ChineseClass101 Absolute Beginner S2 Curriculum 

In the second season of the Absolute Beginner Series, Echo and David will teach you useful Chinese vocabulary, grammar and phrases like how to say "impossible", use the possessive, describe colors and much more. You’ll also hear about the rules of Mahjong, Chinese bathrooms and other cultural tips you won’t read in a textbook!

Lesson Title Topic Function Conversation in target language Cultural Insight Vocabulary Expressions Grammar
#1 Meeting - What's your name? greeting going to work A: 早啊。
B: 早,你去哪儿啊?
A: 我去上班。拜拜。
B: 再见。
The Early Bird Gets a Nap 上午, 早上, 中午, 下午, 晚上 早,你去哪儿啊?
zǎo, nǐ qù nǎr a?
"Good morning, where are you going?"
啊 (A) is a modal particle that we use to soften the message of a sentence. When used at the end of questions and commands, it causes the utterance to sound less intrusive and forceful.
#2 Meeting - Where are you from? greeting long time no see A: 好久不见。
B: 是啊,你好吗?
A: 挺好的,你呢?
B: 还不错。
Common Smalltalk 我很好, 还不错, 挺好的, 还行 还不错。
hái bùcuò.
"Not bad."
不错 (búcuò) is an adjective that means "not bad" or "good." 不 means "not," and 错 means "wrong." When we put these two characters together, it means "not wrong" or "correct."
#3 Meeting - China Conversation pet sick pet A: 你的狗病了。
B: 不可能。
A: 真的,去医院吧。
B: 胡说。
Vaccines for Pets 病, 脏, 老, 吵, 掉毛 她不可能辞职。
tā bù kěnéng cízhí.
"It's impossible for her to resign."
(subject) + 不可能 "impossible" + (verb)
#4 Meeting - Studying Chinese pet sick pet A: 你怎么了?
B: 我不好。
A: 你为什么哭了?
B: 我的狗病了。
The Pressure of China 笑, 哭, 生气, 高兴, 伤心 你为什么哭了?
nǐ wèishénme kū le?
"Why are you crying?"
为什么 (Wèi shén me) is a pronoun we use to ask a "why" question. Its position in the sentence is flexible: it can occur either before or after the subject.
#5 Meeting - Time for Class refusal how to avoid fun dates A: 你忙吗?
B: 不忙,怎么了?
A: 我们出去玩儿吧。
B: 对不起,我累了。
Generation Differences 玩儿, 看电影, 喝咖啡, 旅游, 买东西 我们出去玩儿吧
wǒmen chūqù wánr ba.
"Let's go out for some fun."
出去 (chūqù) and 进来 (jìnlai) are both verbs that indicate a move either from inside to out or from outside to in.
#6 Eating - What do you want to eat? washroom how to navigate complicated washroom situations A: 洗手间有人吗?
B: 有人,稍等!
A: 你快点儿!
B: 稍等!
Not So Private Bathrooms 厕所, 洗手间, 马桶, 水龙头 洗手间有人吗?
xǐshǒujiān yǒu rén ma?
"Is there anyone in the bathroom?"
有 is a verb, which means "to have" or "to exist." You can use it to both represent real or abstract ideas or things.
#7 Eating - Get me to a restaurant invitation how to invite friends A: 我们吃饭吧。
B: 你饿了吗?
A: 嗯。
B: 我也饿了。
A: 我们出去吃吧。
Table for One? 行, 烦, 饿, 困, 累, 饱, 忙 我也饿了。
wǒ yě è le.
"I'm hungry too."
positive sentence: (subject) + 也 "also" + (verb/adjective)
negative sentence: (subject) + 也 "also" + 不 "not" + (verb/adjective)
#8 Eating - Ordering Noodles work Chinese work culture A: 你迟到了!
B: 我没有, 还早呢。
A: 现在几点?
B: 哦……迟到了。
Poor Punctuality 迟到, 还, 早, 现在, 几点 我没有, 还早呢。
wǒ méiyǒu, hái zǎo ne.
"No I'm not, it's still early."
In its simplest form, the adverb 还 functions as "still" or "as before." We place it in front of verbs or adjectives.
#9 Eating - Delicious telephone looking for someone A: 你好,是小王吗?
B: 不是。
A: 请问,小王在吗?
B: 不在。
A: 他去哪儿了?
B: 不知道。
Chinese Telephone Rates 电话, 打, 号码, 在, 喂, 请问, 留言, 转 不知道。
bù zhīdào.
"I don't know."
不 + (verb phrase)
不 + (adjective)
不 + (adverb)
#10 Eating - Waiter, the Bill! adjectives fast and slow A: 你慢点儿。
B: 你快点儿。
A: 你走路太快。
B: 你太慢。
A: 我累死了!
The Personal Shopper 小声点儿, 死, 大声点儿, 快点儿, 慢点儿, 早点儿, 晚点儿 我累死了!
wǒ lèi sǐ le!
"I'm exhausted!"
死 is a verb that means "to die." When followed by 了 and preceded by an adjective, the connotation changes from literal to metaphorical. The particle 了 indicates something will happen in a short time.
#11 Essentials - Are you a foreigner? bicycle new bicycle A: 你看,我的新自行车。
B: 很漂亮!
A: 也很便宜,100块钱。
Soaring Bicycle Crime Wave 摩托车, 自行车, 火车, 出租车, 滑板 我的新自行车。
wǒ de xīn zìxíngchē.
"My new bicycle."
De is a structural particle we use to show possession or ownership. The noun before 的 (de) is the owner of the noun after 的 (de).
#12 Essentials - Finding a Bathroom ice cream the best way to cool off in the summer A: 今天真热。
B: 我要吃冰激凌。
A: 我也想吃。
B: 我请你。
Chinese Electrical Blackouts 冷, 凉, 热, 暖和, 闷 我要吃冰激凌.
wǒ yào chī bīngjīlíng.
"I want to eat ice cream."
想 and 要 both share a meaning of "to want." However, you can use these two verbs in different situations with slight differences in meaning.
#13 Essentials - Let me through! language skills written Chinese A: 你会说英语吗?
B: 不会。
A: 你会说中文吗?
B: 不会。
A: 骗子!
The English Language in China 英语, 汉语, 中文, 英文, 法语, 德语 你会说中文吗? nǐ huì shuō zhōngwén ma?
"Can you speak Chinese?"
会 (Huì) is an auxiliary verb used to express that one is able to do a certain acquired skill.
#14 Essentials - Can you write that down? weather weather A: 打闪了。
B: 快下雨了。
A: 带伞吧。
B: 我们明天去吧。
Wacky Weather in Beijing 打闪, 打雷, 风, 下雨, 下雪 快下雨了。kuài xiàyǔ le.
"It's about to rain."
(Adverb) + 快 "about to" + (Verb) + 了 "ending particle"
#15 Essentials - No, thanks! no ice what happens when tragedy strikes A: 啤酒加冰。
B: 今天没有冰。
A: 为什么没有?
B: 冰箱坏了。
Hot and Cold Beverages in China 可乐, 啤酒, 冰, 冰箱, 果汁, 雪碧, 芬达 啤酒加冰。 píjiǔ jiā bīng.
"Add ice to the beer."
加 is a verb meaning, "to add."
#16 Getting Around - Finding the Subway theft the easiest way to sympathize with someone A: 我的钱包丢了。
B: 怎么丢的?
A: 被偷了。
B: 你真倒霉。
theft & security 偷, 倒霉, 丢, 钱包, 手机, 自行车, 钥匙 怎么丢的?zěnme diū de?
"How did you lose it?"
(subject) + 怎么"how" + (verb phrase)
(subject) + (psychological verb) + 怎么 "how" + (verb phrase)
#17 Getting Around - Does this bus go to …..? be careful the importance of paying attention A: 上海真大!
B: 楼也很高。
A: 对,真高啊!
B: 小心!车!
The Rise of the Skyscraper 超市, 马路, 楼, 商场, 车, 很, 真 上海真大!Shànghǎi zhēn dà!
"Shanghai is really big!"
Subject + 真 "really" /很 "very" + (Adjective) or (Adverb)
#18 Getting Around - How do I get home? inquiry how to use this? A: 这个怎么用?
B: 很简单, 你看。
A: 这么简单?谢谢!
B: 不客气。
Becoming Adjusted to Life in China 方便, 麻烦, 难, 容易, 简单, 不客气 这么简单?zhème jiǎndān?
"So simple?"
这么 is an adverb. We put it in front of a verb or adjective indicating high degree.
#19 Getting Around - I want to go here. frequency how often A: 昨天你吃什么了?
B: 我吃火锅了。
A: 很贵吗?
B: 对。 我一年吃一次。
Hotpot 西餐, 料理, 中餐, 快餐, 火锅, 次 我一年吃一次。 wǒ yī nián chī yī cì.
"I can only eat it once a year."
cì (次) is a verbal measure word indicating the frequency of an action. Furthermore 次 can be combined with another time word such as 年 (nián), 周, or 天 to indicate that an action happens at repeated intervals.
#20 Asking Directions refusal dessert? A: 来一杯奶昔吧?
B: 我不喜欢甜的。
A: 来一个圣代?
B: 我说了,我不喜欢甜的。
Ice Cream in China 奶茶, 糖, 甜, 圣代, 奶昔, 杯 来一杯奶昔吧? lái yī bēi nǎixī ba?
"Want a milkshake?"
when 来 "to come" is used when purchasing things at a restaurant or store, the meaning of 来 becomes "to bring"
#21 Buying - This and That computer new computer A: 你的电脑好轻啊!
B: 这是新款。
A: 很贵吗?
B: 不贵。是国产的。
Computer Trends in China 屏幕, 键盘, 鼠标, 硬盘, 耳机 你的电脑好轻啊!nǐ de diànnǎo hǎo qīng a!
"Your computer is very light."
We usually use 好 as an adjective which means, "good." However, recently, 好 now can function as an adverb taking the same meaning as 很 "very".
#22 Buying - Getting a Better Price fashion it's ugly! A: 这件蓝色的怎么样?
B: 有点儿大。
A: 那件绿色的呢?
B: 太难看了。
"Crazy" Colors in China 绿色, 蓝色, 红色, 白色, 黑色 太难看了。
tài nánkàn le.
"Too ugly."
难 (Nán~) is a phrase used to express that an action is unpleasant or has a negative connotation. It's formed by adding an action verb after 难.
#23 Buying - Finding a Phone Card cell phone new cell phone A: 老公,我要新手机!
B: 你的手机很新。
A: 但是不好看。
B: 我没钱,你自己买吧。
Cell Phone Turnaround 相机,手表,手机,电脑,音箱 我没钱,你自己买吧。wǒ méi qián, nǐ zìjǐ mǎi ba.
"I don't have any money, you can buy one yourself."
自己 (zìjǐ) is a pronoun meaning, "oneself." It is commonly used with other pronouns such as 你 (nǐ), 我 (wǒ), and 他 (tā).
#24 Buying - Finding a Phone Card pollution looking at stars A: 我看不见星星。
B: 为什么?
A: 云太多了。
B: 那不是云,是污染。
Blue Sky Days in China 星星, 雾, 太阳, 月亮, 云, 污染 云太多了。 yún tài duō le.
"There's so many clouds."
太…了 (tài …le) can be used to modify adjectives, certain verbs, auxiliary verbs, and phrases meaning, "too," or "excessively."
#25 Getting a train ticket entertainment mahjong & cards A: 想打麻将吗?
B: 但我们没有麻将。
A: 打扑克怎么样?
B: 好吧。我洗牌。
Mahjong in China 麻将, 扑克, 游戏, 电脑游戏, 牌, 赌博 但我们没有麻将。 dàn wǒmen méiyǒu májiàng.
"But I don't have a Mahjong table."
但 (dàn), 但是 (dànshì), 可 (kě), and 可是 (kěshì) are all conjunctions meaning "but," and all of them can be used colloquially.