The first astronaut in space

Here’s a tiny story in Mandarin, about the first astronaut in space (第一个在宇宙中宇航员). From ‘The strange ticking sound‘, based on a scene mentioned in the 2011 movie Another Earth. More about learning Mandarin at GoEast here.

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Brushing your teeth & learning Mandarin

(This was my speech at GoEast‘s 10th anniversary, Saturday 22 October in Shanghai.) So if you are a bit like me you probably brush your teeth every day. Twice a day, maybe thrice. And the thing with brushing my teeth is, I don’t particularly like it. I don’t hate it either, I just do it […]

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Learning Chinese with Pokémon

After 3,5 years of Mandarin classes I took to Taobao to buy a gaming console to play Pokémon LeafGreen from 2004: 口袋妖怪-绿叶. Here I take you through the process and adventure of learning new words and catching Pokémon. Google spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1GhwzcucQiNB0QzTtAa7mc_Y_16YF0r1Ic9WH1ofS_tA/edit?usp=sharing Spreadsheet tip: – For Chinese to English, use a formula such as =GOOGLETRANSLATE(A1,”zh-CN”,”en”) – […]

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How to know whether you’ve found a good language teacher

I’ve done over 600 class hours learning Mandarin Chinese, the vast majority with teachers from GoEast, but also with several from other schools, freelance teachers, or simply Chinese people functioning as teacher but without the proper education for it. Throughout these lessons, I’ve been making notes about my learning observations and my relationship with teachers. […]

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Chinese language in The Wire

During the Shanghai lockdown, we took up watching The Wire for the first time. We even joked we were released too soon (after 61 days) because we only finished the final season a few days after our release. We semi-binged it with Chinese Hanzi subtitles, under the guise of making it more educational. It’s interesting […]

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Should you learn Mandarin despite China’s zero covid policy?

There’s a huge overlap between politics, culture, and language. And even though I’d like to focus on the latter, China’s future will also affect many potential Mandarin learners — especially those not in China now, but looking to study or work in China in the future. Regardless of whether you agree with zero covid or […]

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Developing Chinese

Developing Chinese: Advanced Speaking Course 2 review

Firstly, I love the HSK system because it’s clever and introduces compound words/characters really well. In HSK1 you may learn 谢谢Xièxiè (Thank you), in HSK3 觉得Juédé (Think), in HSK4 感谢Gǎnxiè (Thank) and 感觉(Gǎnjué). You can forgive HSK for becoming increasingly written language (especially HSK5 & HSK6). And although I cannot really compare HSK1 to 高级口语, […]

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Learning Chinese at GoEast Mandarin

If you wish to sign up with GoEast, use my referral link and you’ll get 1 free private class when you sign up for a course. In the summer of 2018, I moved to Shanghai and actually, I only planned to stay maybe two years in China, so I didn’t consider it necessary to learn […]

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My first speech in Mandarin

My first speech in Chinese after learning for 3 years with GoEast Mandarin! I didn’t speak perfectly, but I’m pretty satisfied! It’s a bit above my language level, and I rehearsed pretty hard for this, the new vocabulary and sentence structures. This speech was given Saturday 4th of December 2021 in Shanghai — during the […]

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