Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
David: So hopefully you are not coming here to drive but we have got a dialogue today that is close to what we hear almost every day.
Sylvia: Yes.
David: And you are going to hear people talking about this in Beijing.
DIALOGUE
A: 今天怎么这么堵?(Jīntiān zěnme zhème dǔ?)
B: 这里是北京。(Zhèli shì běijīng.)
A: 什么意思?(Shénme yìsi?)
B: 哪天不堵啊?(Nǎtiān bù dǔ a?)
David: One more time a bit slower.
A: 今天怎么这么堵?(Jīntiān zěnme zhème dǔ?)
B: 这里是北京。(Zhèli shì běijīng.)
A: 什么意思?(Shénme yìsi?)
B: 哪天不堵啊?(Nǎtiān bù dǔ a?)
David: And now with the English translation.
Sylvia: 今天怎么这么堵?(Jīntiān zěnme zhème dǔ?)
David: Why is it so crowded today?
Sylvia: 这里是北京。(Zhèli shì běijīng.)
David: This is Beijing.
Sylvia: 什么意思?(Shénme yìsi?)
David: What do you mean?
Sylvia: 哪天不堵啊?(Nǎtiān bù dǔ a?)
David: When is it not crowded?
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
David: I have heard this dialogue several times.
Sylvia: Probably daily.
David: These days, I think the subway actually beats taxis most of the time.
Sylvia: Most of the time yes.
David: Yeah so if you want to get around town, get used to the Beijing Metro.
VOCAB LIST
Sylvia: 这么(zhème) [natural native speed]
David: so, such
Sylvia: 这么(zhème) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 这么(zhème) [natural native speed]
Sylvia: 堵(dǔ) [natural native speed]
David: crowded
Sylvia: 堵(dǔ) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 堵(dǔ) [natural native speed]
Sylvia: 堵车(dǔ chē) [natural native speed]
David: traffic jam
Sylvia: 堵车(dǔ chē) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 堵车(dǔ chē) [natural native speed]
Sylvia: 这里(zhèlǐ) [natural native speed]
David: here
Sylvia: 这里(zhèlǐ) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 这里(zhèlǐ) [natural native speed]
Sylvia: 北京(Běijīng) [natural native speed]
David: Beijing
Sylvia: 北京(Běijīng) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 北京(Běijīng) [natural native speed]
Sylvia: 意思(yìsi) [natural native speed]
David: meaning
Sylvia: 意思(yìsi) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 意思(yìsi) [natural native speed]
Sylvia: 哪天(nǎtiān) [natural native speed]
David: some day
Sylvia: 哪天(nǎtiān) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Sylvia: 哪天(nǎtiān) [natural native speed]
VOCAB AND PHRASE USAGE
David: Let’s have a closer look at some of these words and phrases.
Sylvia: Yes.
David: Let’s take a look at that word for when 哪天(nǎtiān), Which was in this sentence in the dialogue 哪天不堵啊?(Nǎtiān bù dǔ a?) When is it not jammed? 哪天不堵啊?(Nǎtiān bù dǔ a?) And we are just highlighting this because this is really natural way of speaking Chinese. What they are really saying is on what day is it not this crowded? 哪天不堵啊?(Nǎtiān bù dǔ a?) or it’s this crowded every day?
Sylvia: Right. Let me give you an example, 夏天的时候哪天不热啊?(Xiàtiān de shíhòu nǎ tiān bù rè a?)
David: In the summer, when is it not hot? 夏天的时候哪天不热啊?(Xiàtiān de shíhòu nǎ tiān bù rè a?)In the summer, when is it not hot? This is a really native, really natural way of expressing the idea that it’s always some way. When is it not hot? 哪天不热啊?(Nǎ tiān bù rè a?) When is it not crowded 哪天不堵啊?(Nǎ tiān bù dǔ a?). The second word we want to highlight, we translated as meaning 意思(Yìsi), meaning 意思(Yìsi); but there are lots of ways this translates into English. We could translate it as significance 意思(Yìsi) or idea 意思.(Yìsi.) In the dialogue, we heard it in this line 什么意思?(Shénme yìsi?) And he is literally asking you know, what do you mean by this?
Sylvia: 什么意思?(Shénme yìsi?) And if you don’t mean anything, you can say 没什么意思.(Méishénme yìsi.)
David: This literally means I didn’t mean anything by it, 没什么意思(Méishénme yìsi) I didn’t mean anything by it. There is a related word that’s also one of my favorites in the Chinese language.
Sylvia: What is it?
David: That is 不好意思.(Bù hǎoyìsi.)
Sylvia: When you want to apologize, you may say 不好意思.(Bù hǎoyìsi.)
David: Right. It’s an apology. It’s a soft apology. So if you step on someone’s toe, you can say 不好意思(Bù hǎoyìsi), although normally you will say it a lot faster...
Sylvia: 不好意思. 不好意思. (Bù hǎoyìsi. Bù hǎoyìsi.)
David: Right, 不好意思(Bù hǎoyìsi) it didn’t mean anything by it.
Sylvia: 不好意思.(Bù hǎoyìsi.) For instance, if you are late, you may say 我迟到了(Wǒ chídàole),不好意思.(Bù hǎoyìsi..)
David: I am late, sorry about that. 我迟到了(Wǒ chídàole),不好意思.(Bù hǎoyìsi.) I am late, it’s not good, what a bad thing. So remember this word 意思(Yìsi) and remember its variant 不好意思(Bù hǎoyìsi). It will stand you in good stead.
LESSON FOCUS
David: Sylvia, what’s our grammar section today?
Sylvia: Today we are going to talk about how come something is…
David: Is something.
Sylvia: Is something.
David: This is a really Chinese expression. We hear it in this line in our dialogue 今天怎么这么堵?(Jīntiān zěnme zhème dǔ?) How is today so crowded? 今天怎么这么堵?(Jīntiān zěnme zhème dǔ?) Right or perhaps the sentence, how is Beijing so hot? 北京怎么这么热?(Běijīng zěnme zhème rè?) How is Beijing so hot.
Sylvia: 北京怎么这么热?(Běijīng zěnme zhème rè?)
David: The key part of this sentence is of course 怎么这么(Zěnme zhème). How 怎么(Zěnme), so very 这么(Zhème), and we are used to putting an adjective on the end of this. For instance, 你怎么这么可爱(Nǐ zěnme zhème kě'ài) you are so cute 你怎么这么可爱.(Nǐ zěnme zhème kě'ài.) Which is literally saying how can you be so cute? How can you be this cute?
Sylvia: Right. Another example 路上怎么这么堵?(Lùshàng zěnme zhème dǔ?)
David: How can the road be this crowded? 路上怎么这么堵?(Lùshàng zěnme zhème dǔ?) Right and note in this case, we are saying this or this much. We can change that to that 那么.(Nàme.) So we could always say, how is Beijing that hot? 北京怎么那么热?(Běijīng zěnme nàme rè?) or how is the road that crowded? 路上怎么那么堵?(Lùshàng zěnme nàme dǔ?) Or your friend, how can they be that cute? 你朋友怎么那么可爱?(Nǐ péngyǒu zěnme nàme kě'ài?) And again, it’s just a difference in attitude; this or that 这么, 那么.(Zhème, nàme.)
OUTRO

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ChineseClass101.com
Monday at 6:30 pm
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ChineseClass101.com
Saturday at 11:01 am
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Hello Alexis,


I'm really glad you have so many questions. That means you really study hard.


我不明白→ I don't understand.

我听不懂→ I can't understand what U said.


Hope my explanation can help U.

Thank you.

Cho

Team ChineseClass101.com

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为力 (aka Alexis)
Wednesday at 1:50 pm
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你好!


I have a small question from the extended vocabulary. What is the difference between saying 我不明白 and 我听不懂? In the example, the sentence is 我不明白你的意思 meaning I don't get your meaning. 谢谢你!


为力