Vocabulary (Review)

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Lesson Transcript

Victor: 大家好 (Dàjiā hǎo),我是 (wǒ shì) Victor.
Amber: Hey everybody, I’m Amber and welcome back to ChineseClass101.com. This is our Absolute Beginner Series, and this is Lesson 2, again, about meeting people.
Victor: And?
Amber: Today’s topic is?
Victor: “Where Are You From?”
Amber: That’s right.
Victor: Well, this is a perfect lesson if you’re brand new to Chinese because the last time we talked about your name and now it’s “Where are you from?”.
Amber: Yeah. So today we’re going to learn to talk about our nationality.
Victor: Yup, that’s a really high frequency conversation in China.
Amber: Yeah, it’s true because, Victor, people are always asking you like, “Where are you from?”. They’re very curious about foreigners in China.
Victor: Yeah, right. And this lesson you’ll also learn some great things to better up your partner in conversation.
Amber: That’s right. So in this lesson, you’re going to learn to talk about your nationality and the conversation takes place between two strangers. Let’s listen to the conversation.
Victor: 你是哪国人?(Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén?)
Amber: 我是美国人。你呢?(Wǒ shì Měiguórén. Nǐ ne?)
Victor: 我是中国人。(Wǒ shì Zhōngguórén.)
Amber: One more time, a little slower.
Victor: 你是哪国人?(Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén?)
Amber: 我是美国人。你呢?(Wǒ shì Měiguórén. Nǐ ne?)
Victor: 我是中国人。(Wǒ shì Zhōngguórén.)
Amber: One more time, with the English.
Victor: 你是哪国人?(Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén ?)
Amber: Which country are you from?
Amber: 我是美国人。你呢?(Wǒ shì Měiguórén. Nǐ ne?)
Amber: I’m American and you?
Victor: 我是中国人。(Wǒ shì Zhōngguórén.)
Amber: I am Chinese.
Amber: Okay, so I think that, Victor, we should play the “Guess That Nationality” game. So can anyone guess where our dialogue people were from?
Victor: Well, that might be easier after our lesson, you know?
Amber: Yeah, but I guess that’s true, since we can’t really tell from their accents whether it’s Chinese. Okay, how about this, we play, “Guess Amber and Victor’s Nationality” game. Let’s see if you can guess from our accents by the end...okay, by the end of the podcast, you can guess where Victor and Amber are from.
Victor: Well, I wasn’t Chinese.
Amber: Yes. Well, we’ll tell you at the end of the podcast, so listen to us speaking carefully.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Okay, but first, let’s look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Victor: And now, the vocab section.
Victor: 是(Shì)
Amber: To be.
Victor: 哪 (nǎ/něi)
Amber: Which.
Victor: 国(guó)
Amber: Country state.
Victor: 人(rén)
Amber: Person.
Victor: 美國人(Měiguórén)
Amber: American person.
Victor: 你呢(nǐ ne)
Amber: How about you?
Victor: 中國人(Zhōngguórén)
Amber: Chinese person.
Amber: Okay, let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases we heard in this lesson. Okay, so there are some things that will help you all play the “Guess the Nationality” game. And the first one is some country names.
Victor: You’re right. So we’re going to start with the obvious, that is our first one, alluded to in this dialogue, it is the word for America, 美国(Měiguó). 美(Měi) is a third tone and 国(guó) is second tone.
Amber: That’s right. That’s the word for America, but in our dialogue, we heard something a little bit more. It was 美国(Měiguó), but there was something added onto the end.
Victor: Yeah. This is because to state your nationality in Chinese, it’s actually really easy. All you do is to say the country name and then add that word for person on the end.
Amber: Okay. So the word for “person” is?
Victor: ‘人’(rén), second tone, ‘人’(rén).
Amber: Right. So to say that you were, for example, “American”, you just say basically, America plus person.
Victor: Right, you’re “America person”. Therefore, put it together we have 美国 (Měiguó) plus 人(rén), so 美国人(Měiguórén). “American person”.
Amber: 美国人(Měiguórén). Now, we know it’s not easy. What about our other person then, what country person are they?
Victor: Well 中国(Zhōngguó) is the country we hear, which is China.
Amber: Can you repeat the word for China first?
Victor: 中国(Zhōngguó). 中(Zhōng) is first tone and 国(guó) is second tone.
Amber: Yeah. And actually this one is really good in Chinese because maybe some of you heard China referred to as the middle kingdom.
Victor: Right.
Amber: But that comes from the word in Chinese for China which is 中(Zhōn) is the word for “middle or center”.
Victor: The middle, yeah.
Amber: And then 国(guó) is the word for “country” which is interesting because we also heard the 国(guó) in 美国(Měiguó).
Victor: Yeah. 国(guó) is the same across all the places.
Amber: So a country name will usually include 国 because it means “country”. So to say Chinese person then what would I say?
Victor: Just add 人(rén) toward the end like what we did with the American person. So in this case, you will say, 中国人(Zhōngguórén).
Amber: Good, easy as that.
Victor: It’s grammar time.
Victor: Okay, so a little bit grammar here.
Amber: Yeah, we’ll start with something really basic and that is basic sentence word order in Chinese.
Victor: Right. So let’s use a sentence in a dialogue for an example.
Amber: Right. So first in English, the sentence we’re going to take translated into English is, “I am American”. And the good news is, is that this kind of basic Chinese sentence is the same word order as we would use in English for this kind of simple sentence which is subject, verb, object.
Victor: Right. Here, the subject is, 我 or “I”. The verb is 是(shì), which is quite like the English, “to be”, and then the object which is 美国人(Měiguórén).
Amber: And the tones for the “to be” in Chinese, 是(shì), is fourth tone.
Victor: Correct.
Amber: So, again, "I am American" in Chinese is?
Victor: 我 是 美国人.(Wǒ shì Měiguórén.)
Amber: Good, so we hear subject, verb, object.
Victor: Yup.
Amber: Okay, so now we’re going to teach you something even easier and that is a question word, the word for “which”, which is going to come in very handy. What is the word for “which” in Chinese?
Victor: It’s 哪(nǎ/něi), third tone and it means, “which”. And something important to note here is that there are actually two pronunciations for “which” in Chinese. Some people say 'na3'. Some people will say 'nei3'. Both are correct. We heard the word “which” in our dialogue first of when the person asked 你是哪国人?(Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén?)
Amber: Right. So this is great because it has a lot of the words that we just learned. For example, “you” which is 你(nǐ), then 是(shì) which is “to be”.
Victor: Right.
Amber: And then we have the 哪(nǎ / něi) which is “which”, 国(guó), “country”, 人(rén), “person”.
Victor: Yeah, pretty simple huh?
Amber: Put it together?
Victor: 你是哪国人.(Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén.)
Amber: Yeah. And this sentence we use just like we would in English, we would say, “Which country are you from?".
Victor: 你是哪国人?(Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén ?)
Amber: So literally, 你是哪国人?(Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén?) you are which country person.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Okay. So now that we’ve entered the wonderful world of questions, we have another question format that we’ll teach you now too.
Victor: Yeah. And this one is really short and sweet.
Amber: Yeah and we heard it in the dialogue. It’s the way to ask a follow-up question.
Victor: For example, someone makes a statement and then wants to say, “And you?”.
Amber: Yeah. So remember back to our dialogue, our person makes a statement.
Victor: 我是美国人。(Wǒ shì Měiguórén.)
Amber: Which means, “I am American”.
Victor: And then we hear two little words, 你呢?(nǐ ne?)
Amber: That’s’ right. The 你 (Nǐ) we recognize because it means, “you”.
Victor: Right.
Amber: We’ve learned that. And then this little 呢(ne), word, it’s a particle. It doesn’t have any tone. It’s just neutral. It doesn’t have any meaning, but when it’s put together like we heard in the dialogue 你呢?(nǐ ne?) what does it mean, Victor?
Victor: It means, “And you?”.
Amber: Yeah, it’s just a follow-up question.
Victor: Right, it kind of turns the question back to the other person.
Amber: Yeah. So, “I’m American. And you?” basically like that.
Victor: Right.
Amber: And that’s why the person answers that they were Chinese.
Victor: And we could use with other pronouns as well. For example if you wanted to say, “And them” you can just say 他们呢?(Tāmen ne?)’
Amber: Right. Or if you want to say, “And him” you could say ‘他呢?'(Tā ne?).
Victor: Yes.
Amber: Yeah, very easy.
Victor: Yup.
Amber: Well, today’s lesson I think was very easy. But before we go, we want to tell you something that will, a really good helpful tip for improving pronunciation on our website.
Victor: Yeah, and that is the voice recording tool.
Amber: Yeah, it’s in the premium learning center. What you can do is just record your voice maybe pronouncing the dialogue today with a click of a button and then play it back and listen to yourself.
Victor: So you kind of compare your own voice to maybe our teaching and other teacher’s voices to kind of compare your pronunciation so you can hear yourself.
Amber: Yeah, it helps to improve your pronunciation really quickly to do that. But we’re ready to go. But before we go, Victor, we didn’t play the “Guess Your Nationality” game.
Victor: Yes.
Amber: Did everybody guess where Victor is from? Okay, I think Victor is easier because we learned the word in the lesson. Victor, what’s your nationality?
Victor: 你是哪国人?(Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén ?)
Amber: He’s Chinese.
Victor: And Amber 你呢?(Nǐ ne?)
Amber: I am 加拿大人。(Jiānádà rén).
Victor: Okay.
Amber: It kind of rhymes with the English-Canadian.
Victor: Yeah, if you guessed, Canada, 加拿大(Jiānádà)
Amber: So everybody can come to the website, comment section and leave their comment and tell us which nationality you are trying to do it in Chinese. And if you don’t know make sure you can ask us a question and we’ll try to answer it for you.
Victor: Yup.
Amber: And that’s it for today. We’ll see your next time on ChineseClass101.com.
Victor: See your next time.


Amber: 再见(Zàijiàn)
Victor: 再见(Zàijiàn)


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