Ink Dance by Zhi-ming Su


Here is a two-minute video clip from Su Zhiming’s Ink Dance, a Chinese animator and artist from Taiwan, presently residing in Australia.  Interesting composition of music and interactive movement between Chinese calligraphic writing and human movement.  Could use our appreciative support. Enjoy.

If it doesn’t show up on this blog post, you can go to:

Ink Dance by Zhi-Ming Su

Introducing yourself: jiào, guó, rén, zhēndema


To introduce yourself in Mandarin Chinese, you need to know how to greet someone first:  ni hao.  However, you will also find the following Chinese words useful:  jiào (am name/called), guó (country), (which), rén (people,citizen), and zhēndema (really? to show surprise).

Read this dialog aloud if you know hanyu pinyin.

  • Nǐhǎo?  (Hi. How are you?)
  • Hǎo. Nǐ ne? (Fine. And you?)
  • Hén hǎo. Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén?  (Very well.  Which country are you from?)
  • Wǒ shì Měiguórén.  Wǒ jiào Lee.  (I’m American.  I’m called Lee.)
  • Zhēndema?   Wǒyé shì Měiguóren. Wǒ jiào John.   (Really?  I’m also American.  I’m called John.)

For more intensive practice of this language, you can click here.

Here is a video for further explanation by Teacher Benny.

Here is a video for your entertainment with this language–wo shi meiguoren, starring Bruce Lee. Enjoy.


Míngbái, Bù míngbái, Bù míng bù bái


If you have studied Chinese for 4 or 5 months, you probably know míngbái ( 明 白 ), a Chinese word meaning ‘clearly understood.’  Bù míngbái ( 不 明 白) is what you say when you aren’t  quite sure or you are confused about the meaning of something. Wǒ bù míngbái (我 不 明 白) (I’m not clear).

When you are not clear about what your are hearing or reading, you can either apologize (Duìbuqǐ) (对不起) (which also means ‘excuse me’) and  say “Wǒ bù míngbái“  (我 不 明 白) and/or politely ask him to explain a little (Qǐng nǐ jiěshì jiěshì) (请 你 解 释 解 释). However, you would NOT want to ask someone to speak míngbái yīdiǎnr (speak it out a little clearer), because it would imply he is hiding something or lying.

A fun idiom is bù míng bù bái (neither clear nor white) ( 不 明 不 白 ) , used to refer to  hazy written or spoken ideas, speeches, talk, rules, or even behavior.  Laws are sometimes bù míng bù bái so that power can overrule law, when convenient.

One song shows you another way to use míngbái. The lyrics are written out in pinyin and translated into English in the notes.

A Song by Della Ding 丁噹 – Ming Bai 明白

There is another song called Ming Ming Bai Bai Wo de Xin. You can Youtube it, if you want. See how it’s translated.

Happy Double Ten Day China’s 1911 Overthrow of the Manchu Empire–A Teresa Deng Song for You

Teresa Deng, loved on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, sings a Mandarin Chinese song about one of China’s National Flowers.  No matter how harsh the weather (hardships) this flower will keep blooming.

Pinyin Lyrics

Méihuā méihuā mǎntiānxià yù lěng tā yù kāihuā

méihuā jiānrěn xiàngzhēng wǒmen wēiwēi di dà Zhōnghuá

kàn yā biàndì kāile méihuā yǒu tǔdì jiù yǒu tā

bīng-xuě fēngyǔ tā doū bù pà tā shì wǒ di guóhuā