Blog for Dong Chinese, a data-driven app to help you learn to understand Chinese through thousands of real example sentences, captioned images, and songs.


  • Interesting verbiage on signs in China

    温馨提示:向前一小步 文明一大步
    wēnxīn tíshì: xiàng qián yī xiǎo bù wénmíng yī dà bù
    Gentle reminder: one small step forward, one big step for civilization
    (don’t make a mess on the urinal with your bad aim)
    温馨提示:向前一小步 文明一大步
    This sign is humorously reminiscient of Niel Armstrong’s famous words when he first stepped onto the surface of the moon in 1969, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The literal meaning of this sign is almost identical to what Armstrong said, but used here in a rather indelicate context.

  • Stop learning Chinese with flashcards

    Spaced-repetition flashcards are useful. I can’t deny that, but at the same time I can’t recommend relying on them too much for learning Chinese.

  • Origins of the 1000 most common Chinese characters

    I started working on this project about 3 years ago, writing explanations of the origins of the most commonly used Characters in Chinese. This is one of the most ambitious projects that I have ever started, and I’m proud to say that I recently reached my goal of creating explanations for the following:

  • 10 things I learned about ancient China from studying Chinese characters

    Chinese characters have been around for thousands of years, and many of them have created traces that we can follow to discover some interesting fragments of Chinese history.

  • What does "Dong" mean?

    Most people ask the same question when I first show them Dong Chinese. There are two answers to that question. One is simple (but boring), and the other is complicated (but interesting!)

subscribe via RSS