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Victor: 大家好(Dàjiā hǎo), 我是(wǒ shì) Victor.
Amber: And I’m Amber, welcome back, everybody to ChineseClass101.com our Absolute Beginner Series. This is Season 1, Lesson 20.
Victor: Yeah. And another Getting Around, Asking for Directions.
Amber: Yeah. And I do have to say, Victor, that we do really get around in our series because last lesson we were at Huaihai in Shanghai and today, we’re visiting Tiananmen Square.
Victor: Oh, nice.
Amber: If we can find it, that is. We have today’s dialogue to help. So it should be no problem.
Victor: Let’s listen in and see how it’s done as we get some directions in Chinese.
Amber: Right. So in this lesson, of course, you’ll learn to ask for directions.
Victor: This conversation takes place on the street.
Amber: Yeah, between two people, a local and a tourist.
Victor: Um-hum.
Amber: So we’re going to listen to the conversation, but just before we do, we just want to remind everyone to stop by ChineseClass101.com if they don’t have a free lifetime account yet, to go there and sign up. You can have it for the rest of your life.
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: It only takes 30 seconds.
Victor: Yes. That sounds like a lot of benefit for very little time.
Amber: Yeah. Okay. Let’s listen to the conversation now.
Amber: 去天安门怎么走?(Qù Tiān'ānmén zěnme zǒu?)
Victor: 直走,然后左转。(Zhí zǒu, ránhòu zuǒzhuǎn.)
Amber: 好的,直走,然后左转。(Hǎo de, zhí zǒu, ránhòu zuǒzhuǎn.)
Victor: 在你的右边。(Zài nǐ de yòubiān.)
Amber: One more time, a little slower.
Amber: 去天安门怎么走?(Qù Tiān'ānmén zěnme zǒu?)
Victor: 直走,然后左转。(Zhí zǒu, ránhòu zuǒzhuǎn.)
Amber: 好的,直走,然后左转。(Hǎo de, zhí zǒu, ránhòu zuǒzhuǎn.)
Victor: 在你的右边。(Zài nǐ de yòubiān.)
Amber: One more time, with the English.
Amber: 去天安门怎么走?(Qù Tiān'ānmén zěnme zǒu?)
Amber: How do I get to Tiananmen Square?
Victor: 直走,然后左转。(Zhí zǒu, ránhòu zuǒzhuǎn.)
Amber: Go straight then turn left.
Amber: 好的,直走,然后左转。(Hǎo de, zhí zǒu, ránhòu zuǒzhuǎn.)
Amber: Okay. Go straight then turn left.
Victor: 在你的右边。(Zài nǐ de yòubiān.)
Amber: It will be on your right.
Amber: Okay. So hopefully after that we are all at Tiananmen Square, we’re not lost in a Hutong maze somewhere which could happen.
Victor: Yeah. That’ll be a bad thing or maybe a good thing, I don’t know.
Amber: I know, I like the Hutong back alleys. It’s cool.
Victor: Good to see China, yeah.
Amber: Sometimes getting lost, you find the coolest things.
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: Well, today’s lesson not only gives us some directional words, but it’s also going to give us a little insight on the culture of giving directions because it’s true. So now, it’s not just the language, there’s like a disconnect in how people give directions.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Okay. So but first, let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Victor: And now, the vocab section.
Victor: 天安門(Tiān'ānmén)
Amber: Tiananmen.
Victor: 怎麼(zěnme)
Amber: How?
Victor: 走(zǒu)
Amber: To walk. To go.
Victor: 直(zhí)
Amber: Straight.
Victor: 然後(ránhòu)
Amber: And then. Next.
Victor: 左(zuǒ)
Amber: Left.
Victor: 轉(zhuǎn)
Amber: To turn.
Victor: 右(yòu)
Amber: Right.
Victor: 右邊(yòubiān)
Amber: On the right.
Amber: Okay. Let’s take a closer look at the usage for some of these words and phrases. So let’s start with some basic directions 101 here on ChineseClass101. What better place to start than with the basics, Victor. How about the words for left and right?
Victor: Yeah, definitely, very classic too.
Amber: Yes.
Victor: Well 左(zuǒ) is the word for “Left.” and it’s third tone 左(Zuǒ) and its counterpart is 右(Yòu) and it’s for “Right.” and it’s fourth tone.
Amber: So 左(Zuǒ) is left and 右(Yòu) is right.
Victor: Right. So 左右(Zuǒyòu) everybody look at your left-hand and right-hand 左右(Zuǒyòu)
Amber: You put your right foot in, yeah you can play that with your, you put your left foot in, right.
Victor: Right.
Amber: And another common word that people use giving directions, it’s very common. Chinese people use this word a lot. It’s the word for straight when they’re giving directions.
Victor: Right. So go straight and in this case, it’s 直(Zhí) and it’s second tone.
Amber: That’s right. And we’ve learned it before, but the word for “To walk.” Or “To go.” Is ‘走(Zǒu)’ and you’re going to hear it combined very often with this word for “straight”.
Victor: So you can say 直走(Zhí zǒu)
Amber: Yeah.
Victor: So go straight 直 …直走(Zhí…zhí zǒu)
Amber: It literally means just walk straight or basically what they’re saying is just keep going straight.
Victor: Yeah. Another word that often gets combined with a direction word is the word for “To turn.” And obviously, tons of directions involve right and left turns. So of course, this was also in our dialog. And the word is ‘转(Zhuǎn)’ and it’s third tone.
Amber: Right. So all you do if you want to say, “Right turn.” Or “Left turn.” which comes in handy also in taxis, is you just put the word for right or left in front of the 转(Zhuǎn).
Victor: Yeah. So you can say 左。(Zuǒ.) or 右转。(yòu zhuǎn.)
Amber: So left is...
Victor: 左转(Zuǒ zhuǎn)
Amber: And turn right...
Victor: 右转(Yòu zhuǎn) and just as a side point, you will sometimes hear another word for turn depending on where in China you are. Some people will use ‘右拐(Yòu guǎi)’ and ‘左拐(Zuǒ guǎi)’.So 拐(Guǎi) third tone, also means to turn in some places.
Amber: Yeah. People use them kind of interchangeably. They both mean the same thing. Okay. So as we know, directions often come in long strings of confusing commands. So, we need a good connector word in Chinese to string these things together.
Victor: Yup.
Amber: And we heard that today. And it was the word for and then or like next.
Victor: And as we heard in the dialogue, that word is ‘然后(Ránhòu)’. It’s second tone, fourth tone.
Amber: Right. So how about, to give an example, Victor, could you string along some directions kind of like in our dialog using 然后(Ránhòu) telling them what to do next?
Victor: Sure. Well, this one, to get to the store 直走(Zhí zǒu),然后右转。(Ránhòu yòu zhuǎn.).
Amber: Right. So he said, “Go straight and then turn right.”
Victor: Right.
Amber: 然后(Ránhòu) “And then.” And you know, actually, you can use this 然后(Ránhòu) in other cases as well, not just for directions. I mean, for example, you could say, like do this and then do that.
Victor: Um-hum.
Amber: This kind of a command as well. It’s just a good connector word.
Victor: Yeah. Basically, it is “Then.” in English.
Amber: Yeah, “And then.”
Victor: So you can use it pretty much anywhere you use “Then.”
Amber: Yeah. Okay. So, now if you got these directions right, you would hopefully end up at a very famous Beijing landmark.
Victor: You’ll see it from very far away.
Amber: Which is kind of hard to miss, it’s very big so you’ve got a big plain field that even if you kind of, even if you kind of like, misjudged slightly, you’d probably still find it, and that is...
Victor: Tian’anmen Square.
Amber: That’s right.
Victor: Yeah. 天安门(Tiān'ānmén) and 天(Tiān) is first tone. 安(Ān) is first tone and 门(Mén) is second tone. And it’s also known as 天安门广场(Tiān'ānmén guǎngchǎng).
Amber: Right. The 广场(Guǎngchǎng) literally means, “The Square.”
Victor: Yeah. So 广(Guǎng) is a third tone. 场(Chǎng) is also third tone.
Amber: Yeah. But pronounced second here because of the tone change.
Victor: Right. As in 广场(Guǎngchǎng)
Amber: Yeah. Okay. Well, we hope the directions work and that you get to see the famous landmark everybody. But now it’s grammar time.
Amber: Okay. So there’s a couple little grammar points today. First of all, we revisit the word for “How.” Does everybody remember? It was 怎么(Zěnme).
Victor: 怎么(Zěnme) right.
Amber: And we even learned this phrase today, before in another lesson which was, how do I go, which way do I go? Asking directions. And what phrase was that?
Victor: That is 怎么走(Zěnme zǒu).
Amber: Right. Very catchy phrase, how do I go?
Victor: 怎么走(Zěnme zǒu).
Amber: So what do you do? You just say the place you want to go first and then tack on the 怎么走?(Zěnme zǒu?)
Victor: Right. Like in our dialogue 去天安门怎么走?(Qù tiān'ānmén zěnme zǒu?)
Amber: So, “To go to Tiananmen, how do I walk?” basically.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Okay, let me try another one, a Shanghai one, since we were in Shanghai last lesson.
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: How do I get to the Bund?
Victor: That will be ‘外滩怎么走(Wàitān zěnme zǒu)’.
Amber: Right.
Victor: 外滩(Wàitān) being the Bund.
Amber: Yeah, 外滩(Wàitān) fourth tone and first tone. That’s the word in Chinese for the Bund. Okay. So now we’ve talked a lot about our lefts and our rights, now we’re also going to talk about how to say your right side or your left side.
Victor: Well 右边(Yòubiān) for right side and 左边(Zuǒbiān) on the left side.
Amber: Right. 边(Biān) is basically means “The side.” So you just put the left or the right in front and then you say “The side.” So it means to the right side or the left side.
Victor: And 边(Biān) is first tone.
Amber: Now, to talk about where something is in relation to a person like it was in our dialogue, you can use the sentence structure like we saw there.
Victor: Yes. To say something is on your right-hand side, you can say 在你的右边。(Zài nǐ de yòubiān.)
Amber: Right, which is literally at your right side.
Victor: Um-hum. And here’s a good example for making a pronoun into a possessive pronoun. Remember we learned before that the way to do that is just adding a 的(De) to the pronoun.
Amber: Right. So here we heard 你的(Nǐ de) “Your right side.” So in normal speech, that just means basically to make I into my, I just add the 的(De) after the I, which is 你的(Nǐ de)
Victor: Yeah. Very simple.
Amber: “For you.” It would be ‘你的(Nǐ de)’ and so on.
Amber: Okay. Well, that just about does it for today. And just before we go, we’ll let you listen one last time for the dialogue. We want to tell you about a way to improve your pronunciation.
Victor: And that is the awesome voice recording tool we have on the website.
Amber: Totally awesome, Victor.
Victor: Yeah. It is in the Premium Learning Center.
Amber: Yeah. And you just record your voice and you can play it back and listen to how you sound.
Victor: Yeah. And compare it to native speakers.
Amber: Yeah, because we also have a play button for the native speakers pronunciation on there.
Victor: And then you can adjust your pronunciations, very helpful.
Amber: Yeah. So we hope you all enjoyed the lesson today and we will see you next time. Have one more listen to the dialog. And until then…




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ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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You can swap out the destination in this dialogue and use this for any place you want to find.

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 01:09 PM
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Hello Shell B. / 柏潇,

Thank you for your positive comment, we're glad that you found it helpful!

Keep going! Let us know if you have any questions.


Team ChineseClass101.com

Shell B. / 柏潇
Friday at 09:28 AM
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The dialogue in this lesson was really helpful; somehow it helps my listening comprehension to hear two different people saying the same thing one after the other.


ChineseClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 01:35 PM
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Hello James P,

Thank you for your comment. Haha keep practicing! 😉

Let us know if you have any questions.

Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

James P
Wednesday at 03:51 AM
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Wow phrase number 3 here is a real tongue twister

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 04:03 AM
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你好 Marian,

Thank you so much for your kind message! 😇❤️️

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Good luck with your language studies.

Kind regards,


Team ChineseClass101.com

Saturday at 03:24 PM
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Thank you Victor and Amber, you’re my favorite chinese class teachers. I can feel the happiness in your voice every time I listen to both of you.

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 02:41 AM
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你好 robert groulx!

谢谢 for taking the time to leave us a comment. 😇

We are very happy to have you here.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

雷文特 (Levente)

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robert groulx
Saturday at 11:39 PM
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thanks for the lesson trancruipt

favorite phrase is 去天安门怎么走?


ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 01:37 AM
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Hello, 罗天籁,


In spoken Chinese, sometimes 去 can be omitted.

To emphasize the point, 上海, sometimes we omit some not so important preposition, such as 在.


Team ChineseClass101.com

Friday at 05:56 AM
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Are there any differences between 去+place+怎么走

and place+走么走?


How do I get\go to Shanghai?