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Amber: Hey everybody, welcome back to ChineseClass101.com. I am Amber.
Victor: I’m Victor.
Amber: And today we have our Absolute Beginner Season 1 continuing with Lesson 12, another essential lesson for those arriving in China.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Today’s lesson, Victor, what is it called?
Victor: It’s called “Finding a Bathroom.”
Amber: Yes. I mean it’s true, I’m a little bit bathroom obsessed because I have a very small bladder, but I’m sure many of our listeners will appreciate this lesson.
Victor: You know, it’s just funny that we’re teaching English speakers or non-native Chinese speakers to, you know, say these things in Chinese. And when the Chinese people come out to, you know say America, or England or wherever they are going through the same process.
Amber: Yes.
Victor: You know, they have little books, you know…
Amber: It’s universal.
Victor: …with pronunciations labeled as Chinese.
Amber: The bathroom is universal. It’s natural, nothing to be ashamed of.
Victor: Everybody needs it.
Amber: So first, we gave you eating, then we gave you I don’t understand and now we bring you the bathroom.
Victor: Right.
Amber: So in this lesson, you’re going to learn how to ask for a bathroom.
Victor: This conversation is between a store clerk and a customer.
Amber: Yeah. And we’re going to listen to the dialogue, but first we just want to let everybody know a little tip. If you are a basic or a premium subscriber and you have a 3G phone, guess what you can do? Do you know, Victor?
Victor: No, what can you do?
Amber: It’s very exciting. You can see the lesson notes in your favorite browser on your phone.
Victor: Oh, cool.
Amber: So if you want to find out how to do that, come to ChineseClass101.com and you can find out more. Now, we’ll listen to the conversation.
Amber: 洗手间在哪儿?(Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎr?)
Victor: 没有洗手间。(Méiyǒu xǐshǒujiān.)
Amber: 没有洗手间?(Méiyǒu xǐshǒujiān?)
Victor: 没有。(Méiyǒu.)
Amber: One more time, a little slower.
Amber: 洗手间在哪儿?(Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎr?)
Victor: 没有洗手间。(Méiyǒu xǐshǒujiān.)
Amber: 没有洗手间?(Méiyǒu xǐshǒujiān?)
Victor: 没有。(Méiyǒu.)
Amber: One more time with the English.
Amber: 洗手间在哪儿?(Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎr?)
Amber: Where is the bathroom?
Victor: 没有洗手间。(Méiyǒu xǐshǒujiān.)
Amber: We don’t have a bathroom.
Amber: 没有洗手间?(Méiyǒu xǐshǒujiān?)
Amber: You don’t have a bathroom?
Victor: 没有。(Méiyǒu.)
Amber: No, we don’t.
Amber: Personally, Victor, I think that I know every decent bathroom in Shanghai. I should write a bathroom guide.
Victor: That’s pretty sad.
Amber: Maybe a podcast bathroom guide.
Victor: You should.
Amber: It could a bestseller. It would be like ranked number one on iTunes maybe.
Victor: A Google Map ad.
Amber: Yes, Google Map of the bathrooms that are in Shanghai, but anyway, you know, these resources get built up out of necessity, so.
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: So let’s look at some bathroom talk from the lesson, look at the vocab.
Victor: And now the vocab section.
Victor: 洗手間(xǐshǒujiān)
Amber: Bathroom.
Victor: 在(zài)
Amber: At.
Victor: 哪兒(nǎr)
Amber: Where.
Victor: 沒有(méiyǒu)
Amber: To not have.
Amber: Okay, let’s take a closer look at the usage for some of these words and phrases and, of course the key vocabulary in this lesson being the bathroom, restroom, whatever you want to call it.
Victor: Right.
Amber: It is?
Victor: 洗手间。(Xǐshǒujiān.) 洗(Xǐ) is a third tone and 手(Shǒu) a third tone and 间(Jiān) is first tone.
Amber: Yeah. And those of you with sense of ears will notice that when Victor pronounced 洗手(Xǐshǒu), it was actually second tone and third tone because of the tone change rule.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Two third tones in a row, the first one will become second tone.
Victor: So 洗手间(Xǐshǒujiān)
Amber: Yeah. And what it literally means is to wash-hands room.
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: Yeah, it’s not that different than washroom.
Victor: Yeah, it sounds very, not so explicit.
Amber: Yes, like a euphemism.
Victor: Right.
Amber: And you know like in English, the Chinese have a few different words for bathroom.
Victor: Right.
Amber: What’s another common one, Victor?
Victor: Another one is called ‘厕所’(Cèsuǒ).
Amber: Yes.
Victor: 厕所(Cèsuǒ)
Amber: I don’t think this one is like as much of a euphemism. It’s a little bit more blaring.
Victor: Yeah, but it’s, you know.
Amber: It means toilet.
Victor: It means toilet, right? So 厕所(Cèsuǒ)
Amber: Yeah.
Victor: 厕(Cè) is fourth tone and 所(Suǒ) is third tone.
Amber: So you can swap out any of these words for bathroom into the question in our dialogue, right?
Victor: Yes.
Amber: You could just say ‘厕所’(Cèsuǒ) instead?
Victor: Yeah, instead of ‘洗手间’(Xǐshǒujiān). Although ‘厕所’(Cèsuǒ) does sound better.
Amber: Yes, it’s a little bit. It’s more polite. So when you would say 厕所(Cèsuǒ)
Victor: Yeah, you can say 厕所在哪儿?(Cèsuǒ zài nǎ'er?)
Amber: Yeah. Okay so, yes, we know the bathroom is so important. It seems to be having the starring role in our vocab today, but there is another really common word that we learned in this dialogue that crops up a lot and that we wanted to teach it to you. It kind of always starts out in situations like we see in our dialogue. You know, you’re asking for something and maybe the person might not really want to be bothered with you, not necessarily that they really don’t have it, but they just don’t want you to go away, there’s too many people, you know. And I like to call it getting 没有(Méiyǒu)ed. We heard classic getting 没有(Méiyǒu)ed in this dialogue.
Victor: Right. First of all, let us tell you about 没有。(Méiyǒu.) We hear it in a dialogue in response to the 洗手间(Xǐshǒujiān) inquiry, in fact, we hear it twice. The first time was 没有洗手间(Méiyǒu xǐshǒujiān).And then it is reinforced the second time too. So first of all, let us tell you about 没有(Méiyǒu) . 没(Méi) is second tone and 有(Yǒu) is a third tone.
Amber: And it literally means, “To not have.”
Victor: Right, “There is none.” So we hear in this dialogue in response to the 洗手间(Xǐshǒujiān) inquiry, in fact we heard it twice. The first time was 没有洗手间(Méiyǒu xǐshǒujiān) and then it is reinforced the second time as well.
Amber: Yes, that’s how bad we got 没有(Méiyǒu)ed, Victor, not just once, but twice.
Victor: Yeah, twice, you got served with a Chinese phrase, 没有.(Méiyǒu.)
Amber: That’s right. So our person is asking where the restroom is, the bathroom and the answer is, “We don’t have one.” And that’s very simple to say in Chinese.
Victor: Right.
Amber: You could actually just say?
Victor: 没有.(Méiyǒu.)
Amber: Yeah.
Victor: That’s it.
Amber: Yeah. And why I’m talking with this 没有(Méiyǒu)ed phenomenon, Victor, is because like sometimes they don’t even know what you’re asking yet and then they’ll 没有(Méiyǒu) you. So sometimes now if they 没有(Méiyǒu) me, I argue with it. So that’s my tip.
Victor: Yeah?
Amber: Maybe that’s why in our dialogue, the person kind of pushed it. They asked again, “You don’t have a bathroom?”
Victor: Yeah, how can you not have a bathroom?
Amber: Sometimes it actually works though. People can be like won over if you keep nagging them, okay. So the moral of the story of this dialogue is if you get meiyou’ed, don’t give up.
Victor: Right. Just keep on trying until you’ll find that bathroom.
Amber: And sometimes, if you need a bathroom, you cannot give up, so no choice.
Victor: You can threaten them, if you don’t have a bathroom…
Amber: Yes, try that, try that.
Victor: …imagine the consequences.
Amber: Exactly. Okay, so let’s look at some grammar.
Victor: It’s grammar time.
Amber: Okay, well first of all, we learned a very important word in this dialogue which is the word for “where” in Chinese.
Victor: The one we hear in the dialogue today is ‘哪儿’(Nǎ'er) and is third tone. Now, kind of depending on where you are in China or where the other person is from, you may also hear the word, 哪里…(Nǎlǐ…)
Amber: Two words for “where.”
Victor: Right. So 哪(Nǎ) again is third tone and 里(Lǐ) here can be the neutral tone.
Amber: Right. So basically the first half of the word is the same, that 哪(Nǎ) sound is just in the north they use this R sound at the end. And in the south, in this case, they put this 里(Lǐ) instead of the 儿(Er)’ sound.
Victor: Correct.
Amber: Okay, so walk into a place and you want to know where something is. Let’s break down how to ask where something is in Chinese.
Victor: So it’s not like in English in this case where the where comes first. Rather when asking the location of something in Chinese, you actually put the thing you’re asking about first and then you add in, “At where” at the end of the sentence.
Amber: So just like we heard in our dialogue, they said?
Victor: 洗手间在哪儿?(Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎ'er?)
Amber: So the thing that they’re looking for is the ‘‘洗手间’(Xǐshǒujiān) that came first.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Then we have the word 在(Zài) fourth tone which means “at.”
Victor: Right.
Amber: And then we have “where,” 哪兒(Nǎ'er). So “bathroom at where” is the way that you ask that question in Chinese.
Victor: Correct.
Amber: Okay, so you can use this to ask where anything is, like let’s use another example Victor, what if I wanted to ask, “Where is the bus stop?”
Victor: Well, bus stop in Chinese is 车站(Chēzhàn) first tone and fourth tone. So you can say 车站(Chēzhàn)
Amber: That easy or you could say, ‘车站在哪里?’(Chēzhàn zài nǎlǐ?) right?
Victor: Right.
Amber: Both will be understood. So you can use it for places. Now, what about for people, Victor? Can you use that for things like, “Where is Amber?”
Victor: Yeah, you can say, “Amber 在那儿?’(Zài nà'er?)
Amber: Right. And how about for things like maybe, “Where is my book?”
Victor: My book in Chinese is 我的书 and you can say, 我的书在哪儿?(Wǒ de shū zài nǎ'er)’
Amber: Perfect. Okay, well that’s it for today’s lesson. But before we go, this is also a little lesson on toilets in China because some people might be wondering, you know, is it easy to find a bathroom? Are the bathrooms clean? And some people get apprehensive. I don’t know if you know this Victor, but especially girls, they get kind of like worried about the toilet situations. So I can tell you that it’s kind of location based, don’t you think?
Victor: Right.
Amber: The quality of toilet definitely.
Victor: And another thing that I’ve noticed too based on my own travels, you have to prepare your own toilet paper.
Amber: Very important.
Victor: Right.
Amber: And some places if you get out of the big cities, they don’t have a stall door and someone gave me a very good tip which is always carry and umbrella. It’s a portable stall door. You just put the umbrella. So really the rural areas might be a little bit hardcore.
Victor: Oh, gees.
Amber: But cities will be okay.
Victor: All right.
Amber: And it’s all right.
Victor: So see Chinese sentences as well as travel tips.
Amber: That’s right.
Victor: Or it sounds like survival tips almost.
Amber: Yes, but please don’t let it deter you, really. You get used to it. It’s not that bad. You will survive even in, you know scary gross bathroom.
Victor: Strengthening your survival skills.
Amber: Yes. Okay so before we go though, I’d like you to listen to the dialogue one more time. We just want…we want to remind everybody that we have lesson notes available for each lesson. So they’re on PDF, you can go to the site in the learning center and find the lesson notes and look them up so that you can follow along with what we’re teaching you. And that’s it for today.
Victor: So let’s listen to the conversation again and we’ll see you next time.




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