Fun with Mandarin Memes – We Can All Relate
Learning Chinese is a long road, so we’ve got to have some fun along the way, right?
There are some great Chinese memes, images and videos out there which all students of Chinese will be able to relate to.
Here we handpick our favourite ones and share them with you.
Chinese Memes – Measure Words
Measure words – the bane of every Chinese language learner. Thank goodness we have 个 to fall back on! Why does every word need a different measure word anyway?
Whether you are a beginner or fluent you will be able to relate to Measure Word struggles in a heart beat.
It’s something Drake makes his feelings perfectly clear on also!
Why bother with 只，条，双，辆，张，本 and 家 when you can just use 个 for everything and the locals will still understand you?
We shared this on our Facebook page and it proved incredibly popular, as we guessed! In times of strife, stick with 个!
TIME TO GET CREATIVE – On the subject of Drake, we got the creative juices flowing on our Marketing department on a cold winter morning and came up with our very own Drake-themed meme… we hope you like it!
Anyway, back to the first meme, let’s teach you some useful Chinese here…
As a point of reference let’s quickly cover the usage of the measure words Drake mentions here – we’ve got no excuses then! It’s always good to add to your repertoire after all.
- 只 – one of a pair; animals (finger 手指, chicken 鸡, cat 猫, dog 狗)
- 条 – long, narrow, flexible objects (river 河, trousers/pants 裤子, skirt 裙子)
- 双 – a pair objects that generally come in pairs (chopsticks 筷子, shoes 鞋, gloves 手套)
- 辆 – vehicles with wheels (bicycle 自行车, car 汽车)
- 张 – flat objects (paper 纸, table 桌子, bed 床, card 卡)
- 本 – “volume”, bound print matter (book 书, magazine 杂志, novel 小说)
- 家 – establishments (companies 公司, shop 商店, restaurant 饭馆)
See why Drake just likes to stick with 个!
There are HUNDREDS more measure words so there’s plenty to learn but take them in bit by bit, and it’s not as scary as it might seem!
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Chinese Memes – Tones
Ah tones, how often have you been trying your best to make conversation with a local only to say the same thing ten times over, and nothing! When the message finally get’s across they say it exactly how you did?
What is that?!
10 minutes later… AHHH you mean “你叫什么名字”!!
What went wrong? Chances are, your tones were slightly off – they really do make all the difference, even if it’s easy to think otherwise.
A funnier example is portrayed here in the classroom. Don’t get those tones wrong or your teacher will be after blood!
On a serious note again – we always stress at LTL how VITAL it is to nail the tones early on.
The worst thing you can do is ignore them. It’ll show later on when you try and put sentences together. Locals won’t understand you.
They are awkward and tricky to navigate for western speakers at first but learn them early on and it’ll become second nature. Be sure to learn the tones of each word you learn too – again, it’ll show when you speak.
NOTE – DO NOT be afraid to get your tones wrong. Being wrong is what makes us learn. There is no possible way to learn Chinese, or any language for that matter and not make a truckload of mistakes. Get it wrong, but after that learn why you got it wrong and get it right next time!
Chinese Memes – Visiting the Bank
OK if you know you know!
Setting up a new bank account in China is NOT EASY!
Because of this we make sure we help all our new students by accompanying you to the bank to deal with those difficult formalities.
Why isn’t it easy you ask?
It’s like asking why is China different to the west, it just is!
Banks in China don’t seem to easily allow for foreign names. Crazy considering the number of foreigners who actually have a bank in China isn’t exactly small!
Documentation and formal processes in China just take time, so when opening that new bank account, cancel your lunch, cancel your plans and cancel your Christmas, it’s going to take some time!
Chinese Memes – Chocolate… or Red Bean?
Anyone who has been in China for even a short amount of time will probably have had the unfortunate feeling of despair when biting into a delicious looking treat, only to be fooled with the internal elements!
“I thought it was chocolate! What is this ****“
Oh we have heard this time and time and time and time again!
That my friend, is RED BEAN.
Red Bean seems to find its way into so many Chinese treats.
It may look like a beautifully presented treat in the bakery, it might look exactly like what you have back home, but tread carefully comrades, for it is probably not!
So in a country where chicken feet, durian and stinky tofu are out to get you, beware the more subtle danger, the red bean!
Chinese Memes – Sh!t, Sh!t
This isn’t a Chinese meme as such but it strongly relates to learning Chinese and getting your pronunciation right from the start… if you don’t you’ll know about it!
We often talk about how to learn Chinese, so here’s a video we made on how NOT to learn Chinese.
It features former LTL student Zoe and her friend Ben. Zoe plays the role of teacher and Ben is the rookie student on the road to Chinese fluency, it’s a shame his teacher isn’t the best in the business like ours!
Zoe tries to teach Ben Chinese words by making them appear more English but in doing so encounters a number of faux-pas! Watch and l̶e̶a̶r̶n̶ enjoy!
Chinese Memes – Beginner to Winner
As stated above, the road to fluency is a long one but anyone can do it, we’ve got proof after all!
That said, it can make one feel just a tad older, as this cracking meme suggests.
Getting your head around a few thousand Chinese characters is something one can not achieve in a month or two, this takes hard work, practice, practice and even more practice.
Trust us when we say you can get there though, we’ve seen it happen many times!
Getting to HSK 1 and even HSK 2 can be done pretty quickly, especially with our Immersion program, but the gap between each HSK level gets that bit bigger because the number of characters per HSK level doubles until you reach the holy grail of 2,500 Chinese characters which should see you set for the HSK 6 Chinese exam!
Although that sounds daunting, getting beyond these early stages will do your confidence the world of good!
Chinese starts to become incredibly logical after you get beyond the initial “WTF” moments.
No time to waste…
HSK brings many great meme opportunities. We made a couple more here, what do you think?
Chinese Memes – Drake’s Back
Everyone loves a Drake meme though right?
This time rather than measure words Drake focuses on Chinese numbers.
When first learning Chinese, studying the numbers is one of the things you’ll have to overcome.
If you know basic Chinese you’ll know that one, two and three in Chinese are super easy to read.
Quite simply: 一二三.
However, when we get to four, everything changes. Something Drake clearly laments, as you’ll see here!
By the way, if you want to learn the real Chinese numbers, not Drake’s version, you can do so in two minutes here…
Chinese Memes – Other Favourites
There’s just endless funny Chinese memes and videos to go over but here’s some of our other favourite videos that we think you’ll enjoy!
English or Chinese?
If you are lucky enough to be a non-native English/Chinese speaker, yet can speak both languages… first and foremost, well done!
That’s no mean feat.
Secondly – you know the two most spoken languages on the planet, also kinda cool to goo alongside your mother tongue.
So now you’ve cracked both this meme should relate to you more than most.
For those of you who aren’t so lucky, we have no doubt you’ll still chuckle at this one!
English/French/Italian/German – yea it’s easy enough once we get stuck in! Chinese… pfft.
It’s not as hard as you think, even if the meme claims you need to “repeat it 38,643 times”!
Anyone whose been to a Tier 1 China city (we are talking the big hitters like Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou), will know what it’s like to take the metro in rush hour.
This is especially so if you are travelling into the city from an outer line. Everyone wants to do the same thing.
Trust us when we say you get nowhere for being nice in these situations, it’s every man, woman and dog for themselves.
Let people out, and you’ll get nowhere. Push your way to the front, and you stand a fighting chance.
Queue’s don’t exist, letting people off a train don’t exist and general common courtesy goes out the window… so there must be a meme for that right?
We made our very own, thoughts?
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How NOT to ask Someone out in Chinese
Zoe and Ben are up to their old tricks again, well Zoe is anyway! Here she stitches up her friend Ben a treat when Ben asks how to ask out the pretty Chinese girl.
You can guess what happens next!
Tones, Tones, Tones
As if we hadn’t told you enough already about Chinese tones! There’s no English in this video so this might be for the more advanced learner.
Ben and Zoe want to start a conversation with a Chinese lady but unfortunately for them, they get their Chinese tones wrong and end up with egg on their faces. We’ve all been there…!
Er, Er, Er : 儿儿儿
This goes out to all the Chinese students who have been to, or are going to the North-East of China.
As with any language, there are accents, quirks and variations.
Take the Scouse accent in England or the Naples accent of Italian.
China’s version is the North-Eastern “ER” sound, whereby many words are completed with a pirate like ER. For example:
- 上班 becomes 上班儿 (to start work)
- 去玩 becomes 去玩儿 (to go and play)
- 女孩 becomes 女孩儿 (girl)
The sound is harsh and incredibly easy to pick out but it also makes understanding some words that bit harder!
Well, the genius who came up with this meme pretty much nailed it!
Help us build our meme library!
One final thing – have you heard of Subtle Asian Traits? If not, we recommend you check them out because if you liked this, you’ll enjoy that!
Chinese Memes – FAQ’s
Absolutely. With more people than in any country worldwide browsing the internet, Chinese meme humour is a staple part of the culture in China.
Actually they can. Memes are a great way to understand the culture and humour of Chinese which is always a difficult part of any language to master. If you can understand the humour, you are well on your way to breaking the barriers of the language.
Subtle Asian Traits is a Facebook page is dedicated to memes, pictures, videos, and even posts asking for advice, all pertaining to the Asian experience.
If you wish to try and make your own Chinese based memes check out this gallery of meme templates.
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