Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
David: Right if you have left home but you haven’t arrived yet, that’s what we are talking about today. We have got a dialogue that involves two people who are at home waiting for the arrival of a third.
DIALOGUE
A: 他到哪儿了?(Tā dào nǎr le?)
B: 在路上。(Zài lùshang。)
A: 还有多久能到?(Háiyǒu duōjiǔ néng dào?)
B: 我怎么知道。(wǒ zěnme zhīdào.)
David: One more time a bit slower.
A: 他到哪儿了?(Tā dào nǎr le?)
B: 在路上。(Zài lùshang。)
A: 还有多久能到?(Háiyǒu duōjiǔ néng dào?)
B: 我怎么知道。(wǒ zěnme zhīdào.)
David: And now with the English translation.
Sylvia: 他到哪儿了?(Tā dào nǎr le?)
David: Where is he?
Sylvia: 在路上。(Zài lùshang。)
David: On the way.
Sylvia: 还有多久能到?(Háiyǒu duōjiǔ néng dào?)
David: How long till he gets here?
Sylvia: 不好说。(bù hǎo shuō.)
David: Hard to say.
VOCAB LIST
Sylvia: 到(dào) [natural native speed]
David: to arrive
Sylvia: 到(dào) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 到(dào) [natural native speed]
Sylvia: 哪儿(nǎr) [natural native speed]
David: where
Sylvia: 哪儿(nǎr) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 哪儿(nǎr) [natural native speed]
Sylvia: 路上(lù shàng) [natural native speed]
David: on the road
Sylvia: 路上(lù shàng) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 路上(lù shàng) [natural native speed]
Sylvia: 知道(zhīdào) [natural native speed]
David: to know
Sylvia: 知道(zhīdào) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 知道(zhīdào) [natural native speed]
Sylvia: 还有(háiyǒu) [natural native speed]
David: in addition, still
Sylvia: 还有(háiyǒu) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 还有(háiyǒu) [natural native speed]
Sylvia: 多久(duōjiǔ) [natural native speed]
David: how long
Sylvia: 多久(duōjiǔ) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 多久(duōjiǔ) [natural native speed]
Sylvia: 不好说(bù hǎo shuō) [natural native speed]
David: hard to say
Sylvia: 不好说(bù hǎo shuō) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 不好说(bù hǎo shuō) [natural native speed]
VOCAB AND PHRASE USAGE
David: Let’s take a closer look at some of these words and phrases. The first word we want to highlight is on the road 路上(lù shàng), on the road 路上(lù shàng). Normally, like in the dialogue, we hear this as part of the phrase 在路上(Zài lùshang), to be on the road 在路上(Zài lùshang). Right but Sylvia, you can use this alone.
Sylvia: Yes.
David: Someone could say where is he and you could just say 路上(lù shàng).
Sylvia: For example, 我朋友在路上.(Wǒ péngyǒu zài lùshàng.)
David: My friend is on the way 我朋友在路上(Wǒ péngyǒu zài lùshàng) Right. So we are not literally saying he is standing on the road. We mean he is coming here.
Sylvia: Right.
David: The next word we want to highlight is a question 多久?(duōjiǔ?) How long? 多久?(duōjiǔ?)Now the word how much 多(Duō) is the question here. So we are asking how much of a length 久(Jiǔ) how long 多久?(duōjiǔ?) how long have you studied Chinese? 你学中文多久了?(Nǐ xué zhōngwén duōjiǔle?) How long have you known. 你知道多久了?(Nǐ zhīdào duōjiǔle?) How long have you known.
Sylvia: 知道多久了?(Zhīdào duōjiǔle?)
David: And of course if a friend is traveling here and it takes them a while to get here, you can ask them how long was your trip. 你在路上多久了?(Nǐ zài lùshàng duōjiǔle?) How long were you on the road?
Sylvia: 你在路上多久了? (Nǐ zài lùshàng duōjiǔle?)
David: And notice what the 了 is doing in these questions. It’s a change of state. 多久了(Duōjiǔle), because the amount of time is changing.

Lesson focus

David: Our grammar pattern today is learning how to say that some things are easy to answer or hard to answer.
Sylvia: 不好说(Bù hǎoshuō). In the dialogue, we hear it in this line 不好说.(Bù hǎoshuō.)
David: Literally not easy to say 不好说(Bù hǎoshuō). And we translated that as hard to say and just like the English, that’s exactly what it means and it’s exactly how we use it.
Sylvia: Right.
David: If you don’t know the answer and someone asks you a question, you can say 不好说(Bù hǎoshuō) Hard to say.
Sylvia: Right. Or any question you don’t want to answer, you will say…
David: Yes you can..
Sylvia: 不好说.(Bù hǎoshuō.)
David: Yeah it’s not that I don’t know but it’s hard to say. For instance, if someone asks you how long have you known? 你知道多久了?(Nǐ zhīdào duōjiǔle?)You can answer 不好说(Bù hǎoshuō) it’s hard to say when I found out.
Sylvia: That means I don’t want to tell you.
David: It usually means I don’t want to tell you. If someone asks, how long were you on the road? 你在路上多久了?(Nǐ zài lùshàng duōjiǔle?) Maybe you want to be polite and you don’t want to say it took you two hours. So you can say 不好说(Bù hǎoshuō) not easy to tell. Now if something is easy to say…
Sylvia: You can say the opposite 好说.(Hǎoshuō.)
David: Right but then you have to give the answer. So if you don’t know what to say, just say 不好说(Bù hǎoshuō). It’s not impolite and actually it can be polite because it’s way of not saying something that’s maybe a bit rude.
Sylvia: Yes.

Outro

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