Lesson 11: How much is this?

这个多少钱? Zhè ge duō shǎo qián

 

Are you good at bargaining? Bargaining is very common when you go shopping in countries like China, Hong Kong, Thailand etc. People like to bargain with the sellers when buying things like clothes, bags and shoes. No matter how expensive or how cheap the things are, they just like to bargain to satisfy themselves. In countries like Thailand and India, for example, you can even bargain with the taxi drivers for the fare before you take the ride.

In the lesson today, we will teach you, not the art of bargaining, but rather currencies. Do you know how to say how much is this in Chinese? Listen to the dialogue below and practice the question on how to ask for the price so that you can try asking in Chinese when you are traveling to China.

This is a dialogue between Zhang Yun and the salesman in a fruit store. Zhang Yun wants to buy some oranges but they are too expensive. She is asking the salesman whether they are any cheaper ones.

Salesman:                    Welcome!

Zhang Yun:                 I want to buy oranges.

Salesman:                    The oranges are over there.

Zhang Yun:                 How much is the orange?

Salesman:                    Five oranges for three dollars

Zhang Yun:                 Your oranges are expensive. Do you have cheaper ones?

Salesman:                    That one is cheaper. 1 dollar and sixty five cents for five.

Zhang Yun:                 I’ll buy the cheaper ones.

Salesman:                    Altogether 1 dollar and sixty five cents please. Do you want something else?

Zhang Yun:                 No. Thank you. Here is the money.

Salesman:                    ok. You gave me two dollars. Here is your change of thirty five cents. Goodbye

Zhang Yun:                 Good bye.

 

店员:                        欢迎光临!
张云:                        我要买橘子。

店员:                        橘子在那儿。

张云:                        这个橘子多少钱?

店员:                        五个三块钱。

张云:                        您的橘子真贵。有便宜的吗?

店员:                        那个是便宜的。五个一块六毛五。

张云:                        我买便宜的。

店员:                        一共一块六毛五。您还要什么?

张云:                        不要了。谢谢。给你钱。

店员:                        好。您给我两块钱,我找您三毛五。再见。

张云:                        再见!

 

Diàn yuán:                   Huān yíng guāng lín!

Zhāng yún:                  Wǒ yāo mǎi júzi.

Diàn yuán:                   Jú zi zài nà’er.

Zhāng yún:                  Zhè gè jú zi duō shǎo qián?

Diàn yuán:                   Wǔ gè sān kuài qián.

Zhāng yún:                  Nín de júzi zhēn guì. Yǒu pián yi de ma?

Diàn yuán:                   Nà gè shì piányi de. Wǔ gè yī kuài liù máo wǔ.

Zhāng yún:                  Wǒ mǎi pián yi de.

Diàn yuán:                   Yī gòng yī kuài liù máo wǔ. Nín hái yào shén me?

Zhāng yún:                  Bù yào le. Xiè xiè. Gěi nǐ qián.

Diàn yuán:                   Hǎo. Nín gěi wǒ liǎng kuài qián, wǒ zhǎo nín sān máo wǔ. Zài jiàn. Zhāng yún:                  Zài jiàn!

 

In Chinese, when you are using the demonstrative pronoun or as an attributive, a measure word is generally inserted between it and the noun it modifies. For example, 这个橘子 Zhè gè jú zi,那张纸 Nà zhāng zhǐ (That piece of paper),这本书 Zhè běn shū (That book).

您还要什么?or  您要什么?are common expressions to ask what someone wants. These phrases are especially used by salesman when they are offering help to customers. The phrase

还要 is to ask customers whether they have other things to buy. It means anything else you want to buy in English.

 

……多少钱 is a predicate and is placed after the subject. When the subject is a bag, you can say 皮包多少钱?When you have a weight such as kilogram 公斤 for the subject, you will put the weight in front. For example, how much is one kilogram of apple? 一公斤苹果多少钱 Yī gōn gjīn ping guǒ duō shǎo qián? or you can say 多少钱一公斤苹果 Duō shǎo qián yī gōng jīn ping guǒ?

People normally do not bargain when they go to the supermarket as the prices are fixed and stated clearly on the packages. But when they shop at the free market or stalls, they are able to bargain as things are normally not packed and hence easier to bargain.

There are many types of currencies used in the world.  Listed below are some of the most popular currencies:-

Simplified Pinyin English
人民币 Rén mín bì Chinese currency
美元 Měi yuán American dollar
英镑 Yīng bàng Pound
欧元 Ōu yuán Euro
日元 Rì yuán Japanese Yen

 

The various monetary units in the Chinese currency are 元 (Yuán), 角 (jiǎo) and 分 (fēn) . In spoken Chinese, we often use 块 (Kuài)  instead of  元 and 毛 (máo) instead of角. When máo or fēn is at the end, 分钱 (fēn qián) or 毛钱 (máo qián) can be omitted.

For example,

1.65 =  一块六毛五(分钱) yī kuài liù máo wǔ (fēn qián)

2.80 =  两块八(毛钱) Liǎng kuài bā (máo qián)

When ‘2毛’ is at the beginning of an amount, and 2分 is at the end, the expression is 两毛二(分).

In the above dialogue, the salesman said 我找您三毛五, 找您 here means to give change rather than to look for you. Although the Chinese character 找 means to look for or find, but the context here is about money. Thus, when learning Chinese, understanding the context is very important.

We hope you have understood how to express currency after this lesson. Practice the phrases before you head out to China. See you again in our next lesson.

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Lesson 10: What time is it now?

现在几点了?Xiànzài jǐ diǎnle?

 

In Chinese, the words that relates
to time are 点,钟, 刻 and 分. There are rules when you are telling time in Chinese. Before we go into
time, let’s learn about counting
in Chinese. The numbers in Chinese are:-

 

English Simplified Chinese Pinyin English Simplified Chinese Pinyin
One Ten Shí
Two Èr Eleven 十一 Shí yī
Three Sān Twelve 十二 Shí èr
Four Hundred Bǎi
Five Thousand Qiān
Six Liù Ten Thousand Wàn
Seven Million 百万 Bǎiwàn
Eight 100 million, billion 亿
Nine Jiǔ Zero Líng

 

Counting in Chinese is similar to
English until the number 10. In Chinese, when we want to say eleven, we say 10
in Chinese and add one in Chinese to say eleven Shí Yī. This is the same from 20 to 90. Twenty is (two ten) in Chinese Èr Shí. When you want to say 21 in Chinese, it is (2+10+1) Èr Shí , and the rest are the same until 99. When it gets to one hundred, we say一Yī bai. What about one hundred and one? In this case, you will say 百零Yī bai Líng Yī (101).

 

Numbering in Chinese is most different from English when it gets to ten thousand and above. Chinese uses 万 Wàn to say the number 10,000. rather than ten and thousand in English. So 10001 is零一Wàn Líng . You use 万 until you get to million and a new Chinese word us used to mean million. Million in Chinese is 百万 Bǎiwàn. 1000999 in Chinese is百万零九百九十九Bǎiwàn Líng Jiǔ Bǎi Jiǔ Shí Jiǔ. And when it gets to 100 million, the character changes again to 亿 Yì .

 

When talking about amount in the hundred, thousand and more, the number two is pronounced and written different. When you want to say 200, you cannot
say Èr Bǎi, you must say Liǎng bǎi 两百 instead. This rule also applies when you are buying things, describing things or telling time. You say 两个 Liǎng gè, 两只 liǎng zhī rather than using the word Èr.

 

Now that we have done explaining numbers in Chinese, we shall come back to our topic for
today. As explained above, the timing words in Chinese are Diǎn, 钟 zhōng and fēn and the rules are:-

 

2:00 you can omit the Chinese word 钟 zhōng and just say 两点 Liǎng Diǎn

2:05 when fēn is a number less than ten,
you must add the Chinese word Líng before the number.

You have to say 两点零五Liǎng Diǎn Líng fēn

2:10 When fēn is more than 10, Líng can be omitted. You say 两点 Liǎng Diǎn Shí fēn

2:15 you say 两点一刻 Liǎng Diǎn Yī. or 两点十五Liǎng Diǎn Shí fēn

2:30 you say 两点半 Liǎng Diǎn Bàn or 两点三十分 Liǎng diǎn sān shífēn

2:45 you say 两点 Liǎng diǎn sān kè or 差一刻三点 Chà yī kè sān diǎn or 两点四十五分 Liǎng diǎn S Fēn

2:55 you say 差五分Chà Wǔ Fēn sān diǎn or 两点五十五分 Liǎng diǎn S Fēn

 

For today’s dialogue, we will practice on telling the time. This dialogue is between 2
sisters, Zhang Yun and Zhang Mei Li. They have an appointment and are running
late because of Zhang Mei Li.

 

Zhang Yun:                 Are you ready sis?

Zhang Mei Li:             Wait a minute

Zhang Yun:                 We are running late.

Zhang Mei Li:             What time is it now?

Zhang Yun:                 3:45. Our appointment is at 4:00

Zhang Mei Li:             I am coming. Oh no, I can’t find my shoes!

Zhang Yun:                 What? Could you hurry up !

 

张云                            你准备好了没?

张美丽                                    等一下。

张云                            我们快迟到了

张美丽                                    现在几点了?

张云                            三点三刻。我们的约会是在四点。

张美丽                                    快好了。糟了,我找不到我的鞋子。

张云                            什么?你快一点好不好。

 

Zhāng yún                   Nǐ zhǔnbèi hǎo le méi?

Zhāng měilì                 Děng yī xià.

Zhāng yún                   Wǒmen kuài chí dào le

Zhāng měilì                 Xiànzài jǐ diǎn le?

Zhāng yún                   Sān diǎn sān kè. Wǒmen de yuēhuì shì zài sì diǎn.

Zhāng měilì                 Kuài hǎo le. Zāo le, wǒ zhǎo bù dào wǒ de xiézi.

Zhāng yún                   Shénme? Nǐ kuài yī diǎn hǎo bù hǎo.

 

From the dialogue, we learned the phrase 好了没 hǎo le méi. This phrase has the meaning of ‘yet’ in English. You can also say 好了没有 hǎo le méi yǒu. Zhang Yun is trying to get a confirmation from her sister whether she is all ready to go or not. So, when you are seeking a confirmation, you can use the phrase 好了没? or 好了没有?

 

Question ending with了没 ler méi or 了没有 le méi yǒu is equivalent to have you? in English. For example, when you want to ask the question have you eaten? you can say 你吃饭了没(有)? Nǐ chīfànle méi (yǒu). And, if you want to ask the question have you seen this movie? you say 你看过这部电影了没(有)? Nǐ kàn guò zhè bù diànyǐng le méi (yǒu). Direct
translation of this sentence is you seen this movie or not?

 

等一下 Děng yī xià is a phrase you use when you want someone to wait a while . 等 means wait and 一下 means a while/a minute. You may also say 等一等 Děng yī děng or 等一会儿 Děng huǐ’r. When you want to be polite, you can add the word Shāo in front of 等一下 to become 稍等一下.

 

好不好 hǎo bù hǎo is a phrase you use when you are making a request or you are seeking an opinion from another person. For example, when you cannot decide which cup, you can seek opinion by asking 这个杯子好不好?Zhège bēizi hǎobù hǎo?When you are requesting someone to do something, you can also use 好不好 hǎo bù hǎo, for example, 你走快一点好不好? Can you walk faster? We have come to the end of our lesson for today. Hope the lesson is informative and enjoyable for you all. See you again for our next lesson.

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Lesson 9: What day is it today?

今天是星期几? Jīntiān shì xīngqí jǐ?

 

When we are saying the days of the week in Chinese, we use the Chinese word 星期 plus a number. Below are the days of the week in Simplified Chinese and Pinyin.

 

Monday                                   星期一                                    Xīngqí yī

Tuesday                                   星期二                                    Xīngqí èr

Wednesday                 星期三                                    Xīngqí sān

Thursday                     星期四                                    Xīngqí sì

Friday                          星期五                                    Xīngqí wǔ

Saturday                      星期六                                    Xīngqí liù

Sunday                                    星期日/星期天                       Xīngqí rì / Xīngqí tiān

Weekend                     周末                            Zhōumò

 

When we want to say the days, we use the Chinese word 天. For example,

 

Today                                      今天                Jīntiān

Tomorrow                                明天                Míngtiān

Day after tomorrow                后天                Hòutiān

Yesterday                                昨天                Zuótiān

The day before yesterday                   前天                Qiántiān

 

What about year then? Well, you need to use the word 年 nián and the rest is similar to days except for last year. For last year, you do not say 昨年 but you must say去年Qùnián.

 

Now let’s test your understanding of telling the days or year or even night. How do you say tonight in Chinese?? The Chinese word for night is 晚 Wǎn. So tonight should be?

If you say 今晚 Jīnwǎn, then you are absolutely correct. The way you explain night is the same as days. However, day after tomorrow night and yesterday evening, we normally say 后天的晚上 Hòutiān de wǎnshàng and 前天的晚上 Qiántiān de wǎnshàng.

 

Now that we know how to say days, years and weeks in Chinese, we shall begin our dialogue for this lesson.

Zhang Yun:     Were you out last night?

Wang Li:         Yes, I went out with my family. Were you looking for me?

Zhang Yun:     Yup. I wanted to know whether you are free this Sunday.

Wang Yun:      This Sunday? Anything special that day?

Zhang Yun:     Well, it’s my birthday and I wanted to celebrate with you.

Wang Li:         I should be free that day. Oh no, what day is it today?

Zhang Yun:     Today? It’s Friday. Why?

Wang Li:         Oh no.. I have a lunch date with my older sister today.

Zhang Yun:     You had better leave now .

Wang Li:         Ok. I will call you later.

 

张云:            你昨晚出去了吗?

王丽:       是的。我和家人出去了。你找我了吗?

张云:       是啊。我想知道这个星期天你是否有空。

王丽:       这个星期天?那天是什么特别的日子吗?

张云:       嗯,那天是我生日。我想和你一起庆祝。

王丽:       我那天应该有空。对了,今天星期几?

张云:       今天?星期五。怎么了?

王丽:       糟了,我今天跟姐姐有约会。

张云:       那你快去吧

王丽:       好的。我得会儿再联络你。

 

Zhāng yún:      Nǐ zuó wǎn chū qù le ma?

Wáng lì:           Shì de. Wǒ hé jiārén chū qù le. Nǐ zhǎo wǒ le ma?

Zhāng yún:      Shì a. Wǒ xiǎng zhīdào zhè ge xīngqí tiān nǐ shì fǒu yǒu kòng.

Wáng lì:           Zhè ge xīngqí tiān ? Nèi tiān shì shén me tèbié de rìzi ma?

Zhāng yún:      Ń, nèi tiān shì wǒ shēngrì. Wǒ xiǎng hé nǐ yī qǐ qìngzhù.

Wáng lì:           Wǒ nèi tiān yìng gāi yǒu kòng. Duì le, jīntiān xīngqí jǐ?

Zhāng yún:      Jīntiān? Xīngqí wǔ. Zěn me le?

Wáng lì:           Zāo le, wǒ jīntiān gēn jiejie yǒu yuēhuì.

Zhāng yún:      Nà nǐ kuài qù ba

Wáng lì:           Hǎo de. Wǒ de huìr zài liánluò nǐ.

 

The 2 expressions we would like to highlight in this lesson are  对了 and 糟了. The phrase对了 is made up of 2 syllables 对 and 了. 对 means correct and了 means different things in different situations, as explained in lesson 5. In the dialogue above, Zhang Yun was talking about her birthday this Sunday and Wang Li suddenly changed to ask what day it is. In this case, 对了 can mean by the way in this situation.

 

糟 means bad or terrible in English. When you add 糟 with 了 it gives the feeling that something bad is going to happen. Well, it might be the case for Wang Li as she has forgotten her date with her older sister. That is why, she exclaimed 糟了. You can use this expression the next time you have forgotten an important date or you have forgotten to do a chore for someone. But we hope the same situation will not happen to you.

 

We hope you have learned much from this lesson. See you again soon for our next lesson on how to tell the time.

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Lesson 8: What do you want to buy?

你要买什么? Nǐ yāomǎi shénme

 

In today’s lesson, we will learn the measurement words in Chinese. Do you know what measurement words are? For example, when you want to say a fish in Chinese, you don’t say 一鱼 but you need to add a measurement word in between 一and 鱼. You need to add the measurement word 条to describe a fish in Chinese. The correct way to say a fish in Chinese is 一条鱼 tiáo yú.

 

Now that you have an idea what measurement words are, let us begin our lesson through the dialogue below. Zhang Yun is accompanying Wang Li to buy a birthday present for her mother. They are at a departmental store.

 

Zhang Yun:     Wang Li, what do you want to buy? (What are you looking for?)

Wang Li:             My mom’s birthday is coming soon, I am looking for a birthday present for her.

Zhang Yun:     Why don’t you buy her a dress?

Wang Li:         My mom does not like dresses.

Zhang Yun:     Well then, why not get her a handbag?

Wang Li:         Good suggestion.

Zhang Yun:     Let us go to the handbag department.

Wang Li:         Ok. Let’s go.

Zhang Yun:     How’s this one?

Wang Li:         Not bad. Let’s buy this one.

 

张云                王丽,你要买什么?

王丽                    我妈妈的生日快到了,我想买份生日礼物给她

张云                买条裙子怎样?

王丽                我妈妈不喜欢穿裙子

张云                那,买手提袋(皮包) 好了

王丽                好建议

张云                我们到皮包部门看看吧

王丽                好的。走吧!

张云                这个手提袋怎样?

王丽        不错。就买这个吧。

 

Zhāng yún       wáng lì, nǐ yāomǎi shénme?

Wáng lì            wǒ māma de shēngrì kuài dàole, wǒ xiǎng mǎi fèn shēngrì lǐwù gěi tā

Zhāng yún       mǎi tiáo qúnzi zěnyàng?

Wáng lì            wǒ māmā bù xǐhuan chuān qúnzi

Zhāng yún       nà, mǎi shǒutí dài (píbāo) hǎole

Wáng lì            hǎo jiànyì

Zhāng yún       wǒmen dào píbāo bùmén kànkan ba

Wáng lì            hǎo de. Zǒu ba!

Zhāng yún       zhège shǒutí dài zěnyàng?

Wáng lì            bùcuò. Jiù mǎi zhège ba.

 

Measurement words

Simplified Chinese PinYin English
Fèn Portion, share
Tiáo A piece
A pieces, a
Zhǐ A
Bēi Cup, glass

 

There are more than 500 measurement words in Chinese. For study purposes, we will just concentrate on those used in the dialogue and another 2 commonly used ones for this lesson. In the dialogue, Wang Li said she wants to buy a present for her mom, and the measurement word for birthday present is Fèn as I guess present is in terms of portion or a share. Other things which you will use Fèn are 一份早餐Yī fèn zǎocān one portion of breakfast,一份点心Yī fèn diǎnxīn one portion of dessert etc.

 

tiáo as mentioned in the dialogue is used to describe things that are long . You can use tiao to describe pants 一条裤子Yītiáo kùzi, snake 一条蛇 Yītiáo shé, fish 一条鱼 Yītiáo yú, scarf 一条围巾 Yītiáo wéijīn.

 

is a very commonly and widely used measurement word. It can use on many things. For example, when you want to say an apple, you say 一个苹果 Yīgè píngguǒ,

a nose 一个鼻子 Yīgè bízi, a person 一个人 Yīgè rén, an egg 一个鸡蛋 Yīgè jīdàn.

 

Zhǐ can be used to describe animals, body parts and accessories. For example, a dog一只狗 Yī zhǐ gǒu, a chicken一只鸡Yī zhǐ jī, a hand一只手 Yī zhī shǒu, a leg一只脚 Yī zhǐ jiǎo, an earring 一只耳环Yī zhǐ ěrhuán, a sock 一只袜子 Yī zhǐ wàzi.

 

杯Bēi is a measurement word for a cup/glass in English. For example, when you are asking for a cup or glass of water, you say 一杯水 Yībēi shuǐ, a cup of coffee 一杯咖啡 Yībēi kāfēi, a cup of tea 一杯茶 Yībēi chá

 

The keyword we would like to highlight in this lesson is the Chinese word 吧ba. The word 吧ba can be used in 3 different situations. Firstly, when you are commanding, requesting or making a suggestion, you can use the word 吧ba at the end of the sentence. For example, in the dialogue above, Zhang Yun suggest to Wang Li to go to the bag department, and she said我们到皮包部门看看.

 

Secondly, when someone said something and you are in agreement with him/her. For example, 好,我们就去那里 (Alright, let’s go there then).

 

Thirdly is when you are in doubt and not very sure of the answer. For example, 这不是你做的?(Is this done by you?).

 

The word 吧 is sometimes confused with the word 呢 and 啊.  We have explained how the words呢 and 啊 should be used in our previous lessons. Please refer to the previous lessons again if you are still not very sure how to use them correctly.

 

Measurement words are rather important in learning Chinese. As there are way too many for you to remember, we suggest that you concentrate on those common ones like ge, zhi, bei etc. And if really want to master them, you can also make flashcards of all the measurement words and memorize them accordingly. Good luck!

 

That’s is all the time we have for you today. Do remember to check back for more interesting Chinese lessons.

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Lesson 7: I am sick

我生病了 Wǒ shēngbìngle

We will begin this lesson on body parts in Chinese.

English Chinese Pinyin
Head tou
Leg Jiǎo
Hand Shǒu
Stomach 肚子 Dùzi
Teeth/Tooth 牙齿 Yáchǐ
Eyes 眼睛 Yǎnjīng
Nose 鼻子 Bízi
Tongue 舌头 Shétou
Fingers 手指 Shǒuzhǐ
Toes 脚趾 Jiǎozhǐ
Knees 膝盖 Xīgài
Throat 喉咙 Hóulóng

 

In Chinese, when we want to say we have a headache, toothache or pain, we add the Chinese word 痛 Tòng or 疼 Téng to the body part that is in pain. For example, headache is 头痛(疼), toothache is 牙齿痛(疼).

 

Now, let’s begin our dialogue for this lesson. Xiao Li is on her way to the supermarket when she saw Zhang Yun. She is surprised to see Zhang Yun not in her working uniform. She called out to her to check what has happened.

Xiao Li: Hey, Zhang Yun
Zhang Yun: Oh, its you, Xiao Li.
Xiao Li: What happened? Why aren’t you at work today?
Zhang Yun: I can’t go because I am sick.
Xiao Li: I see. Which part of the body are you not feeling well?
Zhang Yun: My throat and head are very painful.
Xiao Li: I think you have caught a cold.
Zhang Yun: I think so.
Xiao Li: You had better go see a doctor and rest well.
Zhang Yun: Yes, I am on my way to the clinic now.
Xiao Li: That is good then. You have to take care of yourself.
Zhang Yun: I will. Thank you for your concern.
小丽: 喂,张云
张云: ,是你,小丽
小丽: 怎么了?你怎么今天没去上班
张云: 我病了所以没去。
小丽: 原来是这样。你那里不舒服?
张云: 我喉咙和头很痛。
小丽: 你是感冒了。
张云: 我想是吧。
小丽: 你最好去看医生然后好好休息。
张云: 是的。我现在正要去看医生。
小丽: 好。你得好好照顾自己。
张云: 我会的。谢谢你的关心。
Xiao Li: Wèi, Zhāng yún
Zhang Yun: Ó, shì nǐ, xiǎo lì
Xiao Li: Zěnme Le? Nǐ zěnme jīntiān méi qù shàngbān?
Zhang Yun: Wǒ bìngle suǒyǐ méi qù.
Xiao Li: Yuánlái shì zhèyàng. Nǐ nàlǐ bú shūfú?
Zhang Yun: Wǒ hóulóng hé tóu hěn tòng.
Xiao Li: Wǒ xiǎng nǐ shì gǎnmào le
Zhang Yun: Wǒ xiǎng shì ba
Xiao Li: Nǐ zuì hǎo qù kàn yīshēng ránhòu hǎohǎo xiūxí
Zhang Yun: Shì de. Wǒ xiànzài zhèng yào qù kàn yīshēng
Xiao Li: Nà jiù hǎo. Nǐ de hǎohǎo zhàogù zìjǐ
Zhang Yun: Wǒ huì de. Xièxiè nǐ de guānxīn
Simplified Chinese PinYin English
Ó Oh, ah, ok
上班 shàngbān Go to work
xiǎng Think
jiù Then, as soon as

 

Ó

 

This is an interjection word like the one we learned in our previous lesson 啊. Like the word 啊, can be used in different situation as well. For example, when expressing surprise, you can use哦. For example, 这个苹果真好吃哦! Zhège píngguǒ zhēn hào chī ó (oh, this apple is really nice). You can also use 哦 when you are in agreement. For example, 哦,我会好好做的Ó, wǒ huì hǎohǎo zuò de (Ok, I will do well).

 

上班 shàngbān

 

This phrase上班shàngbān is made up of two Chinese words shàng and bān. Shàng by itself means up and bān means class or team in English. But when you add them together, it means go to work. So, when you want to say go to school, you use the word shàng and the word xué to mean go to school. 上学 shàngxué. When you want to say get off work, you add the word 下to the word班 to mean get off work 下班 Xiàbān. But when you want to say get off school, you don’t say 下学 but 放学 Fàngxué

 

xiǎng

 

The word xiǎng when used by itself means to think as a verb. However, the meaning of the word changes when you add this word with another Chinese word. For example, 想念 means to miss like I miss my mother ( 我想念我妈妈Wǒ xiǎngniàn wǒ māma). Another example is 想到xiǎngdào. 想到 means to call to mind. For example, when I saw his mom, I thought of my mom ( 我看到他妈妈的时候,我就想到我妈妈Wǒ kàn dào tā māma de shíhou, wǒ jiù xiǎngdào wǒ māma).

 

jiù

 

jiù can be used to emphasize a fact or explaining an event happening as soon as the first event has finished. For example, 他一回到家去冲凉 Tā yī huí dàojiā jiù qù chōngliáng He has his shower as soon as he reaches home. This is talking about an event happening when he reaches home. 你饿了去吃饭吧! Nǐ èle jiù qù chīfàn ba.  Go and eat if you are hungry! This sentence states the fact that he is hungry and should go and eat.

 

That is all for this lesson. Hope to see you again in our next Chinese lesson.

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Lesson 6: May I know who are you looking for?

请问您找谁? Qǐng Wèn Nín Zhaǒ Sheí

Today’s conversation is taken place over the phone. In this lesson, we will teach you what to say when someone call you or what you should say when you call someone in Chinese.

Wang Ling:             Hello, may I know who are you looking for?

Zhang Yun:             Hello, may I speak to Wang Li.

Wang Ling:             May I ask who is that looking for her?

Zhang Yun:             I am Zhang Yun.

Wang Ling:             Hold on please.

Wang Li:                 Hello, Zhang Yun. What’s up?

Zhang Yun:             Nothing important. Just want to invite you to a movie.

Wang Yun:             Great. Lets meet at the movie theatre.

Zhang Yun:             Ok. See you later.

 

王玲:                  喂。请问您找谁?

张云:                  喂。请问王丽在家吗?

王玲:                  请问您是哪位找她?

张云:                  我是张云。

王玲:                  请您等一等。

王丽:                  喂,张云。你找我有事吗?

张云:                  没什么重要的事。我想请你去看电影。

王丽:                  好啊。我们在电影院门口见。

张云:                  好的。我们不见不散。

 

Wáng Líng:        Weí. Qǐng Wèn Nín Zhaǒ Sheí

ZhāngYún:         Weí. Qǐng Wèn Wáng Lì Zaì Jiā Ma?

Wáng Líng:         Qǐng Wèn Nín Nǎ Weì Zhaǒ Ta?

ZhāngYún:           Wǒ Shì Zhāng Yún.

Wáng Líng:         Qǐng Nín Děng Yì Děng.

Wáng Lì:            Weí Zhāng Yún, Nǐ Zhaǒ Wǒ YoǔShì Ma?

ZhāngYún:         Meí ShénMe Zhòng Yaò De Shì. Wǒ Xiǎng Qǐng Nǐ Qù Kàn DiànYǐng.

Wáng Lì:             Haǒ āh. Wǒ Men Zaì Diàn Yǐng Yuàn Mén Koǔ Jiàn.

ZhāngYún:         Haǒ De. Wǒ Men Bù Jiàn Bù Sàn.

 

Alright, now it is time for us to go on to the keywords for this lesson. The words we would like to bring into your attention are listed below:-

 

Simplified Chinese Pinyin English
请问 qǐng wèn Polite form; please
weíweì HelloFeed, to attract attention
meí Not; have not
āh Consent/agreementExpress surprise,express understanding

 

请问 Qǐng Wèn

This is a polite form of asking a question. When you want to ask something from someone, especially from a stranger, we normally use  Qǐng Wèn. For example, if you want to ask where the toilet is, you can say 请问厕所在哪里? Qǐng Wèn Cè Suǒ Zaì Nǎ Lǐ? Of course you may omit Qǐng Wèn but it is always better to be polite.

 

喂 Wei

This character Wei can be pronounced in the 2nd tone and the 4th tone. The meaning is completely different when the tone changes. When it is in the 2nd tone, it means Hello as in our conversation today. You begin by saying Weí when you are making a call. But when you are pronouncing this character in the 4th tone, it means to feed as in feeding the baby. In Chinese you say 喂孩子吃饭 Weì HaíZǐChīFàn.

 

This word can also be used to attract attention when you are using it in the 4th tone. It has the English equivalent of Hey. For example, 喂,你的钱掉了 Weì, Nǐ De Qián Diaò LeHey, you dropped your money.

 

 

没 Meí

Meí means nothing or have not in English. For example, when you want to say you have no more money, you can say 我没钱了 Wǒ Meí Qián Le. If you can remember from our last lesson, le means already. As such, the no more here can be represented by le. However, if you were to say 我没钱, it means I have no money. But with the le behind, it stresses the fact that you have already used up all your money.

 

āh

The meaning of the word can be expressed differently when use it in front or at the end of a sentence.

1.  When used behind a sentence, it can express consent/agreement just like in our dialogue above. Wang Li agreed to go see a movie with Zhang Yun and she said Hao Ah 好啊.

2.  The word can mean explanation when used at the end of a sentence. For example, 我没空才没去啊 Wǒ Meí Kòng Caí Meí Qù āh I did not go because I was busy.

3. When you are reminding someone to do something, you can also use at the end of the sentence.  For example, Remember to eat! 记得吃饭啊 jì de chī fàn āh

When you use in front of a sentence, it expresses that you are surprised by something. For example, 啊!我忘了洗脸 Ah, I forgot to wash my face. You are surprised to find out that you have not washed your face. āh! WǒWàng Le Xǐ Liǎn

can also express a situation when an idea has just suddenly came to you. For example, 啊!我终于知道怎么做! Ah! I finally know how to do it. Wǒ Zhōng Yú Zhī Daò ZěnMe Zuò

That is all for today’s lesson. See you again soon.

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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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Lesson 4: Where are you from?

第四课 你是哪国人?

In this lesson, we will learn how to ask a person’s nationality or where this person is from. In Chinese, the way to ask this question is very easy. All you need to do is to add the word Rén 人 after the country’s name. In order to have a better understanding regarding this, let’s refer to the dialogue below. This dialogue is between Peter, an Australian and Li Xin from Taiwan.

 

Li Xin:  Hello, Peter?

Peter :   Hello, Li Xin. Where are you from?

Li Xin:  I’m from Taiwan (I’m Taiwanese). How about you?

Peter :   I’m from Australia. (I’m Australian)

LiXin:   Australia is a beautiful country.

Peter:    Thank you. Taiwan is a beautiful country too.

Li Xin:  Are you busy now?

Peter:    No, not really. Why?

Li Xin:  Do you want to go for a cup of coffee?

Peter:    That’s a great idea.

 

李心                   你好,彼得。

彼得                   你好,李心。你是哪国人?

李心                   我是台湾人。你呢?

彼得                   我是澳洲人。

李心                   澳洲是个美丽的国家。

彼得                   谢谢。台湾也很美丽。

李心                   你现在忙吗?

彼得                   不是很忙。有什么事吗?

李心                   你要去喝杯咖啡吗?

彼得                   好主意。

 

LǏ Xīn:    Nǐ Haǒ, Bǐ Dé

Bǐ Dé:     Nǐ Haǒ, LǏ Xīn. Nǐ Shì Nǎ Guó Rén?

LǏ Xīn:   Wǒ Shì Taí Wān Rén. Nǐ Ne?

Bǐ Dé:    Wǒ Shì Aò Zhoū Rén.

Lǐ Xīn:   Aò Zhoū Shì Gě Meǐ Lì Dě Guó Jiā

Bǐ Dé:    Xiě Xie. Taǐ Wān Yě Hěn Meǐ Lì.

Lǐ Xīn:   Nǐ Xiàn Zaì Máng Ma?

Bǐ Dé:    Bú Shì Hěn Máng. Yoǔ Shěn Me Shì Ma?

Lǐ Xīn:   Nǐ Yaò Qù Hē Beī Kā Feī Ma?

Bǐ Dé:    Haǒ Zhǔ Yi.

 

Below is a list of words which we would like to emphasize for this lesson. Further explanation has been provided on each of the words listed in the table so that you can understand how to use them correctly.

 

Simplified Chinese PinYin English
Haǒ Good, well, ok,to be fond of
Nǎ, Neǐ Which
Shì Yes, is, am, are
Ma Question particle
Ne Question particle

 

Haǒ

 

The word Haǒ carries a different meaning when used in different context. Haǒ can mean OK/Alright in a Yes or No question . For example, 你要去吃午餐吗?(Nǐ Yaò Qù Cī Wǔ Cān Ma?) you want to have lunch together? meaning OK/alright. You can say Haǒ De 好的 or just Haǒ.

 

Haǒ can also mean good as in 这个人很 This person is very good. Over here, the word Haǒ is used as an adjective describing a person. When used as a verb, the word haǒ 好 can be expressed as 我好喜他 (Wǒ Haǒ Xǐ Huan Tā) I like him very much.

 

Na / Nei

 

You can pronounce this word as Na / Nei. The difference in pronunciation does not affect the meaning of the word. The word Na means “which / where” as in 你是国人?in the dialogue we have just learned. Na has an indefinite implication. When you are not certain about something, you can ask the question using Na . For example, Where is the book? 书在?(Shū Zaì Na?)

Shì

 

Shì , like the word Haǒ, has different meaning when placed in different context. Shì is yes when you are asking a Yes or No question. This is similar to Haǒ. For example, 你叫玛丽吗?(Nǐ Jiaò Mǎ Lì Ma?) Is your name Mary? You can say Shì meaning Yes. If the answer is no, you can answer by adding Bù 不 in front of the word是 to mean No 不是 (Bù Shì).

 

When using Shì as a verb, it is placed right after the subject. This is the same as in English. For example, 她我妈妈 (Tā Shì Wǒ Mā Ma   ) She is my mother. The word 她 means she in English. We use the Chinese word 他 when referring to he. And 它 (It)  when talking about things or animals.

 

Ma

 

Ma is an interrogative particle for question. You will expect a Yes or No answer when asked. In the dialogue above, Li Xin asked Peter whether he is busy. She said你现在忙吗?(Nǐ Xiàn Zaì Máng Ma?). To that, Peter said 不是很忙 (Bú Shì Hěn Máng) No, not really. In the future, when someone ask you a question ending in Ma, be sure to say Yes or No to him/her. You do not need to repeat the whole sentence, you could just say Shì or Bú Shì 不.

 

Ne

 

Ne and Ma are similar in that they are both particle for question. However, they are not interchangeable. You cannot ask 你现在忙?instead of你现在忙? Ne has a similar meaning as What about? How about? in English. When asked a question ending in Ne , you don’t answer Yes or No. For example, in the dialogue above, Li Xin asked Peter the same question, where are you from? after she told Peter that she is from Taiwan. Peter answered He is Australian 我是澳洲人 (Wǒ Shì Aò Zhoū Rén) rather than Yes Shì or No Bú Shì 不. Please remember that Ne and Ma should be answered differently.

 

How to say your nationality:

 

It is super easy to say your nationality in Chinese. As we have explained in the very beginning, all you need to do is to add the word Rén 人 after the name of your country. For example, When you want to say I am an American, you just say 美国人 (Meǐ Guó Rén) in front of your country name 美国 America. Below are some more examples of nationalities you might be interested to know.

韩国人 Korean Hán Guó Rén
新加坡人 Singaporean Xīn Jiā Pō Rén
印尼人 Indonesian Yìn Ní Rén
中国人 Chinese Zhōng Guó Rén
马来西亚人 Malaysian Mǎ Laí Xī Yà Rén

That is all for today. We hope you have enjoyed the lesson and hope to see you at the next lesson.

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Lesson 3: What is your name?

English Text

Xiao Ming: Hello.
Mei Li: Hello.
Xiao Ming: What is your name?
Mei Li: My name is Mei Li. How about you?
Xiao Ming: My name is Xiao Ming.
Mei Li: Goodbye.
Xiao Ming: Goodbye.

Chinese Text with PinYin

小明: 你好。 Xiǎo míng: nǐ hǎo
美丽: 你好。 Měi lì: nǐ hǎo
小明: 你叫什么名字? Xiǎo míng: nǐ jiào shén me míng zi
美丽: 我叫美丽。你呢? Měi lì: wǒ jiào měi lì nǐ ne
小明: 我叫小明。 Xiǎo míng: wǒ jiào Xiǎo míng
美丽: 再见。 Měi lì: zài jiàn
小明: 再见。 Xiǎo míng: zài jiàn

生词 shēng cí New words

1.         叫                    jiào call

他的名字叫小明。 Tā de míng  zi  jiào  xiǎo míng

His name is Xiao Ming.

2.         什么                shén me what

这是什么? zhè shì shén me

What is this?

3.         名                    míng name

她的名字很特别。 tā de míng zi  hěn tè bié

Her name is very special.

4.         字                    zi word

这个字很难念。 zhè gè zì hěn nán niàn

This word is very difficult to pronounce.

5.         美                    měi beautiful; pretty

玛丽很美。 mǎ lì hěn měi

Mary is very beautiful.

6.         小                    Xiǎo small; tiny

这个小狗很可爱。 zhè gè xiǎo gǒu hěn kě ài

This puppy is very cute.

7.         明                    míng bright; clear; understand

你明白我的问题吗? nǐ míng bai wǒ de wèn tí mǎ

Do you understand my question?

8.         再                    zài again

请你再说一遍。 qǐng nǐ zài shuō yī biàn

Could you say it once again?

9.         见                    jian meet; see

我很高兴见到你。 wǒ  hěn gāo xìng jiàn dào nǐ

I am very happy to see you.

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Lesson 2: Hello

English Text

Saying Hello

John: Hello, Mary
Mary: Hello, John

Greetings

John: How are you, Mary?
Mary: I’m fine, and you?
John: I’m fine too. Thank you.

Chinese Text with PinYin

打招呼 dǎ zhāo hu

约翰: 你好,玛丽。 yuē hàn: nǐ hǎomǎ lì
玛丽: 你好,约翰 mǎ lì: nǐ hǎoyuē hàn

问候 wèn hòu

约翰: 玛丽,你好吗? yuē hàn: mǎ lìnǐ hǎo mǎ
玛丽: 我很好,你呢? mǎ lì: wǒ hěn hǎonǐ ne
约翰: 也很好。谢谢。 yuē hàn: yě hěn hǎoxiè xie

生词 shēng cí New words

1.         你                    you

Sample Sentence (例句 lì jù):

你在做什么? nǐ   zài  zuò  shén  me

What are you doing?

2.         好                    hǎo good; well; fine; ok

这个蛋糕真好吃。 zhè  gè  dàn  gāo zhēn  hǎo  chī

This cake is very delicious.

3.         吗                    interrogative particle for question

你现在在家吗? nǐ   xiàn  zài  zài  jiā mǎ

Are you at home now?

4.         我                    I; me

我今天很忙。 wǒ  jīn  tiān  hěn  máng

I am very busy today.

5.         很                    hěn very

我很喜欢这个人。 wǒ  hěn  xǐ  huan  zhè  gè  rén

I like this person very much.

6.         呢                    ne a model particle used for elliptical questions

你要去哪里呢? nǐ  yāo  qù  nǎ  li  ne

Where are you going?

7.         也                    too; also

我也要吃饭。 wǒ  yě  yāo  chī  fàn

I want to eat rice too.

8.         打                    beat; strike

约翰在打电话。 yuē  hàn  zài  dǎ  diàn  huà

John is making a call.

9.         招呼                zhāo hu take care of somebody; call out to somebody

玛丽在忙着招呼客人。 mǎ lì zài máng zhù zhāo hu kè ren.

Mary is busy taking care of the guest.

10.       问                    wèn ask; question

你想问我什么? nǐ   xiǎng  wèn  wǒ  shén  me  ?

What do you want to ask me?

11.       候                    hòu wait; time

你什么时候回来? nǐ   shén  me  shí  hòu  huí  lai?

What time are you coming back?

12.       生                    shēng raw; grow; life

你喜欢吃生鱼片吗? nǐ  xǐ  huan  chī  shēng  yú  piàn  mǎ

Do you like to eat Sashimi/raw fish?

13.       词                    word

我喜欢这首歌的歌词。 Wǒ  hěn xǐ huan zhè shǒu gē  de gē cí

I like the lyrics of this song.

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