How to improve your Chinese Reading Skill

Here are some ideas about how to improve your Chinese reading skills. Reading is a very challenging topic when learning a language. Let’s check it out here.

Select the materials at the right level

How to know is the material at the right level or not? Ask yourself the following questions:

Q1: Can I understand the general meanings about the test without using a dictionary?

Q2: Can I understand the sentence meaning about the test without using checking a dictionary?

Q3: How many time do you use for understanding the test?

Too easy or too hard are not good nether. There is theory be called as “i+1”,”i” means your current level, “+1”means bit harder than what you are now.

Find something you are interested in

Improving reading skills is a long turn plan. It is not easy to see the improvement within a short time. It needs quite strong motivation.

So, how keep the motivation? Of course, there are lots of ways to do, but something you are interested in will defiantly be one of the best options.

In the other side, what you are interested in will be easier to decode. It means that you can catch the meaning easier even though there are certain word you don’t understand or some sentences you are not sure.

Read varieties of test

Read something different every day.

First, it helps you not feeling bord. Reading same type of article may make you feel tired, even it is something interesting in the beginning.

Second, if you always read same type of test, you may become an expert in that field, but how about the other topics?

We are living in a real world, be surrounded by varieties of information. Language is for communication and build up the connection with the world. So, knowing one type of topic is not enough for long turn learning progress.

Language level always be a matter

Vocabulary and grammar knowledge are the foundation of improving your language level.

Anyone who want to read fluently need to instantly recognize words. To understand what you’re reading, you need to understand most of the vocabularies in the text.

Grammar knowledge can help you understand how sentences are built and how to analyze those sentences you are struggling with. It also useful to know how ideas link up at the sentence level.

When we read, we are not only reading vocabularies, single sentence, we are also read the ideas about the whole paragraph.

Set up the right goals

Improving reading ability needs a lot of time. Do it everyday!If you can only practice 10 minutes, then do it 10minutes. Let’s try to set up a learning program for you. Here comes an example, 7 days as circle:

Day1         a video (with captions) or a blog

Day2         a news

Day3         a story

Day4         paragraphs form a test-book

Day5         a literature

Day6         a subscription from a speech

Day7         review day1-6 Remember, be patient, improve your reading ability is a long journey

Remember, be patient, improve your reading ability is a long journey

Chinese Version Video

Here you can read about 10 need-to-know Mandarin Chinese sentences in Taiwan

Here are you can read about Mandarin Chinese confusing word pairs ~ the near-synonyms in Mandarin

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淺論紫微斗數之雙忌夾

在紫微斗數中有所謂的拱、照、夾,分別會對被拱、照、夾的宮位帶來不同的影響。這篇文章要談的是其中的「夾」。夾又分成許多不同的夾法,有吉有凶,要介紹給大家的,是其中的雙忌夾。

我們來看一下什麼叫雙忌夾:

雙忌夾範例

按照四化表,辛干會造成文昌化忌,己干會造成文曲化忌,而這張命盤中,文昌和文曲分別位於子和寅位,在丑宮的左右兩側,此時,即構成了雙忌夾的格局。

一般來說,最受到重視的是雙忌夾命,畢竟命宮統管十二宮,是我們一生最主要的宮位,但是夾了其它的宮位就不重要了嗎?當然不是。所有的宮位有其它重要性,哪一個宮位被夾,便代表了那個宮位會受到影響。更別提大限以及流年了。

再來,我們來看看雙忌夾會造成什麼樣的影響。

忌,代表了波動、變化、不順,雖然在某些情況下,我們說忌才是實際的擁有,但是仍脫離不了忌的本質。

生年忌正坐在某個宮位,當然直接代表了該宮位接收了這股不順的氣,並造成直接的影響。但是當某宮受到左右兩鄰宮所夾的忌的氣,就好像腹背受敵一般,所受的影響也不亞於正坐了。

至於受到這股忌的力量的影響,最後的結果是好是壞、是否可以承受,則是另一個層面的問題。但不管好壞,都一定能強烈感受到這股不順及變動。

另外,不知各位是否注意到,在這個例子中,除了雙忌夾之外,其實還有一個看似優質的格局–昌曲夾。這裡也要一併說明,這就是人生,有好有壞,昌曲夾命固然好,但也容易在特定的時間、情況下形成雙忌夾命,不可不慎。

延伸閱讀:紫微斗數零基礎入門學習指引

免費課程資料:新手入門~七天紫微斗數免費課程

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我們還有以紫微斗數為出發點,幫助大家建立對紫微斗數的基本概念,並能進一步了解自己的社團,歡迎對紫微斗數有興趣,但是不想當命理師的你加入。

從紫微斗數看職業適性~入門篇

想了解自己適合什麼樣的工作時,你會做什麼呢?求職網的職業適性量表也許是個不錯的選擇。但是,透過紫微斗數,每個人都可以得到更細膩而實用的分析及建議。

想了解自己適合什麼樣的工作,我該了解命盤中的哪些資訊呢?

宮位

一般來說,很多人會從命宮和官祿宮兩個宮位來下手,到底對不對呢?首先,命宮掌管一個人的基本發展及取向,所以,從命宮的主星來看是正確的。那官祿宮呢?

透過官祿宮來了解職業適性,只對了一半。怎麼說呢?第一,命宮的三方必然包含了官祿宮,所以,這也是一個需要參看的宮位。但是,官祿宮指的是我有了工作以後的工作情形,這不必然跟職業適性有關,這是不對的部分。

除了,命、官兩個宮位以外,我們還應該參考哪些宮位呢?

想想看,我們為什麼要工作?老師是俗人一個,我的答案非常簡單與直接,那就是錢,所以,我們如何得財,自然也就跟適合什麼工作有關囉!更別說財帛宮也在命宮的三合方,也是相當重要的一個宮位。

另一個跟我們自身息息相關的宮位,也相當直觀,就是疾厄宮。疾厄宮也代了我的肢體行為等,想想,如果我們的”身體”真的”不喜歡”某種工作形式,那麼也應該無法勝任愉快吧!

還有沒有其它應該參考的宮位呢?當然有,十二個宮位都是一樣重要的,而以上四個,只是較具有代表意義的宮位。

星曜

上述四個宮位裡的星曜,便是我們解讀職業適性關鍵所在,所以,了解星曜的特性及解釋,對於”閲讀”自己的命盤(人生地圖),扮演了相當重要的角色。另外,需要注意的是,同一顆星曜,在不同的宮位,有時會有不同的解義說,不可不慎。

像是武曲財星,落命宮、財帛宮才能以財星來看待,若是落在了官祿宮、疾厄宮,便失去了財星的意義,而要以所落宮位的宮職為出發點來說明。

以星曜來說,基本上有十四顆主星的各式結合體,如單星、雙星、空宮等;再加上還有六吉星、六煞星等輔星,構成了宮位內各種不同的變化。

如果想要了解自己適合的什麼樣的工作,一定要對星曜有一定程度的理解,並能夠靈活地運用,才能幫自己找到正確的方向。

四化

四化指的化祿、化權、化科、化忌,四種星曜的化氣形式。基本上不是每顆主星都會化氣,會化氣的也不只限於主星,也不是每顆星都有四種化象。四化是斗數在解盤時一個相重要的參考因素。

這邊,先以生年四化為解讀重點,雖然自化與飛宮仍有一定的重要性,但入門可以先只看生年四化。生年四化會使得宮位內的星曜產生本質上的變異,就像是同一顆愛察查的天梁星,化祿和化權,便會產生差異。再加看所落宮位,做進一步的研判。

補充說明,在看生年四化時,還有一個參考因素不可以忽略,那就是來因宮。來因宮是一切化象的起源,因此,是個重要的參考條件。

延伸閱讀:紫微斗數新手解盤SOP

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我們還有以紫微斗數為出發點,幫助大家建立對紫微斗數的基本概念,並能進一步了解自己的社團,歡迎對紫微斗數有興趣,但是不想當命理師的你加入。

紫微斗數與人生方向

想要了解自己的方法有許多,紫微斗數正是其中之一。學習紫微斗數不只是為了言吉凶,定禍福,更是一種自我探索的工具。我們不一定能成為專業的命理師,但你我都可以成為自己的最佳舵手,利用紫微斗數找到自己的人生方向。

紫微斗數好用的地方在於它可以很清楚地告訴我們我是什麼樣的人,而不是只將我們放進某個分類之中,像是”社交型”或是”研究型”;也不是分析我們的優劣勢,像是”具獨立性”或是”面對新環境的適應力偏低”等抽象的訊息。

透過紫微斗數命盤上的種種訊息,我們可以知道自己面對不同問題的反應及潛藏在內心的訊息,甚至可以找到問題從何而來。至於要怎麼做才能透過紫微斗數來了解自己呢?讓我分成以下五點來說明:

要先認識宮職

紫微斗數是一門宮、星、象三者合而為一的術數,認識宮職是最基本的。如果命盤像是一張人生地圖,那麼宮職,就是這張地圖上商店。

十二個宮位的名稱,就像是這些商店的名字一樣,我們得先知道有什麼樣的店家。而宮職,則像是這些店家所販售的商品或是服務一樣。

不光是知道名字,還要知道那裡賣什麼東西、有什麼特色,這樣,當我需要一個資源的時候,才不會跑錯了地方,不是嗎?

因此,想要了解自己,一定要了解命盤上十二個宮位的意義及應用,才能真正地掌握自己該往哪裡找尋解答及資源。

要明白各宮位跟”我”的關係

宮位除了自己的名稱,如命宮、兄弟宮等之外,還有其它的分類方式,而不同的分類方法,取決於不同的應用及目的。

我們需要了解的,是某個宮位對於我-命主來說,代表了什麼,簡單來說,就從最基本的”了解每家商店的商品及服務”,進一步延伸為”我最需要的的哪家商家的商品及服務”。

怎麼說呢?舉例來說,命宮、福德宮、疾厄宮都可以代表”我-命主”的宮位,但是我什麼時候該從命宮來看、什麼時候該從福德宮來看、或是什麼時候都要一起參看,就得從我的問題點及所需的答案來決定了。

星性的演譯及理解

星性就好像是這些商品/服務的功能及特性,如果我們不了解這些,怕是不能選到合適的商品,或是就算買到了合適的商品,卻無法發揮它的功能及效用,豈不是枉然?

商品只是一個比喻,事實上我們不能真的”選購”能解決我們問題的星曜,遇到煞星也不能”退貨”。這時,如何為自己找出”替代方案”,或是”化危機為轉機”,就更需要我們對於星性的演譯及理解了。

要知道四化對宮及星的影響

以上,我們說的就好像是”商品的基本配備”一樣,至於會不會買到”機王”,還是商品能不能擴充或是升級,甚至是加強版,看的就是四化了。

四化指的是祿、權、科、忌四個化象,這四個化象各有自己代表的意義及內涵,若單純以所謂的”四化星”來看,其實太過於大材小用了。四化的奧妙,不單單在各自的解義,更重要的是與星曜的結合、飛宮以及自化。

四化能帶給一張命盤的影響是不容小覷的。星曜跟宮位可以給出一定程度的資訊,但少了四化的輔助,就好像吃水餃少了醬油或是大蒜一樣,水餃本身再可口,就是少了一味啊!

認真地想想命盤上的”自己”和你覺得的”自己”

這是最後一點,卻是也在自我探索的時候最重要的:我是這個樣子的人嗎?

有時透過命盤,我們會看到一個全新的自己,不管這個自己是你喜歡的還是不喜歡的;我們也可以透過命盤,重新思考自己的定位:我喜歡的是不是適合我的?我放不下的是不是真的需要執著下去?等等的問題。

命盤就像是地圖一樣,只會客觀地顯示出資訊,並不會出現”國王的新衣”這樣的資訊,除非我們願意自欺欺人,故意對於事實視而不見。所以,認真地面對自己,是我們最後的考驗。

延伸閱讀:紫微斗數零基礎入門學習指引

免費課程資料:新手入門~七天紫微斗數免費課程

如果你喜歡我的文章,歡迎到我的粉專逛逛

我們還有以紫微斗數為出發點,幫助大家建立對紫微斗數的基本概念,並能進一步了解自己的社團,歡迎對紫微斗數有興趣,但是不想當命理師的你加入。

5 Effective Ways to improve Mandarin Listening Skill.

According to my more than 10-year’s experiences, lots of learners have problems in listening section. I am going to show you the 5 effective ways to improve your Mandarin listening skill.

Why listening skill is important

The purpose of learning a language is to communicate with the others. Try to image, if you can’t understand what people say or talk, how can we really communicate with them? I have to say, “understand” is the first step of all.

5 effective ways to improve Mandarin listening ability

Vocabulary

Normally, when students told me that they have listening problems, it means they are not really familiar with vocabularies meaning and usage. So that when they hear something, they can’t respond quickly.

Secondly, is you don’t have enough vocabularies to understand what people saying. Under this situation, to learn more is the only way to improve it.

Pronunciation

We can also call it as phonological awareness. When our ear received a “sound”, our brain needs to process and analysis it. If our brain could not recognize what it is, how can your brain transform it into a useful and meaningful information?

Sometimes, students in my class told me they don’t understand what do the learning materials say. However, what they don’t know is something they just learned. After showing them the vocabularies, they catch the meaning immediately.

It shows that what they don’t understand is what they can understand, just they can’t catch the sound.

Background knowledge

This is another common situation. When students’ feedback is “too hard”, there are 2 reasons. The first is really harder than their level, another is lack of the background knowledge.

It means that my language ability is not the problem, my knowledge of the topic is an issue. So, we can’t focus only on “language” itself, but also need to develop our Mandarin basic knowledge in different field.

Translation

Don’t try to translate what people when chatting with others. If you do so, it means your speed is too slow to respond people. When you are too slow, you will become more and more nervous.

In the other way, it also means you used to think in your mother language, in stead of Mandarin. It is not good for your long turn learning.

Understanding

The last part is about your understanding ability, such as culture, grammar, how to break the sentences and so on. This is quite important in learning any language.

There is a saying: I understand every words you day, but I don’t understand what you say, will be a very good example.

Listening is a multiple ability. We need to have language ability, information processing ability and organizing ability. All these together will construct our understanding ability. This is also the last but biggest challenge to improve our listening ability.

Here you can read about How to practice Mandarin Chinese when you are not surrounded by it.

Here you can read about How to learn Mandarin Chinese Easily as a beginner

If you are interesting in us, you can get more information about us Here

Free useful document to download 8 smart ways to think in Chinese

If you are interesting in learning Mandarin Please fill in the form, we will contact you after receiving.

紫微斗數十四主星之淺論廉貞星

紫微斗數的主星,有的主財富,有的主家運,各有不同的「職責範圍」。那跟工作有關的,也就是所謂的「官祿主」,一共有哪幾顆呢?第一是紫微,第二是太陽,第三就是我們這一篇要談的廉貞星。

廉貞是靜態的官祿主。所謂靜態,意思是不喜歡跑來跑去,比較適合待在辦公室裡,進行類似行政管理方面的工作。不過,廉貞同時屬丁火,是一把大火,所以,廉貞坐命的人,也絶對不是吃素的,個性也是急得不得了。

廉貞化氣為囚,這個囚,可以解釋為想不開、鑽牛角尖。因此,廉貞坐命的人,遇到事情也容易自尋煩惱,過於在意他人的想法而導致自己放不開。廉貞坐命的人不是沒有信心,只是因為敏感而常讓自己想太多。

這個敏感,也會表現在他們與人的交往與互動上。他們擅交際、公關,也善於觀察他人,這是好的一面。但是他們同時也因為敏感而使得自己受限於情感之中,這也使他們比較愛吃醋。

廉貞也是次桃花,不過要跟其它的桃花星,像是貪狼、天姚等在一起,或是化氣,才能發揮桃花的作用,否則,就只能當作人緣星來看。

廉貞也有人說他是五鬼星。一方面,廉貞坐命的人,小時候經歷重大挫折或是鬼神之事的比例相當高;一方面,廉貞也是一個難以掌握的星,因為他們不喜歡讓別人了解他們的內心在想什麼。

一般來說,廉貞是一顆相當聰明的星,反應快,能掌握重點,但是,也因為他們的聰明,所以有時難免會有想走捷徑的想法,這也是廉貞坐命者要多自我提醒的地方。

延伸閱讀紫微斗數主星之淺談太陰星

延伸閱讀紫微斗數主星之淺談天府

如果你喜歡我的文章,歡迎到我的粉專逛逛

我們還有以紫微斗數為出發點,幫助大家建立對紫微斗數的基本概念,並能進一步了解自己的社團,歡迎對紫微斗數有興趣,但是不想當命理師的你加入。

eggs

Funny Mandarin Words with “egg”

蛋(dàn) probably be one of the most frequently used word in everyday Chinese. But do you know that “蛋(dàn)” can mean something other than food? Let’s see some funny Mandarin words with “蛋(dàn)”

笨蛋Bèndàn

Which means an Idiot. “他是一個笨蛋”, which means he is an idiot.

皮蛋pídàn

When we want to say someone is naughty, we will call that person as “皮蛋(pídàn)”

窮光蛋qióngguāngdàn

Which means a pauper. “他現在是個窮光蛋”, refers to “he is a pauper now”.

混蛋húndàn

This is a bad word. When we are really mad about someone, we can call that person as an asshole.

壞蛋huàidàn

It means a badass. 混蛋only means I am mad about someone, however, 壞蛋really means a bad gay.

王八蛋wángbā dàn

Which means a bastard. The usage is similar like 混蛋.

臉蛋liǎndàn

When we want to describe a person’s face looks cute, nice, fine and so on, we can say”他的臉蛋真好看”, which means “his face looks so beautiful”.

糊塗蛋hútú dàn

Which means absent-minded person. When someone always lost, forget things, very confused, we call that person as 糊塗蛋.

滾蛋gǔndàn

If we are angry to somebody and want that person to get out, we can say 滾蛋. But this is not polite at all.

完蛋wándàn

If I made a mistake and that will bring me a big result, I will say “我完蛋了”, which means “I’m screwed”.

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Funny Numbers in Mandarin in Taiwan

In Taiwan, there are some numbers with special meanings and they are quite funny. Have you ever heard about them? Let’s some examples here.

543

This comes from Minnan Language (one of dialects in Taiwan). It means “saying something which is not important” or “say something which is not helpful”.

In Taiwan, when somebody says”他跟我說了一些543的話(tā gēn wǒ shuōle yīxiē wǔsìsān dehuà)”, it means he came to me and said something not important, or I don’t really like, or not meaningful.

2266

This also comes from Minnan Language, which means can’t managing things well, always forget lots of things. In Taiwan, when somebody says “他做事2266的,我不放心(tā zuòshì èr’èrliùliù de, wǒ bù fàngxīn)”, it means he can’t do things properly, so, I really worried about it”.

8+9

This also comes from Minnan Language. The pronunciation of “8+9” is very similar to “八家將(bā jiā jiāng)”, which is a local religious activity/dancing. There is no problem of the activity itself. The problem is some of their members are pretty much like gangland.

So, when we refer someone as “8+9”, it with bad meaning.

87

This also comes from Minnan Language. In Taiwan, if we want to say someone is an idiot, we will say “白癡(báichī)”. The pronunciation of “87” in Minnan Language is very similar to “白癡(báichī)”, so we use this two numbers refer to “idiot”.

520

This comes from Mandarin, which means “我愛你(wǒ ài nǐ)”. If you still don’t understand why, read it faster!The pronunciation between “520” and “我愛你” are very similar!

Here are you can read about 10 need-to-know Mandarin Chinese sentences in Taiwan

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紫微斗數解盤123

如果你已經學了一段時間的紫微斗數,也試著開始看盤,那你一定要知道這篇文章的解盤123~解盤的三個重點。

拿到一張盤,我們一般都會先看看宮位裡有哪些星曜、有沒有生年四化、吉星、凶星等基本資訊,再依照個自的師承流派,可能使用自化、來因宮、身宮等不同的進階資訊,之後針對人、事、物加以綜合解釋。

以上,是基本”讀”命盤的功夫。想要把命盤解得細、解得像是一個人生劇本一樣,以下三項重點就不可不知了:

紫微斗數解盤重點1  氣言往來

所謂的氣言往來,第一是指本對宮必須視為一條線,互為陰陽表裡,雖說有比重上的差異,但仍不可偏廢。第二是指氣的流向,當氣的流向不同,所造成的結果也會不同。

不管是互為表裡還是流向,都顯示著氣的重要性。我們看盤,若是只著眼在”表面”可見的星曜,而忽略了各種的氣與宮位間的關連,便少了許多可供參考的依據與資訊。

紫微斗數解盤重點2  宮分內外

宮位分內外,主要是看成敗得失,否則我們要如何論出為何同為馬頭帶劍,為何有人為吉,有人為凶。

所謂的內六宮指的是命、財、官、田、疾、福;六外宮指的是兄、夫、子、遷、奴、父。六內宮主得、主吉,六外宮主失、主凶。不過這只是最基本的分法。

紫微斗數解盤重點3  太極點

太極點指的是問題的出發點,我們此時的觀點為何?是財還是官?是夫還是子?若是無法找到正確的太極點,只怕接下來的論斷不具可信度參考價值了。

舉例來說,當我們論財時,當然就是以財帛宮為太極點來檢視相關的資訊。雖然第一點說氣言往來,但是在看太極點時,則必需清楚知道自己的出發點為何,何者為主,何者為輔。之後再參看氣的方向,做進一步的研判。

延伸閱讀:紫微斗數新手解盤SOP

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我們還有以紫微斗數為出發點,幫助大家建立對紫微斗數的基本概念,並能進一步了解自己的社團,歡迎對紫微斗數有興趣,但是不想當命理師的你加入。

Mandarin Characters with Multiple Pronunciation and Meanings

In Mandarin, there are a lot of characters with 2 or more pronunciations. And the differences between/amount different pronunciations normally related to its meaning. Let’s some commonly used examples about Mandarin Characters with Multiple Pronunciation and Meanings.

gèng:when pronounce” gèng”, it means “even more”. Such as 更多、更好、更熱。The part of speech of this pronunciation is adv.

gēng:when pronounce” gēng”, it means “update”. Such as 更新、更換。The part of speech of this pronunciation is Verb.

便

biàn:there are several meanings under this pronunciation. Such as 方便、便利

pián:the most common combination is 便宜, which means cheap.

Not like “更”,”便” itself has many different meanings. We choice pronunciation according to the meaning.

xíng:there are 2 popular usages under this pronunciation. One is “行/不行”, which means can or can’t. another is related to “move”, such as 行動、行為、行人.

háng:there are 3 popular usages under this pronunciation. One is “銀行”, which means bank. Another is row. The last one is about jobs, such as 行業, which means one’s professional or industrial.

hái:when we pronounce “hái”, it means “still”, such as 還沒、還要、還有. The part of speech of this pronunciation is adv.

huán:when we pronounce “huán”, it means “return something to somebody”. Such as 還錢、還給他. The part of speech of this pronunciation is Verb.

kōng:when we pronounce “kōng”, the first meaning is empty. Such as 空房間、空教室. The part of speech of this usage is adj. The second meaning is space, such as 空間、天空. The part of speech of this usage is Noun.

kòng:when we pronounce “kòng”, it means “free time”. Such as 有空、空閒. The part of speech of this pronunciation is Noun.

le:when we pronounce “le”, it is a grammatical word. Which means only use it when there are grammatical needs, such as 我吃飽了(I am full), 太貴了(too expensive).

liǎo:when we pronounce “liǎo”, there are 2 popular usages. The first usage is also under grammatical needs, such as 我吃不了那麼多(I can’t eat that much), 我沒有錢,買不了那麼貴的東西(I am not rich, I can’t pay for such expensive thing). The second usage means “understand”, such as 了解.

jiǎ:when we pronounce “jiǎ”, it means fake. Such as 假人,假錢. The part of speech of this usage is adj

jià:when we pronounce “jià”, it means “off day” or “vocation”. Such as 放假,假日. The part of speech of this usage is Noun.

zhǎng:when we pronounce “zhǎng”, it means grow. Such as 長大,長高. The part of speech of this usage is Verb.

cháng:when we pronounce “cháng” it means long. Such as 長髮, 長褲. The part of speech of this usage is Adv.

chù:when we pronounce “chù”, it means “placae”. Such as 到處, 四處. The part of speech of this usage is Noun.

chǔ:when we pronounce “chǔ”, it means “to deal with”. Such as 處理, 處罰. The part of speech of this usage is Verb.

zhǒng:when we pronounce “zhǒng”, it means ”type”. Such as 種類, 一種水果. The part of speech of this usage can be either measure word or Noun.

zhòng:when we pronounce “zhòng”, it means “to plant”. Such as 種花, 種樹. The part of speech of this usage is Verb.

Note:The above information is just for examples, not including all meanings/usages/ pronunciations.

Here you can read about Mandarin Chinese confusing word pairs ~ the near-synonyms in Mandarin

Here you can read about 8 Confusing Mandarin Chinese Word Pairs

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