Music words + Exploring a whole new world of culture
2 min read

Music words + Exploring a whole new world of culture

Music words + Exploring a whole new world of culture

👋 Welcome to this week’s issue of the Giant Mandarin newsletter (the new name for the Chinese Is Hard newsletter). This week I cover words on the topic of music. I also include my thoughts on how studying Chinese enables you to explore a whole new world of culture.

🎯 Words

  1. 音乐 yīnyuè - music 🎶
  2. 歌 gē - song

听 tīng - to listen 👂

听音乐 tīng yīnyuè - to listen to music

听歌 tīng gē - to listen to a song

唱 chàng - to sing

唱歌 chàng gē - to sing a song

  1. 歌手 gēshǒu - singer 🎤
  2. 乐队 yuèduì - band; orchestra
  3. 乐器 yuèqì - musical instrument
  4. 钢琴 gāngqín - piano 🎹
  5. 吉他 guitar - jítā 🎸

弹 tán - to play (a string instrument)

弹钢琴 tán gāngqín - to play a piano

弹吉他 tán jítā - to play a guitar

  1. 耳机 ěrjī - headphones 🎧
  2. 歌曲 gēqǔ - song (formal)
  3. 摇滚乐 yáogǔnyuè - rock and roll; rock music
  4. 爵士乐 juéshìyuè - jazz
  5. 古典音乐 gǔdiǎn yīnyuè - classical music
  6. 流行音乐 liúxíng yīnyuè - pop music
  7. 韩国流行音乐 Hánguó liúxíng yīnyuè - K-pop 🇰🇷
  8. 说唱 shuōchàng - rap music
  9. 嘻哈乐 xīhāyuè - hip hop

💭 Thoughts

🗺 Learning a language gives you access to a whole new world of culture

One of the amazing things about learning Chinese is that it gives you access to a whole new world of culture. And the more you learn, the more access you get.

One of the reasons cultures different to our own are appealing is that they represent the opportunity to discover new things.

To consider one example, in our daily lives, we watch, read and listen to things that make us laugh, teach us things about the world and help us understand ourselves. And one of life’s pleasures is finding new things to watch, read and listen to, whether that’s a new movie, book or song.

🌏 The Chinese world of culture: movies, books, music and more

Through learning Chinese, we begin to get access to a world of Chinese movies, books and music. And with a deep cultural history and population of over 1.4 billion, that world is a really big one that will only get bigger over time.

No matter what your level of Chinese is, subtitles, translations and the universality of sound, means that many excellent Chinese movies and TV shows, books and songs are already there to be explored and enjoyed.

But this is no doubt only the outskirts of the forest, which has been mapped out by explorers - brave Chinese language learners - before us.

✨ The joy of discovery as a Chinese language learner

Consider the following observations:

  • 📚 Only a tiny sliver of China’s best written works have been translated into English
  • 🎞 There are new Chinese movies and shows being released every day
  • 🎶 There is an independent artist making amazing music from an apartment in one of China’s bustling cities that deserves to reach a greater audience

As Chinese language learners, there’s a lot to to be excited about!

👀 Recommendations

The most interesting Chinese bands of the 2010s (December 2019), Krish Raghav, SupChina

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).