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David: This lesson takes place in a kitchen and it’s between a boyfriend and girlfriend.
Sylvia: Right.
David: And it’s all about taking out the garbage.
Sylvia: And washing dishes.
A: 叉子,刀子,勺子。(Chāzi, dāozi, sháozi.)
B: 你干吗呢?(Nǐ gàn má ne?)
A: 我在扔餐具。Wǒ zài rēng cān jù.
B: 别扔!(Bié rēng!)
A: 啊?(Ā?)
B: 洗吧!(Xǐ ba!)
David: One more time a bit slower.
A: 叉子,刀子,勺子。(Chāzi, dāozi, sháozi.)
B: 你干吗呢?(Nǐ gàn má ne?)
A: 我在扔餐具。(Wǒ zài rēng cān jù.)
B: 别扔!(Bié rēng!)v
A: 啊?(Ā?)
B: 洗吧!(Xǐ ba!)
David: And now with the English translation.
Sylvia: 叉子,刀子,勺子。(Chāzi, dāozi, sháozi.)
David: Forks, knives, spoons.
Sylvia: 你干吗呢?(Nǐ gàn má ne?)
David: What are you doing?
Sylvia: 我在扔餐具。(Wǒ zài rēng cān jù.)
David: I'm throwing out the silverware.
Sylvia: 别扔!(Bié rēng!)
David: Don't throw them out!
Sylvia: 啊?(Ā?)
David: Huh?
Sylvia: 洗吧!(Xǐ ba!)
David: Wash them!
David: Yeah. In China, kitchens are so small.
Sylvia: Yes.
David: I am surprised more people don’t do this.
Sylvia: Right. That’s why I prefer using disposable chopsticks and…
David: The environmental crisis is due to Chinese kitchen construction. You heard it here first.
Sylvia: Right.
Sylvia: 叉子 (chāzi)[natural native speed]
David: fork
Sylvia: 叉子 (chāzi)[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 叉子 (chāzi)[natural native speed]
Sylvia: 刀子(dāozi) [natural native speed]
David: knife
Sylvia: 刀子 (dāozi)[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 刀子 (dāozi)[natural native speed]
Sylvia: 勺子(sháozi) [natural native speed]
David: spoon
Sylvia: 勺子 (sháozi) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 勺子 (sháozi)[natural native speed]
Sylvia: 筷子 (kuàizi) [natural native speed]
David: chopsticks
Sylvia: 筷子 (kuàizi)[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 筷子 (kuàizi)[natural native speed]
Sylvia: 餐具 (cān jù)[natural native speed]
David: cutlery
Sylvia: 餐具 (cān jù)[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 餐具 (cān jù)[natural native speed]
Sylvia: 厨房(chú fáng) [natural native speed]
David: kitchen
Sylvia: 厨房(chú fáng) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 厨房 (chú fáng)[natural native speed]
Sylvia: 扔 (rēng)[natural native speed]
David: to throw out
Sylvia: 扔 (rēng) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 扔 (rēng)[natural native speed]
Sylvia: 洗 (xǐ)[natural native speed]
David: to wash
Sylvia: 洗 (xǐ)[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 洗 (xǐ)[natural native speed]
David: So let’s look at some of these words in more depth. First we have the word 叉子(chāzi) which means fork...
Sylvia: 叉子.(chāzi)
David: Right, if you go to a Chinese restaurant and you can’t use chopsticks, you may want to ask the waiter...
Sylvia: 有叉子吗?(Yǒu chāzi ma?)
David: Do you have a fork?
Sylvia: 有叉子吗?(Yǒu chāzi ma?)
David: and you can use the same sentence for a knife…
Sylvia: 有刀子吗?(Yǒu dāozi ma?)
David: Do you have a knife?
Sylvia: 有刀子吗?(Yǒu dāozi ma?)
David: Or even...
Sylvia: 有勺子吗?(Yǒu sháozi ma?V)
David: Do you have a spoon?
Sylvia: 有勺子吗?(Yǒu sháozi ma?)
David: and its okay to ask for the spoon.
Sylvia: Yes.
David: Especially if you are eating rice. That’s tricky.
Sylvia: But if you really want to use chopsticks, you can say 有筷子吗? (Yǒu kuàizi ma?)
David: Right. Do you have chopsticks?
Sylvia: 有筷子吗?(Yǒu kuàizi ma?)
David: So that’s our main cutlery. We’ve got fork 叉子(Chāzi), knife 刀子,(Dāozi,) spoon 勺子(Sháozi) and chopsticks 筷子.(Kuàizi.) Right this is in the vocab list, but it’s not really critical. People will just say fork knife spoon.
Sylvia: So David, there is another great word I want to highlight here, 洗.(Xǐ.)
David: Right that means to wash.
Sylvia: 洗.(Xǐ.)
David: Right. You can use this to wash your hands...
Sylvia: 洗手.(Xǐshǒu.)
David: And we actually see it in the word for washroom...
Sylvia: 洗手间.(Xǐshǒujiān.)
David: which is wash hands. 洗手(Xǐshǒu) Room, 间(Jiān) washroom. 洗手间(Xǐshǒujiān) Right. So this isn’t a new word. You’ve used it every time you’ve asked where is the washroom.
Sylvia: 洗手间在哪?(Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎ?)

Lesson focus

David: Our grammar point today.
Sylvia: Five stars.
David: Yes. This is super useful and maybe even super obvious right?
Sylvia: Yes.
David: What is it?
Sylvia: We are going to talk about the character 子.(Zi.)
David: It’s actually a picture of an infant.
Sylvia: Well.
David: In its traditional form, it’s a baby with its arms stretched out.
Sylvia: Yes, yes.
David: And…
Sylvia: Literally it means son.
David: Yeah but what we see it here is we are seeing it as a sign that we are dealing with nouns. So if you see a single character followed by 子,(Zi,) it’s usually a noun.
Sylvia: Yes.
David: In our dialogue, we heard it in a couple of these.
Sylvia: Yes 叉子, 刀子, 勺子, 筷子.(Chāzi, dāozi, sháozi, kuàizi.)
David: Yeah as you’ve been learning with us, we’ve heard it a lot more.
Sylvia: Yes, 房子.(Fángzi.)
David: Which is house.
Sylvia: 兒子...(Érzi...)
David: Son.
Sylvia: 孩子...(Háizi...)
David: Child. So for a sample sentence, you could say, the child is in the house…
Sylvia: 孩子在房子里.(Háizi zài fángzi lǐ.)
David: Right, or the fork is on the table...
Sylvia: 叉子在桌子上.(Chāzi zài zhuōzi shàng.)
David: and one of the really nice things about this is that even if you don’t know the word, if you hear this...
Sylvia: You can make a guess.
David: You can make a guess and you know it’s a noun.
Sylvia: Yes.
David: Right. So it makes Chinese a bit easier to parse and that’s really tough when you are starting out.
Sylvia: Right.
David: One thing to notice technically this character is 3rd tone, but here we are pronouncing it in a neutral tone as in 叉子, 刀子, 勺子, 筷子.(Chāzi, dāozi, sháozi, kuàizi.) So when we make nouns with this, we turn it into a neutral tone. Yeah it’s very light, it’s unstressed.
Sylvia: Yeah.
David: And this is truly a big difference between Mainland 普通话.(Pǔtōnghuà.)
Sylvia: And Taiwan 普通话.(Pǔtōnghuà.)
David: Yes in Taiwan, it is much more common for people to go the 4th tone.
Sylvia: Right, 兒子...(Érzi...)
David: Yeah or child, 孩子.(Háizi.) If you are in Mainland China, that will get you some strange looks but I guess the opposite is true in Taiwan.
Sylvia: Right.
David: You know if you don’t go all the way down, people will be like; they are not from around here.
Sylvia: Right.
David: So that’s something to be aware of but in general, when you are reading Chinese…
Sylvia: When someone says something to you…
David: If you hear this 子,(Zi,) then you know you are dealing with a noun.
Sylvia: Right.
David: Before we leave, Sylvia one question. Why is this so common?
Sylvia: I guess maybe we love to use double syllable words.
David: Yeah it’s because Chinese people love pairs.
Sylvia: Right.
David: Right. If the word has two sounds, it’s more balanced.
Sylvia: It’s complete.
David: Yes.