The internet is full of memes and those related to studying Chinese or living in China are not missing. If you happen to learn Mandarin, live in China, or have the chance to do both, you will probably relate to what is coming next.
Here are some of the internet funniest Chinese memes. (You can find even more on the « Shanghaimemes » Facebook page or on Pinterest).
WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS CHOCOLATE
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This is one of chocolate lover best disappointment. Chinese people love bread filled with red beans. The problem is that this dessert looks exactly like bread filled with chocolate, but doesn’t taste the same at all.
Another one you should be careful of is desserts that seem to have vanilla or milk flavour while it is actually durian…
LEARNING CHINESE MEASURE WORDS
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Measure words are a specificity of the Chinese grammar and it can be hard to learn for foreign students when starting studying Mandarin. Thankfully, the measure word 个 gè is always there to save us.
If you are tired of using 个 and want to master them all, don’t hesitate to have a look on our measure words articles here and here.
THE TASTE OF BAIJIU
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If you read our article about Baijiu in the past, you should then remember that it is Chinese people’s most favorite alcohol. However, even though it is transparent and looks like vodka, it doesn’t taste the same at all and is way stronger.
If you happen one day to have a dinner party with Chinese friends, don’t forget to eat well before taking Baijiu shots.
>Learn more about the drinking culture in China
THE BURDEN OF HSK6
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HSK6 is the highest level of the Chinese language proficiency test. While students learning Chinese naturally improve step by step from HSK 1 to 5, the HSK 6 brings the test on a next level, with a list of 5000 words to remember.
If you took the test in the past or are preparing it recently, you probably know the struggle.
>To learn more about the HSK test
THE SMELL OF SPICY HOTPOT
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Spicy hotpot is well known to be China’s most tasty hotpot. Although this specialty from Sichuan/Chongqing is famous around the world, a lot of people still don’t know that they should not bring their favorite overcoat or jacket into the restaurant.
The reason is that the strong smell of spicy hotpot tends to stay on clothes. If you plan one day to enjoy Sichuan hotpot in a local restaurant, remember to bring casual clothes.
TO 是 SHÌ OR NOT TO 是 SHÌ
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Every student starting learning Chinese will have to face this annoying grammar point. There are a lot of ways to use the verb “to be” in Mandarin, and 是 is only one of many others.
Check our learning tips article here to be sure you don’t make the mistake ever again.
DID YOU JUST SAY CASH?
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China is the first country in the world who has made mobile payment a national trend. It is so common to use your mobile phone to pay for everything that people now tend to be surprised when someone uses cash.
Chinese people use WeChat and Alipay most of the time. Even foreigners studying or working in China all have their WeChat and Alipay account linked to their bank account. However, it is advised to always have some cash on you in case you run out of battery.
YOUR CHINESE IS SO GOOD
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Foreign tourists visiting China may sometimes run into foreign expats speaking fluent Chinese. Well, it is sometimes not that fluent.
In the meme above, the lady says: “欸，服务员。一个这个 and 一个这个。不辣，谢谢” ēi, fúwùyuán. Yígè zhègè and yígè zhègè. Bú là, xièxiè. Which literally means: “hey waitress, one this one and one this one. No spicy, thank you”.
LOUDER, I DIDN’T HEAR YOU
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In China, we don’t call waiters/waitresses saying things like “excuse me sir”, but we use the word 服务员 fúwùyuán, which refers to the customer service personnel.
Everyone who lives in China know the real way to call someone from the customer service personnel in a local restaurant.
Forget about “hello sir” and “excuse me miss”. In China, we like to scream 服务员 fúwùyuán very loud, which means waiter/waitress. If may sound rude at first for western people but Chinese people are more direct and don’t feel the need to be formal all the time.
THE JOY OF OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT IN A CHINA
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Opening a bank account in China is one of the worst administration procedures you can experience (the worst one being applying for a visa).
If you don’t have a Chinese friend who can come with you to the bank and help you with it, you better have an amazing Chinese level. Once you arrive, the person in charge of your application will give you a long form filled with thousands of small Chinese characters…
CHINESE MOST EFFECTIVE TRADITIONAL MEDICINE
Do you have a headache? Stomachache? Fever? Sore throat? Don’t worry, drink a lot of hot water and you’ll be fine quickly. And don’t forget, the hotter the better.
>Learn why Chinese people always drink hot water
I SWEAR I WAS READING THE CHARACTERS LAOSHI
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Chinese textbooks for beginners show both 汉字 hànzì (Chinese characters) and pinyin. And I t would be lying to say that students only look at 汉字 when reading a text out loud.
>What is pinyin?
GIVE ME THAT CHICKEN FEET
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While people in western countries like to cook the breast and wings of the chicken, Chinese people cook everything, including the head, the bottom and the feet.
Chicken feet is one of Chinese people’s favourite snacks, and is a must-try if you go to China. Read more here about strange Chinese food that is actually super tasty.
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Who doesn’t love the use 儿 èr in every sentence? This is Beijing style and the more you use it the better is your Chinese.
Here’s a small Beijing accent lesson just for you:
Don’t say 哪里. Say 哪儿.
Don’t say 一点. Say 一点儿
Don’t say 好玩. Say 好玩儿
Don’t say 等一会. Say 等一会儿
THE CHINESE TONES ARE SO EASY
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A lot of people think that Chinese characters is what makes Mandarin a very complicated language. What they probably don’t know is the struggle to learn the tones properly.
If some people tell you Chinese tones are not that important, don’t trust them. And if you don’t want your teacher to get upset, learn them correctly.
Which meme did you relate to the most? Share your comments with us. And if you want to improve your Mandarin skills, try now our free online demo class with our certified teachers.