Entries by Mike Black

Table Manners in China

Living in Sichuan for almost two years, I had to learn a lot about the dining etiquette of China. Expected table manners vary according to the formality of situation, and some ethnic groups might have their own specific rules. Nonetheless, dining customs are mostly universal across Mainland China, especially in the majority culture.   Seating […]

Three Reasons Chinese is Hard and What to Do

Three main challenges stand between you and learning Chinese. If you do a few things right, you can not only make it easier but make it an adventure as well. The challenges are 1. Many people are intimidated by learning such a difficult language 2. Chinese is a tonal language, which means that the tone you […]

Luck, Prosperity and a Monster – Happy Chinese New Year

Do you remember Christmas morning as a child? I remember bursting with excitement waiting for gifts, while my dad got a cup of coffee. Chinese children feel that same excitement waiting for red envelopes on New Years Eve. What we call Chinese New Year is known as Spring Festival or  春节 in China. It is the […]

Why You Aren’t Mastering Chinese Grammar

Chinese grammar is simple. The verbs don’t conjugate; there’s no adding -ing for the present tense. In fact, there is no real tense. You just add words to indicate a time or perhaps a sense of completion. Ironically – this can make mastering the grammar more difficult. Chinese grammar is deceptively easy. Chinese is not […]