Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Amber: Hey everybody, welcome back to ChineseClass101.com. I’m Amber.
Victor: 大家好(Dàjiā hǎo),我是(Wǒ shì) Victor.
Amber: And today is our Absolute Beginner Lesson, Season 1 Lesson 10.
Victor: Yeah, and it’s still about eating.
Amber: Well, now it’s kind of post-eating because it’s asking for the all important bill.
Victor: The bill.
Amber: And calling for the waiter.
Victor: So, “Waiter, the bill.” It may sound a little strange in English, right, because you never call that out.
Amber: Yeah, that’s the thing. This lesson is going to teach you about Chinese restaurant etiquette.
Victor: Right.
Amber: And that kind of begins with the lesson on how to yell. It’s actually the truth, you have to.
Victor: You actually do it because people don’t come to check out on you. You have to let them know you need something.
Amber: Yeah, you’re going to have to learn to holler if you want to get some waiter action.
Victor: It’s part of the restaurant energy flow.
Amber: Yeah. So, in this lesson, you’re going to learn how to call the waiter over and how to ask for the bill. And also we’ll learn some money words as well.
Victor: This conversation takes place in a restaurant.
Amber: Yeah, and it’s between the waiter and a customer, okay. So we’re going to listen to the dialogue, but one thing we want to add just to remind everybody, I don’t know if you know but if you have a 3G phone for basic and premium members, you can see the lesson notes in your favorite browser on your phone.
Victor: So stop by ChineseClass101.com to find out more.
Amber: Yeah. And now, let’s listen to the conversation.
DIALOGUES
Victor: 服务员,买单!(Fúwùyuán, mǎidān!)
Amber: 您好,十八元。(Nínhǎo, shíbā yuán.)
Victor: 哇,真便宜!(Wa, zhēn piányì!)
Amber: 十八块钱!(Shíbā kuài qián!)
Amber: One more time, a little slower.
Victor: 服务员,买单!(Fúwùyuán, mǎidān!)
Amber: 您好,十八元。(Nínhǎo, shíbā yuán.)
Victor: 哇,真便宜!(Wa, zhēn piányì!)
Amber: 十八块钱!(Shíbā kuài qián!)
Amber: One more time, with the English.
Victor: 服务员,买单!(Fúwùyuán, mǎidān!)
Amber: Waiter, the bill.
Amber: 您好,十八元。(Nínhǎo, shíbā yuán.). Hello, 18 renminbi.
Victor: 哇,真便宜!(Wa, zhēn piányì!)
Amber: Wow, so cheap.
Amber: 十八块钱!(Shíbā kuài qián!)
Amber: 18 renminbi.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Amber:Okay so, I don’t know if my dialogue, if you really yelled it loud enough. But you’ll know whether you are loud enough if they came over to your table.
Victor: Right. You know what it is though to ask for a bill. I think that’s part of the restaurant etiquette that shows a lot about Chinese culture because if they gave you the bill like in the west…
Amber: Yeah.
Victor:…that’s not quite acceptable in Chinese culture because it’s almost like a sign you’re trying to get the customer out.
Amber: Right.
Victor: So it’s not very hospitable to do that. So the customer usually takes the role of asking for the bill and say, “I’m ready to leave.”
Amber: Yeah. And in fact, this yelling for the waiter is going to be very high-frequency language because even to order, you generally have to kind of yell at the waiter to come over. Okay, so let’s take a closer look at the vocab for this lesson.
VOCAB LIST
Victor: And now, the vocab section.
Victor: 服務員(fúwùyuán)
Amber: Waiter.
Victor: 買單(mǎidān)
Amber: To bring the check at a restaurant.
Victor: 十八(shíbā)
Amber: 18.
Victor: 元(yuán)
Amber: Main denomination of the renminbi.
Victor: 哇(wa)
Amber: Wow.
Victor: 真(zhēn)
Amber: Really?
Victor: 便宜(piányì)
Amber: Inexpensive.
Victor: 塊(kuài)
Amber: Measure word for money.
Victor: 錢(qián)
Amber: Money.
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Victor: So let’s look at the vocab for this lesson, starting with the word you need to call out.
Amber: For waiter which is?
Victor: ‘服务员’ / 服(‘Fúwùyuán’/ fú) is a second tone, 务(Wù) is a fourth tone and 员(Yuán) is a second tone.
Amber: Right. So you’re going to probably need to call this out when you, A, need to order, B, need the bill or anything else in between for that matter.
Victor: Right.
Amber: And one thing I know is I lived in Shanghai before and it’s very common for people if the waiter is actually a Female, a waitress. People often will yell 小姐(Xiǎojiě) which mean, “Miss.”
Victor: Miss.
Amber: However, this is some word of caution because you will hear this said in the maybe southern parts of China, but in the northern part, it’s considered quite derogatory, isn’t it, Victor?
Victor: Right.
Amber: What does that mean?
Victor: Because “miss” or 小姐(Xiǎojiě), sometimes it means kind of like Female who perform, you know.
Amber: Like I heard it meant prostitute or something.
Victor: Yeah, basically that.
Amber: Lady of the night.
Victor: And I mean it’s been a long time ago. I mean, you know, my mother always cautions me to never say 小姐。(Xiǎojiě.) But every time I’m in China, I say it.
Amber: Yeah.
Victor: So it all depends on how you use it, right? I mean, it does mean, “Miss,”
Amber: Yeah.
Victor: …which is a very formal way of addressing a young Female, so it’s not like you say something and people are going to freak out.
Amber: Yeah, hopefully. Okay. And so the next vocab word we heard, very important, is the one you’ll have to yell out to get the bill or the check.
Victor: It is 买单(Mǎidān). 买(Mǎi) is a third tone and 单(Dān) is first tone.
Amber: So broken down actually those words, those characters are the character, first 买(Mǎi) is ”to buy” and the 单(Dān) is?
Victor: Kind of like a sheet of paper, but in this case will be the bill.
Amber: Yeah, so it makes sense.
Victor: So one note about this phrase, 买单(Mǎidān) is kind of like a nicer sounding phrase to say, “I want to pay the bill.” And it basically came out when I was, you know, probably in my early teens.
Amber: Oh, so it’s more like a more modern term?
Victor: Yeah, more modern. There was actually a sketch on TV about this and some people didn’t know what it meant when it first came out. So when two friends went to a restaurant to eat and one friend said, 买单(Mǎidān) means, “We’re done and we’re full” right, I’m going to pay the bill.” And the one says, “What else are you going to buy, we’re so full already.”
Amber: Yeah.
Victor: Because the phrase means “to buy something”, right?
Amber: He wants to buy the bill. It makes sense in a way.
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: Okay. So it sounds like this seems to have a lot of hollering and exclamation. So now we’re going to teach you an exclamation in Chinese too that was in the dialogue and it’s the equivalent of “Wow!”
Victor: And that is 哇(Wa).
Amber: Wow..
Victor: Kind of the same almost.
Amber: Almost the same. And what are they wowing about, Victor, I mean there is something quite exciting in this dialogue and very exciting about eating in China.
Victor: Right. And I think this is true for most places in China is that the stuff there is very, very cheap.
Amber: Right. And so they are wowing about the bill because it’s very?
Victor: Inexpensive, 便宜(Piányí) So the first word 便宜(Piányí) is second tone and the second word is the neutral tone. And again it’s Pianyi and it means “inexpensive.”
Amber: That’s right and the good news is you can generally get very inexpensive food everywhere in China. So you can use this phrase often.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Okay, on to the grammar.
GRAMMAR POINT
Victor: Now, let’s have a little money discussion, yeah, because there are a few ways to expressing amounts of money in Chinese.
Amber: That’s right. So let’s start with when the waitress brings the bill. She said, ‘十八元’(Shíbā yuán). So first of all let’s just break this apart. We have the number, the total first, which was 18 and that is?
Victor: 十八(Shíbā). 十(Shí) is second tone and 八(Bā) is first tone.
Amber: Yeah and really literally it means “ten, eight,” and that’s the word for 18. That’s how easy Chinese number though. But we’ll have more on that in the future lesson. Then you have the money word that you’re going to use. And there’s a few of them in Chinese actually.
Victor: Right. And this case, she said, 十八元。(Shíbā yuán.) 元(Yuán) which is second tone and it’s the official unit for the Chinese currency.
Amber: Yeah, it’s a more formal term, slightly more formal. Now, another one that we hear in the dialogue is a little bit later on, when the customer repeats the price. And this one I think is a little bit more common, more colloquial.
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: How do they say 18 renminbi?
Victor: And they said 十八块钱!(Shíbā kuài qián!)
Amber: Right. So again, it’s the amount first, 18, 十八(Shíbā) And then we hear them say, 十八块钱(Shíbā kuài qián)
Victor: 块钱(Kuài qián) right?
Amber: Um-hum, this is two words. The first one is 块(Kuài) it’s a measure word, it’s fourth tone. The next word is 钱.(Qián.),it’s the word for “money.” So here’s a little thing in Chinese we’re going to introduce to you now, measure words. So since we are talking about amount of something right now, it’s a good time to tell you about measure words. Money is something that always uses measure words when you’re talking about it because it’s always an amount.
Victor: Right.
Amber: So whenever you’re enumerating something in Chinese, you use a measure word to sort of quantify an amount of something. So what did we just hear, we heard 十八(Shíbā)
Victor: 块钱(Kuài qián)
Amber: And we said 块(Kuài) is a measure word. 钱(Qián) is the word for “money,” so after the number put a measure word and then we talk about what the object is.
Victor: Right. And here’s the whole word again, 十八块钱(Shíbā kuài qián)
Amber: Right. And the good news again with Chinese is if that is too long for you, the Chinese love to shorten things and abbreviate them. So you don’t even have to say that much. You can just say?
Victor: 十八块(Shíbā kuài)
Amber: Which is probably the most common, most people will just say 十八块(Shíbā kuài)
Victor: 十八块(Shíbā kuài)
Amber: Yeah. So when you use the measure word, sometimes you can even drop off the object.
Victor: Right. And the 块(Kuài) here is kind of like the American version of a buck.
Amber: Yeah, exactly. So you definitely get a lot for your money at a noodle shop, I would say, how much is like 18 renminbi worth in maybe US dollars, Victor?
Victor: I think it’s less than 3 US dollars.
Amber: For two people, noodles.
Victor: For two people. And it’s true, you know, you can really eat for sometimes even less than that.
Amber: Yeah, even less than this.
Victor: So go to China. All you need to pay is just the plain ticket, everything else is cheap.
Amber: It’s true. And speaking of cheap, we know you can say something is cheap, we learned the word for cheap, inexpensive it was 便宜(Piányí)
Victor: Right.
Amber: And if you want to say “very”, remember we learned the word for “very” last lesson?
Victor: 很(Hěn)
Amber: So if you want to say something as very cheap, we say?
Victor: 很便宜(Hěn piányí)
Amber: Yeah. But in this dialogue, we got to hear something even better because this wasn’t just very cheap, this was really cheap.
Victor: Right.
Amber: So if you want to say something is really something to intensify an adjective, you can simply say?
Victor: 真便宜。(Zhēn piányí.)
Amber: 真(Zhēn) is the word for “really.”
Victor: And it’s first tone.
Amber: Okay, so what if I wanted to say these noodles were really delicious, not just very delicious, so what would I say?
Victor: 真好吃(Zhēn hào chī)

Outro

Amber: Okay. So that’s it for this today’s lesson. But what do you say, Victor, one last time for good measure, can you yell 服务员(Fúwùyuán) the way that it was meant to be yelled?
Victor: Sure. You can be like 服务员(Fúwùyuán)!!!!
Amber: Oh, come on, I think it has to be louder. We don’t want to break anyone’s eardrums.
Victor: But people really do, you know, like it’s… you will never call out, “Waiter!” in a western restaurant. But in China, you do, you really do that.
Amber: So do not be shy. It’s actually necessary. Okay well that just about does it for today, but we hope that everyone goes to the site and tests what they learn because this is very important language today. How do you do that? Well, you can go to the flashcards. In the learning center, you can go to the flashcards and add all of these words from today’s lesson and then go through and work through them to help you memorize them.
Victor: Yeah, so memory and comprehension, there you go, the flashcards.
Amber: So we’ll see you at the website, ChineseClass101.com. Have another listen to the dialogue and we will see you next time.
Amber:再见!(Zàijiàn!)
Victor:再见!(Zàijiàn!)

Grammar

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65 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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This dialogue has more must-know restaurant vocab! Make sure to yell realllly loud for the best service!

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 01:11 PM
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Hello Marian,


Thank you for your comment. Usually we just say 买单 (mǎidān), you can also say 麻烦,买单 (máfan, mǎidān), 麻烦 means "to trouble", "to bother".


Thank you for learning with us, let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Marian
Saturday at 02:26 AM
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How do you say, the bill, please in Chinese?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 03:33 PM
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你好 Dave!


谢谢 (Xièxie) for your nice feedback, it's great to have you here! ❤️️😇

Let us know if you have any questions.


Kind regards,

雷文特 (Levente)

Team ChineseClass101.com

Dave Anderson
Thursday at 11:42 AM
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The lessons are great! Easy to follow :) thank you!

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 09:58 PM
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Hello Pooja,


Thank you for your positive comment, we're glad to hear that! ❤️️


大家 (dàjiā) means everybody, 大家好 (dàjiā hǎo) means hello everybody.


Thank you for learning with us, let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Pooja
Thursday at 05:32 AM
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What does dajia hao mean????

Wonderful lesson I am so grateful to u

Tai xiexie le❤️❤️

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 05:11 AM
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你好 robert groulx!


谢谢 for commenting. We are very happy to have you here. Let us know if you have any questions.


Kind regards,

雷文特 (Levente)

Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Monday at 12:10 AM
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thank you for the lesson transcript


favorite phrase is 十八块钱


robert

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 10:58 PM
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Hello Seb,


Thank you for your positive comment. Probably the waitress thought the customer didn't hear her clearly. It depends on how much you order, but 18 RMB wasn't really a lot back then.


Thank you for learning with us, let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Seb
Sunday at 06:03 AM
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Hello,

Although I understand the vocab and grammar of this lesson, I don't get why the waitress repeats the amount 😅

Is she shocked by the customer's remark? Was 18 RMB considered expensive at the time? (given the lessons date from the 2000s I'm guessing)

Love the content, love the lessons, thanks ❤️️