Chinese 101 Informal Information Center

Hello and welcome to my… blog. I honestly still think it’s just a very unorganized e-notebook, but I hope you find something helpful. Unfortunately I messed up the setting so the search function wouldn’t work (I would fix it in the near future which means never). You can use the panel on the left (if you are viewing on a computer) to navigate to the tiltles more quickly. I apologize for any typos and grammar mistakes in any languages, and you are more than welcome to correct me by contacting me via email.

Here’s a list of resources on Chinese in general, which I should be updating soon

And here’s a song list I doubt if I can update, since I listen to German songs almost exclusively these days

Before you delve into the sea of information, I want to apologize if you find it overwhelming. I do have the habit of clustering information (so whatever I found that’s relevant and worth looking at by my standard, I would put them together). So feel free to ignore whatever you are not interested in. You don’t need these information at all to learn Chinese. (that’s why I call it informal)

I hope you find some of them helpful. And again, feel free to request materials, because I do enjoy finding random information…

Chinese Education

First off, I encourage you to check the Wikipaedia page on the topic (Engilsh) and also on the education inequality in China.

I found this youtube video which stays true to what I experienced (but in different age, and there are many details that are different…) before the pandemic.

There are tons of videos/documentaries on Chinese college entrance exam prep, and I watched… one of them.

The full version, but only with Chinese Subtitles.

The one with English subtitle but somehow 40 minutes shorter

You are more than welcome to chat with me about my experience in detail (even though I didn’t go through the high school part of the horror (?) Just be aware of the nature of the topic: it’s not… a delightful topic. I can rant for hours…and I don’t really appreciate it too much. There are people who adapt better than I did, but there’s a reason I’m here at all and this is part of it.

I also have to point out that as inconsistent as China is, my experience is very different from most of them now in the country. Even compared to my peers, mine was really unique in general. I mean, you really won’t expect someone who learn most of the stuff outside of school her entire life before High School even if she’s Chinese (in highschool I sort of self-study everything because I have issues with staying attentive in class and I still have it very often).

You might want to watch this vice video about the cracking down of outside of school classes/课外班/补习班. It would require a general content warning but it might be less depressing than the documentary above (at least from my POV)

I also found a very interesting article on why we have this crackdown (in Chinese). The article has been deleted on social media, but of course I found an archive. I can talk about censorship and archiving information at some point.

Articles on Involution(内卷)!

A Picture of Someone Riding Bike While Programming

Well, we really cannot discuss the topic without this context (or maybe we could? I can totally picture a bunch of Chinese I met in this school doing it… but you know me very well at this point, I won’t shut up). The highly competitive nature of general education… is heavily reflected by many people, and we sort of abused this word (内卷) to the point where it no longer refers to what it means in sociology. It does describe the meaningless competition that makes everyone worths off.

Here’s an article (in English) I read from my China Debate class. If you are considering taking that class at all (it’s taught in English). You might want to read. Otherwise, it’s still a very great article. I also made some notes in my notes for the class which you can navigate from the panel on the left. In case you are curious to read the Chinese text, it’s here

Here’s a fun piece from What’s on Weibo which looks at what it means on the social media (another piece of reading I shamelessly took from the China Debate).

And of course, there are numerous TV shows that are relevant. Here’s one I can recall. (With English Subtitle on youtube).

How to call your partner in Chinese?

A quick biased review of all the options

I just realized certain biases about the perceptions of the language is unavoidable, so I just gave up.

  1. 男朋友/女朋友:Most common ones, also applicable for lesbian couples and gay male couples
    • Somehow if you use “npy” it can refer to both 男朋友 and 女朋友 :)it’s not completely gender neutral but it is… better than including the gender directly??
  2. 妻子,丈夫: (wife, husband), terms for married couples, applicable for lesbian couples and male couples, but since legal same-sex marriage does not really exist, you would see queer couple using it to address each other outside of China sometimes, but most likely not in mainland China.
  3. 爱人:gender neutral, an outdated way of referring to the partner (your own or someone else’s) e.g 我爱人 (My partner), 她爱人 (her partner). No it’s not a term to express affectionation, even though the translation might suggest so.
  4. 伴侣: gender neutral, a very formal way of addressing someone’s partner. Not that often in conversations I’d say. You could…
  5. 对象: gender neutral, assumption of heterosexual relationship in mainland China but you don’t have to explain anyway (?). Usually referring to unmarried partner, but it does implied this is a serious relationship.
  6. 家属:gender neutral. My friends who are on average 8 years older than I am use it quite often, but it’s mostly for married couples. e.g 我家属 (my partner), xxx的家属 (xxx’s partner)
  7. 另一半: gender neutral. Literal translation would be “the other half”. It sounds romantic but it really isn’t a romantic way to address the person (in my opinion).
  8. 队友: gender neutral. Literal translation is “teammate”. Usually used between married couple. It sounds not romantic but I think people who use it usually have a good relationship with their partners.
  9. 孩子她(他)爸/孩子她(他)妈:not gender neutral. If a couple have kids/pets, they might address each other as the mother/father of the kids/pets.

Some instagram accounts to follow if you like meme, activism, curious about what on earth is happening in China and among Chinese people, and kind of care about them (which includes me, so if you don’t… you really don’t have to tell me).

-to be continued-

(In Progress)

I asked my (one and almost only) Chinese friend what obscure things Chinese learners should know about, and she sent me this article.

Well, it’s about food, so I guess it counts.

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