Tag Archives: Mandarin

Singapore: The Multilingual Social Experiment

On our quest to seek out all the multilingual places in our world, our next stop takes us to a country whose city streets are said to be some of the cleanest in the world. So if you happen to find yourself heading to the beautiful Singapore, litter is not a word you’ll need in(…)


Taxicab Mandarin: How to Navigate Your Way through China

The goal of this article would be to provide some very basic Mandarin to be used in taxis by people who don’t speak Mandarin, however, “Taxicab Mandarin” is also an informal level of Chinese language acquisition, e.g. I speak enough Mandarin to tell the taxi driver where to go; hence, the taxicab element. Meanwhile, this(…)


5 Things You Should Never Ever Do in Taiwan

Most travel guides have etiquette sections for Asia-bound travelers and would-be expats, and most of those contain situationally relevant advice for Taiwan, e.g.: Don’t stick your chopsticks standing upright in a bowl of rice, ostensibly because it resembles the incense burned at Buddhist temples. Never use your hands to beckon someone, and never gift clocks,(…)


Health Care Abroad: Something to Consider

Several months ago, I found myself, once again, in a Taipei City Hospital emergency room. It was a fairly busy evening patient-wise and I was lying on a gurney in the far corner of the lobby with an IV drip tagged to my wrist, waiting to be admitted for further care. This vantage point offered(…)


7 Common and (Sometimes) Disastrous Mistakes of Newbies in Taiwan

The rookie ex-pat. Those that have lived abroad have been there: floundering, anxious, and overwhelmed. Like most jokes, it’s funny unless it’s happening to you. For the record, nearly every mistake described herein was committed by yours truly at some point in my journey; thus, I have a confident familiarity with both classes of mistakes.(…)


The 10 Sacred Words and Phrases Every Visitor to a Mandarin-Speaking Country Should Know

Whether you’re planning a short trip or a permanent move to a Mandarin-speaking country, you would be doing yourself (and ostensibly, others) a tremendous disservice by not familiarizing yourself with the basics of the language. In other words, it’s in your best interest to have – at the bare minimum – a handful of utilitarian(…)


The Most Popular Languages to Learn

If you’re considering taking up a new language as a hobby, you’re in good company: with more apps than we can handle to aid us linguistically, and organizations such as our good selves who are here to help you learn, the range of sources to help you tackle a language is truly astonishing. Not surprisingly,(…)


7 Gestures to Avoid in China

China holds a lot of mystique for many travellers, as an exotic Eastern land, with a completely different language, alphabet system, and culture. These differences can make it quite daunting, especially when it comes to communicating. Whether you speak Chinese or not, it is important to remember that non-verbal communication is just as important as(…)


8 Chinese Idioms to Impress Native Speakers

Every language has its own quirky sayings and expressions, but Mandarin has its own system of traditional idioms. They’re called chengyu and usually consist of four characters, which is why they’re often called four-character idioms. These chengyu aren’t the only idioms in Chinese, and while most come from ancient literature, they’re still common today. Although(…)