Chinese question and answer podcast

111. But WHY, though?

Podcast Duration: 01:15:54

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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.

111. But WHY, though?

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10:44 Comments & Emails

Liam Llamazares on YOU DID IT!!!

Hey guys,

I just finished the pronunciation mastery course. I just wanted to quickly pause to thank you guys for all the effort and passion you’ve put into this course. It’s bursting through the seams of this program and it has helped even a complete newbie like me achieve a good base in pronunciation.

Likewise thanks for answering all my questions. It’s been a great help! I’m looking forward to starting the rest of the program and getting to the memory techniques. They sound like a lot of fun! 😀


William Beeman on 我也想找男朋友

HI in:


The phrase 又好长得又好看(的) seems redundant to describe the desired boyfriend. I get that he should be “good looking” but this seems to be kind of stated twice. Can you explain how these coordinated phrases work together?


Take a look at this simpler sentence:

又 + 好 + 又 + 好看
又 + Adj1 + 又 + Adj2

Now back to the original sentence:
对我 + 又 + 好 + 长得 + 又 + 好看
VP1 + 又 + Adj1 + VP2 + 又 + Adj2


Jason Pon on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 慢慢


Why isn’t 得 used here to describe how the action is being done, which we’ve seen before like 你说话得太快了?

Could the sentence also be arranged as 司机走了过来得慢慢 or something like that? (Sorry if my grammar order is off).


的 – Possession – Noun 1 + 的 +  Noun 2 = Noun 1 posesses Noun 2
地 de – Adjective + 地 + Verb
得 de – Verb + 得 + Descriptive Phrase


Jason Pon on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 慢慢

Phil – Thanks so much. This is a very helpful answer. The only things I would say if I may be allowed to elaborate on the motivation of my question here:

1) I feel like I am at the point in my learning where I need to start to understanding things in a more systematic, holistic, and structured approach when it comes to acquiring my grammar. Anki is helping to passively input grammar points (which I am fully aware has been emphasized as part of this course). I am not undermining the usefulness and tactical benefit of it, but I know how I learn and have learned other things (including other languages) and I work best when I
can categorize everything and absorb things in buckets of rules (for instance, this trifecta of using ‘de’ in the form of 的,得, and 地 is perfect for someone like me to start seeing things top-down now that I have enough bottom-up).

2) I appreciate your point on ‘if it is wrong, stop there & do not question the “why” because at that point you will start to ask questions of a linguist.’ I totally understand and agree. So I guess I am not asking ‘why is that sentence wrong’ (I completely admit that it is) but instead of stopping there and moving on, the question I should and will ask is ‘what should the right sentence be’ because I believe that it’s by making these mistakes, being cognizant of them and fixing them with appropriate grammar is how I’ll learn, and it kind of weaves into my point #1 in that my passive intake has its limits and I need to be more self-aware of the language from a top-down point of view not that I am
developing my bottom-up foundation.

Once again, thanks, and I hope I explained my thoughts well!


Kairi Shikari on It’s a Word! 贵

Regarding the phrase 可能二十元左右, I know that 左右 means ‘about’ but I’m not sure why 可能 is here, as the English translation doesn’t seem to indicate its use.


Corinna on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 关注

In the first sentence, there’s 上 – what’s the meaning of it in this context? Is it only a kind of “helper” in this context? E.g. can I translate is as the “on” in “I’m following you ON Weibo.”?



zài wēibó shàng…
On Weibo…

zài zázhì shàng…
In the magazine…

zài bàozhǐ shàng…
In the newspaper…

zài shū shàng…
In the book…

zài chē shàng…
In the car…

zài tāde zhǐdǎo xià…
Under his guidance…

zài zhège qíngkuàng xià…
In this situation…

zài nǐde yǎnjiǎng zhōng…
In your speech…

zài guòchéng zhōng…
In the process…

里 lǐ – inside

zài jiā lǐ…
In the home…

zài xuéxiào lǐ…
In the school…

zài bàngōngshì lǐ…
In the office…


Corinna on It’s a Word! 得

Why does the first sentence 你骑马骑得太快了。need the character 骑 two times?

I’m trying to think of different scenarios for why it’s needed twice, but I’m just not sure so I thought I’d ask. 🙂

Also: Could I say 你骑得太快了。and have it mean “You ride too fast.”?


Verb + 得 + descriptive phrase



Georgia Swanson on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 椅子

Regarding the first example sentence “椅子不能坐,坏了“,is it just implied from context that this is passive voice and the chair “can’t be sat on”? Of course chairs themselves cannot sit, so I guess I’m wondering if this is one of the instances where you would just use the contextual clues and your amazing common sense skills to determine that it’s not the chair itself that cannot sit? 谢谢!


Lisa Leutheuser on BONUS: “How Does What” – Adverbs of Denial

So in the first example, we have bu before the verb, such as: 不说话

And in the second we have verb + 不 + result, such as: 找不到 Can you also say: 不找 ? I.e. turn it into a ‘bu before the verb” construction? Or can some verbs only use the verb + 不 + result construction?


Andreas Lienemann on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 吃饭

I’m assuming that in the sentence 吃饭时别大声说话, 时 indicates the concurrent happening of 吃饭 and 大声说话, correct?


Jason Pon on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 只有


I’m able to make this sentence out but am just confused about the
usage of 才 in here and what it is expressing. Can you explain please?


Christopher Weeks on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 另外

In the sentence 我的一个朋友在外面玩儿,另外一个朋友在里面工作… why is used 我的一个朋友 instead of 我有一个朋友or 我的朋友? I wasn’t we could use 一 after the particle 的。

Similarly, could I use 另外朋友, 另外的朋友 or do I have to use 另外一个朋友?

57:36 Movies! 

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


Heath Campbell on Make a Movie 鱼

I learnt this word a long time ago when using another course. To me it always looked like someone casting a net over water to catch fish. Not sure I’ll be able to change that. It’s pretty stuck in my head.


Will R on Make a Movie 期

KEYWORD: 期 qī Period Of Time
Actor: qi-
Set: -Ø childhood home
Room within Set (tone): Front door
Prop(s): 其 (Other), 月 (Moon)

Make a movie:
1. qi- at -Ø childhood home’s Front door
2. qi- waits with the Moon (月) to battle The ‘Other’ (其)
3. They wait a long Period Of Time until things change
4. The ‘Other’ springs up for battle
5. Moon says to qi-: “The Period Of Time (期) for waiting is over”


Robert Carver on Make a Movie 垂

Pikachu (chu-) is in the kitchen at my (-ei) set, fighting a T-1000 (千) with twin katanas (二) for arms. Pikachu tries to summon his most awesome power but instead accidentally conjures up a Rose (艹) , which immediately DROOPS in his hand. Pikachu, of course, is immediately impaled, and his head DROOPS down as the life leaves him.


Soren Korsbaek on Make a Movie 除

I’ve got my chu-actor (Chef from South Park) using a toothbrush (阝) to REMOVE the stones of the apple core (余), then giving a speech about how it can be eaten now the stones have been REMOVED.


Nick Sims (戴燚)on Make a Movie 交

Janet Jackson (ji-) is outside (3rd tone) of Lifetime Fitness (-ao) with a tight yoga pants outfit getting ready to enter the building. The Godfather (父) walks up with a Top Hat (亠) on and is completely stunned by Janet. He asks if they can MINGLE and offers to take her on a vacation making her dreams come true. They not only develop an instant FRIENDSHIP but they immediately have the desire for INTERCOURSE. Love at first sight.


Will R on Make a Movie 饱

Make a movie:

1. B- at -ao’s Living Room
2. B- is hungry so he orders from the Food Menu (饣) on an app he has
3. The food later arrives in a big Heavy Bag (包)
4. B- eats the food from the Heavy Bag till he is FULL from food (饱)
5. His belly button turns from inny to outy due to being so FULL
(like Homer Simpson’s did).


Stephanie Arapian on Make a Movie 衣

Idina Menzel is on the front sidewalk announcing Idina’s new CLOTHING line to fashion reporters. After the grand announcement, music starts playing – “Short Skirt Long Jacket”. And then, Idina steps out the front door, sashaying down the front steps in a Tutu and TopHat… and boots. Cuz they’re made for walking.


Della Fuller on Make a Movie 备

Ben is waiting in the backyard of Bard on the Beach (plAYs) when he sees a sloth trying to cross the flooded rice field across the road. He shakes his head when he sees how unPREPAREd the sloth is. He grabs a raincoat, rainboots and an umbrella and goes to rescue the sloth, because he is now PREPAREd for the wet crossing.


Soren Korsbaek on Make a Movie 趣

Churchill has no INTEREST in exercising. Yet, he finds himself in the bathroom of my childhood home with a treadmill and an ATM. However, if he doesn’t do it cash withdrawals come with high INTEREST rates. Suddenly, it is in his INTEREST to exercise. He takes a minute or two on the treadmill before withdrawing his cash with zero INTEREST-rates.


Ann Bihari on Make a Movie 影

keyword – shadow
actor – eve
set – jeng chi restaurant
room – main dining room
props – great wall and dreadlocks

Eve is sitting at the next table over in the main dining room of Jeng Chi. She is also looking at all the different paintings on the wall. Her gaze rests on a very unusual painting of the Great Wall. There’s a man with long dreadlocks standing on the right-hand side of the painting… he’s casting a very long SHADOW that extends almost the entire length of the wall in the painting.


Ann Bihari on Make a Movie 京

keyword – capital
actor – julie
set – jeng chi restaurant
room – outside front entrance
props – top hat, penguin

Julie is meeting a representative from the CAPITAL at jeng chi. She’s waiting for him outside the front entrance. How will she recognize him? He’ll be the penguin wearing a top hat.


Ann Bihari on Make a Movie 景

keyword – scenery
actor – julie
set – jeng chi restaurant
room – main dining room
props – mao portrait, sun

Julie and the penguin are sitting at one of the big round tables at Jeng Chi. They’re looking around at all the traditional paintings of Chinese SCENERY and notice one that seems oddly out of place. It’s of the sun high above the portrait of Mao in Tiananmen Square. It’s more pop art than the other more traditional SCENERY/LANDSCAPE paintings.


Ann Bihari on Make a Movie 尤

keyword – especially
actor – eve
set – rosemont elementary
room – cafeteria
props – diving board, hook, eyedropper

Eve, visiting her sons at Rosemont, is in the cafeteria line for lunch. The cafeteria ladies have set up a miniature diving board for dinosaur chicken nuggets to jump into the frying oil. Using a medium sized hook, the dino nuggets are then scooped out of the oil and onto the kids’ plates. Next, the kids get an eyedropper filled with ketchup to squirt onto the dino nuggets. Eve thinks to herself, “this is ESPECIALLY creative for a school lunch, do they do stuff like this every day?”

27 October, 2020