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Lesson Transcript

Amber: Hey, everybody! Welcome back to Gengo Chinese. This is Amber.
Victor: 大家好,我是 Victor。 (Dàjiā hǎo, wǒ shì Victor.)
Amber: And this is Lesson 17: Lost in Translation - Finding Yourself in Chinese.
Victor: Wow, going deep.
Amber: Well, in today’s lesson, it’s true. We do have a little bit of loss in translation, you could say.
Victor: Yeah, alone in a strange land… Mike is saved from eternal wandering and doom in a strange land by the good fortune of a cell phone.
Amber: Yes, which I would say, cell phones have probably rescued many people from wandering and doom in a strange land, like China. It’s definitely your friend to have with you at all times.
Victor: And it’s a nice friend. It managed to save him too.
Amber: Yeah. So, remember last time, um, we have left off with a little of the baijiu business dinner, so it could be that it makes a little hungover?
Victor: Somebody was under the table somewhere.
Amber: Yeah, and we’ll recap the events of last night a little bit and, um, do a little review.
Victor: Yeah. There were some important key vocabs. For example, the word for “train station” 火车站 (huǒchē zhàn).
Amber: Right. And another great word was 怎么样 (zěnme yàng) which basically means “How is it?” and it's kind of a great word to elicit someone's opinion on subjects such as chicken feet, etc.
Victor: Yeah. We also learned that doubling up a verb in Chinese is a common way to soften a tone of a sentence.
Amber: Yeah, like remember, he said 尝一尝 (cháng yī cháng) “to have a taste.” It’s not just like, “Taste!” It’s more like, “Have a taste!”
Victor: It never hurts to do a little 尝一尝 (cháng yī cháng).
Amber: That’s right. You can try all new things. So, those were all great new things we learned last week. Um, today's lesson I think is quite riveting as well, because I personally too have been in this situation many times in China!
Victor: Oh, yeah, me too! Uh, so let's hear how Mike gets saved by the cellphone, like so many before him.
Amber: Yeah. So in this lesson, you’ll learn how to have a conversation on the telephone and give simple directions.
Victor: And this conversation takes place on the phone.
Amber: And it’s between Mike and his colleague, Mr. Ma, so let’s listen to the conversation.
Mr. Ma: 喂,你好。(Wéi, nǐhǎo.)
Mike: 喂,早。我是迈克。(Wéi, zǎo. Wǒ shì Màikè.)
Mr. Ma: 迈克,你现在在哪儿?(Màikè, nǐ xiànzài zài nǎr?)
Mike: 我也不知道。(Wǒ yě bù zhīdào.)
Mr. Ma: 我们看不见你。(Wǒmen kànbújiàn nǐ.)
Mike: 我也看不见你们。你们在哪儿?(Wǒ yě kànbújiàn nǐmen. Nǐmen zài nǎr?)
Mr. Ma: 我们在火车站。(Wǒmen zài huǒchēzhàn.)
Mike: 我迷路了。(Wǒ mílù le.)
Mr. Ma: 呃,迈克,你的旁边是什么?(E, Màikè, nǐ de pángbiān shì shénme?)
Mike: 这儿有一个小卖部。(Zhèr yǒu yí gè xiǎomàibù.)
Mr. Ma: 哦,我知道。你等一会儿,我们过去。(O, wǒ zhīdào. Nǐ děng yí huìr, wǒmen guòqù.)
Mike: 谢谢。(Xièxiè.)
Mr. Ma: 不客气。(Bú kèqì.)
(5 minutes later)
Mr. Ma: 嗨,迈克。我们走吧。(Hāi, Màikè. Wǒmen zǒu ba.)
Mike: 麻烦你们了。不好意思。(Máfán nǐmen le. Bùhǎoyìsi.)
Victor: 重复一次, 慢速。 (Chóngfù yīcì, màn sù.)
Amber: “One more time, a little slower.”
Mr. Ma: 喂,你好。(Wéi, nǐhǎo.)
Mike: 喂,早。我是迈克。(Wéi, zǎo. Wǒ shì Màikè.)
Mr. Ma: 迈克,你现在在哪儿?(Màikè, nǐ xiànzài zài nǎr?)
Mike: 我也不知道。(Wǒ yě bù zhīdào.)
Mr. Ma: 我们看不见你。(Wǒmen kànbújiàn nǐ.)
Mike: 我也看不见你们。你们在哪儿?(Wǒ yě kànbújiàn nǐmen. Nǐmen zài nǎr?)
Mr. Ma: 我们在火车站。(Wǒmen zài huǒchēzhàn.)
Mike: 我迷路了。(Wǒ mílù le.)
Mr. Ma: 呃,迈克,你的旁边是什么?(E, Màikè, nǐ de pángbiān shì shénme?)
Mike: 这儿有一个小卖部。(Zhèr yǒu yí gè xiǎomàibù.)
Mr. Ma: 哦,我知道。你等一会儿,我们过去。(O, wǒ zhīdào. Nǐ děng yí huìr, wǒmen guòqù.)
Mike: 谢谢。(Xièxiè.)
Mr. Ma: 不客气。(Bú kèqì.)
Mr. Ma: 嗨,迈克。我们走吧。(Hāi, Màikè. Wǒmen zǒu ba.)
Mike: 麻烦你们了。不好意思。(Máfán nǐmen le. Bùhǎoyìsi.)
Victor: 重复一次, 加英文翻译。 (Chóngfù yīcì, jiā yīngwén fānyì.)
Amber: One more time, with the English.
Mr. Ma: 喂,你好。(Wéi, nǐhǎo.)
Amber: Hello.
Mike: 喂,早。我是迈克。(Wéi, zǎo. Wǒ shì Màikè.)
Amber: Hello, good morning. This is Mike.
Mr. Ma: 迈克,你现在在哪儿?(Màikè, nǐ xiànzài zài nǎr?)
Amber: Mike, where are you now?
Mike: 我也不知道。(Wǒ yě bù zhīdào.)
Amber: I don't really know.
Mr. Ma: 我们看不见你。(Wǒmen kànbújiàn nǐ.)
Amber: We can't see you.
Mike: 我也看不见你们。你们在哪儿?(Wǒ yě kànbújiàn nǐmen. Nǐmen zài nǎr?)
Amber: I can't see you either. Where are you?
Mr. Ma: 我们在火车站。(Wǒmen zài huǒchēzhàn.)
Amber: We're at the train station.
Mike: 我迷路了。(Wǒ mílù le.)
Amber: I'm lost.
Mr. Ma: 呃,迈克,你的旁边是什么?(E, Màikè, nǐ de pángbiān shì shénme?)
Amber: Ah, Mike. What is around you?
Mike: 这儿有一个小卖部。(Zhèr yǒu yí gè xiǎomàibù.)
Amber: There is a small shop here.
Mr. Ma: 哦,我知道。你等一会儿,我们过去。(O, wǒ zhīdào. Nǐ děng yí huìr, wǒmen guòqù.)
Amber: Oh, I know. Wait a moment, we'll come over.
Mike: 谢谢。(Xièxiè.)
Amber: Thanks.
Mr. Ma: 不客气。(Bú kèqì.)
Amber: You're welcome.
(5 minutes later)
Mr. Ma: 嗨,迈克。我们走吧。(Hāi, Màikè. Wǒmen zǒu ba.)
Amber: Hey, Mike. Let's go.
Mike: 麻烦你们了。不好意思。(Máfán nǐmen le. Bùhǎoyìsi.)
Amber: Sorry to have hassled you guys.
Amber: Phew, I think, Victor, that was kind of stressful. I mean, I think that talking on the phone in a train station is chaotic enough in your own land… but in another language…
Victor: Getting lost.
Amber: And a strange place!
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: It’s kind of crazy. Well, let’s look at what words we’re going to need to know, so that we don’t get lost like Mike did. So, let’s look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Victor: 哪儿 (nǎr) [natural native speed]
Amber: where
Victor: 哪儿 (nǎr) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 哪儿 (nǎr) [natural native speed]
Victor: 也 (yě) [natural native speed]
Amber: also, too
Victor: 也 (yě) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 也 (yě) [natural native speed]
Victor: 知道 (zhīdào) [natural native speed]
Amber: to know
Victor: 知道 (zhīdào) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 知道 (zhīdào) [natural native speed]
Victor: 迷路 (mílù) [natural native speed]
Amber: lost
Victor: 迷路 (mílù) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 迷路 (mílù) [natural native speed]
Victor: 这儿 (zhèr) [natural native speed]
Amber: here
Victor: 这儿 (zhèr) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 这儿 (zhèr) [natural native speed]
Victor: 小卖部 (xiǎomàibù) [natural native speed]
Amber: small shop
Victor: 小卖部 (xiǎomàibù) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 小卖部 (xiǎomàibù) [natural native speed]
Victor: 过去 (guòqù) [natural native speed]
Amber: to go over, to cross over
Victor: 过去 (guòqù) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 过去 (guòqù) [natural native speed]
Victor: 等 (děng) [natural native speed]
Amber: to wait
Victor: 等 (děng) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 等 (děng) [natural native speed]
Victor: 一会儿 (yíhuìr) [natural native speed]
Amber: a while
Victor: 一会儿 (yíhuìr) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 一会儿 (yíhuìr) [natural native speed]
Victor: 不客气 (bú kèqì) [natural native speed]
Amber: you're welcome
Victor: 不客气 (bú kèqì) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 不客气 (bú kèqì) [natural native speed]
Amber: OK, let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases in this lesson.
Victor: Yep. Now, we’re gonna teach you the word in Chinese for now.
Amber: That’s right. I think we touched on it in previous lessons, Victor, but everybody, this is the official unveiling of “now.”
Victor: Yep.
Amber: The word.
Victor: 现在 (xiànzài), 现在 (xiànzài), 4th tone and 4th tone.
Amber: Yeah and where we heard it was when Mr. Ma was trying to find his poor lost friend, and he said...
Victor: 你现在在哪儿?(Nǐ xiànzài zài nǎ'er?)
Amber: Right, which is literally, ‘you now at where’. And something to point out is that the word for “now,” as we just learned, is 现在 (xiànzài). And in this sentence, right after that, we hear another 在 (zài). Don’t get confused. Yes, there are two 在 (zài) in this, but one is part of the word for “now,” 现在 (xiànzài), and the other one is the preposition “at.” So, “you now at where,” literally.
Victor: And ultimately, Mike is lost.
Amber: Mmm.
Victor: 迷路了。(Mílùle).
Amber: So hopefully, you won’t need this word, but it’s a good word to know, just in case you do get lost. What are the tones on that?
Victor: 迷 (mí) is 2nd tone and 路 (lù) is 4th tone.
Amber: Right. And after that, we hear the 了 (le) particle, just at the end. This is a particle that is basically just part of this little phrase. Um, it does have different usages, but for now, just try and memorize this phrase, 我迷路了。 (Wǒ mílùle.)
Victor: Right.
Amber: In case you get lost.
Victor: But now, Mr. Ma is obviously a very smart man because he asks Mike what is around him.
Amber: Right! And the word he uses is 旁边 (pángbiān), which actually means “beside” or “to the side of” but you get the gist. He’s basically saying, look around you, what’s around you, Mike?
Victor: Well, he said, 迈克,你的旁边是什么?(Màikè, nǐ de pángbiān shì shénme?)
Amber: Right. And what was around him? This is a good word to know in China!
Victor: He said, 小卖部。 (Xiǎomàibù.)
Amber: Right! Which is “a little shop” and there are so many little shops in China.
Victor: Right.
Amber: But what kind of a shop is this, Victor? What would we see in a 小卖部 (xiǎomàibù)? What kind of shop would be categorized as 小卖部 (xiǎomàibù)? Oh, did we tell the tones on that one?
Victor: 小 (xiǎo) is 3rd tone, 卖 (mài) is 4th tone, and 部 (bù) is 4th tone.
Amber: Mmm, so what kind of shop is that?
Victor: They probably have things like, you know, laundry detergents, from that to cookies to snacks.
Amber: Mmm, kind of like a convenience store?
Victor: Exactly. It’s like a small convenience store for a little residential community, usually.
Amber: Mmm, OK good. Well, there’s lots of little shops in China and I think it’s kind of like a little miracle because obviously, Mr. Ma is extremely familiar with this train station, because what happens next?
Victor: Yeah, because he immediately says, 哦,我知道。(Ó, wǒ zhīdào.)
Amber: Uh, “Oh, I know!” is exactly what that means. It’s a great phrase you can use all the time. What was it again, Victor?
Victor: 哦,我知道。(Ó, wǒ zhīdào.)
Amber: So, 哦 (ó) is just like our “oh” in English, 我 (wǒ), of course, is “I” and 知道 (zhīdào), what tone is that?
Victor: 知 (Zhī) is 1st tone and 道 (dào) is 4th tone.
Amber: Right! So that means “to know.” “Oh, I know!”
Victor: Yep.
Amber: Good. And then, another great phrase that we can use all the time, he says…
Victor: 等一会儿 (Děng yīhuǐ'er)
Amber: That’s right! 等 (děng) is 3rd tone. It means “to wait.”
Victor: 等 (Děng) is a 3rd tone, 一 (yī) is 1st tone, but here, because of the tone-change rule, it’s 2nd tone. 会儿 (Huǐ'er) is 4th tone.
Amber: Right.
Victor: Of course, having known the accents and 一会儿 (yīhuǐ'er) means “a while.”
Amber: Yes. So, “to wait” is 等 (děng) and 一会儿 (yīhuǐ'er) means “a while,” “Wait a while” 等一会儿 (Děng yīhuǐ'er).
Victor: Yep, and then he tells Mike, 我们过去。(Wǒmen guòqù.)
Amber: Hmm. Now, we’ll delve into the grammar of this 过去 (guòqù) in a little bit more in a second, but just suffice it to know for now that it means “to go over” or “to cross over” to where someone is.
Victor: Yep. 过 (guò) is literally “to cross over,” 去 (qù) is “to go.” 过 (Guò) is 4th tone and 去 (qù) is 4th tone.
Amber: Good! So, everything ends happily ever after because as we hear, after 5 minutes, all of them reunite.
Victor: Yep! And Mr. Ma suggests “Let’s go!”
Amber: Now, this is a really good phrase in Chinese too. People use it a lot.
Victor: 我们走吧。 (Wǒmen zǒu ba.) 我 (Wǒ) is a 3rd tone, 们 (men) here is a neutral tone, 走 (zǒu) is a 3rd tone, 吧 (ba) is neutral tone.
Amber: Right and the key to this little phrase, we know it’s a suggestion because we hear the 吧 (ba) at the end, which is our suggestion particle, as we learned. Basically, you just, I mean you can even just say 走吧 (zǒu ba) and it just means “let’s go.”
Victor: Right.
Amber: OK. And now, Victor, the time I’ve been waiting for, my favorite word in Chinese.
Victor: Which is?
Amber: I even use it in English, which is 麻烦 (máfan).
Victor: Oh, yeah!
Amber: Right. 麻烦 (máfan) is kind of like “troublesome” or when you’re being a pain or something is a hassle, you can use this word, 麻烦 (máfan), to describe it.
Victor: A trouble word.
Amber: Yeah. So, we hear Mike apologized. He says…
Victor: 不好意思。 (Bù hǎoyìsi.)
Amber: Which is one of our words for “sorry” in Chinese.
Victor: 不 (Bù) is 4th tone, 好 (hǎo) is 3rd tone, 意 (yì) is 4th tone, 思 (si) here is neutral tone.
Amber: Right, because he feels like he was being a bit of a pain, being lost and all. And then, he uses the 麻烦 (máfan) word! What does he say?
Victor: 麻烦你们了 (Máfan nǐmenle)
Amber: Mmm. So basically, that means literally, 麻烦 (máfan) means “to have troubled” or “troublesome” and then 你们 (nǐmen) is “you” as in “you” (plural). 了 (le) is just a particle. Um, basically, just like to say to someone, “I’ve really troubled you. I’m sorry.” What are some other situations where we hear people use the word, 麻烦 (máfan), Victor? I mean, they use it so much in Chinese. I think like any situation, for example, going to the bank or any kind of hassle basically, people will complain, it’s very 麻烦 (máfan).
Victor: Yeah! If you have to ask for favor from someone and they have to kind of go off their way a little bit to do it for you and, you know, but it’s kind of necessary, so you just say, well, really 麻烦你们了。 (Máfan nǐmenle.)
Amber: Oh yeah, that’s another we can do. It’s kind of like a way of asking for a favor. You actually acknowledge that you’re 麻烦 (máfan) and you can just say to them, I need (something, something, something) done. 麻烦你了。 (Máfan nǐle.)
Victor: Yes.
Amber: It’s a great word! OK, so let’s look at some grammar.

Lesson focus

Amber: So, I’m gonna make a scenario, Victor, picture me.
Victor: OK.
Amber: I’m lost in the train station, people are milling about, time is ticking, I call you in distress.
Victor: And I’ll come to your rescue.
Amber: Yes, you’ll come rescue me. So, I will tell you, “I’m here! I’m here!” but you can’t see me… what would you say… Amber…., if you wanted to tell me that you couldn’t see me?
Victor: I will say, Amber I can’t see you. 看不见! (Kàn bùjiàn!) 看不见! (Kàn bùjiàn!)
Amber: Right. What are the tones on that?
Victor: 看 (Kàn) is 4th tone, 不 (bù) is 4th tone, but here, it’s 2nd tone, 见 (jiàn) is 4th tone.
Amber: So, 看不见 (kàn bùjiàn) is actually our first grammar point today.
Victor: Yep. It’s a special kind of verb you see pop up from time to time in Chinese.
Amber: Yeah, and it’s called, technical term, a resultative verb.
Victor: Uh, we won’t go into all of them too detailed here.
Amber: Yeah, just as a simple explanation though, and that is that resultative verbs are basically just action verbs plus a resultative ending.
Victor: Yeah. So the root verb today was 看 (kàn). It means “to look.”
Amber: Right, because in that scenario just now, Victor is looking for me, actively.
Victor: But, I can’t find her. Thus, the desired result has been unattainable.
Amber: Right. And that is why we add the 不 (bù) which means “not,” of course. It’s our negated word. And then the word, 见 (jiàn), which is used as a resultative ending. Basically, what it means here is “to perceive.”
Victor: Right, so 看不见 (kàn bùjiàn) means you’re looking for, but unable to see something.
Amber: Right. It’s literally kind of like “look not see.”
Victor: Yeah. So you can use this resultative verb whenever you’re trying to see someone or something, but are unable to.
Amber: Mm-hmm. Now, say, “I was calling you,” and since I’m a foreigner, I am so easy to spot in the Chinese train station, even though you’re half a mile away and you need glasses, but you can still see me, right? So then, what would you say in that case? Because you are looking and you are able to see me.
Victor: Yeah. In that case, you can turn it around, and say 看得见 (kàndejiàn).
Amber: Right, so it means “I can see you.”
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: I’m able to see you.
Victor: 看 (Kàn) is 4th tone, 得 (de) here is the neutral tone, and 见 (jiàn) is the 4th tone.
Amber: Good! “To be able to see (something).”
Victor: Yeah. And now, another thing we learned today is like the other half of 哪儿 (nǎr).
Amber: Right! So remember, 哪儿 (nǎr) means “where,” but today, we learned...
Victor: 这儿 (zhèr).
Amber: Right! And 这儿 (zhèr) means “here.”
Victor: 这儿 (zhèr) is 4th tone.
Amber: Right, and one thing, as a side point, to keep in mind that just like 哪儿 (nǎr), it has it has an alter-ego word.
Victor: Ah yes, meaning there are two ways you can say “here.” Remember 哪儿 (nǎr) and 那里
(nàlǐ) for “where”? Well now, we have 这儿 (zhèr) and 这里 (zhèlǐ) for “here.”
Amber: Right. So basically, you can use either one. It’s your choice. OK, you know what, actually, Victor, while I’m thinking about it, um, maybe there’s another word that also rhymes that we should get into.
Victor: Yep, the word for “there.”
Amber: Yes. So, so far, we have “where” which is 哪儿 (nǎr), we have, we have “here” 这儿 (zhèr), and now we have “there” which is…
Victor: 那儿 (nàr) or 那里 (nàlǐ) is also OK.
Amber: So, the difference between “where” and “there” is a tone only. And what is the difference, Victor? “Where” is…
Victor: 3rd tone, 哪儿 (nǎr).
Amber: And “there” is…
Victor: 4th tone, 那儿 (nàr).
Amber: So, 哪儿 (nǎr), 那儿 (nàr).
Victor: Yeah. It’s kind of like the question and then the answer, 哪儿 (nǎr), 那儿 (nàr).
Amber: Totally different!
Victor: So, where? There!
Amber: Right.
Victor: Now that we know 这儿 (zhèr), let’s take a look at where it shows up in the dialogue.
Amber: Yes, because it shows up in a sentence that uses another grammar point that we’ve learned about before, in Lesson 11.
Victor: Yes, Mike asked, “Where were the taxis?”
Amber: Yeah, way back then. And remember, he used the verb 有 (yǒu) which is 3rd tone, which means “to have.” Actually, he used that verb to talk about existence. That’s how you do that in Chinese. So what did Mike say back then?
Victor: He said, 哪儿有出租车?(Nǎr yǒu chūzūchē?)
Amber: Hmm.
Victor: Which was, “Where are their taxis?”
Amber: Right. And today, we’re talking about the little shop, the little convenience store.
Victor: Well, where Mike was standing, there was a 小卖部 (xiǎomàibù).
Amber: Right, so he said...
Victor: 这儿有一个小卖部。(Zhè'er yǒu yīgè xiǎomàibù.)
Amber: Which is literally, “Here to have a small shop,” but the 有 (yǒu) that “to have” is more like “there is” in English. It’s to show existence.
Victor: Right. And last, we’re going to talk about 过去 (guòqù).
Amber: Yes. We promised to talk about 过去 (guòqù). So remember, Mr. Ma tells Mike, 我们过去 (wǒmen guòqù) meaning “We’ll go over.”
Victor: So 过去 (guòqù) is a directional word. 过 (Guò) literally means “to cross.” It’s a 4th tone. 去 (Qù) means “to go” and in this case, it is neutral tone.
Amber: So, for example, Victor, I’m sitting on this side of the room, you’re sitting on that side of the room. If i want to say, “I’ll go over to where you are over there,” I will say 我过去 (Wǒ guòqù).
Victor: Right. But if I want you to come over here, I will tell you 过来 (Guòlái).
Amber: Mmm… OK, so that’s the difference. Come over, we use the verb 来 (lái), which means “to come.” Makes sense, right?
Victor: Right. And, uh, so like imagine a dog. I want to call my dog to come here, so I would say, 过来 (Guòlái).
Amber: Right, just like in English, “Come here. Come here.”
Victor: Right. And if I’m holding a dog and want him to go over to you, Amber, I would say, 过去 (guòqù).
Amber: Which is “go over there.”
Victor: Exactly.
Amber: Makes sense.


Amber: OK, that’s it for today, our Gengo Lesson No. 17. We hope you all enjoyed it. We’re happy that Mike got found.
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: And we look forward to his adventures in the next lesson and learning more Chinese.
Victor: Yeah! I will see you next time.
Amber: Yeah, listen one more time to the dialogue and we’ll see you next time. 再见! (Zàijiàn!)
Victor: 再见! (Zàijiàn!)