Chinese Is Hard's new name + Desserts and snacks words + Learning about China while learning Chinese
2 min read

Chinese Is Hard's new name + Desserts and snacks words + Learning about China while learning Chinese

Chinese Is Hard's new name + Desserts and snacks words + Learning about China while learning Chinese

Dear reader, Chinese Is Hard has a new name: Giant Mandarin. While Chinese is undoubtedly a hard language to learn, there’s more to it than that. More than an intellectual exercise in learning a difficult skill, it can be immensely rewarding and enrich our lives intellectually, personally and professionally. To me, Giant Mandarin is a name that better reflects this view. Thanks for reading!

👋 Welcome to this week’s issue of the Giant Mandarin newsletter. This week I cover more words on the topic of food, with a focus on desserts and snacks. I also include my thoughts on the role of learning about China in learning Chinese.

🎯 Words

糖 táng - sugar; sweets

白糖 báitáng - white sugar

  1. 冰淇淋  bīngqílín - ice cream 🍦
  2. 巧克力 qiǎokèlì - chocolate 🍫
  3. 蛋糕 dàngāo - cake 🍰
  4. 饼干 bǐnggān - cookie; biscuit 🍪
  5. 牛奶 niúnǎi - (cow’s) milk 🥛
  6. 咖啡 kāfēi - coffee ☕️

茶 chá - tea

红茶 hóngchá - black tea ☕️

绿茶 lǜchá - green tea 🍵

奶茶 nǎichá - milk tea 🧋

  1. 饮料 yǐnliào - beverage; drink
  2. 可乐 kělè - cola (the soft drink)
  3. 薯片 shǔpiàn - potato chips
  4. 薯条 shǔtiáo - french fries; potato chips 🍟
  5. 奶酪 nǎilào - cheese 🧀

💭 Thoughts

Learning about China while learning Chinese

💭 When you a learn a country’s language, you inevitably learn about that country - it’s society, culture, history and contemporary affairs. When setting out to learn Chinese, most of us probably had some interest in the Chinese-speaking world.

Articulating your interests in China

It’s worth articulating what these interests are and developing them as you learn Chinese. In fact, if you do one-on-one instruction with a teacher, then you might even be able to incorporate these interests into your lessons. This will help a great deal in increasing your motivation and drive in learning the language. As some examples:

  • 🔥 If you’re interested in Chinese pop culture, then be sure to find some time to watch Chinese TV shows and listen to Chinese music that you like
  • 🎞 If you’re interested in Chinese cinema, then learn about China’s great directors and watch their iconic films
  • 📚 If you’re interested in Chinese literature, then read translations in your native language as you work towards being able to read your favourite authors in the original Chinese
  • 📈 If you’re interested in tech and business developments in China, then keep up to date with developments in China in your native language and seek to read or listen to some analysis in Chinese

Setting off a virtuous cycle

💫 If you develop your interests in China as you learn Chinese, then this sets off a virtuous cycle: learning Chinese means you learn more about your interests and learning more about your interests makes you want to learn more Chinese.

👀 Recommendations

A Bite of China (, a beautifully shot Chinese documentary TV series on the history of food, eating and cooking in China. It broke new ground for its storytelling, style and aesthetic when it was first released in 2012 and remains worth watching nearly a decade longer.

What did you think of this week’s newsletter? Please get in touch to let us know what you think. I’ll read every message.

Thanks for reading and see you next Thursday!

Giant Mandarin (@GiantMandarin) is written by David Wu (@davidwuio).