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Archive for May, 2010

Simple Comparisons Posted by on May 27, 2010

When speaking Mandarin, there are several ways to make comparisons between people, places, and things. Positive Comparisons 1. He is taller than she.  他比她高 -ta1bi3ta1gao1 2. He is taller than she.  他高过她 -ta1gao1guo4ta1 I have always found that the second structure is more comfortable, albeit more of a vernacular formation which I have encountered more…

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North-South Variations Posted by on May 25, 2010

After moving from Beijing to Shenzhen last year, I noticed numerous differences between the spoken Mandarin that I was accustomed to up north and the Mandarin spoken in this new city full of 外地人 (wai4di4ren2 – out-of-towners) from all over China.  As Shenzhen is located in Guangdong province and next to Hong Kong and Macau,…

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Regional Differences in Pronunciation Posted by on May 24, 2010

Today I’m going to discuss some regional differences in pronunciation and how people generally characterize accents in China.  Here are some broad differences between north and south. Between north and south, 知 zhi1 吃 chi1 and 是 shi4 all lose the “h” component, leading them to sound like zi1, ci1, and si4, respectively.  This change…

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What about 呢? Posted by on May 15, 2010

You may hear a lot of sentences ending with the particle “呢 (ne),” but what is it and what does it mean?  呢 can be used at the end of statements and questions to different effects, see below: Form: 我才不/没有呢 wo3cai2 bu4/mei2you3 ne Example: 我才不是呢! wo3cai2bu4shi4 ne! – “I’m sure not the one!”/”It sure wasn’t…

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Targeted School Violence in China Posted by on May 13, 2010

If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the recent rash of kindergarten and elementary school attacks from copy-cat killers in China. Using mainly knives or blunt tools as weapons, five men and after today, one woman, violently and brutally assaulted children and teachers, killing seventeen and injuring some 100 people. Evoking…

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