Mainlander tip: assuming you can get it back home in one piece (Air Canada considers guitar strings weapons....), a guitar is one of the best purchases you can make over here. Domestic manufacturers are still struggling with quality control, making it possible to find truly excellent instruments at every price level. The caveat is that there are more bad ones out there than good ones: you'll need an eye and ear for a good instrument to find a great deal.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let's listen in on today's lesson: the story of a lovesick troubadour and his admirer. In a scant nine minutes this podcast will throw a lot of Chinese your way, including details on how to sound uncertain, and an easy way to negate questions. We also give Xiao Liu a round of applause for his solid E-minor plucking: surprisingly listenable considering that was his first time ever touching a guitar.
 said on
October 30, 2008
Very nice lesson. One minor problem in the pinyin of tan - text shows 4th tone but should be 2nd.
 said on
October 30, 2008
@hotpotmike - thanks for the correction - fixed.
 said on
October 30, 2008
enjoyed the lesson: learned the use of tan2 for playing stringed instruments
 said on
October 30, 2008

I was trying to give a welcome hug to the new member of our Popup family, but it seems that I am too slow to find a chance.

You can also say "tan2 gang1qin2"(play the piano) besides stringed instruments. For some other instruments, like harmonica and flute, you'd use "chu1"(to blow). Also "la1"(to pull) is the word for "violin".

 said on
February 1, 2009
Piano by its nature is a string instrument, too. So it's no wonder that one can "tan2 gang1qin2".
 said on
October 22, 2013
Can you guys explain the difference between the three 'de' words.

I have now listened to all the Elementary pod casts.

I am now Intermediate.
 said on
March 4, 2014
Yes, I still get so confused with the 地 word all the time.

 said on
March 5, 2014


When 的 地 得 are all used as structural particle.

的 subordinate particle: 美丽的大海;我的家乡;

nominalizing particle: 要饭的;捡破烂的(trash collector)

地 It's used after a adverb and before a verb to describe an action: 快速地跑;慢慢地吃

得 It's a sentence particle used after a verb(or adjective) and before a complement of degree to show effect / degree or possibility:弹得不错;做得很好;饿得不行了...


的,地,得 have other pronunciations and meanings outside of “de5”.

的dí 的确díquè - indeed i.e.的确是这么回事.

地dì 地方;地球 place; the earth 地球是圆的.

得dé 得到 to obtain i.e.学习能得到什么?

dei3 must i.e. 我得走了


 said on
April 12, 2014


你学多长时间了 (I'm pretty sure this is just wrong grammar)

What's the difference between these sentences with the different placement of 了

 said on
April 14, 2014

Actually the most commonly used one and correct one is "你学多长时间了?"“了” at the end implies a change of state(past tense or present perfect tense). i.e.你来多久了?你住几天了?It's the same.

The other two are correct as well- depending on different speaking habit, you can use either of them.

 said on
April 10, 2018
When he answers "Wo mei xue duo chang shi jian," why does he say "duo" in his answer? Isn't that saying "I haven't studied how long time." Shouldn't he say "Wo mei xue chang shi jian," meaning, "I haven't studied a long time." ?

Thank you.
 said on
April 15, 2018

The question is getting turned into a vague answer. This is the same thing at work when you get the question 你想吃什么 and answer 什么都可以. What do you want to eat? Anything is ok. Another example would be you asking 你买了多少个 and getting the answer 我没有买多少。How many did you buy? I didn't buy MANY. Note in this last example that the person did in fact buy SOME -- and their answer confirms it! They just didn't buy enough that such an open-ended question is reasonable.

In this case the question is:

"For what length of time have you studied?"

And the answer is:

"I haven't studied long enough for it to really count as any length of time."

It sounds much more natural in Chinese though. This is very colloquial usage. Hope this helps.
 said on
April 16, 2018
yes, thank you!