Lesson 21 – Fast Food

Lesson 21 – Fast Food 快餐Kuàicān

Do you like eating fast food? How many times do you eat fast food in a week? Do you know that the Americans eat the most fast food because it is fast, convenient and inexpensive? Is fast food really cheap and is it healthy? In this lesson, we are not going to talk about the nutritional value of fast food, but rather a conversation between two friends about the fast food culture affecting their eating habits.

 

In your country, are there many fast food restaurants? Let us begin this lesson by naming the fast food restaurants you know in Chinese. Mcdonald 麦当劳Màidāngláo, Kentucky Fried Chicken 肯德基Kěndéjī, Starbuck星巴克Xīngbakè, Subway 赛百味Sài bǎiwèi, Pizza Hut必胜客Bìshèngkè and many more. Which one is your most favorite?

 

Dialogue 对话Duìhuà

 

Simplified Chinesejiǎntǐ

王丽:   我饿了,我们去吃快餐好吗?

张云:   去哪一家好呢?

王丽:   今天我想吃鸡肉,就去肯德基吧。

张云: 好的。

 

王丽和张云一边吃,一边谈关于快餐店

 

王丽: 我发现最近快餐店越开越多。

张云: 可不是我们家附近就有四家。

王丽: 现在生活节奏快,吃快餐便宜,吃的人当然多了。

张云: 我到不觉得快餐很便宜。人们吃是想换换口味儿和跟上潮流。

王丽: 我喜欢吃汉堡包和热狗之类的东西。你呢?

张云: 我不怎么喜欢吃快餐,没营养不好吃。

王丽: 张云,你太落伍了。

 

Hanyu Pinyin 汉语拼音Hànyǔ pīnyīn

Wáng lì :        Wǒ èle, wǒmen qù chī kuàicān hǎo ma?

Zhāng yún:   Qù nǎ yījiā hǎo ne?

Wáng lì :        Jīntiān wǒ xiǎng chī jī ròu, jiù qù kěndéjī ba.

Zhāng yún:   Hǎo de.

 

Wáng lì hé zhāng yún yībiān chī, yībiān tán guānyú kuàicān diàn

 

Wáng lì:         Wǒ fāxiàn zuìjìn kuàicān diàn yuè kāi yuè duō.

Zhāng yún:   Kě bùshì, guāng wǒmen jiā fùjìn jiù yǒu sì jiā.

Wáng lì:         Xiànzài shēnghuó jiézòu kuài, chī kuàicān jí kuài yòu piányi, chī de rén dāngrán duō le.

Zhāng yún:   Wǒ dào bù juéde kuàicān hěn piányi. Rénmen chī shì xiǎng huàn huàn kǒuwèi’r hé gēn shàng cháoliú.

Wáng lì:         Wǒ xǐhuan chī hànbǎobāo hé règǒu zhī lèi de dōngxi. Nǐ ne?

Zhāng yún:   Wǒ bù zě me xǐhuan chī kuàicān, yòu méi yíngyǎng yòu bù hào chī.

Wáng lì:         Zhāng yún, nǐ tài luòwǔ le.

 

English translationYīngyǔ fānyì

Wang Li:        I am hungry, let’s eat fast food shall we?

Zhang Yun:   Which one shall we go?

Wang Li:        I feel like eating chicken today, let’s go to Kentucky.

Zhang Yun:   OK.

 

Wang Li and Zhang Yun talked about fast food restaurants while eating.

 

Wang Li:        I noticed that there are more and more fast food restaurants nowadays.

Zhang Yun:   Absolutely. There are four fast food restaurants just my place alone.

Wang Li:            Nowadays, the pace of life is so fast, and eating fast food is not only fast but also cheap, it is no wonder there are so many people eating fast food.

Zhang Yun:       I don’t really think fast food is cheap. People eat it because they wanted to change their taste buds and also to keep up with the trend.

Wang Li:            I like things like hamburger and hot dog. What about you?

Zhang Yun:       I don’t really fancy fast food. They are neither nutritious nor tasty.

Wang Li:            Zhang Yun. You are really outdated.

 

Word usage 词语用法Cíyǔ yòngfǎ

 

1. 可不是Kě bùshì is used when you agree to what the other person is saying. It can also be used to mean not really.

 

Example 1

A:        小明今年六岁了吧?Xiǎomíng jīnnián liù suìle ba?

Xiao Ming is six this year, right?

B         可不是,明年就得上小学一年级了。Kě bùshì, míngnián jiù de shàng xiǎoxué yī niánjíle.

Exactly, he has to attend grade one next year.

 

Example 2

他可不是一个好人,最好别和他做朋友。Tā kě bùshì yīgè hǎorén, zuì hǎo bié hé tā zuò péngyǒu.

He is not really a good person, better don’t befriend him.

 

2. guāng is used as an adverb in the dialogue above. It means just or only in English. Here are more examples to show the usage of this word.

 

他光吃饭不吃菜。Tā guāng chīfàn bù chī cài.

He only eats rice and not the food.

 

他光说话不做事。Tā guāng shuōhuà bù zuòshì.

He only talks and not work.

 

guāng can also be used as an adjective to mean used up. For example, 他把钱花光了。Tā bǎ qián huā guāng le. (He has used up all his money)

 

3. …… ……  …… yòu….. Not only ……. but also ……

 

彼得是一个即聪明又乖的孩子。Bǐde shì yīgè jí cōngmíng yòu guāi de háizi.

Peter is not only smart but also a well behaved child.

 

游泳是即健康又便宜的运动。Yóuyǒng shì jí jiànkāng yòu piányi de yùndòng.

Swimming is not only a healthy but also an inexpensive sport.

 

4. ….. ….. yòu ….. yòu….. Both ….. and ……. This expresses the coexistence of two cases or situations.

 

这个西瓜又甜又大。Zhège xīguā yòu tián yòu dà.

This water melon is both sweet and big / This water melon is sweet and big.

 

小明几天没冲凉了,真是又臭又脏。Xiǎomíng jī tiān méi chōngliángle, zhēnshi yòu chòu yòu zàng.

Xiao Ming has not bathe for the last few days, he is really smelly and dirty.

 

Note that the adjectival predicate after cannot be modified by adverbs of degree such as 最 or 很.For example, it is incorrect to say这个西瓜又很甜又很大.

 

That is all we have for this lesson. Let us not be obsessed with fast food, but rather be obsessed with our Chinese lessons. See you again!

Posted in Learn Chinese | Leave a comment

Lesson 20: I am going to Beijing next week

我下星期去北京      Wǒ xià xīngqí qù běijīng

 

Have you been to China? Have you seen the Forbidden City in Beijing or The Great Wall of China? These are the must see places in China if you ever go there for a visit. Today, we shall talk about travelling and the mode of transport one can use when travelling to another country.

 

As usual, we will list out the types of transportation available before we go on to our dialogue for this lesson. Modes of transport in Chinese is called 交通工具 Jiāotōng gōngjù. Below are the modes of transport in Chinese, pinyin and English.

 

Simplified Chinese

Pinyin

English

飞机

Fēijī

Airplane

火车

Huǒchē

Train

Chuán

Ship

汽车

chē

Car

公共汽车

巴士

Gōnggòng qìchē

Bāshì

Bus

地铁

Dìtiě

Subway

出租车

计程车

的士

德士

Chūzū chē

Jìchéngchē

Dí shì

Dé shì

Taxi

自行车

脚踏车

单车

Zìxíngchē

Jiǎotàchē

Dānchē

Bicycle

 

Wang Li will be flying to Beijing and she is talking to Zhang Yun about her coming trip. She is scared about the flight because it is her first time taking the plane. Zhang Yun is trying to calm her and at the same time looking for other alternatives.

 

王丽:               张云,怎么办

张云:               怎么了?

王丽:               我老板要我飞去北京公干

张云:               那很好啊!你不是一直想去北京看看吗?

王丽:               好是好,但是我很怕坐飞机。

张云:               你什么时候去?

王丽:               下个星期一。你说我该怎么办?

张云:               你不能坐火车去吗?

王丽:               老板说坐火车太花时间了。飞机比较快。

张云:                           其实,坐飞机没什么好怕的。你不用太担心。你可以在飞机上听音乐或看电影来放松你自己。你还可以喝任何你想要喝的饮料呢。

王丽:               既然这样,我就喝红酒然后睡个大觉

张云:               好主意。哈 哈 哈!

 

Wáng lì:                       Zhāng yún, zěnme bàn?

Zhāng Yún:     Zěnme le?

Wáng lì:                       Wǒ lǎobǎn yào wǒ fēi qù běijīng gōnggàn.

Zhāng Yún:     Nà hěn hǎo ah! Nǐ bùshì yīzhí xiǎng qù běijīng kàn kàn ma?

Wáng lì:                       Hǎo shì hǎo, dànshì wǒ hěn pà zuò fēijī.

Zhāng Yún:     Nǐ shénme shíhou qù?

Wáng lì:                       Xià gè xīngqí yī. Nǐ shuō wǒ gāi zěnme bàn?

Zhāng Yún      Nǐ bùnéng zuò huǒchē qù ma?

Wáng lì:                       Lǎobǎn shuō zuò huǒchē tài huā shíjiānle. Fēijī bǐjiào kuài.

Zhāng Yún:         Qíshí, zuò fēijī méishénme hǎo pà de. Nǐ bùyòng tài dānxīn. Nǐ kěyǐ zài fēijī shàng tīng yīnyuè huò kàn diànyǐng lái fàngsōng nǐ zìjǐ.

Nǐ hái kěyǐ hē rènhé nǐ xiǎng yào hē de yǐnliào ne.

Wáng lì            Jìrán zhèyàng, wǒ jiù hē hóngjiǔ ránhòu shuì gè dà jué.

Zhāng yún       Hǎo zhǔyì. Hāhāhā!

 

Wang Li:         What am I to do, Zhang Yun?

Zhang Yun:      What happened?

Wang Li:         My boss asked me to fly to Beijing for business.

Zhang Yun:      That is great. You always wanted to go to Beijing to have a look.

Wang Li:         It is great, but I am afraid to take the plane.

Zhang Yun:      When are you flying?

Wang Li:         Next Monday. What should I do?

Zhang Yun:      Can’t you take the train instead?

Wang Li:         My boss said train is too time-consuming. Plane is faster.

Zhang Yun:          Actually, there isn’t anything frightening about taking the plane. Don’t worry too much. You can listen to the music or watch a movie on the plane to relax. You can even order whatever beverages you want.

Wang Li:             If that is the case, I shall order red wine and then sleep.

Zhang Yun:          Not a bad idea. Ha ha ha!

 

The phrases we would like to highlight in this lesson are: 怎么办, 公干, 一直, 其实 and 睡个大觉.

As you may have already known, 怎么(Zěnme) can mean how, what or why depending on the context. In that case, what does怎么办 mean? 办(bàn) is a verb meaning to do or to handle and 怎么 is an adverb. When you put them together, the phrase literally means what to do? How to do? It is a question and the person asking is seeking for an advice from the listener.

 

公干(gōnggàn) refers to doing work related to the office and not something personal. If it is a personal matter, you can say私事sīshì. If someone ask you why are you going to Beijing, if it is personal, you can say 我到北京办点私事Wǒ dào běijīng bàn diǎn sīshì.If it is business, you can say 我到北京公干Wǒ dào běijīng gōnggàn.

 

一直(Yīzhí) is used to express something you always wanted to do. For example, if you always wanted to learn how to play the piano, you can say 我一直都想学弹钢琴Wǒ yīzhí dōu xiǎng xué dàn gāngqín. 一直Yīzhí can also mean straight and all the way. For example, 从这里一直走,你就能看到一座山Cóng zhèlǐ yīzhí zǒu, nǐ jiù néng kàn dào yīzuò shān. ( Go all the way from here, you will be able to see a mountain).

 

其实(Qíshí) is an adverb and is used when you want to express a fact or a reality. There are a few Chinese songs that use this phrase. For example, 其实你不懂我的心Qíshí nǐ bù dǒng wǒ de xīn (Actually, you do not know my heart/how I feel) and 其实我很在乎你Qíshí wǒ hěn zàihū nǐ (Actually, you matter a lot to me).

 

睡个大觉 (shuì gè dà jué) literally means to have a long sleep. It means to do nothing and just sleep. The expression has a negative meaning rather than a positive one. Don’t let anybody see you睡大觉 rather than working.

 

That is all for today. Try making some sentences using those words with have gone through in this lesson. See you again!

Posted in Learn Chinese | 2 Comments

Lesson 19 : What are you doing?

你在做什么?Nǐ zài zuò shénme?

 

How have you been? We hope everyone is good and ready for our lesson for today. In this lesson, we will learn how to ask the question “What are you doing?” in Chinese and in turn learn some actions verbs in Chinese as well.

 

As usual, the main characters in our dialogue for today are Zhang Yun and Wang Li. Zhang Yun is at Wang Li’s house and she is busy doing house chores. Zhang Yun is so bored as she has nobody to talk to. So, she kept asking Wang Li what she is doing.

 

Zhang Yun:      What are you doing, Wang Li?

Wang Li:         I am washing the dishes.

Zhang Yun:      Will it take long?

Wang Li:         No, finishing soon.

Zhang Yun:      What are you doing again, Wang Li?

Wang Li:         I am cleaning the table and chairs.

Zhang Yun:      Let me know when you have finished cleaning them.

Wang Li:         Ok.

Zhang Yun:      Have you not finished cleaning the tables and chairs?

Wang Li:         I have finished them not long ago. Now, I am cutting some fruits.

Zhang Yun:      Since you are busy today, I had better go home then.

Wang Yun:       Please don’t go. The fruits are prepared for you.

Zhang Yun:      Oh I see.

 

张云                王丽,你在做什么?

王丽                我在洗碗

张云                会花很多时间吗?

王丽                不会。快洗好了。

张云                王丽,你又在做什么?

王丽                我在桌子和椅子。

张云                你抹好后请让我知道。

王丽                好的。

张云                王丽,你还没抹好桌子和椅子吗?

王丽                不久前已经抹好了。我现在在些水果。

张云                既然你那么忙,我还是回家好了。

王丽                请别走。水果是为你而准备的。

张云                原来如此。

 

Zhāng Yún:     Wáng lì, nǐ zài zuò shénme?

Wáng Lì :        Wǒ zài xǐ wǎn.

Zhāng Yún:     Huì huā hěn duō shíjiān ma?

Wáng Lì:         Bù huì. Kuài xǐ hǎole.

Zhāng Yún:     Wáng lì, nǐ yòu zài zuò shénme?

Wáng Li:         Wǒ zài mǒ zhuōzi hé yǐzi.

Zhāng Yun:     Nǐ mǒ hǎo hòu qǐng ràng wǒ zhīdào.

Wáng Lì:         Hǎo de.

Zhāng Yún:     Wáng lì, nǐ hái méi mǒ hǎo zhuōzi hé yǐzi ma?

Wáng Lì          Bù jiǔ qián yǐ jīng mǒ hǎole. Wǒ xiàn zài zài qiè xiē shuǐguǒ.

Zhāng Yún      Jì rán nǐ nà me máng, wǒ hái shì huí jiā hǎo le.

Wáng Lì:         Qǐng bié zǒu. Shuǐguǒ shì wèi nǐ ér zhǔnbèi de.

Zhāng Yún:     Yuán lái rú cǐ.

 

The verb wash or (xǐ), can be used in situations like 洗澡 (Xǐzǎo) – take a shower/bathe; 洗衣服 (Xǐzǎo Xǐ yīfú) – do laundry; 洗脸 (Xǐ liǎn) – wash face.

 

The verb clean is expressed differently in Chinese. When you are talking about cleaning the table, you use the Chinese character 抹mǒ. When talking about cleaning the windows, you can also use抹, you say 抹窗 Mǒ chuāng. However, when you are talking about cleaning the room, you do not say 抹房间mǒfángjiān, you have to say 打扫房间Dǎsǎo fángjiān. 打扫 Dǎsǎo means to clean or to sweep. The word 打 by itself means to beat/to strike/to hit.

 

The verb cut is 切qiè and can be used in situations like 切菜 Qiē cài – cut vegetables, 切肉 qiē ròu – cut meat or even切面包 Qiē miànbāo – slice the bread.

 

Besides those action verbs mentioned in the dialogue above, let us show you some commonly used ones. For example, watch/see is Kàn. When you want to say watch TV, you say看电视 Kàn diànshì. When you go see the doctor, you also use the verb看Kàn. You say看医生Kàn yīshēng or看病Kànbìng. The Chinese word bìng means sickness. Literally, it means see sickness. But actually, it is to see the doctor about your sickness. When reading a book, you should say 看书Kàn shū rather than 读书Dúshū as Dúshū means studying and not reading.

 

Another common verb is Tīng, which means listen. 听音乐Tīng yīnyuè or 听歌Tīng gē are things I like to do when I am feeling bored. 听音乐 Tīng yīnyuè is listen to music and 听歌 Tīnggē is listen to songs. What do you like to do when you are bored? If you prefer to sing rather than to listen to songs, then you should say 唱歌Chànggē, which means to sing songs.

 

What are the things you like to do when you are with friends? I like to go to a quite café and chat with my friends. The Chinese word for chat is 聊天 Liáotiān. When someone ask you what are you doing and you are chatting with your friends, you can say 我在和朋友聊天 Wǒ zài hé péngyǒu liáotiān. If you are drinking coffee, then you can say

我在喝咖啡 Wǒ zài hē kāfēi. , which means drink is also a very commonly used verb.

 

The phrase 既然Jìrán used in the dialogue means since in English. Let us provide more examples to help you understand the usage of this phrase. 既然来了,留下来吃饭吧. Jìrán láile jiù liú xiàlái chīfàn ba  (Since you are here, stay for dinner then). The adverb used in the latter part of the sentence is normally 还, 就 or 也. 你既然要去,我不会阻止你。Nǐ jìrán yào qù, wǒ yě bù huì zǔzhǐ nǐ (Since you want to go, I will not stop you).

 

In this lesson, we have learned a number of useful and commonly used verbs. We hope you are able to answer your Chinese friends when they ask you what you are doing in Chinese.

 

That is all with have for today. Do come back for more useful and interesting lessons with us.

Posted in Learn Chinese | Leave a comment

Lesson 18: Who is the tallest? Who is the shortest?

谁最高?谁最矮?

In our previous lesson, we learned the Chinese word . This word is used when we are comparing two things. For example, when we want to say “this apple is sweeter than that apple, we say  这个苹果比那个苹果甜. Today, we will touch on another Chinese word  to describe  “the most….. / …..est.

 

Before we proceed to the dialogue section of our lesson for today, let us go through some adjective words that you can use when making comparisons or describing a something or someone.

 

Simplified Chinese

English

PinYin

Tall  (high)

Gāo

Low

Ǎi

胖 肥

Fat

Pàng

Thin

Shòu

漂亮

Pretty

Piàoliang

Ugly

Chǒu

Fragrant

Xiāng

Smelly

Chòu

Big

Small

Xiǎo

Long

Zhǎng

Short

Duǎn

Far

Yuǎn

Near

Jìn

 

In today’s conversation, Wang Li and Zhang Yun are talking about the Korean actors and actresses. Both of them enjoy watching Korean drama and are comparing who is the prettiest and most handsome. From the dialogue, you will learn how to use the suffix ….est from the list of adjectives we have listed above.

 

Zhang Yun:     Have you watched the Korean drama “ My girlfriend is a Gumiho”?

Wang Li:         Of course! The actor, Lee Seung Gi, is very handsome. He is one of my favorite Korean actors.

Zhang Yun:     I think Hyun Bin is handsomer than Lee Seung Gi.

Wang Li:         I agree. But Dennis Oh is the most handsome.

Zhang Yun:     Who is Dennis Oh? Is he a Korean?

Wang Li:         Not really! He is a Korean and American mixed.

Zhang Yun:     I have not seen any of his dramas.  Which drama was he in?

Wang Li:         East of Eden.

Zhang Yun:     Oh, I did not watch this one. No wonder I don’t know him.

Wang Li:         What about Lee Duo Hai?

Zhang Yun      Lee Duo Hai is the prettiest Korean actresses I know of.

Wang Li          How I wish I can be as pretty as her.

Zhang Yun      Stop day dreaming!

 

张云                你看了韩剧”我的女友是九尾狐”了没?

王丽                当然!剧里的男演员李昇基很帅。他是我喜欢的韩国男演员之一

张云                我认为玄彬比李昇基帅。

王丽                我同意。 但是丹尼斯·吴 最帅。

张云                丹尼斯·吴是谁?他是韩国人吗?

王丽                也不完全是。他是韩美混血儿。

张云                我没看过他主演的电视剧。他在那部电视剧主演过?

王丽                伊甸园之

张云                哦,我没看这一部。怪不得我不认识他。

王丽                李多海怎么样?

张云                李多海是我认识的韩国女演员中漂亮的。

王丽                多希望我能长得像她一样漂亮。

张云                别做白日梦了!

 

Zhāng Yún      Nǐ kànle hán jù” wǒ de nǚyǒu shì jiǔ wěi hú”le méi?

Wáng lì            Dāngrán! Jù lǐ de nán yǎnyuán lishēngjī hěn shuài. Tā shì wǒ xǐhuan de hánguó nán yǎnyuán zhī yī.

Zhāng Yún      Wǒ rèn wéi xuán bīn bǐ li shēng jī shuài.

Wáng lì            Wǒ tóngyì. Dànshì dān nísī•wú zuì shuài.

Zhāng Yún      Shuí shì dān nísī•wú? Tā shì hánguó rén ma?

Wáng Lì          Yě bù wánquán shì. Tā shì hán měi hùnxiě’er.

Zhāng Yún      Wǒ méi kànguò tā zhǔyǎn de diànshìjù. Tā zài nà bù diànshìjù zhǔyǎnguò? Wáng lì           Yīdiànyuán zhī dōng

Zhāng Yún      ó, wǒ méi kàn zhè yī bù. Guàibùdé wǒ bù rènshi tā.

Wáng lì            Li duō hǎi zěnme yàng?

Zhāng yún       Li duō hǎi shì wǒ rènshi de hánguó nǚ yǎnyuán zhōng zuì piàoliang de.

Wáng lì            Duō xīwàng wǒ néng zhǎng de xiàng tā yī yàng piàoliang.

Zhāng yún       Bié zuò bái rì mèngle!

Do you have any favorite actors or actresses? In Chinese, the word actor or actress is 演员 yǎnyuán. When you are referring to an actor, you have to add the Chinese word nán to mean male and nǚ for actress to mean female. The Chinese word yǎn  when used as a verb, it means to act. yuán is a noun and it means member or person.

 

也不完全是 is a phrase you use when you want to express what the other person said is not totally correct. 不完全 is the negative form of 完全. 完全 wánquán means completely or totally. 完 is finish/whole/entire and 全 is total/all/whole.

 

…est  is the highlight of this lesson.  It is used when you want to express the feeling of the most, something extreme. Examples of expression you can use with the word are :

 

我最喜欢吃面包 Wǒ zuì xǐhuan chī miànbāo

This sentence implies that of all the food, I like eating bread the most. 最喜欢 means like the most.

 

今年最受欢迎的影片是哪一部?Jīnnián zuì shòu huānyíng de yǐngpiàn shì nǎ yī bù?

最受欢迎 means the most popular. The meaning of this sentence is which movie is the most popular this year? 影片 is movie and 今年 is this year.

你最讨厌什么动物?Nǐ zuì tǎoyàn shénme dòngwù?

最讨厌 means hate the most. The question is asking which animal do you hate the most?

We hope you are now able to form sentences using the word . With that, we end our lesson for today. Do come back for more lessons.

Posted in Learn Chinese | Leave a comment

Lesson 17: What is your hobby?

你有什么嗜好? Nǐ yǒu shénme shìhào

 

Happy New Year everyone. We hope your new year’s resolution is to master the Chinese language. We will do our best to help you fulfill this resolution.

 

For the second lesson of 2012, we will talk about hobbies. Do you have any hobbies? Some people like to collect things such as stamps, watches, posters, while others like playing sports. What is yours?

 

In today’s dialogue, Zhang Yun was at a shop selling old stamps and met Wang Li there. They started talking and found out that they have the same hobby.

 

张云:               喂,王丽。你在这儿做什么?

王丽:               你好,张云。我在找旧邮票。

张云:               旧邮票?你搜集旧邮票吗?

王丽:               是的。我的嗜好是集邮。

张云:               真巧。我的嗜好也是集邮。

王丽:               你集邮有多久了?

张云:               大概五年了。你呢?

王丽:               我你稍微久一点儿。

张云:               你常常来这儿买邮票吗?

王丽:               对,常来。他们有很多罕见及漂亮的邮票。

张云:               我不常来这儿。我常去另外一间店。

王丽:               你可以带我去那间店吗?

张云:               当然。我现在就带你去好吗?

王丽:               好的。我们走吧!

 

Zhāng yún:      Wèi, wáng lì. Nǐ zài zhè’r zuò shén me?

Wáng lì:           Nǐ hǎo, Zhāng Yún. Wǒ zài zhǎo jiù yóu piào

Zhāng yún:      Jiù yóupiào? Nǐ sōu jíjiù yóupiào ma?

Wáng lì:           Shì de. Wǒ de shì hào shì jíyóu.

Zhāng yún:      Zhēn qiǎo. Wǒ de shìhào yěshì jíyóu.

Wáng lì:           Nǐ jíyóu yǒu duō jiǔ le?

Zhāng yún:      dàgài wǔ nián le. Nǐ ne?

Wáng lì:           Wǒ bǐ nǐ shāowéi jiǔ yīdiǎn er.

Zhāng yún:      Nǐ chángcháng lái zhèr mǎi yóupiào ma?

Wáng lì:           Duì. Tāmen yǒu hěnduō hǎnjiàn jí piàoliang de yóupiào.

Zhāng yún:      Wǒ bù cháng lái zhè’r. Wǒ cháng qù lìngwài yī jiàn diàn.

Wáng lì:           Nǐ kěyǐ dài wǒ qù nà jiān diàn ma?

Zhāng yún:      Dāngrán. Wǒ xiànzài jiù dài nǐ qù hǎo ma?

Wáng lì:           Hǎo de. Wǒmen zǒu ba!

 

Zhang Li:        Hey, Wang Li, what are you doing here?

Wang Li:         Hi Zhang Yun. I am looking for old stamps.

Zhang Yun:     Old stamps? Are you collecting them?

Wang Li:         Yes. My hobby is collecting stamps.

Zhang Yun:     What a coincidence. My hobby is collecting stamps as well.

Wang Li:         How long have you been collecting stamps?

Zhang Yun:     About 5 years. What about you?

Wang Li:         Slightly longer than you.

Zhang Yun:     Do you come here often to buy stamps?

Wang Li:         Yes, often. They have many stamps that are rare and beautiful.

Zhang Yun:     I don’t come here often. I often go to the other shop.

Wang Li:         Can you bring me to that shop?

Zhang Yun:     Sure. Shall I bring you there now?

Wang Yun:      Ok. Lets go!

 

In this lesson, you will find many familiar phrases you have learned in our previous lessons. Are you able to understand them without referring to the translations? I hope this time round, the phrases are no longer difficult for you to understand.

 

The first phrase we would like to emphasize is 我在找….. (Wǒ zài zhǎo….). I am looking for ________ is the English translation. As Chinese does not have tenses like past tense, present tense etc, the Chinese word zài is used here to describe the situation. zài is a prepositional phrase and must be placed before the verb. Wang Li is looking for old stamps, so she said 我在找旧邮票 (Wǒ zài zhǎo jiù yóu piào). Other ways of using this phrase are: 我在找我的课本Wǒ zài zhǎo wǒ de kèběn (I am looking for my textbook), 他在找他的裤子Tā zài zhǎo tā de kùzi (He is looking for his pants). Basically, you place a noun(the thing you are looking for) after the Chinese word (find) to complete the sentence.

 

The Chinese word 嗜好 means hobby. Another way of saying hobby in Chinese is 爱好Àihào. The word 爱 Ài, as you may already know, means love. So, it means something you love doing. Hence, instead of saying 我的嗜好是…., you can also say 我的爱好是…..

 

…..is used when you are comparing something with another thing or comparing someone with another. For example, if you want to say this book is cheaper than that book, you can say 这本书那本书便宜 (Zhè běn shū bǐ nà běn shū piányi), he is taller than I他我高 (Tā bǐ wǒ gāo). It is an easy sentence structure to remember. You need to place a noun before and after the Chinese word . After that, you can use an adjective or an adverb to describe what you want to describe.

 

Last but not least is the phrase 常常来 (cháng cháng lái). 常常 means often and means come. If you want to say often go, you can replace the word lái with Qù.

Basically, you just eat to replace the verb to the verb that you want to convey. For example, 我常常吃面 Wǒ chángcháng chī miàn (I often eat noodles); 我常常看戏 Wǒ chángcháng kàn xì (I often watch a movie). Instead of saying 常常来, you can also say 常来 as they have the same meaning. If it is not often, you just need to add 不 in front of .

 

We hope this lesson for the year 2012 is not too difficult for you. Please continue to come back for more interesting and useful lessons.

Posted in Learn Chinese | Leave a comment

Lesson 16: I do my New Year shopping here

我在这儿办年货 Wǒ zài zhèr bàn niánhuò

 

As the Lunar New Year is approaching soon, we would like to take this opportunity to share with you the things we do during the festive season.  Lunar New Year is a festive season celebrated by all the Chinese communities all over the world. This year, the Lunar New Year will be celebrated on the 23rd and 24th of January. The dates are calculated based on the Lunar calendar and hence the dates of celebration are different every year.

 

Before the Lunar New Year, we will spring clean our house and buy goodies to entertain friends and family during the New Year. In this lesson, we will teach you the types of food we usually eat during the festive season and the gifts the children and singles will be receiving.

 

In the dialogue for today, Wang Li meet Zhang Yun in the shopping mall where people go to do their New Year shopping. They are talking about the goodies Zhang Yun bought at the market.

 

Wang Li:         Zhang Yun, what are you doing here?

Zhang Yun:     I am doing my New Year shopping.

Wang Li:         What are you buying here?

Zhang Yun:     Sweets, new year cake, melon seeds and packaged beverages.

Wang Li:         Do you come here to do your New Year shopping every year?

Zhang Yun:     Yes, the market here is very big. Have you finished your New Year shopping?

Wang Li:         I have just bought some plastic flowers. Do they sell pineapple tarts here?

Zhang Yun:     Yes, it is over there. Follow me. I want to buy as well.

 

王丽:            张云,你在这儿做什么?

张云:            我在办年货

王丽:            你在这儿买什么?

张云:            糖果,年糕,瓜子 和包装饮料。

王丽:            你每年都来这儿办年货吗?

张云:            是的。这个商场很大。你办完年货了吗?

王丽:            我刚刚买了一些塑料花。这儿有没有菠萝挞?

张云:            有,那儿买。我来,我也要买菠萝挞。

 

 

 

Wáng lì:           Zhāng yún, nǐ zài zhèr zuò shénme?
Zhāng yún:      Wǒ zài bàn niánhuò.
Wáng lì:           Nǐ zài zhèr mǎi shénme?
Zhāng yún:      Tángguǒ, niángāo, guāzǐ hé bāozhuāng yǐnliào.
Wáng lì:           Nǐ měinián dōu lái zhèr bàn niánhuò ma?
Zhāng yún:      Shì de. Zhège shāngchǎng hěn dà. Nǐ bàn wán niánhuò le ma.?
Wáng lì:           Wǒ gāng gāng mǎi le yī xiē sùliào hua. Zhèr yǒu méi yǒu bō luó tà?
Zhāng yún:      Yǒu, zài nàr mǎi. Gēn wǒ lái, wǒ yě yāo mǎi bō luó tà.

 

春节 Chūnjié means the same thing as Lunar New Year 农历新年 Nónglì xīnnián. In China, it is called 春节 well in other countries it is known as 农历新年. In some parts of the Chinese communities in the world, Lunar New Year is celebrated by releasing firecrackers 爆竹 (Bàozhú. But this custom has since been removed because of fire hazards that the firecrackers have caused.

Besides  爆竹, another important custom is the giving out of red packets 红包 Hóngbāo to  children and singles who are students or unemployed. Another term for  红包 is 压岁钱 Yāsuìqián.

Before the New Year begins, people will be busy doing spring cleaning and doing New Year shopping. Spring cleaning is 大扫除 Chūnjì dàsǎochú and 办年货 bàn niánhuò means new year shopping as explained in the dialogue above. Let us study a little more on the phrase 办年货.

The Chinese word in 办年货 is a verb rather than a noun. It means to do the new year shopping. 年货 is the new year goodies represented by 年 meaning year and 货meaning goods. The word is a noun in 办公室 Bàngōngshì (office).

刚刚 or is an adverb you use to tell another person that you have just done something a moment ago. For example, when you have just taken your breakfast, you can say 我刚刚/刚吃了早餐 Wǒ gānggāng /gāng chī le zǎo n.

is a preposition and is often combined with a noun or a pronoun to form a prepositional phrase. It is used in front of the predicative verb to indicate the manner of an action. For example, 我跟妈妈去商场 Wǒ gēn māmā qù shāngchǎng (I go to the mall with my mother). The preposition must be placed before the verb. You cannot say 我去商场跟妈妈.

is also a preposition and similar to , must be placed before the verb. You can place a noun before the word and then follow by a verb and an object. For example, 王丽在商场买衣服. 王丽 is the subject, 商场 is the noun, 买 is the verb and 衣服 is the object. 王丽在商场买衣服 Wáng lì zài shāngchǎng mǎi yīfú means Wang Li buys her clothes at the mall. Hence, in order to use this preposition correctly, you have to remember to place the verb after it and not before it.

That is all the grammar notes we have for you in this lesson. Before we end this lesson, we would like to go through some of the meaning of the Chinese characters we have mentioned in the dialogue. For example, 糖果 and年糕. (Táng) by itself means sugar and (guǒ) means fruit. When we put the two words together, they mean sweets and not sugar fruits.

瓜子 guāzǐ is a favorite snack during the New Year.  (guā) means melon and () means seeds. So the next time you see the word, you will know that it is something relating to melon. For example, watermelon is 西瓜 Xīguā and Honeydew is 蜜瓜 Mì guā.

We have come to the end of our lesson for today. We wish all a Happy Lunar New Year and see you in our next lesson.

Posted in Learn Chinese | Leave a comment

Lesson 15: Can you speak Chinese?

您会说语吗? Nǐn huì shuō hàn yǔ ma

 

As there are so many languages in the world, it is really very difficult for a person to master all of them. I have known a person who can speak nine different languages and I am already totally impressed. He speaks English, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Korean and Japanese. How many languages can you speak besides English or Chinese?

 

You may have already guessed it that the lesson for today will be on languages. Yes, you are absolutely right. We are going to talk about languages in this lesson. As usual, before we proceed to the dialogue for today, let us go through some of the languages in Chinese. In Chinese, when you want to talk about languages, you only need to add the word 语Yǔ after the country’s name. This is similar to what we have done previously on nationality where you add only the word 人Rén after one’s country name.

 

Simplified Chinese Pinyin English
英语 Yīng yǔ English
汉语 Hàn yǔ Chinese
意大利语 Yìdàlì yǔ Italian
法语 Fǎ yǔ French
西班牙语 Xībānyá yǔ Spanish
德语 Dé yǔ German
葡萄牙语 Pútáoyá yǔ Portuguese
韩语 Hán yǔ Korean
日语 Rì yǔ Japanese
粤语 Yuè yǔ Cantonese
泰语 Tài yǔ Thai
越南语 Yuènán yǔ Vietnamese

 

In China, the Chinese language is known as 汉语 Hàn . But in other Chinese speaking countries like Singapore and Malaysia, it is known as 华语 Huáyǔ, in Taiwan it is called 国语 Guóyǔ and in Hong Kong, they called it 普通话 Pǔtōnghuà.

But all of them refer to the same thing, Chinese language or Mandarin Chinese.

 

The dialogue for today is between David and a taxi driver in China. David is in China for a holiday and he is taking a taxi to his hotel.

 

Driver:             Mr, where are you going?

David:             Da Hua Hotel

Driver:             Can you speak Chinese?

David:             I can speak a little Chinese.

Driver:             How long have you learned Chinese?

David:             2 years

Driver              Just 2 years and you can speak so well.

David:             Not really, my Chinese is not that good.

Driver:             We are at Da Hua Hotel.

David:             Thank you.

Driver:             You’re welcome.

 

司机:            先生,您要去哪儿?

大卫:            大华酒店
司机:            您会说汉语吗?
大卫:            会说一点儿。

司机:            您学汉语有多久了?
大卫:            2年

司机:       只学了2年,您就会说的那么好。
大卫:            哪里,我的汉语不太好。
司机:            大华饭店到了。
大卫:            谢谢。

司机:            不客气。

 

Sījī:                  Xiānshēng, nín yào qù nǎ’er?

Dà wèi:            Dà huá jiǔdiàn

Sījī:                  Nín huì shuō hànyǔ ma?

Dà wèi:            Huì shuō yīdiǎn’r.

Sījī:                  Nín xué hànyǔ yǒu duōjiǔle?

Dà wèi:            2 Nián

Sījī:                  Zhǐ xuéle 2 nián, nín jiù huì shuō dì nàme hǎo

Dà wèi:            Nǎlǐ, wǒ de hànyǔ bù tài hǎo.

Sījī:                  Dà huá fàndiàn dàole.

Dà wèi:            Xièxiè.

Sījī:                  Bù kèqì.

一点儿 is an indefinite measure word we use when we want to express the information of a small amount or quantity. It is used to modify a noun. When the context is very clear to the parties involved in the conversation, the noun that it modifies can be omitted. For example, in the dialogue, the driver asks David 您会说汉语吗?and David answers会说一点儿(汉语).汉语 can be omitted from the answer in this case. And when 一点儿 is not used at the beginning of a sentence, the word一 can be omitted. For example, you can say 喝(一)点儿水Hè yīdiǎn’r shuǐ (drink a little water),吃(一)点儿水果chī yīdiǎn’r shuǐguǒ (eat a little fruit).

 

哪里 when used as an interrogative pronoun, it has the meaning of where in English. You can also say 哪儿?However, 哪里….. here has a negative meaning. It is used when someone compliment or praise you and you are being modest about the compliment. In the Chinese culture, this is an appropriate response when being complimented. In Western culture, we normally just say thank you for the compliments. For example, when someone says 你的房子真美Nǐ de fángzi zhēnměi (your house is very beautiful), you can also say 是吗?我觉得还好 Shì ma? Wǒ juéde hái hǎo (Really, I feel it is just alright).

 

like 能,可以 are all optative verbs used before verbs to express one’s ability, capability, possibility and willingness. 会, 能,可以 means can or able to in English. The difference between会 and能 or可以 is that 会 expresses your skills that you have acquired through learning, whereas 能 or可以 expresses the skills that you possessed in general. For example, 大卫会写汉字Dà wèi huì xiě hànzì ( David can write Chinese characters); 你能来我家吗?Nǐ néng lái wǒjiā ma? (Can you come to my house?).

 

不太好 in English means not too good or so so. In the dialogue above, when David was complimented by the taxi driver that his Chinese is very good, he said 我的汉语不太好, David was actually being modest. In Chinese culture being modest is a virtue. Hence, even if your Chinese is actually very good, one will still say …不太好 to humble oneself.

 

We hope the lesson today is enjoyable and informative for you. Do come back for more interesting lessons.

Posted in Learn Chinese | 1 Comment

Lesson 14: May I know how to get to the train station from here?

请问从这里去火车站怎么走? Qǐng wèn cóng zhè lǐ qù huǒ chē zhàn zěn me zǒu

We will be learning how to ask for direction in this lesson. When traveling to a Chinese speaking country, it is better to learn some simple Chinese phrases in times of trouble. Getting lost in a country side in China where English is useless can be a big problem. Prepare yourself with some Chinese knowledge before you head out to China.

Do you know the modes of transport in Chinese? We will go through some of them here before we begin our dialogue for today.

Simplified Chinese Pinyin English
汽车 Qì chē Car
火车 Huǒ chē Train
出租车 Chū zū chē Taxi
巴士 Bā shì Bus
Chuán Ship
地铁 Dì tiě Subway
缆车 Lǎn chē Cable car
飞机 Fēi jī Airplane

 

We would like to highlight to you that taxi in Chinese is called differently in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. In Taiwan, taxi is known as 计程车 Jì chéng chē, in Hong Kong it is 的士Dí shì, and in Singapore and Malaysia 德士 Dé shì.

The dialogue for today is between David, Susan and a passerby in Taiwan. David and Susan went to Taiwan for a holiday and they got themselves lost. Luckily David could speak a little Chinese and he asked a passerby for direction to the train station.

大卫和苏珊的对话

苏珊                你想到怎么从这里到火车站了吗?

大卫                还没有。我想我们迷路了。

苏珊                那该怎么办?

大为                别着急。我去问路。

大卫和路人的对话

大卫        对不起,我们迷路了。请问从这里去火车站怎么走?

路人              火车站吗?从这儿直走然后转左。接着,走大概一公里您就会看到一个雕像。火车站就在雕像的对面。

大卫          谢谢您的帮忙。

路人          不用谢。

Dà wèi hé sū shān de duìhuà

Sū shān            Nǐ xiǎng dào zěn me cóng zhè lǐ dào huǒ chē zhàn le ma?

Dà wèi                         Hái méi yǒu. Wǒ xiǎng wǒ men mí lù le.

Sū shān            Nà gāi zěn me bàn?

Dà wéi                         Bié zhāo jí. Wǒ qù wèn lù.

Dà wèi hé lùrén de duìhuà

Dà wèi                 Duìbùqǐ, wǒmen mí lù le. Qǐngwèn cóng zhè lǐ qù huǒ chē zhàn zěn me zǒu?

Lù rén                  Huǒ chē zhàn ma? Cóng zhè’r zhí zǒu rán hòu zhuǎn zuǒ. Jiē zhe, zǒu dà gài yī gōng lǐ nín jiù huì kàn dào yī gè diāo xiàng. Huǒ chē zhàn jiù zài diāo xiàng de duì miàn.

Dà wèi                 Xiè xiè nín de bāng máng.

Lù rén                  Bù yòng xiè.

Conversation between David and Susan

Susan:              Have you figured out how to get to the train station from here?

David:             Not really. I think we are lost.

Susan:              What are we going to do?

David:             No worries. I will ask for some help.

Conversation between David and the passerby

David:                 Excuse me, we are lost. Could you tell me how to get to the train station from here?

Passerby:             Train station? Go straight from here and turn left. After that, walk about 1km and you will see a statue. The train station is opposite the statue.

David:                 Thank you for your help.

Passerby:             You are welcome.

怎么 (Zěnme) is a very commonly used phrase in Chinese. It is an adverb and normally another verb is added behind怎么 to complete a sentence. For example, when asking someone how to write a certain Chinese character, you can say 这个中文字怎么写?(Zhège zhōngwén zì zěnme xiě?) When asking someone his/her opinion about a certain movie, you can say 这部戏怎么样?(Zhè bù xì zěnme yàng?) When asking someone how a certain dish should be prepared, you can say 这道菜怎么煮/怎么做?(Zhè dào cài zěnme zhǔ/zěnme zuò?).

…(Bié) When you add a verb after the word (Bié), it means do not in English. It has the same meaning as不要(Bùyào). How do you use this word to form sentences? We will show you some examples for easy understanding. When begging for someone not to leave you, you can say 我求求你别离开我 Wǒ qiú qiú nǐ bié líkāi wǒ (I beg you, please don’t leave me). When you are in a bad mood and you don’t want anyone to bother you, you can say 我心情不好,()烦我! Wǒ xīnqíng bù hǎo, bié (lái) fán wǒ! (I’m in a bad mood, don’t (come) and bother me!)

When you add a noun after the word别, it is another meaning. For example, if you add the word 人 after 别,it means other people别人Biérén. 墅 after别 becomes villa 别

墅Biéshù.

问路 is made up of two Chinese words 问 and 路. 问 means ask and路 is road. If you were to translate this literally, it means ask the road. This sounds weird right?? The actual meaning is to ask for direction. Ask someone the correct way/direction to a place and not to ask the road how to go to a certain place.

不用谢 (Bù yòng xiè) has the same meaning as 不客气 (Bù kè qì) or 不必谢 (Bù bì xiè)

. All these phrases has the meaning of you are welcome in English. The next time you wanted to say your are welcome in Chinese, you can try using these two other phrases rather than just 不客气. I am sure your friends will be impressed.

With this, we end our lesson on asking for direction for today. We hope you will practice what you have learned so far through our lessons so that your Chinese can be improved. See you again in our next lesson.

Posted in Learn Chinese | Leave a comment

Lesson 13: This soup is too bland!

这个汤太淡了! Zhè ge tāng tài dàn le!

 

 

Have you ever cooked for your family or for someone special to you? How was the cooking? Did your family or the special person enjoy what you have prepared especially for them? We hope it went well and they enjoyed every dish you have cooked for them.

 

In today’s lesson, we will go through some of the words that you can use to describe the food that you have eaten. Using these new vocabularies, we will have a dialogue between Wang Li and her sister Wang Xin. Their mother has gone out and Wang Li decided to cook dinner for her sister. Let us see whether Wang Li is a good cook or not from the dialogue.

 

There are many words that you can use to describe about the food that you have eaten. We will go through some of the most commonly used words in this lesson.

 

Simplified Chinese Pinyin English
Tián Sweet
Xián Salty
Spicy
Dàn Bland
Bitter
Suān Sour
Cuì Crispy
Ruǎn Soft
Yìng Tough, hard
Chòu Smelly
Xiāng Fragrant
Lěng Cold
Hot

 

As the words are used as adjectives, it is placed after the noun or subject you are talking about. For example, when you want to say this bread is very soft in Chinese, it is 这个面包很软 Zhè ge miàn bāo hěn ruǎn.The famous stinky tofu in Taiwan and China is 臭豆腐 Chòu dòufu in Chinese. Do you like to eat sweet and sour pork? This is a very famous Chinese dish and available in every Chinese restaurant. The name of this dish in Chinese is 糖醋肉 Táng cù ròu. The literal translation of sweet and sour pork is 甜酸猪肉. 糖 (Táng) is sugar and it is sweet. 醋 (Cù) is vinegar and it is sour. And 肉 (Ròu) is meat as pork is a type of meat. So, now you know how to order this dish in Chinese the next time you visit a Chinese restaurant.

 

Now let us go on to our dialogue session for today. As mentioned above, the conversation is between 2 sisters, Wang Li and Wang Xin. Wang Li is cooking dinner for her sister and it turned out that she is not a good cook at all.

 

王心:               姐姐,今晚你想煮什么?

王丽:               排骨汤和炒青菜。

王心:               你真的会做菜吗?

王丽:               当然。你去忙吧。晚饭准备好后我会叫你。

王心:               好的。

王丽:               妹妹,吃饭了!

王心:               哇,这汤太淡,菜太咸。我不吃了!

王丽                是吗?让我来尝尝。哦,真的很难吃。

 

Wáng xīn:        jiejie, jīn wǎn nǐ xiǎng zhǔ shén me?

Wáng lì:           pái gǔ tāng hé chǎo qīng cài

Wáng xīn :       nǐ zhēn de huì zuò cài ma?

Wáng lì :          dān grán. Nǐ qù máng ba. Wǎn fàn zhǔn bèi hǎo hòu wǒ huì jiào nǐ.

Wáng xīn :       hǎo de.

Wáng lì :          mèimei, chīfàn le!

Wáng xīn :       Wa, zhè tāng tài dàn, cài tài xián. Wǒ bù chī le!

Wáng lì :          shì ma? Ràng wǒ lái cháng cháng. Ó, zhēn de hěn nán chī.

 

Wang Xin:       Sis, what are going to cook tonight?

Wang Li:         pork ribs soup and fry vegetable.

Wang Xin:       Do you really know how to cook?

Wang Li:             Of course. You go do your things and I will let you know when dinner is ready.

Wang Xin:           Alright then.

Wang Li:             Sister, dinner is ready.

Wang Xin:           Wow, this soup is too bland and the vegetable is too salty. I am not going to eat.

Wang Li:             Really? Let me try. Oh, they taste really bad.

 

 

真的会…吗? (really know how to….?) is used when the speaker is trying to get a confirmation from the listener. As in the dialogue, Wang Xin does not believe that her sister can cook, so she uses真的会…吗to confirm her doubt. In between 真的会 and 吗, you can add whatever action verbs you like. For example, 驾车 drive (Jià chē); 说中文 speak Chinese (Shuō zhōngwén); 跳舞 dance (Tiàowǔ).

 

当然 is a combination of two words 当 and 然. When used separately, Dāng can mean when and to be when pronounced in the first tone. For example, 她快妈妈了!Tā kuài dang māmā le (she is going to be a mother soon!). 老师不在时,我们都不读书Dāng lǎoshī bù zài shí, wǒmen dōu bù dúshū (When the teacher is not around, all of us do not study)

 

The word 然 is usually used with another word to form a phrase. For example, when you want to say afterwards/then/after, you add the Chinese word 后 to become 然后 Ránhòu. For example, 我通常是先喝汤,然后才吃饭 Wǒ tōngcháng shì xiān hē tāng, ránhòu cái chīfàn ( I normally drink the soup first, then eat the rice).

 

……. 好后, ……. is a phrase used when 1st action has finished and the next action is going to happen. In the dialogue, Wang Li said to the sister that she will call her when dinner is done/when it is prepared. The first action is cooking and the next action is calling her. For example, 功课做好后,你才可以看电视 Gōngkè zuò hǎo hòu, nǐ cái kě yǐ kàn diànshì ( You can only watch TV after you have finished doing your homework)

 

让我来…… means let me ……… You can add any verb after that. 来Lái by itself means to come/arrive. You can use this phrase to say let me see, 让我来看看 Ràng wǒ lái kàn kàn, 让我来开门 Ràng wǒ lái kāimén (let me open the door).

 

We have to come to end of this lesson. Although Chinese is not an easy language to learn, we hope you will not give up and come back for more lessons.

Posted in Learn Chinese | Leave a comment

Lesson 12: How old are you?

你今年多大?

 

Asking a person’s age is a very sensitive subject in the West as they feel that it is a very private matter. However, in countries like China, Japan, Korea, asking for a person’s age is part and parcel of their culture. Do you like people to ask about your age?

 

Although age is a sensitive issue, we will learn how to ask this question in our lesson today. Before going into the dialogue, we would like to go through how the year, month and day is used in Chinese. And, we will also touch on the Chinese zodiac signs as well.

 

The twelve Chinese zodiac signs are:-

 

Simplified Chinese Pinyin English
Shǔ Rat
Niú Cow, Ox
Tiger
Rabbit
Lóng Dragon
Shé Snake
Horse
Yáng Goat
Hou Monkey
Rooster
Gǒu Dog
Zhū Pig

 

Now, we will learn how to express the date and month in Chinese. In Chinese, the numbers in the year are read out as separate numbers unlike in English. And the Chinese word (nián) is placed at the end. For example,

 

一九九六年                Yī jiǔ jiǔ liù nián                    1976

二零零零年                Èr líng líng líng nián                2000

二零一一年                Èr ling yī yī nián                                  2011

 

The 12 months of the year are expressed by combining the numbers 1-12 with the Chinese word 月. For example,

Simplified Chinese Pinyin English
一月 Yī yuè January
二月 Èr yuè February
三月 Sān yuè March
四月 Sì yuè April
五月 Wǔ yuè May
六月 Liù yuè June
七月 Qī yuè July
八月 Bā yuè August
九月 Jiǔ yuè September
十月 Shíyu yuè October
十一月 Shí yī yuè November
十二月 Shí èr yuè December

 

When expressing the dates in Chinese, we combine the numbers from 1-30(or 31) with the Chinese word in spoken form or in written form. For example,

 

一月一号                    Yī yuè yī hào                          January 1

九月一号                    Jiǔ yuè yī hào                          September 1

十一月二十九日        Shí yī yuè èr shí jiǔ rì              November 29

十二月二十五日        Shí èr yuè èr shí wǔ rì                        December 25

 

If you are telling someone a date in the current month, you can omit saying the month 月and just simply say the date 号. As we have already touched on the days of the week in our previous lesson, we will not teach you again here.

 

In Chinese, the word order for expressing the year, month, day and week is:-

 

2011年十月一日 星期六      Èr ling yī yī nián  shí yuè yī rì  xīng qí liù

(Oct 1st 2011 Saturday)

 

In today’s dialogue, Zhang Yun was on her way to the supermarket when she saw Wang Li with a little girl.

 

张云:               喂,王丽

王丽        哦,是你张云

张云        这位小妹妹是谁?

王丽        她是我侄女叫晶晶。

张云        她今年多大?

王丽        她2009年九月一日出生,属牛。她今年两岁。

张云        真可爱。你们现在要去哪儿?

王丽        去公园玩。

张云        你们去玩吧。改天见。

王丽        好的。再见。

 

Zhāng yún:      Wèi, wáng lì

Wáng lì:           ó, shì nǐ zhāng yún

Zhāng yún:      zhè wèi xiǎo mèimei shì shuí?

Wáng lì:                       tā shì wǒ zhí nǚ jiào jīng jīng.

Zhāng yún:      tā jīn nián duōdà?

Wáng lì:           tā 2009 nián jiǔ yuè yī rì chū shēng, shǔ niú. Tā jīn nián liǎng suì.

Zhāng yún:      zhēn kě’ài. Nǐ men xiàn zài yào qù nǎ’er?

Wáng lì:           qù gōng yuán wán.

Zhāng yún:      nǐ men qù wán ba. Gǎi tiān jiàn.

Wáng lì:           hǎo de. Zài jiàn.

 

Zhang Yun:     Hey, Wang Li.

Wang Li:         Oh, it’s you, Zhang Yun

Zhang Yun:      Who is this little girl?

Wang Li:         She is my niece name Jing Jing

Zhang Yun:      How old is she?

Wang Li:             She was born in September 1st 2009, in the year of the ox. She is two this year.

Zhang Yun:          She is so cute. Where are you going?

Wang Li:             To play in the park

Zhang Yun:          Go then. I’ll see you next time.

Wang Li:             Ok. Bye.

 

位 is a measurement word you use when talking about a person. In the dialogue, 这位 is used to mean this person. You can substitute the noun 妹妹 to 先生 (Mr) or 小姐 (Ms).

 

今年多大 is a question you ask when asking for a person’s age. Another way of asking the same question is 今年几岁. 几 as mentioned in our previous lesson means a question pronoun to ask about numbers. 岁 means age and 岁月 means year. There is this saying in Chinese 岁月不留人 Suì yuè bù liú rén, it means time flies and wait for no man. This is a Chinese idiom normally used when someone wants to say that he/she is getting old and no longer young. When you are asking a senior about his/her age, you have to say 你今年多大岁数 Nǐ jīn nián duō dà suì shu?

 

改天见 is a another phrase you can use when bidding someone goodbye. 改 means to change or correct; 天 is sky or day and 见 is to see. When you use the Chinese word 改 and add 天, it means another day 改天 Gǎitiān. Other farewell phrase you can use are 再见Zàijiàn (Goodbye), 待会儿见 dài huìr jiàn (see you later), 明天见 míngtiān jiàn (see you tomorrow).

 

On that note, we come to the end of this lesson. See you again for our next one. 再见 Zàijiàn.

Posted in Learn Chinese | Leave a comment