Say It Right Series

    Daily Life 2


    The Daily Life Newbie Bridge Course focuses on high-frequency language used in everyday communication and is designed to help Newbie students transition smoothly to Elementary level. It starts with some of the more challenging newbie lessons and transition into elementary ones. It's ideal for those who want to push past the Newbie level.

    How do you say...? Newbie

    Every once and a while, we like to give you options, and today is no exception. If you want to ask someone, “how can I say this in Chinese?” you can either: 1. Point to the object, at yourself, say the object and then point to the Chinese person with you and wait; 2. Hold object up, shrug shoulders and wait; or 3. Say, “How do you say this in Chinese? (in Chinese)” Again, no pressure – what we like about you is the person inside. But if you want to know, listen to this podcast, you won’t be sorry.

    Tags: questions, ability, communications

    The First Tone Newbie

    The alpha, the genesis, dongxi numero uno. All the other tones wish they were this high, but without the other tones, we wouldn't know how supreme the first tone actually is. That's the existential truth of tonal relativity. The first tone in history to get its very own podcast, and the only tone that's phonetically represented by its Chinese character--learn about it in this lesson.

    Tags: tones, language

    The Second Tone Newbie

    Of all the tones, the second tone is the most exciting. It's a rising tone. Don't get too charged up though, we don't want to turn it in to a fourth tone just yet, we want to make this last. Listen to this podcast and learn all about the second tone of Mandarin Chinese as it ascends to its rousing climax. Just try not to wake the neighbors.

    Tags: tones, language

    What is this called? Newbie

    Not that you’d ever find yourself in a position to identify what something is (this said we we’re still recovering from the “calf brain” we unknowingly tried last weekend), but should you wish to identify before ingesting, you might (burp) benefit from a lesson on asking what something is. In this podcast, learn how to ask what something is in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: questions

    The Third Tone Newbie

    The third tone is basically the middle child of the Mandarin line-up. It gets abused like a red-headed step child. Sometimes it's third, sometimes it gets ridden roughshod by second tone, and sometimes it straps a fourth tone on for good times. Third tone suffers from low self-esteem and is still trying to find its true self. Listen to this podcast and give the third tone the love it missed out on as a child.

    Tags: tones, language

    The Fourth Tone Newbie

    Here we arrive at the last stage in the rise and fall of the four tones of Mandarin Chinese, and poor fourth is a bit of an enigma. Due to his angry tone of voice and overbearing sharpness, some find it hard to get to know him. In this podcast, we peel back the layers and help fourth tone make peace with his inner child. He's not mad, just misunderstood.

    Tags: tones, language

    Please speak slowly Newbie

    As mentioned previously, uttering “xiexie” and “nihao” seem to automatically put you in the bracket of “fluent”, meaning they’re going to speak to you in a normal (read: fast) speed. So learning how to tell someone in Mandarin Chinese to “slow it down a bit” in this podcast just might save you from having to admit that you’re actually not quite that fluent yet.

    Tags: food, communications, language

    The Neutral Tone Newbie

    Oft over looked due to its timid tone and quiet presence, this Mandarin Chinese tone is anything but passive. In this podcast, we visit the sometimes forgotten and difficult to define tone that makes love, not war... impartially takes no sides and conscientiously objects to raising its voice. Its only flaw is perhaps a slight tendency toward wimpiness, but hey it'll never get in your face... the neutral tone.

    Tags: tones, language

    Why are You Studying Chinese? Elementary

    Why are you learning Chinese? Will it help you at work? Is Mandarin your ticket to a life of adventure? Are you just a mental masochist? Listen to today's lesson and learn how to tell others why you're learning this beautiful and challenging language.

    Tags: purpose, language, Chinese, studying

    Which tone was that again? Elementary

    Science is fun! So are sports! But what happens when you want to discuss one in Chinese, but you instead use words describing the other? Sounds like you have a problem with tones, but not to worry! ChinesePod is here to help!

    Tags: tones, skiing, sports

    Tone Rule: Changes for 'bu' Elementary

    While the writer attempts to interject occasional humor into these intros, he knows there's nothing funny about the word ‘bu’, especially when you factor in the rules involved. Sorry, you don't know the rules? Oh, you'll thank us for this podcast that takes away the mystery of the changeable ‘bu’ in Mandarin Chinese, then.

    Tags: tones

    Changing Class Time Elementary

    You're as serious about your Chinese lessons as the next person, but you're also very busy. We understand that. That's why we're going to be very understanding and let you change class times so you can attend the Comic-con this year. But you have to be able to ask in Chinese! Tune in to this lesson to learn how.

    Tags: study, time, classroom

    Tone Rule: Two Third Tones Elementary

    “It’s not what you said; it’s the tone in which you said it!” By now, you’ll know the importance (and occasional frustration) of the tones in Mandarin Chinese, but even the best find themselves in a pickle when 2 third tones in a row causes a tone change… Confused? Good thing we decided to make a lesson out of it. Listen to this podcast to become the Chinese tone master you always dreamed of being.

    Tags: pronunciation, tones

    Tone Change Rule: Yi '一' Elementary

    Have the Chinese tones been giving you headaches? In today's handy Chinese lesson, you'll learn the ups and downs of the first tone. Learn how to transition between the first tone and all the rest in this useful Mandarin podcast.

    Tags: speech, pronunciation, first tone, tones

    When is the meeting? Newbie

    A time to laugh, a time to cry. A time to go to meetings, a time to die of boredom... If you're going to want someone to give you the time of day, you're going to have to learn how to ask it in Mandarin. So, listen to this podcast and never be late again. A time for Chinese... I swear it's not too late...

    Tags: time, business

    Working Hours Newbie

    The Shanghai bar scene starts with happy hour, but you won’t get the invite if you can’t tell the crew what time you get off work…and you won’t be able to bow out of taking early morning baijiu shots unless you can moan about what time you have to go in the next day… All this can be solved if you listen to this podcast on working time, in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: home and office, time, business

    Bank Hours Elementary

    You've camped out for U2 tickets, queued for boxing day sales... but the bank? Waiting outside the bank before it opens is a national pastime and community social event in China. So take your number (ah, so this is why they line up at the screech of dawn), take a seat and hunker down for your lesson in patience. While you wait, listen to this podcast on bank hours in Chinese and secure your teller time.

    Tags: time, money, business

    Revisiting Before and After Qing Wen

    The basic Chinese words for "before" and "after" are 以前 (yǐqián) and 以后 (yǐhòu). If you're anything like the typical learner of Chinese, though, you could use a little bit more help on how to use these words. After covering those basics, we help you out with a few other more advanced "before" and "after" issues.

    Tags: future, time

    A Taxi for Tired Feet Newbie

    Though they scare us, rip us off at times, and don’t wash the white seat covers nearly enough, there’s nothing like the vindication of winning the taxi battle and claiming your prize of a ride home. This lesson reminds us of all the times we almost wanted to kiss the taxi driver that finally stopped for us on a rainy day. Listen and learn how to snag your taxi, in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: transportation

    Where Are You Going In China? Newbie

    OK, so you can express that you're going to China, in Chinese. That's great! But if you're telling any Chinese person this, their immediate next question is always going to be: where in China?. With this lesson, learn how to face that question and stay just one step ahead. (OK, so it's only two steps total, but you're getting somewhere!)

    Tags: travel, city, place

    Directions with a Map #1 Elementary

    Yes, we know you’d love nothing more than a “map to Jenny,” but until our ratings drop (yeah, right), we’ll hang onto that. What we can do is offer up “Jenny and a map.” In this visionary-of-a-lesson, keep your eye on the map and your ear on “The Zhu.” In this podcast, learn how to get around, using Mandarin Chinese. colored balls

    Tags: directions, location

    Directions with a Map #2 Elementary

    So, you dug the previous “left/right” lesson (or enjoyed taking “orders” from Jenny) so much, we decided to make another. But in this podcast, instead of “left/right,” we’re taking you north/south/east/west. Watch, listen, learn Mandarin Chinese and love. map 2

    Tags: directions, location

    How's the weather? Newbie

    Though quite likely the response in these parts on a given day may be typhoon, blizzard or hurricane, we're not going to teach you how to say those just yet. However, in this podcast you will learn how to get your way through this universal conversation starter in Mandarin Chinese. How's the weather? Get ready to be the life of the party when you pull this topic out of your sleeve.

    Tags: daily life, weather

    Describing the Weather Newbie

    With the northern tip touching Russia, and the southern hitting Thailand, it should come as no surprise that China, and her people, have much to talk about when it comes to climate…do you? In this podcast, you will learn to talk about the weather and temperatures in Mandarin Chinese. “Weather-Ken” and “Weather-Jen” predict a downpour of excellent Mandarin followed by light winds of Shanghai-sent self-confidence.

    Tags: daily life, weather, temperature, location

    Weather and Seasons Elementary

    A place of extremities, our Shanghai: blistering in the summer and arctic in the winter. All worth it for the autumn though. Fancy a “talk about the changing seasons” with another? Then take our hand as we stroll down a red leaf covered path of knowledge, as in this podcast you will learn to wax poetic in Mandarin Chinese about things such as heat and humidity.

    Tags: season, daily life, weather

    He's Not In Newbie

    You've arrived, and want to fit in, so start with the national Chinese pastime: cell phone talking (well, it's better than taking up smoking). First, you're going to need a partner in conversation, so pull out one of those linty business cards you shoved in your pocket days ago, any one will do. If you can't read it, no problem, chances are his name is Mr. Li. Now, plug in this lesson and you're set... pick up the phone and pray he's not in.

    Tags: greetings, home and office, business

    Getting a Phone Number Newbie

    Unless you are a rainman-like genius, you may find attempts at reciting the fifty billion digit long phone numbers of China a challenge. Get help. Listen to this podcast to learn how to give out your number in Mandarin Chinese. You'll be counting spilled boxes of toothpicks in no time.

    Tags: numbers, communications

    Bad Cell Reception Elementary

    In this podcast, you'll learn how to complain about a poor cell phone signal. That must be why you didn't understand what your Chinese friend was saying...right? Make sure you always come through loud and clear when you speak Mandarin.

    Tags: reception, signal, cell phones

    Hanging Up the Phone Elementary

    Hanging up the telephone can be a drawn-out affair in China. Both sides seem reluctant to end the conversation, and may linger over best wishes, warnings, and advice. All the while, they insist that they are going to hang up now. In today's podcast, learn how to terminate a call in Mandarin.

    Tags: cell phones, daily life, culture

    Here is your change Elementary

    Surely you never thought that having change could be so important. However, when you pull out one of the “hundred dollar bills” (not as much as it sounds), you just may be leaving without anything. In this podcast, you’ll learn how make sure you’ll be able to use your Mandarin Chinese to get all of your coin back… plus, we finally find out *why* Jenny loves chocolate so!

    Tags: shopping

    Chinese Money Denominations Elementary

    Don't make the short-sighted mistake of dismissing the many miniscule denominations of Chinese currency jingling around at the bottom of your pocket just because they are worth, say, one one-thousandth or so of a US cent. In no time, you'll be fighting tooth and nail over that self same mao, jiao or fen, finding yourself at a total impasse with that shopkeeper you think is stealing your shirt. In this podcast, learn about Chinese money denominations in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: numbers, money

    Pin Number Elementary

    In this modern age, plastic is as good as paper. We're not talking about shopping bags, though. We're talking about payment methods. In this lesson, learn how to talk about credit cards and passwords in Mandarin.

    Tags: password, shopping, payment, cash, credit cards

    Two words for '2' Qing Wen

    In the spirit of vintage Sesame Street, we talk about a little wrench amongst the numbers in Chinese, the number two. There are two ways to say 'two' in Chinese, and keeping when and why straight can be confusing. Listen to this Qing Wen to clear it up for you!

    Tags: measure words, numbers

    Do you have a cold? Newbie

    Flu season is upon us. Don your surgical mask, get jacked up on Vitamin C, and embrace obsessive-compulsive disorder in any form that involves non-stop hand sterilization. Someone's a-sneezing and if you don't watch out, it's gonna be you. In this lesson, learn to discern if that sneezer is a harbinger of colds to come, in Chinese.

    Tags: medicine, health

    Going to the Doctor Elementary

    A big house full of needles, beds with restraints and gloves that are lubed for a reason and you still think “winging it” at the hospital will get you by? For those less confident, it’s Dr. Ken and Nurse Jenny to the rescue, in a Mandarin Chinese lesson on visiting the man who didn’t attend eight years of medical school to be called “xiansheng”.

    Tags: body, hospital, doctor, health

    Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes Newbie

    Now, don't be shy to act out all the motions that go along with this podcast, wherein you will learn a well-loved song about your body parts in Mandarin Chinese. Think of it as multi-tasking--a Chinese workout. Oh, and we'll be listening to make sure you are singing along too!

    Tags: music, children, people

    Just a Flesh Wound Elementary

    Learning how to “be a man” and walk off that scrape that secretly makes you cry is important in impressing the other sex. So, follow along with our podcast, where the details just get gorier and gorier—starting off with someone bleeding. Learn all this juicy vocabulary, as well as how to act tough, in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: feelings, health, personality

    Sing and Dance Newbie

    The hills are alive with the sound of the pipa. Singing in China... rife in KTV bars, on street corners, in public parks, in low-budget questionably-directed lip-dub videos. Dancing.. though it's singing's less popular cousin, look out for the classy ballroom dancers in a lit up corner of the park on a cool summer evening. In this podcast, the language of music transcends. Learn it in this Mandarin lesson.

    Tags: questions, music, ability

    Whatever... Elementary

    Coined phrase of sulky teenagers and pet phrase of indecisive girlfriends. When you know what you don't want but not what you do want, turn to this lesson to learn how to non-commit, in Mandarin Chinese. In this podcast, a motley assortment of ambiguous phrases for the indecisive amongst us. *Class materials removed because of corrupted file. Apologies.

    Tags: daily life, preferences, people

    The Super Bowl Elementary

    Glendale, Arizona. The home of Super Bowl XLII. No, that's not a world record sized wok, it's football, American style. The New England Patriots are trying to break every record by winning the Super Bowl to cap an undefeated season over the New York Giants... Writer may sound like a fan but only watches for the commercials. Worlds collide in this podcast as you learn about it all, in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: sports, hobbies, entertainment

    Workout Frequency at the Gym Elementary

    Gym rats love to be told that their efforts are noticed, and they may just want to share how often they work out. Even if working out is not your thing, this lesson has you covered. So start learning the Chinese to talk about gyms now!

    Tags: time, sports, gym

    Who is that? Newbie

    You may not be strutting on the catwalk, but your significant other is working it tonight! With this lesson, you can let everyone in the room know, hey... she's with me! And you'll do it in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: people, appearance

    The Stingy Boss Elementary

    Bosses amongst us, sit up and take note. Though you may not have had time to see it (due to being occupied with your "boss" things), you must take measures to ensure that your employees aren't comparing you to the annoying boss on "The Office." You may not have time for pseudo-reality TV shows, but you certainly don't want to become the next character in one. So pull out that fat wallet, buy a round, and listen to this podcast on how not to be the loathed "stingy boss."

    Tags: personality, people, jobs, show

    Which friend? Elementary

    “So… you’ll never guess who I bumped into! You know, about 5′8″, dark hair….” Yeah, good luck with that. We’re thinking that a lesson on describing people would help out– and we’re all about helping. In this podcast, learn how to describe people, using Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: questions, appearance, location

    I Miss Daddy! Newbie

    Today's podcast will teach you how to call your loved ones and tell them how much you miss them, all in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: kids, child, parents, family, love

    Afraid of Dogs Elementary

    In China, there aren't really that many dogs around to be afraid of, but a good chunk of the population has a paralyzing fear of dogs. This lesson will help you learn the Chinese to deal with that fear.

    Tags: pets, dogs, animals

    Excited About Traveling Elementary

    Oh boy, oh boy! You're going traveling soon, and you just can't wait! Tell all your friends in perfect Mandarin Chinese that you are going to be taking a trip soon. Today's podcast is all about the fun of looking forward to a vacation.

    Tags: tourism, visit, tour