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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Hi everybody! Yinru here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Chinese questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: How do I use the final particle 啊 a?
Explanation
In Chinese language, especially colloquial Chinese, you’ll often see particles at the end of a sentence. They usually don’t have any substantive meaning themselves, but they do play a very important role in carrying out the intonation of a sentence. We call those “final particles.” Words like 吗 ma, 吧 ba, 啊 a, 哦 o are all particles that appear at the end of a sentence to show the emotions of the speaker.
Today we’ll be talking about one of the most common final particle: 啊 a.
Generally speaking, 啊 can be put at the end of a greeting, a question, an exclamation, or an imperative. It can soften the tone, strengthen the emotion, and make the conversation more colloquial.
Let’s look at some examples.
When you want to ask: “Who is it?” you can say:
是谁? shì shéi? This sounds very intense.
But if you say:
是谁啊? shì shéi a? The tone is much softer and less impersonal.
To agree with someone, you can use the word 好 hǎo, 对 duì, 是 shì, etc.
Many times, you’ll hear 好啊 hǎo a, 对啊 duì a, 是啊 shì a in conversations. For example:
A: 这里的人好多啊!(zhèlǐ de rén hǎo duō a! “So many people here!”)
B: 是啊/对啊。每天都这样。(shì a /duì a. Měi tiān dōu zhèyàng. “Yeah. It’s like this every day.”)
今天天气真好啊!Jīntiān tiānqì zhēn hǎo a! is an exclamation. We use 啊 to emphasize the fact that the weather is really very nice.
快吃啊!Kuài chī a! is an imperative. You’ll often hear parents say that to their kids, to make them hurry up and eat their food.
Here’s another example of how to use 啊:
动物园里有很多动物,老虎啊,狮子啊,大象啊,骆驼啊,长颈鹿啊等等. Dòngwùyuán lǐ yǒu hěnduō dòngwu, lǎohǔ a, shīzi a, dàxiàng a, luòtuo a, chángjǐnglù a děngděng. It means “There are lots of animals in the zoo, such as tigers, lions, elephants, camels, giraffes, and so on.”
啊 here is used when listing a series of things in spoken language.
Generally speaking, 啊 is a final particle we use in colloquial language to make the speech softer, less abrupt, and more conversational.
是不是很有意思啊?Shì bú shì hěn yǒu yìsi a? “Interesting, right?”

Outro

How was it? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below, and I’ll try to answer them!
I’ll See you next episode. 我们下期再见吧。Wǒmen xià qī zàijiàn ba. Bye!

5 Comments

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ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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What Chinese learning question do you have?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 03:16 AM
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你好 robert groulx,


谢谢 for posting and studying with us. If you have any questions, please let us know.😄


Kind regards,

雷文特 (Levente)

Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Monday at 12:27 AM
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thank you for the lesson transcript


这里的人好多啊!(zhèlǐ de rén hǎo duō a! “So many people here!”)


robert

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 02:37 AM
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Hello, Jim Whitcomb,


Thank you for your long comment.

We speak Chinese fast because we began to learn Chinese from the moment we are born.

We remember the sounds by listening thousands of times, which means the mother tongue for us.

So it is very normal for a beginner to think it difficult for him even he has already reviewed an audio even for more than 10 times.

So if you want to master it, please keep listening and practicing until the sounds are resounded in your mind.


Cho

Team ChineseClass101.com

Jim Whitcomb
Friday at 02:05 PM
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Hi Yinru. I found this website just yesterday, and I have already listened to many, many short lessons! Mainly I have looked for lessons taught by you. You were the first one I listened to, and you seem very funny and friendly. That makes learning easier for me! Mandarin is strange in that itvseems very simple in one way, and almost IMPOSSIBLE in other ways!!! My one big question is this: I grew up speaking English, so "tones" are not a part of my native language that I have spoken all of my life. If I get the tone wrong as I am learning (it WILL happen FREQUENTLY, especially in the beginning!), would people still usually understand me anyway? That seems like the hardest part of all with this, Yinru. I would love to hear what you have to say about this. It is all said so fast!!! How can people say all the tones correctly? Thanks for the help. Jim.