The study of the Chinese language, between grammatical particles and everyday slang

The study of the Chinese language, between grammatical particles and everyday slang

There is a great buzz among young Chinese enthusiasts about a series of publications that are real gems. Today, I would like to introduce you to two books that express our desire to look at China and the Chinese from a different perspective.

I had already read them but couldn't resist the urge to go to the official presentation. Also because it happened to be on Thursday 11 - 11, the single's day in China, in the evocative setting of the Zalib bookshop in the heart of Trastevere.

The first book is "Chinese for pessimists" by Claudia B. Unali and the other is "Street Chinese" by Antonio Magistrale and Jacopo Bettinelli.


"Chinese for pessimists" is a manual for those who are studying the Chinese language, or who want to brush up on the basics of grammar, and it is peppered with amusing anecdotes and explanations. It is so enjoyable that for a moment you forget how difficult it is to study this language and let yourself be carried away by its most interesting and meaningful part. 

With Claudia, we understand that it takes a lot of effort to study Chinese, but that this should not be confined only to passing an exam. If you discover and adopt many small tricks, this language can become a real passion and you can love it in all its complexity.

But who is Claudia Unali?

Claudia, also known as teacuptranslations or 'chuan laoshi' to her friends, is a translator and interpreter, specialised in the clinical field (medical-pharmaceutical and scientific) and a Chinese language teacher to her students (or 'skewers' as she calls them). 

"Street Chinese", on the other hand, is mainly about colloquial Chinese in China, the everyday Chinese that we do not find in academic books. 

Antonio and Jacopo guide us through Chinese which, like any language, is not only grammatical rules and particles that we never know where to place properly, but also new words.


Words that can only be found on the web, slang that is widespread among young people or idioms that are ingrained in the culture.

And who are Antonio Magistrale and Jacopo Bettinelli?

Antonio and Jacopo, thanks to their passion for China, are the founders of the ABCina blog, created to help people better understand this great and varied culture, to provide information on Chinese society and tools to better understand its traditions and changes.

The event was moderated by Stefano Capolongo, or Cinese打包 to his friends. 

Stefano is an expert on Chinese music, especially contemporary indie music. On his blog there are several articles dealing with these topics, each with its own playlist to listen to on Spotify.

So you can also do some 听力 and stay in practice with Chinese!

It was a real pleasure for the mind and spirit to hear the stories of other people who share my passion for China and Chinese.

We hope to see you again and again for many more events together!

Written by:
Alessia Di Donna

Alessia Di Donna is a student of the master's degree course in "Oriental Languages and Civilizations", Chinese curriculum. She has always been passionate about the Oriental world especially about...

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