Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sometimes Chinese is just so simple

The other day I looked up how to write the country Yemen in Chinese:
     也门   (也門 in Traditional)
This is pronounced yěmén.

Most beginners will already know the word 也 (yě) for "also" and 门 (mén) as "door" - so this fits together surprisingly well.


  1. Hi again, Greg! I have a question for you -- I'm sure that you work in China now that you live there. How did you get a job to survive off of with a lack of full language skills to be competent? Whenever I think about moving to China, I always think about how all of my hard work over here will mean just about nothing.


  2. Hi Kara, thanks for your question. Actually I'm based in HK, where the ability to speak Chinese is in general not required to getting work - the quality of English is in general very high.

    I work for an international company, and our international language is English (it's the only way to get dozens of countries connected) so actually no other language is required.

    But of course there are local companies where everyone speaks Chinese, and if you want to follow meetings and conversations with your colleagues, you'd need to speak Chinese for sure.

    In mainland China it would similar - I guess your goal would be to either have Chinese good enough to contribute as a local, or to select a company (probably an international company) where English was the language of business.

    Hope that makes sense. If you have more questions, let me know.

  3. I'm still scratching my head about your previous post. (Damn those Mandarin bugs.)

    Seriously - this is cool. One word learned today without even trying. Just when I thought Mandarin was going to be hard :D :D :D ;)

    1. Exactly! It's so intuitive that 一 means one, 二 means two, 三 means three, and that 四 means four :-) Uhm, I mean ... er ... what???