Our new Ayi is great, except for her propensity to gossip. We'll tell her things like what we had for breakfast or how much sleep we got the night before, and the next thing you know she's shared that on Weibo and Facebook and then we're getting inbound telephone calls from strangers in Henan with occasionally useful but somewhat overfamiliar advice. Truth be told, we're not sure exactly how to deal with it, since she does a really good job otherwise.

Learning Chinese? In this lesson, we cover an incredibly useful expression that is unfairly ignored by textbooks worldwide. And in the process, we try to illustrate one of the nicest things about learning mandarin: the looser grammatical structure makes many Chinese expressions more flexible and universally applicable than their English counterparts.
 said on
April 23, 2013
Hey guys! At 8:33 the boy says "我说我爱你," is that it?
 said on
April 24, 2013
@jarek_b7,

Yeah, that's exactly what he says.

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
May 18, 2013
Just opened my account and got a listing of absolute beginner, absolutely no idea how to listen to them on my iPad!! Please help, thanks
 said on
May 18, 2013
@Ibano7,

Until we have a javascript-based audio player that will work on the iPad (or iPhone), the best way to get started on that device is probably hooking up the public iTunes feed:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/popup-chinese/id292036117

 said on
May 18, 2013
Hey,

I have a question regarding question 3 in the transcript. My first guess was that d 他什么时候来的?was right which it was. I'm just wondering why c 什么时候他来的? isn't correct.

Could you explain it to me?

Thanks
 said on
May 19, 2013
@MaFe

This is a great question! - let me try to answer it. In Chinese, adverb either starts the sentence or follows the subject. So, indeed, both 今天他来了 and 他今天来了 are correct. However, here we are dealing with the 是adverb的 pattern, which does not allow alterations of this kind, but does allow dropping out 是, as is the case in this question。 You can only say 他是今天来的, but not *今天他是来的, as the whole point of the 是adverb的 pattern is to stress the adverb (or adverbial phrase) sandwiched between 是 and 的.
 said on
May 20, 2013
@pefferie,

That's a good answer. I'd like to add one more thing here: It's a habit that we usually put the question word after the subject or omit the subject when it is a question on time. For instance, we'd like to say 你什么时候来 or 什么时候来. And when we put the question word before the subject, it usually implies there is another half of the sentence after it, and the question word 什么时候 means "whenever" but not "when" in that sentence. For instance, 什么时候你来,我都欢迎 "You are always welcome (whenever you come)".

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
May 20, 2013
@pefferie, Echo,

Just one thing to chip in -- technically the part of speech for words like 今天,明天,早上,etc. in Chinese is noun (a specific subcategory of time nouns).

Mentioned not because it affects the logic of pefferie's answer, but because it's related to a consistency problem in Chinese that a lot of people struggle with: the way you can use nouns like 刚才 or 今天 as the standalone answer to time-related questions like ("when did this happen?") but can't use adverbs like 刚刚.

 said on
May 20, 2013
@Trevelyan, Echo,

Excellent points, and there is a podcast here about the difference between 刚才 and 刚刚 (although I wouldn't be able point out which one).

I was a bit oversimplifying in my explanation, using the word ad-verb to mean an "ad-junct to a verb". In linguistic rigor, what is caught in the 是...的 sandwich can be many parts of of speech, e.g. a verb phrase: 老板,我是坐地铁来的 (http://www.popupchinese.com/lessons/elementary/the-beijing-subway), but it does play an adverbial role, 对不对?
 said on
May 20, 2013
@pefferie,

Sure. It's a pedantic point. Figured I'd mention it to avoid anyone getting confused, that's all.

--david

 said on
June 6, 2013
Heya guys,

Dont know if this is a silly question...I was just wondering when Brendan translated 'ni ye zhidao le' his inflection would suggest it indicates the question 'you know too?!'. Though it doesnt warrant a verbal answer as it is more a statement of surprise, does this sentence come across as being a question in the Chinese too? Cheers!
 said on
June 8, 2013
@alekxos,

Hi! Yes, it is the same in Chinese.

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
June 13, 2013
Thanks!
 said on
June 20, 2013
What's the name of the song in the background/beginning of the lesson? I'd like to listen to it... thanks a lot in advance!
 said on
June 20, 2013
@silvamartinsfellipe,

Sure, here you go:

http://www.popupchinese.com/lessons/ktv-wednesday/wang-fei-nothing-remains

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com