Model Mandarin: October 2015

Model mandarinBEAR IN MIND Learn by saying things you shouldn’t

Television programs are often about hot topics in China. The titles of hit TV series usually match the new fads, becoming popular terms in their own rite. For example, a few years ago Naked Wedding《裸婚时代》(Luǒhūn Shídài) was huge in China. A naked wedding, luǒhūn, describes getting married with no house, no car and no thick wad of banknotes. It became such a hot topic among Chinese that even now, people still love to talk about it.

Some people say jokingly:

Nǐ kěyǐ luǒbēn dànshì bù kěyǐ luǒhūn!
你 可以 裸奔 但是 不 可以 裸婚!
You can run naked, but you cannot get married naked!

The most popular television program this year is Tiger Mom, Cat Dad, Hǔmā Māobà (虎妈猫爸). The two lead characters are, as the title suggests, a fierce tiger mom and a chilled-out cat dad. The two terms, cat dad, māobà (猫爸), and tiger mom, hǔmā (虎妈), are now trending on the Internet.

But there is another animalistic parenting persona coming from China: A wolf dad, or lángbà (狼爸), is even stricter than a tiger mom. They strongly believe that physical punishment is a big part of a good upbringing.


luǒhūn 裸婚 naked wedding
māobà 猫爸 cat dad
hǔmā 虎妈 tiger mom
lángbà 狼爸 wolf dad

TALKING POINTS A supplement for grammar practice

One good thing you will find after you settle in here is that you can bargain when shopping at most places. This can also be frustrating because foreigners are often given a higher starting price. So knowing how to bargain in Chinese and showing the shop owners you have been around China for a long time will help you get a better price. Maybe you’ve learned this one, but let’s add a few supplements.

Tài ɡuì le! Piányi yìdiǎn.
太 贵 了! 便宜 一点。
Too expensive! Cheaper a little bit.

Let’s take a closer look at the two structures:

so… / too…
tài + adj. + le, 太 + adj. + 了

too many
tài duō le
太 多 了

too few
tài shǎo le
太 少 了

too big
tài dà le
太 大 了

too small
tài xiǎo le
太 小 了

… a little bit
adj. + yìdiǎn, adj. + 一点

duō yìdiǎn
多 一点

shǎo yìdiǎn
少 一点

dà yìdiǎn
大 一点

xiǎo yìdiǎn
小 一点


CARTOON CHARACTERS Mnemonic devices that work

The radical we are going to talk about today is kǒu, 口. This simple square indicates a “boundary” and it is easy to understand.

guó (国) – country, n
Tip: There is an interesting story for the character 国. A King (王) wearing jade (玉) lives in a place (口) called country (国). On the head of a tiger you can see there is a pattern of 王 and the tiger is the king of the forest. In ancient times, only the 王 could wear 玉. The character玉 looks like a king wearing jade. Do you know the most important day of October in China? That’s right! 国庆节 (guóqìngjié) National Day!

Hear this mini audio lesson online at

huí (回) – return, v.
Tip: This character is one of the easiest ones. It looks like the curling clouds of smoke or whirlpools in water. And you can easily associate it with the meaning of return.

Hear this mini audio lesson online at

CANTONESE CORNER Guangdong conversation starters 

ding2 m4 seon6 (顶唔顺) – The meaning of this expression is “I cannot stand it.” It is a popular expression in a Guangdongers’ life. You know square dancing is so popular in Dongguan and it is also quite noisy. If it really annoys you, use this phrase to describe your feelings. (For ding, raise the tone from mid to high. And then m should be followed steady mid-low. Lastly, seon drops low at the end.)

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