould You Buy Your Brother a House?
The word 中国通 (zhongguo tong) means “China hand” or “China watcher” in Mandarin. It’s a combination of 中国 (zhongguo – China) and 通 (tong – to know well). The three characters, when combined together, create the meaning of one who knows China well, i.e. a “China hand”. Today it’s still used to describe foreigners in … Read moreIs the Term “China Hand” Still Relevant for Foreigners in China Today?
I always get surprised when I hear someone complain about their English very articulately. Normally, I have been speaking to the person for a while, perhaps even in deep conversation. “What do you mean?” I inevitably respond. “I think your English is great. Sure, you could probably work on your tenses and gender usage, but … Read moreFall in Love with Communication, Forget About Grammar
Do you know how to refer to your maternal grandmother in Chinese? It depends on who you ask. One way to say it is 外婆 (waipo). The first character, 外 (wai), means outside. The second character, 婆 (po), means grandmother. The two characters come together to mean your “outside grandmother”, as in traditional Chinese culture the women goes … Read moreThe Difference Between 外婆 and 姥姥 In Chinese