chinese learning landscape

115. A New Chinese Learning Landscape

Podcast Duration: 01:52:51

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The Mandarin Blueprint Podcast focuses primarily on The Mandarin Blueprint Method online curriculum. Creators Luke Neale & Phil Crimmins answer questions and comments, discuss topics related to China and Mandarin learning, and have special guests.

115. A New Chinese Learning Landscape

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13:41 Comments & Emails

William Edmeades by Email

Hey guys,

Is 又 more of a quick way of saying 和? I ask coz I often see 又 in situations where ‘n (as in “fish ‘n chips”) would be a suitable translation in English rather than ‘and’.

For example:青岛的大虾既便宜又好吃QingDao’s prawns are cheap ‘n tasty (as opposed to 便宜和好吃 – cheap and tasty)

如果你吃水果又菜,你会长大强大又好看If you eat fruits ‘n veges, you will grow up strong ‘n good looking (as opposed to 水果和菜 – fruits and veges, and 强大和好看 – strong and good looking)

I’m not sure if I’m making sense but let me know your thoughts :p



John Grist New Vocabulary Unlocked! 它们

Should 小 猫 translate as kittens ?


Alex Sumray on Vocab Unlocked from 规

I thought I was getting better at the old ‘的’, but it’s stumped me in the following; 事物总是变化发展的,我们需要打破常规。

Anyhow, 1000 is quite remarkable. All credit to Luke and Phil for such an amazing course.

It’s funny, I had to leave China early due to you know what, but I doubt I would have ever have found The Blueprint and got to 1000 so soon without you know what. If there’s any silver lining for me this year, it’s this.

I’ve never known such a complete and wonderful course; even if there isn’t a global lockdown forcing you in for half the year when you start and it takes you a year or two or beyond, with the right tools and a bit of motivation, 1000 scribbles on a page will soon become legible words which will in turn become legible stories and ultimately access to a billion new friends!

Thanks again and all the best to all those zooming towards the end of the intermediate and indeed beyond.


William Yeung on Introduction & Pronunciation Mastery

I have gone through most of the hard grind as a beginner and am now probably an intermediate. Can I jump into the past the beginning stage and save some time?


Kim Krings on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 分开

Does this only relate to relationships and people? Or could this refer to the separation of physical parts?


Oscar Haglund Time to Get Real About Sentences

Should I be reading the sentences in my head in chinese or in my native language until I understand it.

Reading it out (internally) in Chinese with correct tones takes significantly longer but has the added benefit of reinforcing the pronunciation and not just the comprehension.


Georg Lohrer on Make a Movie 虽

Maybe I misunderstand it, but I have choosen the childhood-set, not the “ei”-set.


Chris Lewis on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 总是

I’d love to see your first recommendation for how to memorize these words like ‘schimming’ 说明. Does anyone have a suggestion?


Jason Pon on BONUS: “How Does What” – Adverbs of Range

Love these as always. If feedback was invited, I would suggest a supplementary to these videos to assist for natural visual learners like myself (and probably for lots of others in this course now who may have adapted to visual learning!). It would be great to have a little 1 page cheat sheet pdf page for each grammar point video that helps to illustratively lay out and summarize all of the main points without the detailed explanations above. I think the main benefit from a visual perspective is just lay out the main takeaways (i.e. adverbs before verbs, the different categories of the grammar point; in this case Luke explained there are a few words here that convey the general meaning of ‘only’), etc.


Jason Pon on BONUS: “How Does What” – Adverbs of Range

Oops – another benefit I want to mention is that in addition to a visual summary, it also helps with quick reference. I could simply save them as photos on my phone and refer to them (similar to how I have saved the MB pinyin chart as a photo that I often refer to). These videos are great for periodic deep reviews, but sometimes when I want to quickly check in or even pop quiz myself, these quick guides would be very helpful and accessible.


Jessica m on Level 10 Complete

Two topics:
You say “remember to note your scene in your flash cards.

Should I be summarizing the scene in the notes section of the flashcard?


Jessica m on Level 10 Complete

Question 2 of 2:
You say that “not only can you understand it from reading, but you can understand it from listening.”

This is not my experience learning chinese. My listening comprehension didn’t improve until I spent a lot of time with a CI teacher. (which as you know from my response lead me to make the comment about this not being for beginners until they had some TPRS instruction). the question is: from the point of view of anyone here that is actually starting from scratch and this is your first L2, can you understand spoken chinese consisting of the 80 characters you know?


William Beeman on 外国人看中国

Thanks for this fun story. There is a lot of everyday usage here varying from textbook models that I wish I could internalize. I’d love to see a kind of list or guide of how phrases can be shortened without losing comprehension, on the order of 没有–>没.

But I was especially interested in the last sentence: 那么多没意思. Does 多 in this sentence mean, roughly “so”(or “really,”)? as “That would be SO/REALLY uninteresting?”


Julie Hentschel Lund on Level 16 Complete

I saw a video somewhere – maybe the pronunciation mastery – but the one where you describe how to combine different subdecks on Anki. I would like to make the Pronunciation Mastery into just one deck. Do you have an idea where I can find it?

On a side note, I’m in love with Mandarin Blueprint! This is the best mandarin learning platform out there! So a huge thanks to you guys! And I would also love to be in one of your case studies soon, to share my progress so far 🙂


William Beeman on 外国人看中国

One more question. In the sentence 我认为美分很多种, reading it, I thought that 美分 meant something like “beautiful ‘parts'” or some such, with the sense for the sentence that “I think that beauty has many forms/aspects,” But it seems that 美分 can also be translated as a “U.S. penny coin.” Am I not segmenting the sentence correctly? Is this some usage that is colloquial?


William Beeman on 外国人看中国

Thanks! Ah, once again I have misread the sentence. Because 美·分 is in fact a noun (meaning “American penny”) I didn’t get that 分 in this sentence is actually a verb. This is a great example for my work on morphemic flexibility. It seems that the sentence could be read: “I think that American Pennies have many types (Lincoln head, Indian head). Or am I really stretching it? 🙂

You mentioned that Da Shan does standup comedy. I bet that puns in Mandarin are not highly valued–too easy!


Julie Hentschel on It’s a Word! 美

Is there a reason for double 人? Is it the same as 人们?



William Beeman on 孩子和父母

Hi guys, could you go over the phrase 这份爱太过分 a little? I get the general meaning, but it looks like 份 is being used as some kind of a measure word for 爱, but I’m not sure, and I seem to have missed a beat in understanding 太过分, which I think is “too much.”

Since 份 and 分 seem to be variants of each other, working out this relationship would be helpful. Sorry if I am being obtuse.


Alex Sumray on Vocab Unlocked from 夫

I take it 夫人 is just a more formal, possibly polite way of saying 太太?


Lucy Haley on It’s a Word! 点

Would it be okay to make the character associate to the word ‘order’ rather than ‘dot’?


Micaela Ellison on It’s a Word! 再

A couple questions about usage 1. Could I add 另 into the first sentence So: 我想再吃另一个这种面包. Also, I used to say 请再说一次 to my Chinese teacher and she told me to say 再说一遍. I never really understood why. What’s the difference?


Micaela Ellison on It’s a Word! 再

Thanks! That makes sense. So if I said 我想再吃这种面包, does that simply mean I want to eat this type of bread again at some point in the future, but not necessarily right now?


William Beeman on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 水果


In 这个小男孩从不吃水果和菜,只吃肉, it seems that 来 (after 从) was omitted/is allowed to be omitted to give the meaning “never.” Is this generally permissible? So is 从不 the same as 从来不?


Lucy Haley on It’s a Word! 面

Wait – so it doesn’t mean face-to-face? Or it means face-to-face, noodles, face, and surface hahaha


Billy Blithersunson on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 点菜

有的人会去中国饭店 – what is the use of 的 in this sentence? Is it to make
有人 a plural?


Micaela Ellison on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 可以

I don’t see it here, but the Anki deck has a short conversation with the question 你可以说英语吗. This is translated as “Can you speak English with her?” I have typically heard 会 used in this context instead of 可以. This implies 可以 also has the meaning of “able to do something.” Or is that just in certain contexts?


Robert Carver on Vocab Unlocked from 原

I’m having trouble grasping the differences between 原来, 原有, 原本 and 本来. Can you give a few more examples of how these differ?


In terms of parts of speech, 本来 is usually an adverb and 原来 can be an adverb, adjective, or even a noun.

One way to use 本来 as an adverb is to indicate that your plans have changed. You originally 本来 wanted/was going to/should have done something, but now things have changed:

计划改变了,我们本来想看书,现在要去看电影了。 – Level 26

我本来想买那栋房子,可是房主在抬价。 – Level 43

You can also use 本来 with 就 to express that something is “supposed to” happen or that “it goes without saying”:

It goes without saying that learning Chinese requires daily study.

A boss is supposed to thoroughly prepare the worker’s tasks.

You can also use 本来就 to stress your tone and give an opinion, often rhetorically:

Harry’s a good guy, how is it that you still don’t want to go on a date with him?

When 原来 is used as an adverb, it can indicate “it turns out” e.g.:

It turns out you made it, I thought it was Xiaowang!

原来,美女是在考验男人,这个男人做得非常好。 – Level 32
It turns out, the beautiful woman was testing the man, and he did very well.

When 原来 is used before a noun as an adjective, it means “original, former”:

我们还住在原来的地方。 – Level 37
We still live in the original place.

原来 can also be a noun means “the past” or “the time long ago”:

这里在原来是一个军事要塞。 – Level 54
In the past, this place was a military stronghold.

原本 is, for the most part, merely a more formal version of 原来 when used as an adverb, but you can also use it to indicate that you “thoroughly from beginning to end” did something, and you’ll often double it up:

She told me everything that happened from top to bottom.

1:38:35 Movies! 

This blog post explains the theory behind Movie Scenes and learning characters.

Will R on Make a Movie 学

KEYWORD: 学 xué To Study
Actor: Saddam Hussein
Set: -e
Room within Set (tone): Kitchen
Prop(s): ⺍ (Sonic the Hedgehog), 冖 (THE KING (Burger King’s Mascot)), 子 (Macaulay Culkin)

Make a movie:
1. Saddam at -e’s Kitchen
2. Saddam Hussein wants TO STUDY how to make a WMD
3. Macaulay Culkin (子) is hired there to help Saddam craft this new weapon out of household objects
4. Suddenly Sonic the Hedgehog (⺍) and The King (冖) rush in to oppose Saddam’s plans
5. Sonic and The King says: “We did some STUDY of our own and we learned where you were hiding Saddam”
6. Macaulay Culkin says to Saddam: “You should have STUDIED (学) how to beat fictional heroes first”


Will R on Make a Movie 孩

KEYWORD: 孩 hái Children
Actor: h-
Set: -ai
Room within Set (tone): kitchen
Prop(s): 子 (Macaulay Culkin), 亥 (Dirty Dozen)

Make a movie:
1. h- at -ai’s kitchen
2. Macaulay Culkin (子) is there misbehaving
3. h- says: “Why don’t you get out the Dining Hall and go and play the other CHILDREN outside?”
4. Macaulay Culkin says: What other CHILDREN?”
5. h- says: “Those CHILDREN over there!”
6. h- points to the Dirty Dozen (亥) doing military training
outside the kitchen window
7. Macaulay Culkin says: “They’re not CHILDREN, they’re the Dirty Dozen”
8. h- says: “Oh right I forgot, CHILDREN (孩) don’t play outside anymore”


Robert Carver on Make a Movie 海

Hulk Hogan is in the bedroom of my -ai set, trying to rescue Mother Teresa from the clutches of Jabba the Hut. Jabba, being part slug, is allergic to salt so Hulk fills a Water Balloon (氵) with SEA water and throws it at him. It has a small effect, but Jabba just laughs. That’s when Mother Teresa rolls her eyes at Hulk’s poor rescue attempt, then puts her hands together in prayer and the floor instantly transforms into the SEA, swallowing a writhing Jabba as the other two swim to the safety of the floating bed.


Will R on Make a Movie 火

KEYWORD: 火 huǒ Fire
Actor: Mr. Hanky
Set: -o
Room within Set (tone): Living Room
Prop(s): 丶 (Drop), 人 (Slenderman), 丿 (Samurai Sword), 火 (Ghost

Make a movie:
1. Mr. Hanky at -o’s Living Room
2. Slenderman (人) appears to battle Mr. Hanky
3. Mr. Hanky Drops a magic Drop (丶) on the floor and FIRE springs up from it
4. Ghost Rider comes out of the FIRE
5. Ghost Rider slashes Slenderman away with his Samurai Sword (丿) on FIRE
6. Slenderman disappears in a puff of FIRE
7. Mr. Hanky says to Ghost Rider: “Boy you are on FIRE!” (火)


Will R on Make a Movie 灯

KEYWORD: 灯 dēng Lamp
Actor: D
Set: -(e)ng
Room within Set (tone): Front Door
Prop(s): 火 (Ghost Rider), 丁 (Nail)

Make a movie:
1. D at -(e)ng’s Front Door
2. D hears a knock on the door, D answers it and Ghost Rider (火) is there
3. Ghost Rider says: “This front door looks kinda dull. Give me any item and I’ll turn it into a fiery LAMP for you to place at
your door”
4. D gives Ghost Rider a Nail (丁) and Ghost Rider with a big puff of fire, he turns the Nail into a fiery LAMP
5. D says: “Ok I now have a LAMP to light this front door at night.”


Chris N on Make a Movie 史

The Rolling Stones mouth is riding a lawnmower, and is using it
to run over my sh- actor. The mouth is yelling “You’re HISTORY!”


Ric Santos on Make a Movie 声

Seems like a soldier during flag ceremony singing bravely his national anthem without any background music. He makes up for it by striking the flagpole with a small stick with the beat in his heart singing with a loud VOICE.


Will R on Make a Movie 窄

NOTE: For this scene I use an “Acme joke factory portable hole”
as a prop from the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Watch this
know what it is.

KEYWORD: 窄 zhǎi Narrow
Actor: zh-
Set: -ai
Room within Set (tone): Living Room
Prop(s): 穴 (Acme joke factory portable hole), 乍 (Native American)

Make a movie:
1. zh- at -ai’s Living Room
2. Native American (乍) rushes in and says to zh-: “Can you hide me, people are coming to get me?”
3. zh- grabs an “Acme joke factory portable hole” and puts it on the Wall
4. zh- says: “Squeeze through that NARROW hole”
5. Native American squeezes through and says: “This is Indeed NARROW”
6. zh- takes the “Acme joke factory portable hole” (穴) off the wall and the Native American is hidden from danger now inside the wall
7. zh- says to himself: “I did a good job in a NARROW (窄) amount of time.”


Will R on Make a Movie 情

KEYWORD: 情 qíng Emotion
Actor: qi-
Set: -(e)ng
Room within Set (tone): Kitchen
Prop(s): 忄(Data from Star Trek:TNG), 青 (Nurse in Cyan clothes)

Make a movie:
1. qi- at -(e)ng’s Kitchen
2. Data (忄) comes along and says to qi- : “I wish to feel human EMOTION”
3. qi- calls over a Nurse (青) to come over to the Kitchen and the Nurse operates on Data, so he feels EMOTION
4. qi- looks at how happy Data is and says: “This is so EMOTIONAL” (情)


Chris N on Make a Movie 任

Chuck Norris and Captain America (my soldier) are sparring in my set. Chuck wins the match, by bringing a sword down against Captain America’s head. My R- actor steps in and says “You’ve done well, so I will ASSIGN this dangerous mission to you.”


Georg Lohrer on Make a Movie 第

My di-actor stands together with Robin Hood (archer) in the backyard of my childhood-home. The di-actor with her Samurai-Sword, Robin with his bow and arrows. They have to get through this Bamboo-thicket in front of them. Robin commands: we do that alternately, you take THE 1., I take THE 2., then you again THE 3. and me with THE 4., and so on.


Will R on Make a Movie 象

KEYWORD: 象 xiàng Elephant
Actor: xi-
Set: -ang
Room within Set (tone): Toilet
Prop(s): ⺈ (Rope), 口 (Mouth), 豕 (Ms. Piggy)

Make a movie:
1. xi- at -ang’s Toilet
2. xi- walks in to see the Mouth (口) tieing Ms. Piggy (豕) up with a Rope (⺈)
3. Mouth says: “What you gonna do to stop me? You got an ELEPHANT
or something? haha”
4. xi- calls her pet ELEPHANT along and her pet ELEPHANT tosses the Mouth into Orbit using its trunk
5. xi- unties Ms. Piggy from the Rope and Ms. Piggy says with a loving voice: “My, that’s a fine ELEPHANT” (象)

象 = Stampy the Elephant

24 November, 2020