Learning Mandarin is a journey in which a student’s evolution continually occurs across a spectrum of skills — e.g. listening, speaking, reading, writing, cultural understanding, etc. This post is focused on two of those skills: speaking and listening. We have compiled a list of 12 videos from Mandarin HQ (an excellent, free resource for Mandarin videos) designed to draw attention to the unique sounds and accents of Mandarin while also providing a study resource containing the vocabulary and phrases of many common daily activities. So warm up some tea, put on your headphones and enjoy ever step of your Mandarin learning journey.
Top 12 Videos to Improve Your Mandarin
一The Sounds Of “Southern Accented” Mandarin Chinese
二 Mandarin Chinese Accent Challenge: “North or South?”
三 How to Recognize and Pronounce The 4+1 Tones of Mandarin Chinese
四 Ordering Chinese street food like a local in Mandarin Chinese
五 Talking about hobbies in Mandarin Chinese
六 How to ask for the restaurant bill in China
七 Why do so many Chinese girls use umbrellas when it’s sunny?
八 Is There Anything You Don’t Eat?
九 How to wish someone a happy birthday in Mandarin Chinese
十 How to say “I know” and “I don’t know” in Mandarin Chinese
十一 Celebrating National Day Golden Week in China
十二 5 ways to greet a friend you haven’t seen for a long time in Mandarin Chinese
CLI has churned through hundreds of videos by ChineseClass101.com to compile this list of 25 videos covering must-know Mandarin vocabulary. We’ve extracted all of the vocabulary into simple lists of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and phrases at the end of this post — click here to jump to the lists. You can also use this link to download a PDF containing the complete 222 word vocabulary list. Enjoy!
#1 Learn 25 Must-Know Chinese Nouns
People, places, things, and ideas — nouns are an elemental part of speech and this video covers 25 essentials.
#2 Learn 25 Must-Know Chinese Verbs
We look to action words (a.k.a. verbs) to keep this Chinese lesson moving.
#3 Learn 25 Chinese Adjectives
Learning Mandarin adjectives is a fast way to spice up your ability. This video covers basics like 大 and 小 or 热 and 冷 while also adding some off-beat flare with words like 恶心 and 臭。
#4 Learn 5 Mandarin Words Pertaining to Studying a Language
It’s crucial to learn verbs and nouns but how do you say ‘verb’ or ‘noun’? What about ‘to study’? This video covers 5 rudimentary words related to studying a language.
#5 Learn 15 Favorite Chinese Words
In this upbeat video with Yuting you’ll review 15 useful words like 喜欢， 对不起，and 尊敬。
#6 Learn 25 Chinese Phrases to Improve Your Fluency
In just under 7 minutes this video covers 25 very practical phrase from how to receive a compliment—哪有，哪有—to “don’t worry, I’ve got it”—放心吧，包在我身上。
#7 Learn 5 Life Events in Mandarin
This short video teaches us the vocabulary for 5 basic life events: to be born, graduation, to work, to get engaged, and the final act—to die.
#8 Learn 5 Subjects of Study in Mandarin
This quick 2 minute video favors history and the sciences. Watch it and learn how to say history, science, physics, biology, and chemistry in Mandarin.
#9 Learn 5 Vegetables in Mandarin
Help prepare yourself for Chinese cuisine by reviewing 5 vegetables in this short 2 minute video.
#10 Learn 5 Mandarin Words Related to Cooking
This video covers 5 words you should know like stir-fry and barbecue.
#11 Learn 5 Flavors in Mandarin
It’s no secret, authentic Chinese food is delicious. This brief 2 minute video covers the 5 main flavors of Chinese cuisine. Dig in.
#12 Learn 5 Tableware Words in Mandarin
Sticking with the theme of food, this next 2 minute video teaches us a few staple tableware items you’ll find at a Chinese meal.
#13 Learn 5 Words Related to Cleaning Using Mandarin
Now that we’ve learned words related to cooking, it’s time to clean up. Learn 5 easy words having to do with cleaning.
#14 Learn 5 Articles of Clothing in Mandarin
Get your outfit ready by learning a few simple words like 帽子，裤子，and the loanword T恤衫。
#15 Learn 5 Clothing Accessories in Mandarin
Now it’s time to accessorize your outfit by using words like 皮带，手表， and 太阳镜。
#16 Learn 5 Mammals in Mandarin
What does the fox say? Who knows, but after watching this video at least you’ll be able to say 狐狸。
#17 Learn 5 Geographic Terms in Mandarin
Desert, lake, river, island, ocean — take 2 minutes and learn them all here.
#18 Learn 5 Mandarin Words You’ll Need When Crossing Borders
Crossing the border is official business and knowing your vocabulary can expedite the process.
#19 Learn 5 Words Related to Tourism in Mandarin
Saying tourism is a major industry in China is a vast understatement. Saying the word 游客, yóukè, is simple.
#20 Learn 5 Words Related to Currency Exchange in Mandarin
Being a 游客 means you’ll need to exchange your local currency for RMB. In this video you will learn some necessary terms to do just that.
#21 Learn 5 Mandarin Words You May Need in a Hotel
With this video in less than 2 minutes you can learn some very practical words you’ll need in a hotel.
#22 Learn 5 Words Describing Personalities in Mandarin
Describing a person’s personality is a common occurrence in any language. This video teaches us 5 useful Mandarin words for describing a person’s disposition.
#23 Learn 5 Mandarin Words Regarding Health Concerns
Health vocabulary is an important set of words to study. This video has 5 simple words to learn.
#24 Learn to Say 5 Difference Sports Using Mandarin
Sports are very popular in China. 足球 and 篮球 are among the most popular. It’s time to get your game on.
#25 Learn How to Say 5 Kinds of Furniture in Mandarin
Pull up a 椅子 and learn 5 pieces of furniture in less than 2 minutes.
Not only was Jack Ma, 马云 Mǎ Yún, rejected from Harvard when he first applied, the university rejected his nine subsequent application submissions. In his enlightening interview with Charlie Rose, Jack speaks about failures and successes, his world-view, women in the workplace, harmony and balance, the value of introspection, and many other meaningful topics.
Jack Ma is the founder of Alibaba, an online megastore similar to amazon, and is now the executive chairman of the Alibaba Group, a holding company with nine major subsidiaries including Alibaba.com, Taobao, Tmall, AliExpress.com and Alipay*. He is the first entrepreneur from mainland Chinese to appear on the cover of Forbes*.
Watch the entire interview between Charlie Rose and Jack Ma.
In our Spring Festival video, we invite you to peer into the life of a Guilin resident who walked the same arduous path traveled by so many in China from poverty to prosperity. Join Dayong, a CLI team member since 2009, as he converses with 叶叔叔，Uncle Ye，about how the quality of life has changed for the better.
While watching the video, follow along in the below transcript for the Chinese characters, pinyin, and English translation. You can also use this link to download a PDF containing the interview transcript and vocabulary list.
Well, I choose “truly happy.” When I was young, I always looked forward to this
time of year because it meant we could eat well. Just that simple. Life was hard. Throughout the year I’d always hope to eat a little pork, or even a chicken leg. But when we got those red envelopes with 0.2 RMB inside, it was overwhelming joy. Now, you can eat whatever you want. There’s so much good food to eat these days. The quality of life has improved drastically, no more worrying about whether we can eat. Spring Festival is now about being with your friends and your family, talking about your experiences with work, and just interacting and socializing.
We spend the Spring Festival together. On the first day, we go to my older brother’s house. On the second day the family all comes to my house. And on the third day we go to my younger sister’s house. We go here and there eating at each other’s houses, talking about our previous year’s experiences and work. Usually we don’t have the time to be with each other and communicate like we do when celebrating the New Year.
Dayong (02:31 – 02:36)
Nà xiànzài nín dí gēgē mèimei dōu tuìxiūle me? Háishì…