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Lesson Transcript

Canaan: Hello and welcome back to chineseclass101.com, the fastest, easiest and most enjoyable way to learn Chinese. My name is Canaan and here in the studio is.
Jane: 嗨,大家好。我是 Jane。 (hài , dàjiā hǎo. Wǒ shì Jane.)
Canaan: And today is Absolute Beginner series, season 3, Lesson 15.
Jane: It’s all about who you know in China.
Canaan: Really? I know the president and the premiere of China.
Jane: Too bad, they don’t know you.
Canaan: Oh well all right. So what’s this lesson about?
Jane: In this lesson, you will learn how to make a rhetorical sentence indicating surprise.
Canaan: Right. Now the conversation takes place in a hospital next to a bed in the ward.
Jane: And it is between a mother who is just recovered from a serious head injury and her son who is coming to visit him after the operation.
Canaan: Yeah we got a little bit of drama for you in today’s dialogue.
Jane: And the mother and son are of course speaking in casual Mandarin to each other.
Canaan: Now before we go to the dialogue, I want to remind you once again that if you’d like to read along with us as we play this dialogue and as we talk about it
Jane: The transcript and other great learning tools will be available in our premium learning center.
你是谁?(Nǐ shì shéi?)
你不认识我吗?(Nǐ bù rènshi wǒ ma?)
我应该认识你吗?(Wǒ yīnggāi rènshi nǐ ma?)
我是你儿子!(Wǒ shì nǐ érzi!)
Canaan: And now with the English translation.
你是谁?(Nǐ shì shéi?)
Who are you?
你不认识我吗?(Nǐ bù rènshì wǒ ma?)
Don't you know me?
我应该认识你吗?(Wǒ yīnggāi rènshì nǐ ma?)
Should I know you?
我是你儿子!(Wǒ shì nǐ érzi!)
I am your son!
Canaan: And they are great things to have while you are listening. Now let’s go to the dialogue. Okay so listening to this dialogue, I kind of think the title of our lesson is a bit deceiving. I mean is it about who you know or who you don’t know.
Jane: Maybe but believe me, it really is all about who you know here
Canaan: That determines what you can get done. That’s true. Most of us have heard the word 关系 (guānxi) before which literally means relationship but connotes way more than that.
Jane: Having 关系 (guānxi) is often a person’s ticket to employment, money and power and relationships have to be managed very carefully.
Canaan: Wooo. Sounds complicated.
Jane: It is.
Canaan: Now today’s vocabulary is full of useful words that can help you start climbing the Chinese social ladder.
Jane: Just don’t step on anybody’s face as you go up.
Jane: 认识 (rènshi)
Canaan: To know.
Jane: 认识 认识 (Rènshì rènshì)
Jane: 应该 (yīnggāi)
Canaan: Should.
Jane: 应该 应该 (Yīnggāi yīnggāi)
Jane: 同事 (tóngshì)
Canaan: Colleague.
Jane: 同事 同事 (Tóngshì tóngshì)
Jane: 谁 (shéi)
Canaan: Who.
Jane: 谁 谁 (Shéishéi)
Jane: 老同学 (lǎo tóngxué)
Canaan: Former classmate.
Jane: 老同学 老同学 (Lǎo tóngxué lǎo tóngxué)
Jane: 邻居 (línjū)
Canaan: Neighbor.
Jane: 邻居 邻居 (Línjū línjū)
Jane: 前男友 (qián nán yǒu)
Canaan: Ex-boyfriend.
Jane: 前男友 前男友 (Qián nányǒu qián nányǒu)
Jane: 爱人 (àiren)
Canaan: Partner.
Jane: 爱人 爱人 (Àirén àirén)
Canaan: All right. Let’s take a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases we just heard.
Jane: And the first word is 认识 (rènshi)
Canaan: To know as in to be acquainted with.
Jane: 认识 (rènshi) 你认识他吗?(nǐ rènshi tā ma ?)
Canaan: Do you know him?
Jane: 你认识他吗?(nǐ rènshi tā ma ?)
Canaan: And remember, according to our golden rule of verb echoing, if you want to say yes I do, all you have to do is repeat back for two character verb.
Jane: 认识 (rènshi) or 不认识 (bú rènshi )
Canaan: Now our next word is
Jane: 同事 (tóngshì)
Canaan: Colleague.
Jane: 同事 (tóngshì)
Canaan: Like me and Jane.
Jane: 我们是同事。(wǒmen shì tóngshì .)
Canaan: We are colleagues.
Jane: 我们是同事。(wǒmen shì tóngshì .)
Canaan: Now what’s the next form of 关系 (guānxi) or relationships that we should know.
Jane: 邻居 (línjū)
Canaan: Neighbor.
Jane: 邻居 (línjū)
Canaan: But I don’t even know my neighbors.
Jane: 我不太认识我的邻居。(Wǒ bú tài rènshi Wǒ de línjū .)
Canaan: I don’t know my neighbors well.
Jane: 我不太认识我的邻居。(Wǒ bú tài rènshi Wǒ de línjū .)
Canaan: Now here we put 太(tài) the adverb of degree meaning to in between 不(bú) and 认识(rènshi)
Jane: 不太认识 (bú tài rènshi)
Canaan: Meaning don’t know them too well.
Jane: And you can use it on other verbs as well such as 我不太喜欢我的同事。(Wǒ bú tài xǐhuān Wǒ de tóngshì .)
Canaan: I don’t like my colleagues that much and you are talking about me?
Jane: No, it’s my 老同学 (lǎo tóngxué)
Canaan: Former classmate.
Jane: 老同学 (lǎo tóngxué)
Canaan: So your former classmate is your colleague now and you don’t like him or her.
Jane: No I just made it up.
Canaan: So the next relationship we want to talk about is related to the words boyfriend and girlfriend.
Jane: 男朋友,女朋友 (nánpéngyou , nǚpéngyou)
Canaan: Now we assume that most of our listeners already know these words. So we’ve moved on to the next stage in the development of relationships between girlfriends and boyfriends namely.
Jane: 前男友 (qián nán yǒu)
Canaan: Ex boyfriend.
Jane: 前男友 (qián nán yǒu)
Canaan: So it’s not 前男朋友 (qián nánpéngyou )
Jane: No it’s too long.
Canaan: Right and 前 (qián) if you remember from our last lesson is a position word.
Jane: 前面 (qiánmian)
Canaan: Which means in front, same character but here it means past as in before.
Jane: 是的。(shì de .) and 前女友 (qiánnǚyǒu)
Canaan: Ex girlfriend.
Jane: 前女友 (qiánnǚyǒu)
Canaan: Now what can we say about them?
Jane: 我男朋友不认识我前男友。(Wǒ nánpéngyou bú rènshi Wǒ qiánnányǒu .)
Canaan: My boyfriend doesn’t know my ex-boyfriend and this is Jane talking.
Jane: 我女朋友不认识我前女友。(Wǒ nǚpéngyou bú rènshi Wǒ qiánnǚyǒu .)
Canaan: My girlfriend doesn’t know my ex-girl friend. I think it is better that way. Now our next word is a good one because it has a little bit more history than 男朋友,女朋友 (nánpéngyou , nǚpéngyou)
Jane: 爱人 (àiren)
Canaan: Partner or lover.
Jane: 爱人 (àiren)
Canaan: I thought that this word had already become little old fashioned.
Jane: You are right. It was very popular in the 70s or 80s and it used to be reserved for those only legally married couple. For example, when you are introducing your wife or your husband to 你的同事 (nǐ de tóngshì) you can say 这是我爱人。(zhè shì Wǒ àiren .)
Canaan: This is my partner.
Jane: 这是我爱人。(zhè shì Wǒ àiren .)
Canaan: This is my partner but in these days, the word can actually apply to lovers, two people who are partners and who are together but are not officially married, yes.
Jane: 是的。(shì de .) Slightly old fashioned but I like it.
Canaan: All right. Enough about 关系(guānxi.) Shall we move on?
Jane: We got one last word for today 应该 (yīnggāi)
Canaan: Should
Jane: 应该 (yīnggāi)
Canaan: Now just like in English, it’s often used in conjunction with a verb
Jane: 我应该回家了。(Wǒ yīnggāi huíjiā le .)
Canaan: I should go home now.
Jane: 我应该回家了。(Wǒ yīnggāi huíjiā le .)
Canaan: Well maybe I will go home in a bit but before I do, we got to go on to our grammar section first.
Jane: 好的 (hǎo de)

Lesson focus

Canaan: It’s grammar time. Okay today we are going to talk about how you emphasize your meaning in a sentence through the use of rhetorical questions.
Jane: Sounds very interesting.
Canaan: Yeah we are finally getting into the emotional side of the Chinese language. This gives you a little bit of extra power when you are expressing a strong opinion or expressing surprise related to an instance.
Jane: So first, how should we make a rhetorical question?
Canaan: Okay this is the easy part. All narrative sentences can be turned into rhetorical sentences by adding the question word
Jane: 吗 (Ma)
Canaan: At the end but the trick is you need to change the verb to its opposite form that is to say, if it were a positive verb in a narrative sentence, you would have to change it to its negative equivalent in the rhetorical sentence.
Jane: And on the other hand, if it was a negative verb in the narrative sentence, you would have to change it to its positive form in the rhetorical sentence.
Canaan: Right. So let’s start with a sentence from our dialogue.
Jane: 你不认识我吗?(nǐ bù rènshi Wǒ ma ?)
Canaan: Don’t you know me? Right, so the emphasis is sort of pushed toward the end including on the question word ma. So let’s have that one more time.
Jane: 你不认识我吗?(nǐ bú rènshi Wǒ ma ?)
Canaan: So what the speaker is actually saying is,
Jane: 你认识我。(nǐ rènshi Wǒ.)
Canaan: You know me but that’s just a plain narrative sentence. So the tone becomes much stronger if you express the same meaning rhetorically. Note that the verb has changed its form from
Jane: 认识 (rènshi)
Canaan: In the narrative sentence to its opposite.
Jane: 不认识 (bú rènshi)
Canaan: In the rhetorical sentence. So let’s look at another sentence.
Jane: 她是你女朋友。(tā shì nǐ nǚpéngyou .)
Canaan: She is your girlfriend. Now again, let’s turn that into a rhetorical sentence adding ma and changing the verb.
Jane: 她不是你女朋友吗?(tā bú shì nǐ nǚpéngyou ma ?)
Canaan: Isn’t she your girlfriend?
Jane: 她不是你女朋友吗?(tā bú shì nǐ nǚpéngyou ma ?)
Canaan: Now this time we are going to switch it up and come at you with a rhetorical sentence and see if you can get the original meaning that’s hidden underneath the rhetoric.
Jane: 今天不是星期一吗?(jīntiān bú shì xīng qī yī ma ?)
Canaan: Today is not Monday?
Jane: 今天不是星期一吗?(jīntiān bú shì xīng qī yī ma ?)
Canaan: So this guy must have come into work on like a Sunday morning at 9 o’ clock and discovered that the only person there was the cleaning lady.
Jane: Poor guy and of course, what he really thought was 今天是星期一 (jīntiān shì xīng qī yī)
Canaan: Today is Monday. Now as you study further, you will find out that sometimes these rhetorical questions don’t have to end with question marker ma.
Jane: But the emphasis is still on the end part of the sentence and sort of goes up at the end such as 你是我老同学?(nǐ shì Wǒ lǎo tóngxué ?)
Canaan: You are my old classmate?
Jane: 你是我老同学?(nǐ shì Wǒ lǎo tóngxué ?)
Canaan: And don’t worry if it seems a little hard. In this case, practice makes perfect.
Jane: 没错儿 (méicuòr)


Canaan: All right, now with that, we’ve come to the end of today’s lesson. As always, if you have any questions or comments
Jane: Or any learning experience that you would like to share with us
Canaan: Just write to us at contactus@chineseclass101.com
Jane: And from Beijing now, this is Jane.
Canaan: And Canaan and we will see you next time.
Jane: 回见。(huí jiàn .)


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Do you that for every single relationship between the families and relatives members, there is a specific name for it in Chinese? How many can you name?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 05:31 AM
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你好 robert groulx!

不用谢。(Bú yòng xiè.) = No need for thanks. You're welcome. 😇

谢谢 (Xièxie) for studying with us, it's great to have you here!

Let us know if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

雷文特 (Levente)

Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Sunday at 11:53 PM
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thank you for the lesson transcipt

favorite phrase is 今天不是星期一吗?


ChineseClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 05:26 PM
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Hi Alexis 亚历克西,

不用谢 :smile:

Haha yes, you can say that!


Team ChineseClass101.com

Alexis 亚历克西 (Yà lì kè xī)
Thursday at 04:36 PM
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谢谢 Olivia!

I really appreciate you pointing out the difference between 同事 and 同志。 Yes, they do sound similar! So, I guess one could say 我的同事是同志。 My colleague is a party member.

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 04:24 PM
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Hi Alexis 亚历克西,

Please note that the term 同事 (tóngshì) "colleague; coworker" introduced in this lesson is different from 同志 (tóngzhì) "comrade" of a party member. They sound very similar so beware :wink:

Your assumption is correct regarding "friend", "boyfriend", and "girlfriend" :thumbsup:

朋友 (péngyǒu) "friend"

男朋友 (nán péngyǒu) "boyfriend"

女朋友 (nǚ péngyǒu) "girlfriend"

前男友 (qián nányǒu) "ex-boyfriend"

前女友 (qián nǚyǒu) "ex-girlfriend"


Team ChineseClass101.com

Alexis 亚历克西 (Yà lì kè xī)
Sunday at 06:44 PM
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I have a couple of questions today. First, is 同事 (tongshi) colleague, what used to be translated as comrade to refer to party members, but now it can refer to any coworker?

Second, we jumped up to former boyfriend 前男友 (qiannanyou), but we've actually never covered boyfriend or even just friend, although from the lesson I heard them say 朋友 (pengyou). So I take it 朋友 is a generic friend of either sex, 男朋友 is a boyfriend (which means romantic involvement) and girlfriend is 怒朋友 (I heard the nu, but I'm not sure if the first character is right).

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 11:19 AM
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Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for your comment!

Both àiren and àirén are correct, depending on the regions.

To avoid further confusions have edited the sample sentence so it's àiren throughout the lesson. The "ren" is a 5th tone natural tone.

Keep up the good work!:thumbsup:


Team ChineseClass101.com

Friday at 03:25 AM
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Is àiren missing an accent mark, or is it spelled correctly?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 02:59 PM
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Hi Will,



Team ChineseClass101.com

Thursday at 03:55 AM
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I like using 同;it's just so versatile!I like how we can go from saying 同学 to 同志(comrade)so easily. :cool: