Model Mandarin: April 2016

Model mandarin

BEAR IN MIND Learn by saying things you shouldn’t

April 1 is well known for its tricks and pranks; did you get fooled on April Fool’s Day?
Well, let us tell you a few ways that you can fool your Chinese friends.

These are old tricks, but still very funny.

1. Ask someone to translate the following three words:
和平(hépínɡ), 战争(zhànzhēnɡ), 成立(chénɡlì) meaning peace, war, and found. If your friend answers you, it’s time to laugh at them because ‘Peace, War, Found’ sounds just like 屁是我放的(pì shì wǒ fànɡ de) in Chinese, which means It’s me who farted. Boom!

2. Show your friend a poem in Chinese and ask them to read it to you.
卧春(wò chūn)
卧梅又闻花(wò méi yòu wén huā),卧枝绘中天(wò zhī huì zhōnɡ tiān)。
鱼吻卧石水(yú wěn wò shí shuǐ), 卧石答春绿(wò shí dá chūn lǜ)。

In English, the latter poem means:
I’m Stupid /I am illiterate/I can only farm/If you want to know who I am/ I am a stupid donkey

TALKING POINTS A supplement for grammar practice

Here we have gathered several expressions about being fooled. in Chinese:

被耍了(bèi shuǎ le) to get stiffed
被骗了(bèi piàn le) to get cheated
被愚弄了(bèi yúnònɡ le) to be fooled
被放鸽子(bèi fànɡ ɡēzi) to get stood up
When people got fooled they can react in several different ways:

你在耍我吗?( Nǐ zài shuǎ wǒ mɑ)
Are you kidding me?

你玩儿我?(Nǐ wán ér wǒ)
Are you playing me?

(Nǐ shì hóuzi qǐnɡlái de dòu B mɑ)
Are you the joker sent by the Monkey King? (This one was inspired by Chinese classic, Journey to the West)

CARTOON CHARACTERS Mnemonic devices that work

0416_MONDARIONHi there! Existing characters can form new Chinese characters simply by adding or deleting strokes. For today’s instance, 太 (tài) means ‘too’. Adding one more dot to Big 大 will make the character ‘too’ change to the character 太 ‘big’.

Usages: 太(tài)+adjective+了(le)=too/so…

太逗了(tài dòu le) too funny
(zhèɡe xiàohuɑ tài dòu le!)
This joke is so funny!
太气人了(tài qì rén le) too exasperating
(nǐ shuō de huà tài qìrén le!)
What you are saying is too exasperating!

Hear this mini audio lesson online at

CANTONESE CORNER Guangdong conversation starters 

waan4 je5 (玩野)–This is a word to express being fooled in Cantonese. For instance, you have been tricked by a guy on April Fool’s Day and have a strong feeling of being fooled, you can say the following: “你系唔系玩野? (nei5 hai6 m4 hai6 waan4 je5?)” “This means: “Are you making a fool of me?”. (For waan, drop low the tone strongly. And then make je a little higher at the end.)