Categories
Intermediate

Guest Post: The exam of life

Well well well, lookie here. A guest post! Today we’ll be reading Rebecca Chua’s (Chinese name: 蔡幸彤) translation of an essay from her textbook. The post is about the rewards of honesty. I remember my own textbook being full of these types of essays, so thank you, Rebecca, for the traditional read.

Categories
Intermediate

Story Behind the Idiom: 失斧疑邻 – Carelessly suspecting others

You know the kind of person who loses something and immediately declares it was stolen? Yeah, that.

Categories
Intermediate

My Gluttonous Elder Brother

I set out to do a beginner post since I haven’t done one in a while, but no joy, I think I have to classify this as intermediate. Beginners are welcome to try this out, as most of the words are simple and the subject matter is a bit immature (so of course it totally […]

Categories
Intermediate

Story Behind the Idiom: 夜郎自大 – Thinking too highly of oneself

Here we’ll cover the back story behind the idiom “夜郎自大”, or “Yelang thinks highly of itself”. This idiom one refers to someone who has a high, but misguided, opinion of their own worth. Stick this one in the language bank for when you need to take someone down a peg (preferably while stroking your fu […]

Categories
Intermediate

Mythology: The Farmer God Shen Nong Tastes All the Plants

A cool introduction to one of the lesser-known deities, Shen Nong 神农 shén nóng, the God of Agriculture (and later called the Bodhisattva of Medicine). This is upper-intermediate reading: expect a lot of new words (mostly relating to plants and Chinese medicine) but intermediate sentence structure, and sentences mostly communicate a complete point.

Categories
Intermediate

Fable: Meng JiangNv Cries the Great Wall Down

Seeing as how I just got back from a trip to the Wall myself, I figured I’d stay on that theme. This traditional and very famous story, called 孟姜女哭长城 mèng jiāng nǚ kū cháng chéng, is set in the Qin Dynasty, and is super sad in the way that only East Asian stories can be […]

Categories
Intermediate

Fable: The Two Lazybones

This is probably the longest text I’ve ever posted. The first few sentences are much more intermediate as we learn new vocabulary words and set up the story, but after that the reading is mostly a dialogue which is very smooth and fairly simple, so press through the first paragraph or two if you can.

Categories
Intermediate

Story Behind the Idiom: 鹬蚌相争 – When two parties fight and a third party benefits

This is the backstory behind the Chinese idiom 鹬蚌相争 yù bàng xiāng zhēng, which translates to “The Sandpiper and the Clam Fight Each Other”, and means “Two parties fight and a third party benefits.”

Categories
Intermediate

Essay: My Family’s Dragon Boat Festival

While we’re busy prepping for our holiday season, I figured I’d post something about a Chinese holiday. This is a culturally-rich and comfortably intermediate essay describing how one family celebrates the Dragon Boat Festival (端午节 duān wǔ jié. If you’re curious what the typical Chinese household does on this late-spring holiday (held on the fifth […]

Categories
Intermediate

Story Behind the Idiom: 一暴十寒 – Temporary diligence followed by laziness

This short tale addresses the background story behind the Chinese idiom 一暴十寒, which literally translates to “One day of sun, ten days of frost”, and which means “to bust butt for a little while and then get lazy”, or “to only work for a short time and then fail”. The story below really applies to […]

Categories
Intermediate

How to Make Friends

Just in case you were wondering, below is a short intermediate essay on How to Make Friends.

Categories
Intermediate

Folk tales of real people: Bao Gong Interrogates A Rock

This is definitely my favorite find so far, as it falls solidly within my favorite Chinese story genre with my favorite Chinese archetype: the clever government official who catches a crook.

Categories
Intermediate

The Magic Pencil

This short story is about a magic pencil – whatever it draws comes to life. This story features beginner sentence structure and a heavy smattering of intermediate vocabulary.

Categories
Intermediate

Joke: The Two Parrots

This not-too-dirty-but-not-really-clean joke comes from a great blog on the Sina blog network, the Chinese equivalent of Blogger. The joke is about a woman whose new parrot can’t seem to stop saying one particular come-hither phrase. The phrase so embarrasses the woman that she tries to take action, but her plan doesn’t quite work out the way she wanted.

Categories
Intermediate

Fable: The Turkey and the Bull

If you’re in need of a fable that demonstrates the dangers of kissing ass, you’re in luck.

Categories
Intermediate

The History of Postage Stamps

Huh, learn something new every day. My entire understanding of the postal service comes from Terry Pratchett’s “Going Postal”, so it’s interesting to take a quick look into the [vaguely] factual history of the postage stamp.

Categories
Intermediate

Famous Chinese Authoress BingXin 冰心

This one-page lower-intermediate essay covers the biography of BingXin, a famous authoress from the early 1900’s. The essay writer also chronicles an interview he did with BingXin, and records some parts of their discussion.

Categories
Intermediate

Fable: Wolf Goes Fishing

As vaguely sordid fables go, this one’s fairly tame, resulting only in some humiliatory retribution and a lost tail or two.