Vocabulary (Review)

Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Amber: Hey everybody, welcome back to ChineseClass101.com. This is our Absolute Beginner Series, Season 1, Lesson 13. I’m Amber, by the way.
Victor: 大家好(Dàjiā hǎo),我是(Wǒ shì) Victor.
Amber: And our lesson today is another lesson in Chinese essentials. The things you are going to have to need to know...
Victor: Right.
Amber: As soon as you get to China.
Victor: It’s very particular to China’s...
Amber: Dynamic, would you say?
Victor: Dynamic, yeah. These are actually real things you’re going to need.
Amber: Yep. And today is called “Let Me Through.” Now why is this essential? 1.3 billion people.
Victor: Yeah. You will see immediately, once you get to China, you will see why this is useful.
Amber: That’s right. Today we tackle crowds. So, yes, this is something you’re going to need to learn, not only the speech to go along with tackling the crowd, but also a technique I’d like to call crowd warming, Victor.
Victor: Crowd warming. Well, you live in Shanghai, so I think you’re probably the expert in doing this.
Amber: Yeah. So listen and learn. So in this lesson, you’re going to learn how to ask someone to get out of the way politely, of course.
Victor: Right. This conversation takes place in a crowded place.
Amber: Which could be anywhere, and it’s between two strangers. So we’re going to listen to the conversation. But first we just want to tell everybody for basic and premium members that if you have a 3G phone, this is for all you techy people out there. Hey, I think I have a 3G phone. But if you do, you can actually see the lesson notes in your favorite browser on your phone.
Victor: Oh okay.
Amber: Yeah. So stop by ChineseClass101.com to find out more. And now let’s listen to the conversation.
Amber: 对不起,让一下。(Duìbùqǐ, ràng yíxià.)
Victor: 嗯?(En?)
Amber: 请让一下。(Qǐng ràng yíxià.)
Victor: 哦,对不起。(O, duìbùqǐ.)
Amber: One more time, a little slower.
Amber: 对不起,让一下。(Duìbùqǐ, ràng yíxià.)
Victor: 嗯?(En?)
Amber: 请让一下。(Qǐng ràng yíxià.)
Victor: 哦,对不起。(O, duìbùqǐ.)
Amber: One more time with the English.
Amber: 对不起,让一下。(Duìbùqǐ, ràng yíxià.)
Amber: Excuse me, let me through.
Victor: 嗯?(En?)
Amber: Huh?
Amber: 请让一下。(Qǐng ràng yíxià.)
Amber: Please let me through.
Victor: 哦,对不起。(O, duìbùqǐ.)
Amber: Oh, sorry.
Amber: So, you know, Victor, we’ve talked about magic words before and the weird thing is, when I learn these words, they are magic.
Victor: They are.
Amber: They really work.
Victor: Yeah. Immediately, right?
Amber: Yes.
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: And I mean it’s true, some people might not even say anything, like, some people do just kind of shove people out of the way, and that works as well. But if you’re not comfortable with that, these words are kind of the lucky charm.
Victor: Right. I think the thing in China is people usually, because it’s so crowded and sometimes people just don’t really watch around themselves what other people are doing. But if you say, you know, get their attention, it works like magic.
Amber: Like a charm. Okay. So let’s take a look at the vocabulary so that you know the magic words.
Victor: And now the vocab section.
Victor: 對不起(duìbùqǐ)
Amber: Sorry, excuse me.
Victor: 讓一下(ràng yíxià)
Amber: Let me through.
Victor: 嗯(en)
Amber: Uh-huh. Hmmm. Huh?
Victor: 請(qǐng)
Amber: Please.
Amber: Okay. Let’s take a closer look at the usage for some of these words and phrases. So I’d say, Victor, that we start with our polite-isms because, you know, when you’re kind of ordering someone to move out of your way, you want to cloak it with a few nice words.
Victor: Yeah. Well, we can start it with the review of one of the words for sorry or excuse me.
Amber: Uh-huh. Yes.
Victor: So remember that one ‘对不起.(duìbùqǐ.)
Amber: Ah, yes, 对不起.(duìbùqǐ.) It’s a good word to use for excuse me, for sorry, kind of a generic apology term.
Victor: Yeah, definitely. 对(Duì) is fourth tone. 不(Bù) is also fourth tone and 起(Qǐ) is a third tone.
Amber: Yes, and remember also as a review, there’s another word. You can kind of use interchangeably which is...
Victor: 不好意思(Bù hǎoyìsi)
Amber: Yeah. It’s another story word.
Victor: 不好意思(Bù hǎoyìsi) and 不(Bù) is fourth tone, 好(Hǎo) is a third tone. 意(Yì) is fourth tone and 思(Sī) is the neutral tone.
Amber: Yes. And now we have another to be polite too in this dialogue we hear, which is the word for please.
Victor: ‘请’(Qǐng) and it’s the third tone.
Amber: Yeah. And one side now, Victor, I think that we should mention about the Chinese “please”, is that I find it’s not really is necessary as in English. Like, people don’t always say “please” when they’re requesting something.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Because I think Chinese is just a lot more direct.
Victor: Yeah, definitely. And 请(Qǐng) is like very, very formal.
Amber: It’s like when you want to really flower things up a bit. But it’s not really necessary.
Victor: Right.
Amber: So it’s up to you. In this case, like our dialogue, you can say 请(Qǐng) and it’ll seem extra nice.
Victor: Yes. Then we have the word for “to let” or “to allow”, which is 让(Ràng). and it’s a fourth tone. In this case, it is being used to ask someone to let you through or allow space, that kind of thing. So we’ll talk about the entire phrase ‘让一下’(Ràng yīxià) in the grammar section in a moment.
Amber: Yeah, but for now, just know that this word 让(Ràng) is actually very useful word in Chinese, “to learn” it's a verb to mean to let or to allow.
Victor: Right.
Amber: And last but not the least, Victor, we have a couple of little tiny words. These are always really easy ones to learn, little expressions that come out of your mouth.
Victor: Very useful too.
Amber: Yeah. Well, I like these kinds of words in Chinese because they always, they're kind of ways to show emotion or agreement or something without really saying that much at all.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Just like the tone that you say it, it means a lot.
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: So what were the ones we heard in our dialogue today?
Victor: So we heard a person say... the first one is 嗯(en).
Amber: Yeah, and that was when the first person of the dialogue asked the person to get out of the way. Obviously, they were unaware that, you know, this person wanted to get through, so they use this.
Victor: Kind of like 嗯(en).
Amber: Huh? It’s just like in English how you say “huh?”
Victor: Right. Exactly.
Amber: And what tone is it, Victor?
Victor: This one, usually it’s the neutral tone. But in this case, you know, because it’s a question, it’s kind of like the second tone.
Amber: Yeah. People will say it in second tone kind of like “huh?” It sounds just like “huh?” in English except 嗯(en)
Victor: It also works when you’re trying to answer someone.
Amber: Oh, how would that sound?
Victor: Maybe somebody is telling you a direction or telling to do something and said “hmm.”
Amber: Oh, it’s like an acknowledgement as well.
Victor: Right. And you don’t have to say anything, just “hmm.”
Amber: This is like the generic word for, when you can’t remember any other words to say.
Victor: Just make a sound.
Amber: It’s kind of like the word that transcends all language barriers. It’s a sound more than a word. Good. Okay. And then we also have another little word which came after the person realized that you wanted them to get out of the way.
Victor: Right. Again, just like in English, this is “oh.”
Amber: Yeah. It’s just like “oh” in English.
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: And is there a tone on that?
Victor: Also the neutral tone and it also depends on what context you use it and it can mean different things.
Amber: Yeah. This is one case when you’re allowed to kind of stretch the word around a little.
Victor: Trust your own feelings.
Amber: It can be like “oh” or “oh,” “oh.” It all works.
Victor: Oh.
Amber: Sounds good. There’s some words that are like English in Chinese.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Maybe only one or two, but hey you got to count your blessings.
Victor: It’s grammar time.
Amber: Okay. So for grammar, we’re going to revisit as promised the 让(Ràng) phrase that we learned. So we learned that 让 is a verb that means to let or to allow, and we heard it in the phrase as we mentioned in the dialogue.
Victor: 让一下(Ràng yīxià)
Amber: Right. So this phrase basically means “let me through.” But what is with this little ‘yixia’ added onto the end, Victor? Why is that there?
Victor: Usually people add 一下(Yīxià) after a verb to make it a little bit softer.
Amber: Right. So it’s not like...
Victor: Get out of my way!
Amber: Get out of my way!
Victor: Right.
Amber: It’s more like, “Ah, can you get out of my way?”
Victor: Yeah, like, “Ah, yeah, get out of my way, please.”
Amber: Right. And because as we mentioned, you can’t really change the one of the words too often in Chinese. Instead, you can add this 一下(Yīxià), and that will make it the verb automatically sound softer.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Not so much like an order. After we hear this combined with other verbs as well, very frequently, Victor, what are some other verbs you’ll commonly hear people add the 一下(Yīxià) onto the end to soften it?
Victor: Well, you can say, for example, if you say “Touch it a little bit” you can say 摸一下(Mō yīxià).
Amber: So maybe there’s like in the market, there’s like a really soft fake fur coat or something.
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: And then maybe the shopkeeper will be, like...
Victor: You’re kind of interested and then the shopkeeper is like, “You can touch it.”
Amber: Yeah, touch it a little 摸一下(Mō yīxià).
Victor: Or feel it a little bit.
Amber: Yeah. Or another really common one, maybe more common is to say “Have a look at something.” They’ll tell you...
Victor: 看一下(Kàn yīxià)
Amber: Yeah, that’s really common.
Victor: The word for “to look” is 看(Kàn) and so you can say 看一下(Kàn yīxià)
Amber: Yeah. So it’s like the shopkeeper being, like, “Oh, have a look” instead of “Look!”
Victor: Right.
Amber: “You look now!” So you’re going to hear this a lot and tacked on to the end of different verbs just to make it sound more polite.
Amber: So, that was the nature and sweet lesson but very useful. So we strongly recommend everyone put it to memory. We’re almost ready to listen to the dialogue one more time to help you do that. But just before we go, we also wanted to tell our premium members about a little feature on the site that maybe you don’t know about, and that’s the review track.
Victor: It is available in the premium section of our website at the learning center and through iTunes via the premium feed.
Amber: Right. And what it is, it’s something to help you perfect your pronunciation and to memorize the vocabulary and phrases we learned in this lesson. So what it does is it gives you the vocab and the phrases followed by a short pause for you to repeat the words aloud.
Victor: Okay.
Amber: It’s a good way to review.
Victor: Yeah, definitely.
Amber: So best way to get really good at Chinese fast. Try using it. Okay. Well, we’ll listen to the “Let me through” dialogue one more time and we will see you next time at ChineseClass101.com.