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Lesson Transcript

Canaan: Hello everyone and welcome back to chineseclass101.com, the fastest, easiest and most enjoyable way to learn Chinese. This is Canaan and I am joined in the studio today.
Jane: Hello, 大家好,我是Jane。(Hello, dàjiā hǎo, wǒ shì Jane.)
Canaan: Now today as our Absolute Beginner Season 3, lesson 3
Jane: Clock watching in China.
Canaan: So this lesson is about telling time and being on time which is kind of hard to do at this season of the year.
Jane: True especially as in the winter it’s so cold outside and hard to get out of the bed in the morning.
Canaan: Yeah exactly. So we are going to teach you some words and phrases related to telling time in Chinese.
Jane: And this conversation takes place between two roommates at home.
Canaan: Exactly and because the two speakers are friends, they will both be speaking in casual Chinese.
Jane: As always.
Canaan: We’re going to take you to the dialogue in a moment but before we do, let me remind you that if you want to make sure you can remember the words and phrases covered in our past lessons
Jane: There is no better way to do it than by using our online flashcard tool.
Canaan: Right. So just go to chineseclass101.com and you can get on in just a few seconds.
Jane: 没错 (Méicuò)。
Canaan: Now let’s go to the dialogue.
Jane: 好的 (Hǎo de)。
Xiànzài jǐdiǎnle?
Shí diǎn bàn.
Shénme? Wǒ wǎn le.
Wǒ yě wǎn le.
What time is it now?
Half past ten.
What? I am late.
I am late too.
Canaan: Would you say that you are a punctual person Jane?
Jane: Umm…
Canaan: I know. Right now, in Beijing, it’s hard for anybody to be punctual considering the traffic and the roads now.
Jane: Especially on Monday.
Canaan: Ah.
Jane: I mean it’s okay in the summer. I can ride my bikes around but in the winter, it’s so cold.
Canaan: So now everybody over here is waiting for the new subway lines to open up. I think in the future wherever you want to go in Beijing, it’s – taking the subway is probably going to be the best method.
Jane: I think you are right.
Canaan: All right. Now let’s look at today’s vocabulary which is all about telling time. And now the vocab section.
Jane: 现在 (xiàn zài)
Canaan: Now.
Jane: 几点 (jǐ diǎn)
Canaan: What time is it?
Jane: 半 (bàn)
Canaan: Half past
Jane: 一刻 (yī kè)
Canaan: One quarter
Jane: 分 (fēn)
Canaan: Minute
Jane: 秒 (miǎo)
Canaan: Second
Jane: 早 (zǎo)
Canaan: Early
Jane: 晚 (wǎn)
Canaan: Late
Canaan: All right. Let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Jane: And the first word we are looking at is 现在 (xiàn zài).
Canaan: Which means right now. I can refer to specifically right now in this very moment as in the sentence in our dialogue
Jane: 现在几点?(Xiànzài jǐ diǎn?)
Canaan: What time is it now?
Jane: 现在几点?(Xiànzài jǐ diǎn?)
Canaan: Or it could mean current time in general as compared to the past.
Jane: Such as 我现在住伦敦 (Wǒ xiànzài zhù lúndūn).
Canaan: I live in London now.
Jane: 我现在住伦敦。(Wǒ xiànzài zhù lúndūn.)
Canaan: Now our next word refers to a quarter that is to say 15 minutes of time.
Jane: 一刻 (yī kè)
Canaan: One quarter.
Jane: 一刻 (yī kè)
Canaan: Of course if you put two quarters together, then you will end up with half past
Jane: 半 (bàn)
Canaan: But in Chinese, if you want to say half past a certain time, you have to switch up your word order. It’s not like in English where we put half past in front of the hour So we say half past 2. In Chinese, it’s the opposite.
Jane: 是的 (Shì de), all you need to do is put 半 (bàn) after the hour such as 两点半 (liǎng diǎn bàn).
Canaan: Half past 2. Literally 2 o'clock and a half.
Jane: 现在两点半。(Xiànzài liǎng diǎn bàn.)
Canaan: It is now half past 2.
Jane: 现在两点半。(Xiànzài liǎng diǎn bàn.)
Canaan: Now let’s keep going with the quarters. What happens if we add another quarter under there?
Jane: I think our listeners should know now. It’s 三刻 (sān kè).
Canaan: Right but the expression – the usage of 三刻 (sān kè) is not particularly common usually as we do in English. They will refer to the next hour as being lacking a quarter.
Jane: 差一刻五点。(Chà yīkè wǔ diǎn.)
Canaan: Right. So a quarter to 5. That is to say, lacking one quarter 5 o clock.
Jane: 差一刻五点。(Chà yīkè wǔ diǎn.)
Canaan: We also have a pair of adjectives here.
Jane: 早 (zǎo) and 晚 (wǎn)
Canaan: Can we get that again?
Jane: 早 (zǎo), 晚 (wǎn)
Canaan: Right. Now when they use these adjectives which is really one of their primary usages, the first one
Jane: 早 (zǎo)
Canaan: Means early and that’s third tone. So it’s a fall and then a rise. And then used as a noun, it means morning.
Jane: 是的 (Shì de)。
Canaan: And the second one is it’s antonym
Jane: 晚 (wǎn)
Canaan: Right meaning late, also third tone and as a noun, it means evening. Of course, in our dialogue, it was used as an adjective as in the sentence.
Jane: 他每天很早起床。(Tā měitiān hěn zǎo qǐchuáng.)
Canaan: He gets up early every day.
Jane: 他每天很早起床。(Tā měitiān hěn zǎo qǐchuáng.)
Canaan: He gets up early every day. Now there is one more word that I think I’d like to mention to our listeners meaning minutes.
Jane: 分 (fēn)
Canaan: Right. Now so for instance, right now the time is 5:35.
Jane: 五点三十五分 (wǔ diǎn sānshíwǔ fēn)
Canaan: 5:35
Jane: 五点三十五分 (wǔ diǎn sānshíwǔ fēn)
Canaan: But usually the minutes marker is often omitted in spoken conversations, right?
Jane: 是的 (Shì de), you can just say 五点三十五 (wǔ diǎn sānshíwǔ)
Canaan: 5:35
Jane: 五点三十五 (wǔ diǎn sānshíwǔ)
Canaan: Right. Now this 分 (fēn) is actually a pretty common word and it has several different uses as opposed to minutes, 分 (fēn) can also refer to cents as in money.
Jane: Such as 五分钱 (wǔ fēn qián)
Canaan: $0.05
Jane: 五分钱 (wǔ fēn qián)
Canaan: Right although that’s a unit of cash that now with inflation pretty much nobody uses anymore.
Jane: Very rare these days.

Lesson focus

Canaan: All right. It’s time to move on to our next section. Now for today’s grammar points, I believe this ought to be a review to most of our faithful listeners.
Jane: 没错 (Méicuò)。
Canaan: It’s grammar time. Okay now today, we are going to look at the particle 了 (le).
Jane: Umm it’s a very common particle that we put at the end of many, many Chinese sentences.
Canaan: Yeah I would dare to say it’s one of the most common particles in Chinese and it tends to scare our students of Chinese. It has several different functions. Today we are going to focus on only one of its uses namely as an indication of a change of status when following adjectives or nouns.
Jane: 是的 (Shì de). For example 天热了(Tiān rèle).
Canaan: The weather has gotten hot.
Jane:天热了。(Tiān rèle.)
Canaan: The weather has gotten hot. So the indication is that the status of the weather
Jane: 天 (tiān)
Canaan: Has changed from either cold or warm not hot, too hot.
Jane: 热 (rè)
Canaan: Now pay attention here. The weather has gotten hot.
Jane: 天热了(Tiān rèle.)
Canaan: Is different from
Jane: 天真热 (Tiānzhēn rè.)
Canaan: Meaning the weather is very hot which in this sense does not give us any indication of whether it’s always been hot or it’s just gotten hot. It just means it’s hot right now.
Jane: 没错 (Méicuò). Another sentence 你胖了 (Nǐ pàngle).
Canaan: You are putting on weight.
Jane: 你胖了 。(Nǐ pàngle.)
Canaan: You are putting on weight. A word of warning. This is not something that you want to say to your Chinese friends or at least not to your female Chinese friends. They might take offence to it.
Jane: Exactly. How about 你瘦了 (Nǐ shòule).
Canaan: You are getting thinner.
Jane: 你瘦了。(Nǐ shòule.)
Canaan: You are getting thinner. Yeah that’s a little better. Now I mentioned a minute ago that the particle 了 can also follow a noun in certain situations to indicate that certain changes of status have taken place.
Jane: 是的 (Shì de). For example 冬天了,天冷了 (Dōngtiānle, tiān lěngle).
Canaan: Winter has come and it has gotten cold.
Jane: 冬天了,天冷了。(Dōngtiānle, tiān lěngle.)
Canaan: Winter has come and it’s gotten cold. Now in this sentence, we have two instances with the word 了 one follows a noun
Jane: 冬天 (dōngtiān)
Canaan: One follows an adjective.
Jane: 冷 (lěng)
Canaan: So what’s indicated is that season has changed from autumn to winter and the weather has gone from cool to cold.
Jane: 是的 (Shì de)。


Canaan: Oh 六点了 (liù diǎnle). Time is up. It’s 6 o’ clock.
Jane: You are right.
Canaan: As always, if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please log on to our website.
Jane: At chineseclass101.com
Canaan: And write to us
Jane: At contactus@chineseclass101.com
Canaan: We always love to hear from our listeners. For now though, here in Beijing, this is Canaan signing off.
Jane: 我是Jane。(Wǒ shì Jane.)
Canaan: And we will see you next time. Take care.
Jane: 下次见。(Xià cì jiàn.)