[Course Forum] First 500 Characters in Mandarin Chinese by BenWhately

This is the course forum for the First 500 Characters in Mandarin Chinese course.

If you find an issue or have a question, feel free to post it here :slight_smile:

@BenWhately, @Lien, @Joshua, or @MemriseMatty, would you mind adding me as a contributor to this course?

Sure, you’ve been added.

Thanks :slight_smile:

Are you still the primary person to contact abut this sort of thing?

@Arete_Hime, could you please make this first post into a wiki?

学 listed as xue2 but audio recording seem to play incorrect tone (xue3); can you confirm? Thanks!

I’m afraid I’m not able to distinguish tones well enough to say for sure.

@yi.liu, do these three audio clips below all sound like they’re saying “xue” in the second tone (xue2)?

Audio file 1
Audio file 2
Audio file 3

1 Like

Thanks for your feedback!

One of the three audios does sound like the third tone so we deleted it from the course. :slight_smile:



It’s been fixed now :slight_smile:



Thanks @yi.liu, and thanks for the report, @omnivore :slight_smile:

1 Like

It’s my pleasure to be of any assistance to both of you, @yi.liu and @neoncube . Your collective efforts are very much appreciated! <3 :slight_smile:

1 Like

@omnivore, would you like to be added as a contributor to this course, too?

Sure, that’d be great, esp. if you think I can be of assistance. Does it take some time for the changes to propagate? The 1001-1500 contributor status didn’t seem to give any editing nor added course source viewing functionality whatsoever. I’m uncertain as to the root cause.

Okay, great!

I’ve tried adding you again. Are you able to edit the courses now?

Yes. Thank you. It is working now. =D

Cool! Good to hear :slight_smile:

I always miss - because I give “history”, which is one of the primary meanings of 历 …but “history” does not appear at all as translation (did not appear for the last 8 years :no_mouth:)

I always miss this one too, as I give “to fall”… has two pronunciations dao4 and dao3: in here are only the dao4 translations given; to fall/collapse etc for dao 3 are completely neglected


edit: the same prob with , the definition is best case incomplete (wanted to say “strange”, given the words in which 委 is a part (end, actually, to approint are missing, no idea where from this “to commision” comes from)

is missing “but, then, rule, norm” in definition (“also” is not mentioned in the main dictionaries)

is not residence (confusion with 居?)

lacks “ambition, the will”

- none of the main dict. mentions here “to benefit” (to help, be of help, cross the river, to aid, etc)

if is to mean “to lag behind”, then it is pronounced là

the definition of is also a disaster, no main dictionary mentions “line” or “checked” as meaning (see for ex https://www.mdbg.net) (but square; frame; rule; (legal) case; style; character; standard; pattern; (classical) to obstruct; to hinder; (classical) to arrive; to come; (classical) to investigate; to study exhaustively)

merry Christmas! edit: A Happy New Year (hope you fin time for these ones too, @omnivore :no_mouth:, many thanks)

Thank you for the detailed feedback, I just saw this post now and missed the earlier posting. I will aim to get these done in next couple days.

历 appended with {history, record, era, throughout, through}; changed main entry to 'through(calendar,history). Incidentally, I only saw ‘history’ in Unihan & CC dictionary, ABC dict. didn’t have that listed as default. I did see it also in Yellowbridge.

I will be going through the rest and try to update this post accordingly as I complete your list.

edit: 倒 updated with ‘dao3’ parenthetical primary ‘dao_2_’ added to alt. (as bound form only); ‘topple’ was already in alts, but i expanded alts with numerous synonyms and rewordings (both for dao4 and also various defs for dao3 inc. collapse(fall over, topple), become horse, exchange(move around, shift). Primary def. changed to “invert(topple)”; pinyin primary changed to ‘dao4(dao3)’; edit: dao3 & dao4 added as hidden options to alt list so single answer from any of 3 will suffice for web & mobile-app users.

edit: 据 Removed ‘residence’; Part of speech (previously) ‘verb’ now appended with ‘; coverb(~preposition)’. Definition clarified with parenthetical: ‘according to(on the grounds of)’. Noted in parenthetical that ‘to depend on’ and ‘to occupy’ are bound-form words (that only apply in certain combinations with certain other characters.) @Hydroptere and Happy New Years to you too =D. I’ll try to get to the rest you listed. The feedback is very helpful.

edit 5: 委 Primary changed to: (adverb) ‘actually(certainly, really)’
Part of speech ‘adverb’ added to ‘verb’; following are noted as ‘bound form’
(bound form)entrust(abandon, amass, shift, end, committee, indirect(winding), listless(dejected)
(bound form)to abandon(cast aside, forsake, throw away)
(noun abbreviation)committee(commission, council, committee member)
All terms in parentheticals are also valid answers. TBD, include ‘gather’(and synonyms) yet… e.g., combined modifier e.g. 委积(weiji) 积(ji: accumulate; amass; store up) --I feel a little iffy on the later. (all the bound forms are odd concept to me since it’s more a variant use of the word akin to words using a latin root; the root definition theoretically should focus on the intrinsic meaning rather than the variants, but I’ve included them in this instance.)

Edit 9: 则 had {then, rule, norm} as hidden options already. I just un-hid them. ‘but’ added as parenthetical to ‘however’ (and naturally as hidden _but). ‘also’ is from Adsotrans; I’ve moved it to hidden answer instead.(and commented to preferably keep it hidden).

Edit 10: 格 primary changed lattice(grid, squares, resist, obstruct) --all individually added as hidden alts (inc. ‘to’ forms). ‘Checked’ expanded/amalgamated with lattice(grid, 2D array, pattern formed by crossed lines, checked). Also appended (bound form) pattern(style, standard).

Edit 11: 示 clarified; Primary changed to: (bound forms)to show(or instructions); Alts expanded to (includes all to & non-to forms:
(radical #113 pictograph | connotation)etymological altar(ancestor, display, spirit)*
(bound form)to show(demonstrate, display, indicate, manifest, notify, reveal)
([radical|pictograph] connotation)altar(divine, divinity, spirit)
_(TBD)sign(hint, revelation, enlightenment) --answers hidden but left valid as input.
*See etymology: (http://www.chineseetymology.org/CharacterEtymology.aspx?submitButton1=Etymology&characterInput=示) and (https://kanjiportraits.wordpress.com/tag/the-kanji-示/) Etymological answer XYZ will only be valid when typed as ‘etymological XYZ’

Edit 12: 济 Primary changed to to aid(benefit, help, relieve) from ‘to benefit’; ‘relief(as in aid)’ added to alts. More alts appended|updated to match following:
to aid(assist, benefit, help, relieve, relief, to be of help) --includes ‘to’ and non ‘to’ forms.
‘(4th character in idiom)to cross(a river in same boat as reference to cooperative aid during shared hardship)’
Note: boat is already referenced as separate char. in 同舟共济(tong2zhou1gong4ji4). The char. incidentally is just water + 齐 (radical pictograph)‘uniform field of grain’. I’m not sure if the char. intrinsically means cross or ferry in that context. It translates more to ‘same boat collectively aid(each other)’ not (verb)‘cross|ferry’, so I’ve only added ‘ferry’ as hidden option (since 度 (du4) is more appropriate for ‘ferry’|cross(body of water))

Edit 13: 曾 ‘again’ removed as valid alt. zeng1 added as alt. ‘great-grand’ example expanded with parenthetical + hidden alt text.
‘(bound form)great-grand(separated by two generations such as great-grandmother to her great-grandchild)’
‘(b.f.)separated by two generations’ --includes alt arabic numeral form as hidden options (e.g., 2 generations apart).
{great-grand, greatgrand, great-grand-, greatgrand-, once in the past} added as alts.

Edit 15: 官 updated as follows: ‘government’ -> ‘government(-associated)’ + ‘governmental’ + ‘government-’; ‘officeholder’(a various recombinations). ‘official’ -> ‘(government official)’. Bureaucrat unhidden and merged with mandarin. ‘(bound form)government owned’ added.

Edit: 16 竟: ‘unexpectedly’ (竟然 jin4ran2) and ‘actually’ (究竟 jiu1jing4) are combination adverb forms, not necessarily 竟’s intrinsically meaning but I’ve gone ahead and changed primary to: frontier(limit, eventually, actually). Alts appended with: ‘(bound form)throughout(whole, finish, complete)’; ‘unexpectedly(actually, indeed)’; non ‘to’ form of answers added. ‘in the end’ combined with ‘eventually’ since similar. ‘finally’ added to ‘eventually’ since it’s roughly equivalent synonym.

Edit 18: 精 ABC C-E Dictionary has it as stative verb ‘refined’ so i’m inclined to leave it as valid for now. Primary swapped to ‘essence’ (refined swapped to still visible alt)
FWIW, Semen and Spirit(s) are ‘bound form’ versions that only mean that when combined 精子(jing1zi3: semen|seed) and 妖精(yao1jing5 --(1)evil spirit|demon|goblin (2)alluring woman siren) --I added {spirit|spirits|demon} to alt but marked them as ‘(bound form)’. I’m biasing toward whatever intrinsic meaning of the word is in vacuum, so it appears the word intrinsically means essence of or refined-pure-version of something. Ideally, the b.f. defs. are more appropriate for word definitions and not single character definitions… if I had infinite time I’d rank the bound forms by usage frequency and only mark the top 1-3 and only add more if they meets some minimum usage frequency.)
Alt: ‘smart’ expanded to note it’s dialect bound form often associated with a child.
‘shrewd’ expanded with ‘clever, and sharp’. Added (bound form) qualifier to ‘energy’ def.

Edit19: (verb)to {plant, seed, sew}(a plant) including variations {to plant, plant, to seed, to sew, sew} added; pinyin appended with “zhong4”.

Edit20: changed to: [eng. def.: to dispatch(also: hair)]; [pinyin: fa1(also: fa3, fa4)]; alt-pingyin: “fa1(to dispatch)”, “fa3(hair)”, “fa4(hair)” (@Temshop)

Edit21: had ‘to group’ in description but wasn’t in alt-answer list. It has now been added to alt-list so it’ll be valid answer.

you are a wonder! :fireworks:

and again: - - two pronunciations, two meanings (great-gran is zēng), also, I can’t find the meaning"again";

- means “refined” only when about rice, (in fact selected rice), otherwise according to MGDB: essence / extract / vitality / energy / semen / sperm / mythical goblin spirit / highly perfected / elite / the pick of sth / proficient (refined ability) / extremely (fine) / selected rice (archaic); as you see, “perfect” and “very” are also missing from the enumeration (therefore: 精 main meanings are not refined, perfect, very, smart

-there is a typo in the def. of : now one sees " government, official", that comma ruins everything, because, of course, it should be “government official, governmental, official”

-the def. of the very basic is so f* … pecualiar: spirit, sign, altar? huh? wrong

-the def for is wrong (it should be unexpectedly, finally, after all, at last, actually, to go so far as to, indeed)

- is missing for the other pronunciation: to plant / to grow / to cultivate

many thanks again
ps1 btw, it is very true that memrise got popular because of Ben’s Mandarin courses, does not matter what Ed Cooke might say - there are only some mistakes that no one corrected over the years)
ps2. in some 30 hours we’ll go for a sky break , i’ll give you peace for some 3-4 days :smiley:

Is there a reason why you do not use tones à ǐ ò with accents? Is it a limition of Memrise?
If it’s because it is time consuming on a computer, maybe the iPad keyboard (or other tablet or phone) will be more convenient (since all you need to do is long press a letter to see its tones).

Thank you.