Notes: If you see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters (中文), install Chinese support for your computer. The pinyin of each Chinese character will be displayed if you pause your mouse pointer over each Chinese character.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Podcast (播客)

You might be wondering what has happen? There isn't any post of late. Well, actually I am still learning Mandarin everyday and progressing well.

Of late, I had been busy learning Mandarin from this site.

At ChinesePod, you can find many lessons from absolute beginners to advanced students. I like the conversation style of the teaching. Besides, the feature where one can bookmark or remove learned lessons is great. With this, I can now study on the go on my mp3 player.

Well, listen to the podcast below and judge yourself whether it is suitable for you.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Harbour (靠岸)

Today I am going to learn Mandarin by singing another song that my children like to sing. Check out this site for an English translation of this song.

Below is the MV of this song:

靠岸- Sang by: 林宇中





Repeat 1




Eating Out (就餐)

Let us learn more useful expressions from here.

When you are at the website (, ensure you click the arrow (see photo on the right) to listen to the conversation. Practice until you are familiar with the useful expressions about Eating Out which consist of the following:

1) Before the Meal 就餐前
2) Ordering Dishes 点餐
3) Likes and Dislikes 饮食喜好玉禁忌
4) During the Meal 就餐中
5) After the Meal 就餐后

Related posts:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Numeral (数字)

Click here to learn how to count in Mandarin.

New Words for Today:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Learn Mandarin from YouTube

Nowadays we can indeed learn a lot of stuff from YouTube and not just for entertainment. I had collected a series of Mandarin lessons for this post. Hope you will find it useful.

Lesson 1: Introduce Yourself

Below are the rest of the lessons from a series of Mandarin lessons from an abandon website. Learn them at your own pace:

The Four Tones of Mandarin

Mandarin is a tonal language. There are four basic tones and a neutral tone in Mandarin. The basic four tones are sometimes modified when they occur in combination.

The four tones in Mandarin are:
  1. High level but flat tone
  2. Rising tone
  3. Falling and then rising tone
  4. Falling tone
Pronouncing the tone rightly is very important. Take a look at the video below for a better explanation.

Numbers or tone marks are used to indicate the tones. Here is the word ‘ma’ with tone marks:
  • First tone: ma1 or
  • Second tone: ma2 or
  • Third tone: ma3 or
  • Fourth tone: ma4 or

Below are related videos about Pinyin Tones:

Friday, February 22, 2008

Check out nciku

I found another very useful tool to learn Mandarin. It is nciku. From that site, you can even search a Chinese character by handwrite it.

The feature I like most is the ability to search any English or Mandarin words while surfing the web by just highlight any words if you had loaded the tool to your browser. You can also listen to native speaker the pronunciations for any words or sentences.

Check it out and let me know whether you also find it useful.

Using this tool, you can listen to any Mandarin characters posted in this blog.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Personal Information (个人信息)

Today, let us learn more useful expressions from here.

When you are at the website (, ensure you click the arrow (see photo on the right) to listen to the conversation. Practice until you are familiar with the useful expressions about Personal Information which consist of the following:

1) Name 姓名
2) Age 年龄 or 年齡
3) Nationality 民族
4) Professions 职业 or 職業
5) Family Members 家庭成员 or ...員
6) Hobbies 兴趣爱好 or 興趣愛好

Related posts:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Playboy (花心)

Today, I attempt to understand and sing 花心 by Emil Chau (周華健). This song is nice but pretty tough to understand. I couldn't find any good English translation of this song from the Internet. Thus, I have to use Wenlin or ZDT to understand the song. If you could find a good translation of this song, please do let me know.

Click here for just the music using guitar.

Below is the lyric of the above song. Pause your mouse pointer over each line of the lyrics for pinyin. The idea is to recognize the Chinese character instead of pinyin.

花心 by Emil Chau (周華健)



Repeat 1


Repeat 1
Repeat 1


Below are other Mandarin songs that I had learned to sing with understanding:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Basic Expressions (基本句)

There are plenty of free materials to learn Mandarin. One just needs to put in time and effort.

Today, let us learn Basic Expressions from here.

When you are at the website (, ensure you click the arrow (see photo on the right) to listen to the conversation. Practice until you are familiar with the Basic Expressions which consist of the following:

1) Greetings 问候 or 問候
2) Saying Goodbye 告别 or 告別
3) Thanks 感谢 or 感謝
4) Apologies 道歉
5) Compliments 称赞 or 稱贊
6) Approval 赞成 or 贊成
7) Disapproval 反对 or 反對

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy (快乐)

Here is the last Free Survival Chinese Course from ActiveChinese

New Phrases for Today:
快乐 - Happy
音乐 - Music
拼音 - Pinyin; Spell; Phoneticize

New Words for Today:
乐 or 樂 - Pleasure; Joyful
- Sound

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fairy Tales (童話)

After having learned singing 老鼠爱大米 and 月亮代表我的心, I attempt to learn Mandarin by singing another song today. This song was sung by a Malaysian singer's named 光良.

Listen to this song with English translation first:

Then when you are really try the Karaoke version of the song with Traditional Chinese lyrics:

Click here for the MV version.

The Chinese lyrics are available below. Pause your mouse pointer over each line of the lyrics for pinyin.

Singer: 光良



我的天空 星星都亮了


Repeat 1
Repeat 2 using ()
Repeat 2 using ()
Repeat 2 using ()


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Check out ECpod

Thanks to Susan recommendation, I do find ECpod an interesting FREE website ( that could assist me to learn Mandarin.

ECpod stands for "English Chinese Podcast". It is unique in that all their video clips are contributed by members (but vetted before posting) and hence encourages a vast variety of people to teach one another their native language via different teaching styles/methods.

Below is a sample about school:
A transcript is available for the above video.

Do check it out if you are interested to learn Mandarin or English via video and audio clips and at the same time make friends from all over the world.

It is a place where members from all walks of life in China and abroad can exchange culture.

Besides offering excellent interactive teaching tools for members to learn Chinese and English language, ECpod also

  • build a community of individuals with similar interest of learning a foreign language,
  • bring the world closer together and allow members to meet and interact with people from different cultural background,
  • to promote Chinese cultures to the world,
  • to promote English cultures to the world

They are striving to make education FUN and 100% FREE!
Tell your friends about ECpod if you find it useful like I do.

Thank you.
Sam Chan

Friday, February 8, 2008

To succeed (为了取得成功)

The following are reasons, why I am learning Mandarin:
  • The Church I am in lack Mandarin preacher. Thus, I would like to equip myself so that I could help up in this area.
  • It is the most widely spoken language in the world. Thus, with it I could communicate with more people.
  • China has opened up. It is definitely beneficial to understand this language as many countries are linking with China.
  • With Mandarin, I could access to the well known, rich Chinese culture history, traditions and word of wisdoms
  • With Mandarin, my career prospect can be enhanced
  • There are so many non-Chinese taking up this language and become proficient with the language. It is kind of embarrassing not knowing Mandarin as a Chinese.
  • It serves as a challenge for me to learn up what some believe is difficult
  • I could then apply whatever I had learned such as Accelerated Learning, NLP, Hypnosis, etc. to see whether all these techniques work. When I succeed, my children and friend alike might follow

According to Anthony Robbins, reasons come first and answers come second. All powerful reasons will give me the necessary drive to follow through on my plan.

With all the above reasons and whatever more that I can think of, I am planning to succeed.

I have to 努力 (strive) and 加油 (add more fuel i.e. go for it). Do you have any other good reasons to learn Mandarin?

Direction (方向)

Here is another free lesson from ActiveChinese

Let us take a look at the following phrases:
He is on the left.

She is on the right.

New Words for today:
- front; former
后or 後 - behind; back
- up; top
- left
- right
边 or 邊 - side
- at

Okay. I hope you can find all the above from the above video.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Gong Xi Fa Cai (恭喜发财)

Today is Chinese New Year 2008.

By the Chinese calendar, 2008 is the year of Rat. There are 12 animal names; so by this system, year names are re-cycled every 12 years.

During the Chinese New Year which last for 15 days, many will greet each other 恭喜发财 (..發財) or 新年快乐(...樂).

Unmarried person will receive a monetary gift in the form of an angpow (red pocket) - see photo on the left.

New Phrases for Today:
恭喜发财 - May you be happy and prosperous
新年快乐 - Happy New Year

New Words for Today:
财 or 財 - wealth; riches; valuables
- New
- Year
- Fast; Quick

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Blessing (祝福)

This coming Thursday marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rat.

Today, I received an e-mail from my friend wishing me Happy Chinese New Year with ten (10) sentences of blessings. I try to find an accurate meaning. However, I have problem with a couple of the sentences. Below is what I mean. Can you help me?

Wishing you in this New Year:

一帆风顺 - 1. May you have a smooth sailing
二龙腾飞 - 2. May you have lots of promotion in your career
三羊开泰 - 3. May you have good luck and do well
四季平安 - 4. May you be safe in all four seasons
五福临门 - 5. May five blessings come upon your house
六六大顺 - 6. May you be all the best throughout
七星高照 - 7. May seven stars shine brightly to guide you
八方来财 - 8. May fortune comes from all directions
九九同心 - 9. May you together with one heart forever
十全十美 - 10. May you be perfect in every way

Please post your version if you have a better English translation.
Thank you.
Sam Chan

Monday, February 4, 2008

Drink Coffee (喝咖啡)

Here is another free lesson from ActiveChinese

Let us take a look at the following phrases:
He want to drink Coffee

She want to drink Tea

New Words for today:
- want
- drink
咖啡 - Coffee
- Tea
- He
- She

Watch the above video again and see whether you can find all the above words.

So what is your favorites drink? 咖啡 or

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sing Song (唱歌)

There is one Mandarin song that was so popular that many singers even non-Chinese sing it at my company's Annual Dinner. Many of the singers come down from the stage and invite anyone from the table to sing. It will be kind of not sporting for not willing to sing along.

Let us learn to sing this popular song
The Moon Represents My Heart

Below is a video with English translation (so we can understand the song better).

For the original version, click here.

Below is another version sung by Kim Chiu:

The Chinese lyrics are available below. Pause your mouse pointer over each line of the lyrics for pinyin.






Repeat 3
Repeat 4


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Chinese Language Tools (中文工具)

To do well in anything, it is important to have the right tools. Recently, I purchased a Creative Zen V Plus MP3 player with 2GB storage. With this player, I could carry with me ton of audio books and songs so that I could listen to self-improvement books and study Mandarin wherever I go.

Repetition is the mother of learning. I am confidence to say that I could now sing the song (one of the best way of learning languages) 老 鼠 爱 大 米 well with understanding.

Nowadays, there are so many websites. Thus, we just need to go to some websites and learn almost anything. Younger generation this day don't face problem like those days where knowledge is scarce. One just need to spend time, put in effort and know how to be more selective. However, only when we apply the acquire knowledge, we will then benefit from it.

Below are some tools and websites that I used to study Mandarin:
  • ZDT (Zhongwen Development Tool) - an opensource (free)
    - allow you to create your own word lists
    - learn words using three different flashcard modes.
    - a dictionary for word searching
  • Wenlin - a full blown software for learning Chinese
  • On-line Chinese Tools - with lots of useful tools to assist you in learning mandarin

What about you? Do you know of any good tools or sites to learn Mandarin?

Hello (你好)

Let us learn from the following video

Below are some common phrases used when conversing in Mandarin:
Hello; Hi
How are you?

The word Thank in Chinese can be written either as
in Simplified Chinese or
in Traditional Chinese

in Traditional Chinese is written as

Do you still remember the above words when you watch the above video? Watch the video again if you want to refresh your memory.

New Words for today:
- good
- thank
- interrogative particle (like a question tag)

Friday, February 1, 2008

I love you (我爱你)

Let us learn one of the most beautiful phrases today:

I Love You

Anyway, don't use this phrase with anybody unless you mean what you say. You can try and say this to your spouse or love ones and let them find out what it mean if they are not Chinese educated.

There are two standard sets of printed Chinese Characters:
  1. Traditional Chinese - use in Taiwan, Hongkong and Macau
  2. Simplified Chinese - use in mainland China, Singapore and Malaysia

The word Love in Chinese can be written either as
in Simplified Chinese or
in Traditional Chinese

New Words for today:
- I; me
- Love
- You

Go and find this phrase in the previous post from the song titled
老 鼠 爱 大 米
Mouse love rice

Below is the Karaoke version of the song if you would like to try to identify some of the Chinese Characters (in Traditional Chinese). I strongly believe with enough repetition, we could recognize all the words without referring to the pinyin - right?

Let's begin (我们来开始)

Children could learn languages very fast because they mimics whatever they can see and hear. They won't bother much about the meaning of all the words.

Let us start off by listening to one of the popular Mandarin song with English meaning (Click here for the Original version).

The goal is to familiarize with the music first. Click any of the following versions if you prefer a different language:
A group singing in mandarin

Then try and hum or sing along with the pinyin lyrics:

The Chinese lyrics are available below. Pause your mouse pointer over each line of the lyrics for pinyin.


对你说 (对你说)

我爱你 爱着你
我想你 想着你

Repeat 1-2
Repeat 2
Repeat 2

Welcome (欢迎)

Welcome to Self Study Mandarin.

I am using this blog to record down my attempt to learn Mandarin. Frankly speaking, I had been trying to learn Chinese since young but did not manage to reach the level of competency that I desired. Anyway, this time I will definitely succeed.

I believe the following are reasons why I failed in the past:
  • I did not believe that I could speak Mandarin
  • I thought I could only learn Cantonese instead of Mandarin because I speak Cantonese
  • I don't have strong enough reasons to study Mandarin
  • I did not practice what I had learned
  • I lacked focus and confidence
  • I lacked good resources

I strongly believe I will be able to speak fluently and read Mandarin within a year from now.

Here are my reasons why I can do it this time:
  • I told many and are telling more people that I am learning Mandarin.
  • I have many reasons why I want to learn Mandarin which I am going to share later.
  • I am going to use Accelerated Learning method.
  • I am using Paul McKenna's hypnosis and NLP to boost up my confidence.
  • I am planning to achieve this by following Anthony Robbins Rapid Planning (RPM) method.

Well, when time permit, I will share what I had learned about NLP, RPM, etc. in my Acquire Wisdom and Live with Passion blog.

Please assist or correct me if you find any errors in this blog. Those who have this same desire to learn Mandarin can join me.

Thank you.
Sam Chan