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I'm glad if I can help with Mandarin.

Since the Chinese course entered beta and I see many people are interested in learning mandarin here. I'm a native speaker of mandarin. And I don't see many Chinese are using it. So if you guys have any questions, doubts or if you are confused in some translation, I'm very glad if I can be helpful. ;) I am NOT a teacher. I just would like to help. ;) Cheers!

November 16, 2017



You can also ask me for help, I went to school in Taiwan for three years during High School.


Can the tones of a word drastically change the definition?



There's a pretty famous poem in Chinese that can be read with one syllable (shi) with only the tones differing. Wikipedia link, link to poem itself with all the tones written out.


OMG! That's tricky to read even for a native speaker! LOL!


Someone actually read it perfectly, and it sounded funny but poetic. Ha ha, only shi with the 4 tones, and it was about a guy eating ten stone lions.

('shi' can mean many different things, and when used properly can make a whole story.)


Yeah exactly! 施(a last name called "shi"), 氏(the last name), 食(eat), 狮(lion), 史 (history or story)


Yup, so it means it was a story about a guy who ate stone lions. That's what the title suggests. Then you read the story and it sounds hilarious ;)


What an amazing language :)


Wow! That is really cool!


Yes, exactly, if the "tones" you mentioned here mean the 4 basic tones in mandarin. Sometimes two different characters have the same tone, such as 一 (yī,one) and 衣 (yī,clothes). And yet sometimes one character can have two different tones and differs in meaning, such as 啊,when it's à, usually it means you are shocked, and when it's á, usually it means you are doubting, like in English when you say "Sorry?"


Yeah, currently in Chinese now, have been to China and I can tell you most definitely. So let's use the classic ma for example. With each tone the meaning changes. It can go from meaning mother to horse ( 1st and 3rd tones) 妈 马。


I'm not fluent but YES and DRASTICALLY. Honestly, it's kind of funny, like if you mean to say "where is the tissue paper" but it comes out "where is the revenge paper".


死 or 四? we will never know * ^ *


Hi Amy.SH,

Could you relocate this discussion in the “Chinese from English” forum? Thx!

To relocate it(*), edit your original post then select said forum in the drop-down menu on top-left of the edition area (see here for details).

(*) \/!\ please, don’t create a new one \/!\

Have a look to this short guide to help you knowing where to post your (future) discussions on Duolingo’s forums.


Done. Is it what you mean?


Yes, it was that. ;)


I have a question. What is the sentence structure of a Chinese sentence? (subject-object-verb, etc.)


There are likely to be more people looking for help in the Chinese forum. You probably need to subscribe to the forum before you can move this there.


It will be wonderful if you can tell me where the Chinese forum is?


Here. ;)

To add it to your list of followed forums, click on the "EDIT" blue button (at the right of text "Subscriptions") at the top of the column listing all the forums you're following when in the main forum page then a list of all forums (for English speakers) will appear and you'll be able to (un)subscribe to all the ones you want.


This isn't a question about Mandarin but how long did it take you to learn English? Any parts about English that frustrates you? lol


Mandarin is a topolect of Chinese. Basically, one of the many regional varieties (although AFAICT Mandarin is not really confined to any one region of China anymore). So when people talk about Chinese, they include Mandarin.


Ah! I started to learn English when I was 9 years old and it's been about 20 years till now. I'm still learning. ;) What frustrated me was that when we were having English class at school, we didn't have many chances to use English except for the time in class. I think it helps a lot if you can have some native speaker friends so that it can somehow "force" you to use the language. ;)


Hi Amy!

Thank you for being here. I wonder, if there is a "smart" way of learning the characters. I mean, right now this whole thing, seem to veeery abstract to me with some random "pictures". This is quite hard to learn.

On the other hand, I have seen some explanations on how some characters can be understood/seen. For example, person (ren) as a someone who is walking. "Ni" in "ni hao", is a person leaning against a tree (rest!). ShaoLan Hsueh gives a really good talk about it on TED (https://www.ted.com/talks/shaolan_learn_to_read_chinese_with_ease)

So, the question follow: does it make sens, to look for the origin/explanation of the character? If so, then do you know of nay source where I could find more of these interpretations?


Hi MrVodnik! I think for starters it does make sense to take these characters as meaningful pictures so that it's easy remember how to write them. But only SOME of the Chinese charaters look like what they mean, such as: "sun", "moon", "door", etc.. And these charaters come from the acient ones step by step. You may check this https://cn.hujiang.com/new/p345990/ This explains the characters' evolution. Anyway, not ALL the characters can be found like this. When we were little kids and started to learn to write, we were not taught to remember the pictures. We just memorized them. Sometimes it's tedious I know...;)


I can help too!


Please help me I only know some chinese


How can I help you?


Cheers to you!!


啊 很高兴认识你^^ 你学挪威语吗?

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