Model Mandarin: November 2016

0514_Model mandarin

BEAR IN MIND Remember how to speak by saying things you shouldn’t

Here we are already at November. The biggest event this month and the biggest event among buyers is about to come on November 11th 双十一(shuāng shíyī).

As we know, 双十一 (shuāng shíyī) is Singles’ Day光棍节 (guānggùnjié) in China, where the double 11 indicates people being alone. When Singles’ Day comes in China, people who are not so happy about spending the day alone choose to release their stress by relaxing with crazy shopping. Ma Yun (Jack Ma), founder of Alibaba, saw a business opportunity and labeled the day “Shopping Carnival” on Taobao. From 2013 on, each November 11th introduced a special collection of prices from merchants. Experienced buyers will have already started to collect hot products in their shopping cart.

A few words for 双十一 (shuāng shíyī):

秒杀 (miǎoshā) seckill
When associated with online shopping, “seckill” refers to the quick sell out of newly-advertised goods.

剁手 (duòshǒu) to chop the hand
A popular word for people who have strong consuming desires. Usually, they feel regret after buying so many things.

买买买 (mǎimǎimǎi) buy buy buy
No need to explain. If you see something that you want, you know the feeling.

吃土 (chītǔ) eat dirt
When 双十一 is over and you’ve spent all your month’s salary, how will you go through the next 20 days? I suggest you live by eating dirt, as it costs nothing.

Check out the cool video


TALKING POINTS A supplement for grammar practice

On the topic of being single, Chinese have their own attitudes. As most parents hope for their kids to get married before their late 20’s, young people today who have no relationship are feeling more stressed, as many do want to have a partner or get married themselves.
As we mentioned, 光棍 (guānggùn) is for describing a single man. But today, another name became popular on the web: 单身狗(dānshēn gǒu). To explain this word separately:

单身(dānshēn) single
狗(gǒu) dog

Relevant expressions:
1. 把我的狗粮端上来!(Bǎ wǒde gǒuliáng duān shànglái!) Bring me my dog food!
When you are with some couples showing their affection in public, you get such a feeling that you just became a single dog.

2. 虐狗(nüègǒu) abuse dogs
If you feel upset about another person having a good time with their lover, then they are abusing the dog, which refers to you.

CARTOON CHARACTERS Mnemonic devices that work

1116_model-mandarinRadicals are important components of many Chinese characters. 钅is called metal radical, indicating that MONEY 钱 (qián) is made of metal or gold and the right component suggests the pronunciation. 钱 (qián) is somewhat difficult to write as Money is not easily earned. 多少 (duō shǎo) means “how much,” so 多少钱 is “how much money?”


Other relevant words:

花钱 (huāqián) spend money
E.g.: 女人比男人更爱花钱。
(Nǚrén bǐ nánrén gèng ài huāqián)
Women are fonder of spending money than men.

省钱 (shěngqián) save money
E.g.: 他为了家庭学会了省钱。
(Tā wèile jiātíng xuéhuìle shěngqián)
He learned to save money for his family.

Hear the audio lesson at

CANTONESE CORNER Conversation starters for Guangdongers

jat1 zi1 gung1 (一支公) The meaning of this word is single. We can use it to make a joke with others on special days. For example, if your friend is single, you can make a joke: “Why are you alone on Valentine’s Day?” (企情人节,点解一支公?kei2 cing4 jan4 zit3, dim2 gaai2 jat1 zi1 gung1). For jat, take tone slightly higher, then take zi and gung to stay steady.

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