Lesson 5: How many people are there in your family?

你们家有几口人?nǐ men jiā yoǔ jǐ koǔ rén

 

In this lesson, we will be learning how to describe your family members. The dialogue is between 2 friends, Zhang Yun and Wang Li. Ms. Zhang has invited Ms. Wang to her house for tea. At Ms. Zhang’s house, Ms. Wang asked about her family.

 

Zhang Yun: Please come in.
Wang Li: Your house is very beautiful.
Zhang yun: Really. Thank you for the compliment.
Wang Li: Nobody’s home?
Zhang Yun: They have all gone out.
Wang Li: How many people are there in your family?
Zhang Yun: There are 6 people. My father, my mother, my older brother, my younger sister and myself.
Wang Li: What does your father do?
Zhang Yun: He is a teacher.
Wang Li: What does your mother do?
Zhang Yun: She is a housewife.
Wang Li: What about your older brother and younger sister?
Zhang Yun: My older brother is a doctor and my younger sister is still a student.
Wang Li: It is nice to have brother and sister.

 

张云: 请进。
王丽: 你们家好漂亮。
张云: 是吗。谢谢你的夸奖。
王丽: 你的家人呢?
张云: 他们都出去了。
王丽: 你们家有几口人?
张云: 我们家有六口人。我爸爸,我妈妈,我哥哥,我妹妹和我。
王丽: 你爸爸做什么工作?
张云: 他是老师。
王丽: 你妈妈做什么工作?
张云: 她是家庭主妇。
王丽: 你哥哥和妹妹呢?
张云: 我哥哥是医生。妹妹还是个学生。
王丽: 有兄弟姐妹真好。

 

Zhang Yun: qīng jìn
Wang Li: nǐmen jiā haǒ piaò liang
Zhang yun: shì ma. Xiè xie nǐ de kuā jiǎng
Wang Li: ní de jiā rén ne?
Zhang Yun: tā men doū chū qù le.
Wang Li: nǐ men jiā yoǔ jǐ koǔ rén?
Zhang Yun: wǒ men jiā yoǔ liù koǔ rén. Wǒ bàba, wǒ māma, wǒ gēge, wǒ meìmei hé wǒ.
Wang Li: nǐ bàba zuò shén me gōng zuò?
Zhang Yun: tā shì laǒ shī
Wang Li: nǐ māma zuò shén me gōng zuò?
Zhang Yun: tā shì jiā tíng zhǔ fù.
Wang Li: nǐ gēge hé meìmei ne?
Zhang Yun: wǒ gēge shi yī shēng. Meìmei haí shì gè xué sheng
Wang Li: yoǔ xiōng dì jiě meì zhēn haǒ.

 

 

The words we are highlighting for this lesson are listed in the table below. We will explain in details how these words can be used correctly.

 

Simplified Chinese PinYin English
Doū Both/already, all
Le Past tense, after adjective
De Possessive particleIn front of adjective
Question pronoun

 

Doū

 

The word can mean all or already in English. As shown in the dialogue above, Zhang Yun told Wang Li that her family  has all gone out, so she said  他们出去了 tā men doū chū qù le. When you want to explain to somebody that all of you do not have money, you may say 我们没钱 wǒ men doū meí qiān.

 

Le

 

Le can be used in several ways. When you want to show that an action has already finished, you can use le. For example, when you have finished eating / I am full, you can say 我吃饱wǒ chī baǒ le. Chinese, unlike English, do not have different tenses. So, in Chinese, if you want to say something in the past tense, you can use le as well. For example, 他去美国tā qù le meǐ guó (He went to America). In order to describe something which is going to happen, le can also be used. For example, when you see that it is going to rain, you can say 快下雨kuaì xià yǔ le (It is going to rain).

 

De

 

De is a very common and often used word. It is a possessive particle when you want to say that certain thing belongs to you. For example, 这本书是我 zhè běn shū shì wǒ de (This book is mine). This word is very easy to understand and use. De can also be used in front of an adjective. When you want to say the scenery is beautiful, you can say 美丽风景 Meǐ Lì De Feng1 Jǐng.

 

 

The question pronoun is used to ask about numbers. This word is often used to ask about numbers less than 10. And, a measure word is needed in between it and the noun. For example, when you want to ask how many apples he has, you may say 他有几个苹果 Tāyoǔ Jǐ Gè Píng Guǒ (How many apples does he have?).

 

That is all we have for this lesson. Hope the explanation provided has helped you cleared up some confusion. Do remember to come back for our next lesson.

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