New Vocab – 新词汇

Attention class! Attention! I said sit down! You – Yeah, you in the knock-off Louis Vuitton pants and Aape Universe hoodie – stop hitting Seven with the yardstick. Apple, please don’t live stream our class. Grayson, Leonard, Harry – quit playing games and put the phones away. Girls in the back, put your makeup on in the bathroom. Sara, Cindy, Cathy – no more selfies. Who keeps swearing like a trucker? What’s that smell? Who’s eating something with garlic in it? It’s not even nine am.

First time getting the COVID-19 test.

Okay! Are we ready to begin?

Let’s practice some vocabulary, shall we. Now these are terms that you might want to be familiar with when talking about the year 2020. I SAID STOP LIVE STREAMING!

Ahem. Here we go.




Helpful individual terms that might show up on the test:

COVID-19 新冠 xīnguān

Virus 病毒 bìngdú

Third Time Getting COVID-19 Test.

Infected 感染 gǎnrǎn

Cases 病例bìnglì

Confirmed / Unconfirmed 确诊/未确诊 quèzhěn/wèi quèzhěn

Symptomatic 有症状 yǒu zhèngzhuàng

Asymptomatic 无症状感染者 wú zhèngzhuàng gǎnrǎn zhě

Pandemic 疫情 yìqíng

Uptick in cases 病例增加  bìnglì zēngjiā

Quarantine 隔离 gélí

COVID-19 test 新冠核酸测试 xīnguān hésuān cèshì

Throat swab 咽拭子采样 yàn shì zi cǎiyàng

Nose swab 鼻咽拭子采样 bí yān shì zi cǎiyàng

Vaccine 疫苗 yìmiáo

Mask 口罩 kǒuzhào

Toilet paper 卫生纸 wèishēngzhǐ

Hand sanitizer 消毒杀菌剂 xiāodú shājùn jì

Temperature checks 测体温 cè tǐwēn

Health App 健康app jiànkāng app

Contagious 传染性的 chuánrǎn xìng

Immune 免疫的 miǎnyì de

Herd immunity 群体免疫 qúntǐ miǎnyì

Dr. Li Wen Liang – The Chinese doctor who is widely recognized as being the first to raise the red flag over what would become a world-wide pandemic. Many in China and around the globe consider him a hero. He died due to complications after contracting the virus. Translation of the Chinese text above: There are no heroes from the sky, only men.


Helpful phrases that might show up on the test:


1. So, do you think Starbucks is still open? 所以,你觉得星巴克还营业吗? Suǒyǐ, nǐ juédé xīngbākè hái yíngyè ma?


2. Where the hell are all the masks? 口罩都他妈跑哪去了?Kǒuzhào dōu tā mā pǎo nǎ qùle?


3. Why does this mask make my face look so big? Am I wearing a child’s mask? 这个口罩为啥显得我脸这么大?我戴的是儿童口罩吗?

hège kǒuzhào wèi shà xiǎndé wǒ liǎn zhème dà? Wǒ dài de shì értóng kǒuzhào ma?


4. Why in the world is soap so expensive now? 为什么现在肥皂这么贵了?

Wèishéme xiànzài féizào zhème guìle?


5. If I get the virus could drinking hand sanitizer get rid of it? 如果我感染病毒,喝消毒杀菌剂能杀死病毒吗?

Rúguǒ wǒ gǎnrǎn bìngdú, hē xiāodú shājùn jì néng shā sǐ bìngdú ma?


6. Is the Health App just another covert ploy to monitor citizens? 是不是健康码其实就是另一种控制市民的秘密手段。

Shì bùshì jiànkāng mǎ qíshí jiùshì lìng yī zhǒng kòngzhì shìmín de mìmì shǒuduàn.


7. Do you think the number of reported cases is legitimate? 你觉得公布的感染人数合理吗?

Nǐ juédé gōngbù de gǎnrǎn rénshù hélǐ ma?


8. I bet the virus is a hoax. 我敢打赌病毒就是个骗局

Wǒ gǎn dǎdǔ bìngdú jiùshì gè piànjú


9. I bet the virus is man-made. 我敢打赌病毒是人造的

Wǒ gǎn dǎdǔ bìngdú shì rénzào de


10. I bet the virus is naturally occurring. 我敢打赌病毒是自然产生的

Wǒ gǎn dǎdǔ bìngdú shì zìrán chǎnshēng de


11. I bet the virus is an act of God to punish us for letting the Kardashian family have reality tv shows. 我敢打赌病毒是上帝用来惩罚我们的,因为我们竟然允许卡戴珊家族上电视真人秀

Wǒ gǎn dǎdǔ bìngdú shì shàngdì yòng lái chéngfá wǒmen de, yīnwèi wǒmen jìngrán yǔnxǔ kǎ dài shān jiāzú shàng diànshì zhēnrén xiù


12. I blame the Chinese. 我怪罪中国人

Wǒ guàizuì zhōngguó rén


13. I blame the Democrats. 我怪罪民主党

Wǒ guàizuì mínzhǔdǎng


14. I blame the Republicans. 我怪罪共和党

Wǒ guàizuì gònghédǎng

Health App pic
This is one of the Health App notifications you get…Unfortunately, in this one it notes that there have been confirmed cases in my vacinity within the last 14 days. 

15. I blame aliens. 我怪罪外星人

Wǒ guàizuì wài xīng rén


16. The virus is just a plot to thin out the population. I saw a friend’s post, so I know I can trust this fact. 病毒就是一种减少人口的阴谋,我看了一个朋友的帖子,我可以相信这是事实。

Bìngdú jiùshì yī zhǒng jiǎnshǎo rénkǒu de yīnmóu, wǒ kànle yīgè péngyǒu de tiězi, wǒ kěyǐ xiāngxìn zhè shì shìshí.

17. Where is all the toilet paper? 卫生纸都哪去了?

Wèishēngzhǐ dōu nǎ qùle? 

18. Businesses are closing. 商店都停业了。

Shāngdiàn dōu tíngyèle.





19. Businesses are opening. 商店开始营业了

Shāngdiàn kāishǐ yíngyèle


20. Businesses are closing again. 商店又停业了

Shāngdiàn yòu tíngyèle


21. My climbing gym is closed. 我的攀岩馆停业了

Wǒ de pā

nyán guǎn tíngyèle


22. Seriously! Where is all the damn toilet paper? 开玩笑吗?卫生纸都他妈 哪去了?


xiào ma? Wèishēngzhǐ dōu tā mā nǎ qùle?

Just for laughs. Chill out. 

Words of the Day

Illustration: Juan Leguizam/Wired


It’s been hard keeping up my Chinese study habits since I started at the International School. All my interactions with the staff are in English, except for when I chat with the Mandarin teachers or go to the copy room. In my ELL specialist position I try not to rely on my Chinese, but it has definitely come in handy in rough situations, and it’s helping me get a new student adjusted this week. However, I’m not improving.


I wish I were this studious...
I wish I were this studious… Credit:


The Learning Plateau is real, and anyone who has tried to master a skill that contains many levels will tell you that it is a leviathan that can lull the learner into languid complacency, making even the steadfast of students lethargic.

Last summer I had a great strategy. I talked with three different college students from different parts of China for an hour each, nearly every week. It helped with my listening, and strengthened my ear for dialect. I bought a great book (one of perhaps a few dozen now) with everyday situations and plenty of idioms and vocabulary. I always had it nearby and resorted to it many times a day, soaking in new phrases. Xiao Ming and I stressed Mandarin for longer periods of time, and she helped me with the correct wording constantly. Even my buddy, Matt, a guy who’s been here for 10 years, offered a few compliments. I was improving.


Yeah...I'm awesome...
Yeah…I’m awesome…

Then August rolled around and I was in a new position.

In an effort to break through this plateau, I have been learning a word or two a day for the last month. In my planner each week, on the weekdays, I’ve been jotting down words of the day. These words are terms that relate to my job or to something I’ve needed to know how to say while helping a student. This has been going on a month come St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve listed my words for the past month below, but I’m curious….anyone have any suggestions for learning a new language when you’ve already got a very busy schedule?

Um...It's either an unemployment sign or a Rorschach test.  credit:
Um…It’s either an unemployment sign or a Rorschach test.



Feb. 18—28

Influence  ying xiang 影响

I would rather…than…   Wo ning yuan…ye bu…

I’ve noticed…   Wo zhu yi dao… 注意到

Religion  zong jiao    宗教


Theory  yuan li   原理

Community    she qu   社区

Extinct    mie jue  灭绝

Consequences/Results   huo guo   后果

Compromise  zhe zhong / tuo xie   折中/ 妥协


March 3-18

To put ones head in the noose    jiang tai gong diao yu, yuan zhe shang gou (there’s a whole story that goes with this idom).

Simply, or to emphasize     jianzhi   简直

Instructions  shuo ming  说明

Example  li ti/zi   例子

Experiment  shi yan 实验

Never   cong lai bu…

Variables  bian liang  (bian hua wu chang= fickle) 变量


Eloquent   shan bian  善辩

Context yu jing / shang xia wen  语境   / 上下文

Background  bei jing   背景

Pride  jiao ao  (worth being proud of   zhi de jiao ao) 骄傲


Human rights   ren quan   人权


Improve/lengthen    jia qiang  加强