Top 25 Fun Facts About Learning Hanzi Chinese Characters

Why should you learn Chinese characters and Chinese language?

China is the fastest developing nation on Earth and is already the second-largest economy, after the USA. It shows no sign of slowing down and quite the opposite.

As the global economic stage shifts, the Chinese language will play a significant role in shaping its future, and the importance of learning Chinese will grow. Learning Chinese has many benefits across the spectrum of life, from gaining cultural insight to better business opportunities, from making lifelong friendships to traveling. In fact, there has never been a better time to learn Chinese than today!

In this article, we’ve listed 25 fun facts to whet your appetite for learning Chinese characters and master the language!

1. Chinese characters are the world’s oldest written language

Chinese characters, also known as Hanzi (漢字), are one of the earliest forms of written language in the world. Chinese character inscriptions have been discovered in turtle shells dating back to the Shang dynasty, proving the written language existed over 3,000 years ago.

Oracle Turtle Script, the early Chinese written language carved on a turtle shell during Shang Dynasty (1600 BC – 1046 BC).
Source: View of China.

2. Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world

China is a huge country with a population to match. More than 1.4 billion people live there, with many millions more living around the world as expats.

Although English has been the dominant global language for more than a century, when you consider the sheer population size of China and look at the numbers, you’ll see Chinese is by far the most spoken. 

It takes first place with 1.1 billion people speaking Mandarin Chinese, with Spanish coming in second at around 470 million speakers and English third, with only 370 million.

3. The word “Mandarin” originates from Sanskrit

In the 16th century, Portuguese explorers were among the first Europeans to visit China. They called the Ming officials that they met ‘mandarim,’ developed from Sanskrit “mantrin” – meaning counselor.  

The noun was first used in English in 1589, and the adjective followed around 15 years later. Today, you may know “Mandarin” as a word for the main dialect of China or are familiar with the mandarin orange. 

4. Mandarin isn’t the only “Chinese language”

You may often hear these two words interchangeably. However, Chinese is a language, while Mandarin is one of the dialects of Chinese alongside Shanghainese, Cantonese, and many more).

Mandarin is the most spoken form of the Chinese language. It is also the official language of China which is spoken in other expatriate countries such as Hong Kong and Taiwan. 

5. Chinese is a significant language in numerous Southeast Asian countries

Chinese is a popular language among Southeast Asian nations. The demand for Chinese textbooks and teachers is increasing in Bangkok, Manila, Jakarta, and other major Southeast Asian cities. Meanwhile, over 50,000 Southeast Asian students are studying Chinese in China’s various universities, which is expected to grow by 10% annually.

6. The only pictographic language that still exists

Like the hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt, Chinese is also a pictographic language – a language made up of pictures. It is the only pictographic language left in the modern world today. Many Chinese characters are invented to describe subjects by drawing the image of them. 

https://www.china-admissions.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Shan-or-mountain-in-Chinese.jpg
In Chinese, the word mountain or “shan, 山 ” has three points representing the three peaks of a mountain range.

7. Chinese is a tonal language

The pitch of how you say a word in Chinese can change the word’s meaning. Chinese has four tones, each having its pitch:

  • First tone: The first tone is very high and flat. Your voice remains flat during speaking; there will be no rise or slope. When pronouncing the first tone, it is important to keep your voice even (almost monotone) across the whole syllable.
  • Second tone: It is a rising tone. The voice rises from low to middle pitch. It’s the same way of saying “eh?!?” or ‘what?’ in English. 
  • Third tone: The third tone is called the dipping tone. In the third tone, you start with a neutral tone. The pitch will go from middle to low and then to high. 
  • Fourth tone: It is almost a lowering tone in Mandarin Chinese, starts with a slightly higher pitch, and goes strongly downward.
Source: Dig Mandarin.

8. You can pronounce Chinese using the Roman Alphabet

There is another writing system for Chinese using the Roman alphabet. It’s called ‘Pinyin’ and makes learning Chinese pronunciation a lot easier for non-native speakers.

In Chinese, Pinyin literally translates to spell sound. Pinyin is really helpful to understand different tones and pronunciations of Mandarin.

For example, in Hanzi, the word ‘hello’ is written as 你好. Pretty challenging to read for a beginner! But if we write the sound using Roman letters, in ‘Pinyin,’ it becomes easier to say and master the pronunciation. 你好 is Nĭhǎo in Pinyin. Now just read and say as you see! Nĭ hǎo – Hello!

9. There is no Chinese alphabet

Unlike many languages, Chinese doesn’t have an alphabet. So instead of putting letters together to make words, Chinese has many characters you do the same with. Words are made up of one character or more, up to three (maybe even four or five in rarer cases).

You learn Chinese vocabulary by studying different characters. The good thing is, you can use Pinyin to transcribe Chinese characters. Learning Pinyin before learning Chinese characters can easily take out the burden of memorizing thousands of Chinese characters! 

 10. There are over 50,000 distinct Chinese characters

The Chinese language consists of more than 50,000 characters. Some Chinese dictionaries even say that it exceeds 100,000 characters. The good news is you only need to know about 2,500 characters to read a newspaper in Chinese. 

If you learn Chinese and take the Hàny Shupng Kosh (commonly known as the HSK), you will only have to master 2,600 characters to pass the exam at the highest level. 

11. Chinese doesn’t have articles, verb inflections, or plurals

The Chinese language does not use articles (“a,” “an,” and “the”) or plurals. You don’t need to focus on this kind of detailed grammar when learning Chinese. Mandarin Chinese does not have any verb conjugations, either. All verbs have a single form. For example, the verb for “eat” is 吃 (chī), which can be used for past, present continuous, and future tenses. But in English, we’d need to change the word respectively to ‘ate,’ ‘eating,’ and ‘will eat.’

12. There are two types of Hanzi Chinese characters

The Chinese language has two types of Chinese characters: Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. 

Originally, everything was written in Traditional Chinese. However, Chinese people found Traditional Chinese characters difficult to understand and memorize. Simplified Chinese characters were then created to promote literacy.

Traditional Chinese is used by Chinese speakers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau, as well as the majority of Mandarin and Cantonese speakers who live in other countries. Meanwhile, mainland China, Malaysia, and Singapore use Simplified Chinese.

13. New Chinese terms are being invented every year

With widespread internet access and Western influence, new phrases and figures of speech are constantly being coined to describe new phenomena in society. 

高富帅 (gāo fù shuài), for example, means ‘ used to describe affluent males that are not only rich but who is also tall and handsome; it literally translates as “tall-rich-handsome.” 白富美 (bái fù měi) describes millions all over China who are looking for love and eagerly hoping to get married and settle down.

14. Chinese is an official UN language

In 1946, Chinese became an official United Nations language, meaning it was used in UN meetings, and all official UN documents were also written in Chinese.  Five other official languages of the UN are English, Arabic, French, Russian, and Spanish.

15. It’s challenging but doesn’t need to be hard to learn

Chinese can seem pretty complex to learn for native English speakers. They don’t have many things in common with different writing systems, grammar, pronunciation styles, and sounds.

However, these differences can be an advantage! Chinese grammar, for example, is a lot simpler and easier to learn than European languages. Pronunciation is also made easier by using the ‘Pinyin’ system, where Chinese symbols and words are converted to a ‘Romanized’ English version.

It can be a challenge learning Chinese, but it’s easier than you think, and we’re here to help! 

16. There are five main styles of Chinese calligraphy

There are hundreds of sub-forms of Chinese calligraphy, which can be confusing. However, five main traditional forms are much easier to recognize: Seal Character, Official Script, Formal Script, Running Script, and Cursive Hand. Chinese calligraphy serves the purpose of conveying thought and follows certain rules. For example, there is a definite number of strokes and appointed positions for them with the whole. No stroke may be added or deleted for decorative effect.

17. Chinese is gender-neutral!

In Chinese, the character 他 (pronounced as tā) serves as a gender-neutral pronoun, covering feminine, masculine, and neutral pronouns – the equivalent of ‘he,’ ‘she,’ and ‘it’ in English.

18. Chinese characters can be broken down into simpler components

Chinese characters are mostly made up of building blocks known as radicals, which have 1 to 17 strokes. Radicals and strokes must be written in order: usually left to right and top to bottom. 

For example, the Chinese character for “good” (好) combines the radical for “woman” (女) with the radical for “child” (子), subtly implying that the ideal state for a woman is to be with a child. Or, to take another example, the Chinese character for “country” (国) puts the character for “jade” (玉) inside a “walled enclosure” (囗), meaning that countries have borders to protect their national treasures.

The Chinese government simplified Chinese characters after the foundation of the People’s Republic (1949), lowering strokes per character by an average of about 33%.

19. Ancient Chinese texts were written from top right to bottom left

In ancient times, Chinese was written from top to bottom, then right to the left. Chinese people did not write with pens during those times. Instead, they used brush writing, so writing from top to bottom, right to the left, would have been more convenient. It also prevented smudging.

Most linguists believe that writing vertically was adopted as a direct result of the writing material in ancient China. People used the “Jian” or rolled-up bamboo slips/slats for early writing. The letters also used to be written using a brush. That’s why writing from top to bottom, right to the left, would have been more convenient. It also prevented smudging.

Source: Wikipedia

20. Chinese has borrowed words from English

China and the Chinese language were historically immune to outside influence. But over the last two decades, with exposure to some Western culture, the Chinese have adopted some English words, called ‘loan words.’ For example, coffee. Chinese people say ‘kafei’ (咖啡 /kaa-fay/). Some others include shafa (沙发 /shaa-faa/) for sofa and Bǐsà (比萨/bee-saa) for pizza.

21. Famous celebrities are learning Chinese!

Chinese has become the most popular foreign language to learn in the West today. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, and WWE wrestler John Cena both studied Chinese. Politicians like former president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, and former Australian Prime minister Kevin Rudd also speak fluent Chinese.

Source: Tempapay Business.

Facebook co-founder, CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks fluent Mandarin at a Q&A session in Beijing.

22. Chinese characters are also used in other languages

Chinese characters have been adapted for other East Asian languages and remain a key component of the Japanese writing system where they are known as Kanji. Around 60% of Korean language and characters also come from Chinese.

23. The Chinese language has special hand gestures

China has various dialects, and it might be difficult for people from different regions to communicate with one another. Also, many terms in Chinese sound extremely similar. For example, the word for four, ‘si,’ sounds extremely close to the word for ten, ‘shi.’ This unique way of expressing numbers helps clear up any confusion or misunderstanding. It’s especially handy when it comes to bargaining in small markets if you don’t speak Chinese.  

Source: Scroller.

24. You can’t say ‘yes’ in Chinese

Simply because the Chinese language has no word meaning ‘yes,’ instead, there are many different ways to say ‘yes’ in Chinese.

For example, when someone asks you, “Nǐ hē kāfēi ma? 你喝咖啡吗?” ( Do you want coffee?), you would say “Hē, xièxie! 喝,谢谢!”(Yes, thank you.) Literally, you’re answering: “Drink, thank you.” In this case, you repeat the verb for affirmation.

Generally speaking, how to express the affirmative in Chinese totally depends on the context. 

25. Learning Chinese makes you smarter!

Chinese has a distinctly different effect on the brain compared to learning other languages. 

The tones, sounds, and script of Chinese require the use of both temporal lobes of the brain. The English language, for example, only uses the left temporal lobe of the brain for language.

Learning to write Chinese also seems to make you smarter by aiding in the development of your motor skills, learning shapes and letters, and the visual identification of graphics. Get smarter today and start learning Chinese with Pandanese!

Chinese needn’t be difficult to learn. In fact, it can be super fun and worth your time! Especially with the help of technology, learning Chinese is easier than ever.

Check out Pandanese to sign up for FREE and start learning Chinese characters and vocabulary today!   

Chinese Idioms Surprising Best Method To Memorize Chinese Characters

Have you been interested in learning Mandarin Chinese in 2021 but have no idea where to begin? This article provides some tips and basic knowledge on learning Chinese idioms and characters for you to start without struggling!

Maybe before you find this article, you might already read several Chinese step-by-step learning guidelines. However, reading all these lengthy guidelines may seem like a massive amount of work that takes years of effort, tempting you to want to give up. 

That’s why we’ve got you covered with this article from Pandanese! Let’s learn how to memorize Chinese characters in a fun and easy way as a beginner by going through these excellent tips on learning Chinese idioms.

Greeting in Chinese and English languages

No matter what language you learn as a new language, one of the first things you know is always how to greet people. Learning Chinese is no different from learning other languages. They’re the key to ensuring the people you talk to have a good impression of you right from the beginning.

If you’re a beginner in learning Chinese, the very first question for you to ask is “How do you say ‘hello’ in Chinese?.” Usually, your Chinese teacher will teach you to say 你好 (nĭhǎo).” However, it might not always be the best choice since there are different Chinese greetings for several occasions, and a proper greeting is critical in opening up the gate to a fuller, desired conversation.

So now, let’s help you grasp the gist of greeting in the Chinese language like a native! Even if you are a beginner. You’ll know all about Chinese greetings in no time!

Top 3 popular ways to say ‘hello’ in Chinese

#1 你好 – Hello! The perfect start

It would be hard not to mention “你好 (nǐ hǎo)” which is the most common and used expression to say hello in Mandarin. If you want to learn Chinese, you need to know this helpful word, and if you are, this was most likely one of the first things you learned. As “你 (nǐ)” is the informal form of “you,” Chinese people use “你好” when they want to greet friends or acquaintances. Although don’t forget that you should use this phrase to greet one person at a time!

For example, if you run into a classmate of yours, you can say:

同学你好 (tóngxué nǐ hǎo) Hello classmate! 

It doesn’t matter if you put the name or subject before or after the greeting expression in Chinese.

You can also shorten the greeting session by just putting the name or subject before “好 (hǎo)” good.

For example:

老师好 (lǎoshī hǎo) Hello teacher!

#2 您好 – Hello! the most polite Chinese learner

As we’ve just talked about the informal version of “you,” let me introduce to you the polite form of “你 (nǐ)” you: “您 (nín)” you. Imagine you want to say hello in Chinese to someone that is higher-ranked than you, let’s say your boss for instance, but also to elders, you’ll need to say “您好 (nín hǎo)” hello to show your respect.

For example, when you meet someone’s grandfather, you have to say:

经理您好 (jīnglǐ nín hǎo) hello manager!

Plus, they’ll be happy to hear you greeting them that way.

Note: The Taiwanese tend to use more “你好 (nǐ hǎo)” than “您好 (nín hǎo)” to greet people, even those they don’t know well.

#3 大家好 – Hello everyone! to greet a crowd

Say hello in Chinese: “大家好” hello everyone!

In the section above, I mentioned the first way to say hello in Mandarin. That you should use “你好 (nǐ hǎo)” to greet one person at a time. But what if you’re with many people and you want to say hi in Chinese to everyone at the same time? It’s the right time to use the Chinese expression “大家好 (dàjiā hǎo)” Hello everyone! ( ‘大家 (dàjiā)’ means everyone)

Let’s set the background. If you go to the bakery and there are many sellers and people inside, you can say:

大家好 (dàjiā hǎo) Hello everyone!

When greeting many people at a time, you can also say:

你们好 (nǐmen hǎo) hello everyone!

Where “你们 (nǐmen)” is the plural form of you, meaning “everyone.” 

Greeting people in Chinese at different times of a day

You know now how to greet people depending on how many they are with the most used and common expressions. Let’s see now how to say hello in Chinese based on what time of day it is! Chinese speakers use the following expressions regularly in their daily conversations. So don’t be surprised if someone greets you in one of these ways! 

#1 早上好/上午好 – start the day the right way

How do you say hello in Chinese in the morning? It’s straightforward! You can use the word “早上 (zǎo shang)” early morning and add the Chinese character “好 (hǎo)” – good. What you get in the end is the word “早上好 (zǎoshang hǎo)” Good morning! 

But be careful, “早上好” is only used if you meet someone early in the morning, specifically from 6 am to 9 am. After that, from 9 am to 12 am, you must say “上午好 (shàngwǔ hǎo)” which also means good morning. “上午 (shàngwǔ)” means morning.

#2 下午好 – Good afternoon! greetings for the tea hours

Let’s pretend it’s the afternoon, and you’re going over to a friend’s house for tea time. When arriving, you can say:

“朋友, 下午好 (péngyǒu, xiàwǔ hǎo)” Good afternoon my friend! 

“下午 (xiàwǔ)” means afternoon and it’s added to the character “好 (hǎo)” – good, to create good afternoon. 

The Chinese language is really easy, isn’t it?

#3 晚上好 – Good evening! greetings for the night owls

When it’s late, and you’re supposed to meet people in the evening, you can greet them by saying “晚上好 (wǎnshàng hǎo)” Good evening. As you have probably easily guessed, “晚上 (wǎnshàng)” means evening.

Short and cool expressions to say hello in Chinese

Nowadays, Chinese people have added more expressions to say hi in Mandarin. Young people, especially, have created their words inspired by the Western greeting expressions. See how and when you can get rid of “你好.”

#1 喂 – Hello! to pick up the phone like a pro

The expression “喂 (wèi)” Hello is only used in one situation: when answering your phone. If you’ve heard a Chinese person on the phone, then you have to listen to that “喂” before! For instance, if someone calls you on your phone when you answer, you can say “喂 (wèi)” Hello to greet them and indicate you’ve picked up. This is a charming yet simple word to say hello in Chinese. “喂” is used by everyone. Age doesn’t matter here.

#2 哈罗 – Hello! the one that sounds familiar

If you go to China, you’ll most likely hear young people say “哈罗 (hā luō)” Hello. If you pay attention ty6 o the pronunciation of “哈罗” you’ll notice it sounds like hello. In fact, “哈罗 (hā luō)” is a loanword the Chinese borrowed from English. Easy to remember, right? You can use this expression when speaking with young people.

#3 嗨 – Hi! to sound cool in Chinese

Young people are very creative, here’s another expression to say hello in Chinese you can use when talking to young people or people of your age to show how cool you are. “嗨 (hāi)” – Hi! is also a loanword the Chinese borrowed from English. If you say it out loud you’ll hear it sounds just like the English word Hi.

When sometimes, you think a “你好” is not enough to greet someone, you can use the following expressions to help you to be friendly with people and greet others in Chinese.

#1 好久不见- Long time no see! greetings sentence for old friends

Old friends can be separated by life’s duties, jobs, family, or hobbies, but once they gather together, it’s like they’ve never been away from each other that long. If that happens to you with a Chinese friend, you can tell them “好久不见 ! (hǎojiǔ bújiàn!)” Long time no see!

It’s a friendly greeting from a close friend. Yes, some suspect the English expression ‘long time no see’ was borrowed from Chinese.

#2 最近过得怎样呀? How has life been recently?

The expression “最近过得怎样呀? (zuìjìn guò dé zěnyàng ya?)” means “how has life been recently” and “how are you”?

For example, when you meet one of your friends you haven’t seen in a little while, they can ask you “最近过得怎样呀? (zuìjìn guò dé zěnyàng ya?)”, to which you can answer in several ways:

  • “挺好的 (tǐng hǎo de)” – Quite good!
  • “还不错 (hái búcuò)” – Not bad!
  • “一般般 (yì bān bān.)” – Just so so! 
  • “不太好 (bù tài hǎo.)” – Not good!

#3 吃了吗?- Have you eaten? 

Asking someone if they have eaten can seem like a weird question but it’s a well-known and popular expression to say hello in Chinese. Wait. To say hello? Absolutely. In China, eating is important and therefore inquiring whether someone has eaten or not “吃了吗? (chī le ma?)” Have you eaten? Gradually became a perfectly normal way of asking “How are you?” in Chinese. Whenever someone asks you “吃了吗? (chī le ma?)” – Have you eaten?, just say “吃了 (chī le)” – I’m fine (literally I’ve eaten) and ask them back “你呢? (nǐ ne?)” – and you? They’ll be glad to be asked so.

After learning some fun and extended way to say “Hello” in Chinese. Do you feel your Chinese is more like a native? Now let’s move to a more difficult part – the Chinese idioms, and see how they can better help us memorize Chinese characters!

Chinese idioms to memorize Chinese characters

Chinese idioms also called “成语 (chéngyǔ)” is one term with four characters. 

For almost all Chinese learners (no matter beginners or high-level learners), Chinese idioms are the most challenging. Even if you lived ten years in China, you may still have trouble understanding and using Chinese idioms. Today, I’d like to introduce two fun and easy ways to learn Chinese idioms and how they help you memorize Chinese characters, even if you are a beginner.

Read stories 

The first thing you should know about “成语 (chéngyǔ)” – Chinese idioms is that they are not words from modern Chinese, they are classical Chinese. In English, the term “成语 (chéngyǔ)” can be directly translated as “already made words” or “formed words.”

Chinese idioms always come from specific backgrounds, typically contain a story with them. After studying Chinese for a few months, especially if you learn Chinese in China, you become confident in your language abilities. Now is the time for level up that you may want to challenge learning Chinese idioms. My suggestion is to try reading some Chinese idioms storybooks with pictures to learn idioms like reading comics or children’s stories. There are even animations for them.

For example, one of the most famous Chinese idioms is “熟能生巧 (shú néng sheng qiǎo)” came from a story of “卖油翁 (mài yóu wēng)” wrote by “欧阳修 (ōu yángxiū)” in Song dynasty.

Watch this story in animation here

Another interesting idiom example is “画蛇添足 (huà shé tiān zú).”

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In the Warring States Period, a man in the state of Chu was offering a sacrifice(祭品) to his ancestors. After the ceremony, the man gave a beaker of wine to his servants. The servants thought that there was not enough wine for all of them and decided1 to draw a picture of a snake; the one who finished the painting first would get the wine. One of them drew very rapidly. Seeing that the others were still busy drawing, he added feet to the snake. At this moment, another man finished, snatched the beaker(烧杯,大口杯) and drank the wine, saying, “A snake doesn’t have feet. How can you add feet to a snake?” 

This idiom refers to ruining a venture by doing unnecessary and surplus things. You can watch the story here. If you are a visual learner, definitely check out our most recommended Chinese TVs and movie websites to watch for free!

Play games 

Another way to learn Chinese idioms is to play games with them. It is also helpful in learning any new Chinese terms. Especially when you have friends and classmates, you can practice Chinese while having fun with your friends.

Here, I would like to introduce Pandanese to you. You can enjoy playing all Chinese character games in Pandanese when you log in and sign up for free. Here is how you can do it.

First, you open the Pandanese website: https://www.pandanese.com/ and sign up.

Then, you can check the bottom of this web page and find the mandarin flashcards section. You click and you will see this screenshot: 

It is time to play! There are many ways to play with these cards. 

First step:

If you don’t know any of these words and they’re all new to you, you can click on the characters and learn their meaning.

For example, you click “一无所有(yī wú suǒ yǒu),” a four-character idiom and you will see this page: 

Then, you will hear the pronunciation of the term that you click. You can replay this audio until you are fluent in pronouncing it.

If you want to memorize this Chinese idiom, there are several ways to help you do it!  Firstly, you try breaking down the term and remember it one by one. On the other hand, you can use mnemonics to remember its reading and meaning. You can also click the blue and orange flashcards to learn related characters. 

Second step: 

After you and your friends finish learning the first row, you can start to play.

One person clicks a flashcard, and others listen to the audio. Then the others click their flashcard to find the word that matches the sound. Since each row has eight words, you can click four of them in one round and check if everyone found out the correct words or not.

There are indeed other ways to play with Chinese idioms while memorizing them. We’d love to hear your experiences in the comment below. Let us know if you are interested in getting more fun games ideas to learn and memorize Chinese characters!

Great 11 Websites To Learn Chinese Through Movies Effectively

To master a language, you should learn it in context. This applies to all languages, including Chinese. One of the easiest ways to do this is to watch Chinese movies, especially when you don’t have a native nearby to talk to.  

This article combines a list of the top 11 best websites to help you learn Chinese through movies efficiently.

How to learn Chinese through movies effectively? 

Learning Chinese through movies/videos means that in the process of enjoying the movie, your mind must not forget your learning task. This will both help you improve your Chinese skills and deepen your understanding of the meaning behind each character’s lines.

Here are the steps that many students take to learn Chinese through movies that we highly recommend you to try out: 

Step 1 – Watch the full movie with bilingual subtitles

Step 2 – Choose your favorite clip (each clip should not be longer than 3 minutes)

Step 3 – Practice with actively selected clips:

  • Watch the video over and over again with Chinese subtitles
  • Look up and save good phrases/sentence patterns
  • Practice listening and spelling
  • Practice speaking, imitating the character’s lines

Step 4 – Watch the movie and review the vocabulary

Why learning Chinese through movie websites?

Before we jump into the list of the top 10 movies/videos, let’s explore the 4 reasons why you should learn Chinese through movies websites. 

First of all, most movie websites are free to watch. In fact, you’d be surprised to find many Chinese movie sites offering most of their movies for free. This is great if your Chinese courses cost you thousands of dollars. 

Secondly, learning Chinese through movies also obviously improves listening and speaking skills. Professional actors often try to speak in the most natural and unscripted way possible. Hence by watching movies, you can’t just really hear Chinese on a daily basis, with a full range of different accents, but also gradually understand how to communicate fluently.

Additionally, movies help expand your vocabulary. The more movie categories you go into, the broader your vocabulary will likely be. 

Finally, movies help broaden your understanding of Chinese culture and society, giving you various topics and ideas to have memorable conversations with locals rather than just saying hello.

Don’t forget that you can check out Pandanese ‘s Mandarin learning platform for free! Pandanese has a learning system that enables you to memorize Hanzi (Chinese characters) really fast with images, flashcards, reminders, and cool examples sentences. 

The top 11 best free websites to learn Chinese through movies

1. Iqiyi.com

Considered the Netflix of China, iQiyi offers a large and diverse range of Chinese movie genres from cartoons, movies, series, documentaries, and more.

Besides Chinese movies, on the iQiyi website, you can also find Hong Kong and Taiwanese movies with interesting content. One good thing about iQiyi is that all the movies on this site come with Simplified Chinese subtitles. So it is very suitable for Chinese learners. Note that this site only allows access to Chinese IP addresses, so you will need a VPN to watch the movie.

2. Youku.com

Youku is one of China’s leading online and video service platforms and is considered the “YouTube of China”. Yoku has an easy-to-use interface, few ads, and especially a video store of all topics as well as a variety of good TV series and movies. The special thing is that all the videos and movies here are completely free. Just like Iqiyi, you need to use a VPN to unlock the site if you are outside of China.

3. Bilibili.com

Founded in 2009, Bilibili is a video-sharing website that builds content about Chinese cartoons, comics, and games. Currently, this website focuses on 9x and 10x audiences with movies and videos of all topics running from music, dance, science, technology, entertainment, movies, drama to fashion. 

In addition, Bilibili also offers Danmu live streaming service, in which the audience can interact with the streamer.

4. 56.com

56 Movie is a leading video-sharing platform in China. On the 56.com movie website, you can find a large number of free copyrighted HD movies and TV series. In addition, this channel also contains more than 80 million videos shared by users. Most movies and videos have Chinese subtitles for your convenience.

The good news is that 56.com has no IP restrictions, so wherever you are, you can enjoy the movies on this site without worrying about being blocked.

5. Kankan.com

Kankan is also a famous movie site in China. Its predecessor was Xunlei Kankan. This site provides high-quality content and attracts a large audience thanks to its emerging dramas and numerous films from Mainland China, Hong Kong and

 Taiwan. 

For now, the movies here are only available to viewers with Chinese IPs addresses. If you want to use this site, you will need to use a VPN to switch the IPs.

6. Video.sina.com.cn

Under the management of Sina – a well-known network media company in China, Video Sina offers a wide range of popular video content, including news videos, TV shows, and movies. 

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7. Pptv.com

PPTV is another great online TV provider that offers both live streaming and video-on-demand services. On PPTV you can find a variety of TV shows, movies, dramas, sports, news and entertainment, and much more. Like other Chinese streaming services, this site requires a Chinese IP address to access all content.

8. M1905.com

M1905.com is the official movie site of China Central Television (CCTV). This site offers a variety of free content such as movies, videos, movie ratings, star worlds, and movie reviews and ratings.

With more than 10000 copyrighted HD movies and 3 more movies updated every day, M1905 is a great source for watching Chinese movies. Rest assured that this site is not IP-restricted, so you can comfortably watch movies wherever you are in the world.

9. V.qq.com

If you are interested in Chinese and know something about China, you must have heard of QQ – China’s second-largest instant chat application (perhaps only after Wechat).

VQQ is a movie site owned by QQ. This is also a popular movie site in China. This site provides TV series, movies, documentaries, animations with rich genres and content. The site also blocks IPs from abroad, so you’ll need a VPN to unlock it.

10. V.baidu.com

Baidu is the most popular and famous search social network in China. Baidu is like a miniature Google used in China. But you may not know, in addition to the search engine, Baidu is also the largest social network in China, and also encroached on the video segment.

The good thing about Baidu is that after typing a keyword into the search section if you click on the video section, you will see a series of videos, movies, TV series, music videos related to that keyword. And you can completely view all content here without logging in to your account.

11. Sohu Movie

Sohu is the leading free movie site in China, with rich content, including the latest genuine classic movies, exclusive TV series, animation, and many other attractive programs.

With huge movie storage, always updated with the latest, Sohu will help satisfy your hobby of watching movies while providing an opportunity for you to practice your Chinese skills. You need a VPN to unblock and watch movies if you are outside of China!

Above is a summary of 11 movie and video channels to help you practice Chinese effectively. The plus point of all these sites is that most of them are free.

What is your favorite website? Share with us in the comments section below!

The Top 10 Chinese Novel Series: Finding the New Awesome Reads

In China, the word comic is translated as (manhua). The word itself originated from 18th-century literary painting. The word can be translated as impromptu sketches. The word and art did not come into popularity until it was re-introduced by the manhua pioneer Feng ZiKai. Nowadays, instead of physical prints, webcomics are much more popular throughout China. Similar to comics, novels were also able to maintain its popularity thanks to technology. The evolution of technology did not kill these literary cultures but instead helped it spread all around the world. Bigger websites for Chinese Manhua include QQ comics and U17, but today we will take a look at a website called wuxia world. 

Wuxia, in mandarin, means martial arts.This website is similar to Wattpad but their contents focus on translating popular comics and novels from Korean or Chinese to English. As their website name suggests, most of their contents have an element of martial arts to their plot. I tried reading the Chinese translation for novels on this website and I can say, it’s like discovering a new possible world to read. I find the use of Chinese terminologies and names made it easier for me to imagine a glimpse of the world the characters were in. I had fun reading some of their stories and I hope that you do too! So here are their top 10 most popular stories on the website

1. Against the Gods

The genres for this novel include action, comedy, fantasy, harem, mature, mystery, romance, and xuan huan. Xuan Huan is a category and the term can be translated into mysterious fantasy. 

The story talks about the main character Yun Che, who is hunted down for possession of a very strong weapon. He tried to escape by jumping off the cliff bringing the weapon with him but ended up reincarnated to a different body. His new body is named Xiao Che. His new body is weak but he has to be able to overcome the challenges he faces with the clan he was reincarnated into, his fiancee, and the adventure that comes with it. 

I find the novel very enjoyable with an interesting plot. Highly recommend it if you like all things related to the Chinese culture of ancient superpower, poison, martial arts, and other similar cultural practices. I love the character growth and overall a very enjoyable novel to read indeed. I have finished reading, but will hopefully do so in the future. 

2. Emperors Domination

The story is about the tale of Li QiYe. He was captured by an evil master and imprisoned in the body of a crow for hundreds of centuries. His fate was doomed until he was saved by an old man after hundreds and centuries of imprisonment. He then became a disciple of the old man starting his journey for revenge, friendship, and to become the next ruler of the heavens. He had one mission on his head, to beat the evil that had held him down, once and for all. 

I love the fact that this story is a fantasy story. If you like to imagine fighting scenes, shapeshifts and other similar stories, this novel will certainly suck you to that imaginative realm. Highly recommend it!

3. Nine Star Hegemon Body Art

This is a story of a merged soul. The confused main character Long Chen woke up from a brawl with his friends. He was often bullied by his peers, but after waking up, he was reminded of another memory where he was strong, arrogant and nothing like the Long Chen he is now. He decided then and there that he will become someone stronger and left his old self there. He started noticing mysteries surrounding him, suggesting to him that trouble is brewing. He is determined to solve it, even if it means going against the fate of the Gods where he is nothing more than just a pawn.

This series had multiple mentions of medicinal herbs and alchemy which I enjoyed reading. The plot was very interesting as you can see the growth of the main character from one chapter to another. You might find this novel series less interesting if you are not too into alchemy but otherwise, it’s a great series to read and very enjoyable. 

4. A Record of A Mortal’s Journey to Immortality

A poor and ordinary boy from a village joins a minor sect in Jiang Hu and becomes an Unofficial Disciple completely by chance. Nicknamed the second fool in his village, this is a story of an ordinary mortal who, against all odds, clashes with devilish demons and ancient celestials to find his path towards immortality.

The novel’s  synopsis above was taken from the website and in my opinion, is a great trailer to the awesome adventures the series holds. The start of the series is a bit slow as the earlier chapters had to explain all the background of the stories. However, despite the progression being a bit slow, it is worth reading, and would strongly urge you to try and read this series. 

5. Keyboard Immortal

Keyboard Immortal is a system-based story where our lead character Zu An is suddenly struck by lightning! He realized soon that he had entered another universe world where people can level up just like game characters. When the lightning struck, he was given a mission to gather 12 secret scrolls from the 12 unknowable regions, just like the f1-f12 keys on the keyboard, and was left on the streets until his WIFE?! Showed up to help him and started his journey. 

I honestly started laughing in the first chapter that I read. Zu An is the epitome of all characters constantly living in the modern world of “last 3 brain cells” working. Very humorous and fun to read. I am not very good with technology but this series is too good to be put down just because of my lack of love for technology. Highly recommend it. 

6. Beastmaster of the Ages

Our main character Li Tianming is on his journey of accession to be the number one beastmaster of the ages. He journeys across many worlds and yet one thing remains the same. No one is ready to face his pets. His pets include a small chicken which is an Eternal Infernal Phoenix that eats suns! His black cat is the Genesis Chaos Thunderfiend that refines worlds with its lightning. And also a cockroach. The Myriad World’s Deathless Beast possesses trillions of undying clones.

I fell in love with the series from reading just the synopsis. If you have not noticed, I love fantasy, and having fantasy pets is one of my favorite things to read. The fight scenes were epic and I fully enjoyed every detail the translation had carefully put in translation.

7. Martial World

In the Divine Realm, countless legends fought over a mysterious cube. After the battle, it disappeared into the void. A young man stumbles upon this mystery object, opening a whole new world to him. His name is Lin Ming, and this is his road of martial arts.

Reading the synopsis at first glance, I thought that the series might be interesting and decided to give it a go from there. Very glad to say that this series does not disappoint me. I’m very impressed with the world-building the novel was able to achieve. Everything is fictional yet felt very real at the same time. The translation team has done an amazing job at using adjectives that help describe and build the story for us readers who just crave all the fantasy that this story pours. I especially recommend this series if you have an interest in martial arts (of course as the title suggests) and love a good game like fight scenes. 

8. Warlock of the Magus World

What happens when a scientist from a futuristic world reincarnates in a world of magic and knights?

An awesome main character– that’s what happens!

A scientist’s goal is to explore the secrets of the universe and this is exactly what Leylin sets out to do when he is reincarnated. Dark, cold, and calculating, he makes use of all his resources as he sets off on his adventure to meet his goal. 

The flow of how the author writes this story still amazed me. It’s very easy to read and you do get a sense of immersion of the universe they had built. I find the new character very interesting and funny especially in the first few chapters when he just arrived at the new game-like world. The translation is high quality in my opinion and did a great job of bringing the world alive while you read. Highly recommend it. 

9. Tales of Demons and Gods

Killed by a sage emperor and reborn as his 13-year-old self, Nie Lu is given a second chance at life. A second chance to change everything, save his loved ones and his beloved city. He shall once again battle with the Sage Emperor to avenge his death. With The vast knowledge he accumulated in his previous life, he shall have a new starting point. Although he starts as the weakest, without a doubt, he will climb the steps towards the strongest. 

Like the many in this list, this series is a reincarnation novel. I find the main character’s growth great and enjoyable to read! More than the main characters, I find the sidekicks of the story’s growth very worth reading. Overall, I would recommend this as a good read. 

10. Necropolis Immortal

A great war raged between cultivators a hundred thousand years ago. Immortals fell by tens of thousands, the path of cultivation itself was severed, and after the dust settled, tombs forested the world. A hundred thousand years after the last legend faded Lu Yun, commandant of the tomb raider descended upon the world. Armed with the Tome of Life and Death, he had some burning questions to answer. 

This series brings a fresh new type of plot into the list, Post-apocalyptic Chinese fantasy. I enjoyed reading the series as it involved communicating with the dead *laughs*. The main character is not strong (just like the several others in this list) but adds depth into the plot making this series an enjoyable one to read. Please do give this one a try. 

Why Not Start Reading?

Surely afterall the reccomendations you may find one of the stories interesting. So why not give the novels a try? If you did try reading the series we mentioned or have read the series, let us know what you think about them in the comments below!

This article is written by Pandanese. Check us out at Pandanese!