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Canaan: Absolute Beginner, season 3, Lesson 9. You’ve got a lot to complain about in China. Hello and welcome to chineseclass101.com where we learn modern Chinese in a fun and educational format.
Jane: Brush up your Chinese or start learning today.
Canaan: Thanks for being here with us. Jane, what are we looking at today?
Jane: In today’s lesson, it’s all about complaints and how to deal with them.
Canaan: And it’s going to be good review for last lesson.
Jane: 是的。(shì de.) So this conversation takes place on a hot summer day near lunch time.
Canaan: Between two friends who seem to be on their way to some place or some event that’s pretty important.
Jane: Since they are friends, they are speaking to each other informally.
Canaan: Right. Now we will go to the dialogue in just a moment but before we go, if you haven’t already
Jane: Stop by chineseclass101.com
Canaan: Sign up to get your free lifetime account.
Jane: It takes less than 30 seconds.
Canaan: And you can get a lot of cool stuff.
Jane: But do it after our lesson though.
我热死了。(Wǒ rè sǐ le.)
我也是。(Wǒ yě shì.)
我累死了。(Wǒ lèi sǐ le.)
快到了。(Kuài dào le.)
我渴死了。(Wǒ kě sǐ le.)
你烦死了。(Nǐ fán sǐ le.)
Canaan: And now with the English translation.
我热死了。(Wǒ rè sǐ le.)
I am so hot.
我也是。(Wǒ yě shì.)
Me too.
我累死了。(Wǒ lèi sǐ le.)
I am so tired.
快到了。(Kuài dào le.)
We'll be there soon.
我渴死了。(Wǒ kě sǐ le.)
I am so thirsty.
你烦死了。(Nǐ fán sǐ le.)
You are so annoying.
Canaan: Right. Let’s go to the dialogue. So I understand that the Chinese people don’t really like the sound of “si”
Jane: That’s right. We try our best to avoid the number 4 which in Chinese is pronounced as 四 (sì)
Canaan: And which is quite similar to the word to die.
Jane: 死 (sǐ)
Canaan: Right. Just note that the number 4 is a fourth tone falling.
Jane: 四 (sì)
Canaan: And the word to die is a fall followed by a rise, the third tone.
Jane: 死 (sǐ)
Canaan: Which is why in China, a lot of high rise buildings don’t have four floors.
Jane: And no 13th and 14th floors either.
Canaan: No 13th floor, that’s a western thing, isn’t it?
Jane: Yeah, we are catering to you.
Canaan: Oh! Okay we won’t go any further on that. Let’s take a look at today’s vocab list which should be mostly review for everybody.
Jane: 热 (rè)
Canaan: Hot.
Jane: 热 热 (rè)
Jane: 冷 (lěng)
Canaan: Cold.
Jane: 冷 冷 (lěng)
Jane: 累 (lèi)
Canaan: Tired.
Jane: 累 累 (lèi)
Jane: 渴 (kě)
Canaan: Thirsty
Jane: 渴 渴 (kě)
Jane: 饿 (è)
Canaan: Hungry.
Jane: 饿 饿 (è)
Jane: 快 (kuài)
Canaan: Fast.
Jane: 快 快(kuài)
Jane: 慢 (màn)
Canaan: Slow.
Jane: 慢 慢 (màn)
Jane: 到 (dào)
Canaan: To arrive.
Jane: 到 到 (dào)
Canaan: Now let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases in this lesson.
Jane: And the first word is 到 (dào)
Canaan: To arrive.
Jane: 到 (dào)
Canaan: To arrive.
Jane: 我到了。(Wǒ dàole.)
Canaan: I have arrived.
Jane: 我到了。(Wǒ dàole.)
Canaan: It’s pretty easy pattern and if you want to specify the place to which you have arrived
Jane: 我到家了。(Wǒ dào jiā le.)
Canaan: I have arrived at home.
Jane: 我到家了。(Wǒ dào jiā le.)
Canaan: I have arrived at home. Our next word is a little more complicated.
Jane: 快 (kuài)
Canaan: Fast
Jane: 快 (kuài)
Canaan: And here is an adjective and I am sure you’ve all heard it before. However, it can also be used as an adverb such as in the sentence in our dialogue.
Jane: 快到了 (kuài dào le)
Canaan: We will be there soon.
Jane: 快到了 (kuài dào le)
Canaan: So here 快 (kuài) means soon or quickly and I know that in Chinese, people like to use 快 (kuài) as a sort of imperative to hurry people up, right?
Jane: 是的。(shì de.) Such as 快吃。(kuài chī.)
Canaan: Hurry up and eat.
Jane: 快吃。(kuài chī.)
Canaan: And when people say this to you, it’s not really that they are pushing you. Rather quite the opposite, they are showing that they care about you and they want to make sure that you know you get your fill, so don’t get offended.
Jane: Absolutely. Another example 快说。(kuài shuō.)
Canaan: Speak out.
Jane: 快说。(kuài shuō .)
Canaan: Like come on, be straightforward and hit me with it. Right, now the opposite of 快 (kuài) is
Jane: 慢 (màn)
Canaan: Slow.
Jane: 慢 (màn)
Canaan: And just like 快 (kuài) it is an adjective that can also be used as an adverb.
Jane: For example 慢走。(mànzǒu.)
Canaan: Right. You will hear this a lot. This particular phrase 慢走 (mànzǒu) is a piece of politeness. So if you’ve just finished eating and you’re leaving a restaurant, you will often hear the waitress say 慢走 (mànzǒu) This means literally slowly walk and what they mean is of course, just take it easy.
Jane: 慢走 (mànzǒu)
Canaan: Take it easy. The next word we want to highlight is
Jane: 冷 (lěng)
Canaan: Cold.
Jane: 冷 (lěng)
Canaan: Now I think a lot of you should be pretty familiar with this word. It’s a pretty simple adjective but it’s synonym of degree that we want to talk to you about today.
Jane: 凉 (liáng)
Canaan: Cool.
Jane: 凉 (liáng)
Canaan: Cool. Now 凉 (liáng) is much, much milder in degree compared to 冷 (lěng) and it also bears a different connotation. It’s much more pleasant feeling, right?
Jane: 是的。(shì de.) For example, in the summer when it’s been really hot and suddenly one day after the rain, we might say 今天真凉快。(jīntiān zhēn liángkuai.)
Canaan: Today is really cool.
Jane: 今天真凉快。(jīntiān zhēn liángkuai.)
Canaan: Now note that 凉快 (liángkuai( here is one word meaning cool.
Jane: So we call cold water as 凉水 (liángshuǐ( but not 冷水(lěngshuǐ(
Canaan: Right because 凉 (liáng) is associated with pleasant feelings while 冷 (lěng) is unpleasant.
Jane: 没错儿 ‘méicuòr(
Canaan: Now our next word is
Jane: 饿 (è)
Canaan: Hungry.
Jane: 饿 (è)
Canaan: It’s important that you know this word because then, you could tell people that
Jane: 我饿了。(Wǒ è le.)
Canaan: I am hungry.
Jane: 我饿了。(Wǒ è le.)
Canaan: But what about after eating?
Jane: 我饱了。(Wǒ bǎo le.)
Canaan: I am full.
Jane: 我饱了。(Wǒ bǎo le.)
Canaan: Which is pretty important because if you ever eat over at your Chinese friend’s family or you go back to your Chinese friend’s old home for vacation, everybody is going to be telling you to eat more.
Jane: They are just being polite. So don’t get annoyed.
Canaan: So vocabulary was pretty easy today. I think the grammar will probably be pretty simple as well.
Jane: I think so.

Lesson focus

Canaan: All right, let’s take a look. It’s grammar time. Now today, we are going to talk about a very important aspect of Chinese grammar namely sentences lacking proper verbs.
Jane: Which is quite different from English grammar in which verb seems to be the most important part in the sentence.
Canaan: Sure enough. Now if you read the sentences in our dialogue today carefully, you will find that many of them are simply constructed by a subject and an adjective with a compliment.
Jane: 是的。(shì de.) And this is the first situation that we want to talk about when there is no verb required in the sentence.
Canaan: Right. Now in this situation, the verb is replaced by an adjective plus the particle 了 (le) which describes a change of status.
Jane: For example, 水凉了 (shuǐ liáng le)
Canaan: The water has gone cold.
Jane: 水凉了 (shuǐ liáng le)
Canaan: Now here 凉liáng is the adjective plus 了 (le) which takes on a verbal quality by indicating the change in water temperature.
Jane: Another sentence 妈妈老了 māma lǎole
Canaan: Mom has aged.
Jane: 妈妈老了 (māma lǎole)
Canaan: Again here 老 (lǎo) is an adjective that means old here followed by the particle 了 (le) which indicates a change of status.
Jane: 是的。(shì de.) One more sentence 他的脸红了。(tā de liǎnhóng le.)
Canaan: His face turned red.
Jane: 他的脸红了。(tā de liǎnhóng le.)
Canaan: Now the second situation in which no verb is required within a sentence is when there is an adverb of degrees such as 真 (zhēn) ,很 (hěn) or 太 (tài) to describe the adjective.
Jane: For example 我很饿。(Wǒ hěn è.)
Canaan: I am very hungry.
Jane: 我很饿。(Wǒ hěn è.)
Canaan: Now if you look at this sentence, three characters I very hungry, there is no verb to be. The adverb 很 (hěn) plus the adjective 饿 (è) form a structure that requires no verb as it simply describes a state or the characteristics of the subject.
Jane: 是的。(shì de.) And note in this case, the particle 了 (le) usually is not needed at the end of the sentence. So it is different from the first situation.
Canaan: Right.
Jane: 他的脸真红。(tā de liǎn zhēn hóng.)
Canaan: His face is really red.
Jane: 他的脸真红。(tā de liǎn zhēn hóng.)
Canaan: Okay. Let’s get another example.
Jane: 他太年轻了。(tā tài niánqīng le.)
Canaan: He is too young.
Jane: 他太年轻了。(tā tài niánqīng le.)
Canaan: Now here the adverb 太 (tài) in the particle 了(le) form pattern, that itself is also used to describe characteristics of subject 他tā being too young. So no verb is needed. Now don’t get this confused with the sentences that we mentioned previously which use 了 (le) to describe a change of state. In this case 太 (tài) and 了 (le) is a set pattern. So it has to be put together that way.
Jane: Now let’s have a look at how to change these non-verb sentences into their negative forms.
Canaan: Now first, for the adjective plus 了 (le) type sentence, you just put the word 没 (méi) in front of the adjective and you leave out the 了 (le)
Jane: For example, to change 水凉了 (shuǐ liáng le) into its negative form is 水没凉 (shuǐ méi liáng)
Canaan: The water has not gotten cold.
Jane: 水没凉 (shuǐ méi liáng)
Canaan: The water has not gotten cold.
Jane: And for sentence 妈妈老了 (māma lǎole), the negative form is 妈妈没老 (māma méi lǎo)
Canaan: Mom has not aged.
Jane: 妈妈没老 (māma méi lǎo)
Canaan: Pretty straightforward. Now for our other nonverb sentence, that is adverb plus adjective types, all you need to do is replace the adverb with the negative word 不 (bù)
Jane: For example, the sentence 他的脸真红。(tā de liǎn zhēn hóng.)
the negative form is 他的脸不红。(tā de liǎn bù hóng.)
Canaan: His face is not red.
Jane: 他的脸不红。(tā de liǎn bù hóng.) For a sentence 他太年轻了。(tā tài niánqīng le.) the negative form is 他不年轻。(tā bù niánqīng.)
Canaan: He is not young. Note that the particle 了(le) has been left out. There you go. So now we’ve showed you two types of sentences where you don’t need to add a verb.
Jane: Pretty easy I think and when there is adjective plus 了 to describe change of status of the subjects and that’s the first situation, to change the sentence into its negative form, just put 没 (méi) in front of the adjective and get rid of the 了 (le) at the end.
Canaan: And consequently for adverb plus adjective sentences, all you have to do is take the adverb out and replace it with the 不 (bù) and if there is a 了 (le) at the end as in 太...了 (tài ...le) then take the 了 (le) out too.
Jane: 是的。(shì de.)
Canaan: Feel like you need some more sample sentences to consolidate your learning?
Jane: Or if there is something that you didn’t quite get.


Canaan: Please check out our online premium learning center where you can find everything we talked about and much, much more.
Jane: Or write to us at contactus@chineseclass101
Canaan: For now though, this is Canaan.
Jane: And Jane here from Beijing saying take care and 再见 (zàijiàn)
Canaan: See you soon.