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Victor: 大家好,我是Victor。 (Dàjiā hǎo, wǒ shì Victor.)
Amber: And I’m Amber and welcome back to Gengo Chinese. This is Lesson 3 -
Victor: Do People Understand Where you are Coming From?
Amber: Yeah! The lesson series where you get to know all about China and learn Chinese at the same time. So, last lesson, we learned how to excuse ourselves in a way, Victor.
Victor: Yes, 打扰一下。 (Dǎrǎo yíxià.)
Amber: And how to say “sorry.”
Victor: 不好意思 (bùhǎoyìsi)
Amber: Yeah! And we also learned how to introduce ourselves.
Victor: 我叫Victor。 (Wǒ jiào Victor.)
Amber: And also, how to tell someone that we’re glad to meet them.
Victor: 很高兴认识你。 (Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nǐ.) So, Amber, speaking of getting to know people, where are you from?
Amber: I am from Canada, 加拿大 (Jiānádà). How about you, Victor?
Victor: China! Of course.
Amber; Of course, we know that.
Victor: 中国 (Zhōngguó)
Amber: OK. So now, everyone has learned where we are from, but now, you’re going to find out how to get that information, in Chinese!
Victor: Yeah, and by the end of this lesson, you’ll learn a little more small talk in Chinese.
Amber: Yes, and of course, where better to learn than to return to our friends on the plane. We know, last dialogue, we left them chit chatting, so today, we’ll see how things develop.
Victor: Their conversation left off with them learning each other’s names.
Amber: Yes, and I’m pretty sure, like you Victor, at least one of them is probably from China, but today, we’re going to find out exactly where.
Victor: Yeah, the other one, let’s see if you can figure out where they’re from.
Amber: Right. So, this conversation takes place on the airplane.
Victor: This conversation is between two strangers getting to know each other.
Amber: Right! Our friends, Mike and Lili. We met them last time. So, let’s listen to the conversation.
Mike: 你是中国人吗? (Nǐ shì Zhōngguórén ma?)
Lili: 对,我是中国人。 (Duì, wǒ shì Zhōngguórén.)
Mike: 中国哪儿? (Zhōngguó nǎr?)
Lili: 我是北京人。 (Wǒ shì Běijīngrén.)
Mike: 哦,北京,我知道。 (O, Běijīng, wǒ zhīdào.)
Lili: 你呢?你是美国人吗? (Nǐ ne? Nǐ shì Měiguórén ma?)
Mike: 对,我是美国人。 (Duì, wǒ shì Měiguórén.)
Lili: 美国哪儿?纽约? (Měiguó nǎr? Niǔyuē?)
Mike: 不,我是加州人。 (Bù, wǒ shì Jiāzhōurén.)
Lili: 哦,我知道了。 (O, wǒ zhīdào le.)
Victor: 重复一次, 慢速. (Chóngfù yīcì, màn sù.)
Amber: One more time, a little slower.
Mike: 你是中国人吗? (Nǐ shì Zhōngguórén ma?)
Lili: 对,我是中国人。 (Duì, wǒ shì Zhōngguórén.)
Mike: 中国哪儿? (Zhōngguó nǎr?)
Lili: 我是北京人。 (Wǒ shì Běijīngrén.)
Mike: 哦,北京,我知道。 (O, Běijīng, wǒ zhīdào.)
Lili: 你呢?你是美国人吗? (Nǐ ne? Nǐ shì Měiguórén ma?)
Mike: 对,我是美国人。 (Duì, wǒ shì Měiguórén.)
Lili: 美国哪儿?纽约? (Měiguó nǎr? Niǔyuē?)
Mike: 不,我是加州人。 (Bù, wǒ shì Jiāzhōurén.)
Lili: 哦,我知道了。 (O, wǒ zhīdào le.)
Victor: 重复一次, 加英文翻译. (Chóngfù yīcì, jiā yīngwén fānyì.)
Amber: One more time, with the English.
Mike: 你是中国人吗? (Nǐ shì Zhōngguórén ma?)
Amber: Are you Chinese?
Lili: 对,我是中国人。 (Duì, wǒ shì Zhōngguórén.)
Amber: Yes, I'm Chinese.
Mike: 中国哪儿? (Zhōngguó nǎr?)
Amber: Where in China?
Lili: 我是北京人。 (Wǒ shì Běijīngrén.)
Amber: I'm from Beijing.
Mike: 哦,北京,我知道。 (O, Běijīng, wǒ zhīdào.)
Amber: Oh, Beijing. I see.
Lili: 你呢?你是美国人吗? (Nǐ ne? Nǐ shì Měiguórén ma?)
Amber: What about you? Are you American?
Mike: 对,我是美国人。 (Duì, wǒ shì Měiguórén.)
Amber: Yes, I'm American.
Lili: 美国哪儿?纽约? (Měiguó nǎr? Niǔyuē?)
Amber: Where in America? New York?
Mike: 不,我是加州人。 (Bù, wǒ shì Jiāzhōurén.)
Amber: No, I am from California.
Lili: 哦,我知道了。 (O, wǒ zhīdào le.)
Amber: Oh, I see.
Amber: So, you know, Victor, I have noticed, thinking of this dialogue, a lot of Chinese people, upon seeing a western face, they sometimes just assume that you are American, aka 美国人 (měiguó rén).
Victor: Right. I think it kind of fits into their concept of a foreigner.
Amber: Yeah! And maybe, it’s just like, sort of a blanket statement. So, don’t be offended, but the good thing is you can learn how to say, correct them and say where you are from.
Victor: Right.
Amber: OK, so let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Victor: The first, we have.... 北京 (Běijīng) [natural native speed]
Amber: Beijing
Victor: 北京 (Běijīng) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 北京 (Běijīng) [natural native speed]
Victor: 人 (rén) [natural native speed]
Amber: person
Victor: 人 (rén) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 人 (rén) [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: 你呢 (nǐ ne) [natural native speed]
Amber: how about you
Victor: 你呢 (nǐ ne) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 你呢 (nǐ ne) [natural native speed]
Victor: 美国人 (Měiguórén) [natural native speed]
Amber: American
Victor: 美国人 (Měiguórén) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 美国人 (Měiguórén) [natural native speed]
Victor: 对 (duì) [natural native speed]
Amber: correct, right
Victor: 对 (duì) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 对 (duì) [natural native speed]
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: 纽约 (Niǔyuē) [natural native speed]
Amber: New York
Victor: 纽约 (Niǔyuē) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 纽约 (Niǔyuē) [natural native speed]
Victor: 不 (bù) [natural native speed]
Amber: negative prefix
Victor: 不 (bù) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 不 (bù) [natural native speed]
Victor: 加州 (Jiāzhōu) [natural native speed]
Amber: California
Victor: 加州 (Jiāzhōu) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 加州 (Jiāzhōu) [natural native speed]
Amber: So, let's take a closer look at the usage for some of these words and phrases from the lesson. So, Victor, let me ask you, are you Chinese?
Victor: 对,我是中国人。 (Duì, wǒ shì zhōngguó rén.)
Amber: Right! So, 我是中国人 (wǒ shì zhōngguó rén) actually, we’ve heard before, in our Bootcamp Lesson 2.
Victor: Yeah. It means “I am Chinese.”
Amber: Right, and remember back, think back, stating nationalities in Chinese is done by, very simply, just by adding a 人 (rén), which is the word for “people” onto the end of the name for the country.
Victor: Yes, so, 中国人 (zhōngguó rén).
Amber: Yes. That means “China person,” literally, Chinese person.
Victor: Yeah, “China person,” I’m a China person.
Amber: You are a China person!
Victor: Yep! And, you know, even to tell people what city or state or province you are from, you can use the same phrasing.
Amber: Oh yes, and we heard it when Mike said…
Victor: 我是加州人。 (Wǒ shì Jiāzhōurén.)
Amber: Right. 加州 (Jiāzhōu) is “California.” It means California.
Victor: California. Yeah, like 加州 (Jiāzhōu). So, 加州 (Jiāzhōu) is “California” and 加州人 (Jiāzhōurén) is “a person from California.”
Amber: Right. So, what city 人 (rén) are you Victor?
Victor: 我是田里人。(Wǒ shì Tiánlǐ rén.)
Amber: Oh, I never heard of it.
Victor: So, a city actually made pretty famous in China by a comedian from that place.
Amber: Ah!
Victor: Yeah! So, how about you Amber?
Amber: I am 温哥华人 (wēngēhuá rén) “Vancouver ren.”
Victor: 温哥华人 (wēngēhuá), yeah.
Amber: Yep. That was easier to figure out. It sounds a little like Vancouver, kinda.
Victor: Yeah, a little bit.
Amber: But, you know, this question is an interesting one because it’s more important than you might think. Because in China, you’ll meet a lot of people, obviously, but not all of them, if you’re in a city, a lot of the people are not from the city, because there’s a lot of migrant workers.
Victor: Right. So the question of “where are you from” can lead to many different answers, with most people telling you their home province or city.
Amber: Yeah, because China is a big place, after all. So, what do you think, Victor, like what percentage of Beijing or Shanghai do you think is actually native Beijing'ers or Shanghai'ers?
Victor: That, I’m not actually not sure, but probably not a lot.
Amber: Yeah, like I think it’s like definitely not even half, maybe.
Victor: Yeah, probably.
Amber: And I think the time you can really tell is the holiday times because anyone who’s been to China can see there’s a mass migration back to their hometowns. The trains are full.
Victor: Right! The city is kind of, kind of just becomes empty.
Amber: Yeah! The city is empty at that time. OK, so now, in this dialogue, we also learned a really important question word which was the word for “where.”
Victor: '哪儿 (nǎr).
Amber: Right and that is a 3rd tone.
Victor: In the 儿 (ǎr) in the end.
Amber: Mm-hmm.
Victor: So, when Mike asks Lili, “Where in China?” 中国哪儿? (Zhōngguó nǎ'er?)
Amber: So easy! It totally rolls off the tongue, 中国哪儿? (Zhōngguó nǎ'er?)
Victor: Yeah, 哪儿 (nǎr).
Amber: But there is something I should add, because you know that there are two words for “where” in Chinese. The first one, of course, is the one we just learned.
Victor: Right
Amber: 哪儿 (nǎr)
Victor: 哪儿 (nǎr)
Amber: But there’s another word often used more by Chinese speakers from the South.
Victor: Right, and it’s 哪里 (nǎli).
Amber: Yes. Victor, why?! Why are there two words?
Victor: Well, both are correct and universally understood, therefore can be used interchangeably. It's just that speakers of Mandarin from the Northern areas of China tend to use 哪儿 (nǎr) more frequently, whereas, speakers from the South tend to use 哪里 (nǎli).
Amber: Hmm, yeah. So, you can use either. Just basically pick one or one they are used to and use it. They’re both correct. OK, our next word we’re going to learn is a very tiny little word that probably doesn’t really need much translation, but it’s when Lili says…
Victor: 哦 (Ó)
Amber: Yes. Does everyone know what 哦 (Ó) means? It means “Oh,” but then she says something else. She says…
Victor: 我知道 (Wǒ zhīdào), 我 (wǒ) is a 3rd tone, 知 (zhī) is 1st tone, and 道 (dào) is 4th tone.
Amber: And 知道 (zhīdào) technically means “I know,” and so, she’s, it sounds like she’s saying, I know that he’s California 人 (rén) “person.”
Victor: Yeah. But in this case, 我知道 (wǒ zhīdào) is more parallel to “I see.”
Amber: Right. So, it’s kind of like, “Oh now, I know.”
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: Not so much as like, “I know! I can tell by your sun tan.” No, no. She’s just saying, “I see.”
Victor: I see.

Lesson focus

Amber: OK, but now, moving on, we have some great grammar. I mean, I don’t often get that excited with grammar, but today, I am, so I just couldn’t wait for this grammar.
Victor: Yeah, very useful. First, a couple of things to do with making questions.
Amber: Right. So, let’s first look at a question that we had here. Which one was it, Victor?
Victor: 你是中国人吗? (Nǐ shì zhōngguórén ma?)
Amber: Right. So, all of these words are words that we’ve learned before, 你 (nǐ) “you,” 是 (shì) “are,” and then 中国人 (zhōngguórén) “Chinese person,” and then we hear this one little word at the end, like a little tag at the end. What is it?
Victor: 吗 (ma)
Amber: Right! It’s the magical 吗 (ma).
Victor: Yep, added to the end of a statement, it turns the statement into a yes-or-no question.
Amber: Yes, like a verbal question mark.
Victor: Right. So for example, I can change a statement into a question just like that.
Amber: Right. So, maybe I could say, You like me. 你喜欢我。 (Nǐ xǐhuān wǒ.)
Victor: Yep. 喜欢 (Xǐhuān) means “to like.”
Amber: 3rd tone, 1st tone.
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: As a statement, you like me, everyone knows, but what if you wanted, maybe I got a little bit insecure and I want to ask you, Victor, do you like me? I want to change it to a question.
Victor: Now, all you have to do is to add the little question mark to make it, 你喜欢我吗? (Nǐ xǐhuān wǒ ma?)
Amber: So easy!
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: “Do you like me?” Good.
Victor: OK, so one question down.
Amber: Right! So, actually, this begs the question though, is how do we answer the question in Chinese? This is something interesting because Chinese doesn’t really have a word for “yes” so much.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Particularly. You can say “yes” in different ways.
Victor: Well, in our dialogue, we heard the word 对 (duì).
Amber: Right.
Victor: That's an easy way to say “correct” or “yes.”
Amber: Yeah, it’s a very common way, but it actually means “correct.”
Victor: Right. So, 对 (duì) Amber, 我喜欢你 (wǒ xǐhuān nǐ).
Amber: There’s actually other ways too, like in our sentence just now…
Victor: 你喜欢我吗? (Nǐ xǐhuān wǒ ma?)
Amber: To answer, you can just repeat the verb, either in the affirmative or the negative. So, if you like me, what would you say, Victor?
Victor: 喜欢 (xǐhuān)
Amber: Right.
Victor: You have to say, 喜欢 (xǐhuān).
Amber: And if you didn’t like me, you could use our negative form.
Victor: 不喜欢 (Bù xǐhuān)
Amber: Right. So, repeating the verb can make either a yes or no too.
Victor: OK, now, another way to make a question today.
Amber: Yes. It’s nice and short and sweet.
Victor: Yeah. In the dialogue, Mike asks Lili about where she's from, it's starting to be all about her, so she turns it around by saying…
Lili: 你呢? (Nǐ ne?)
Victor: Yes, 你呢? (Nǐ ne?)
Amber: Which is…
Victor: 你 (Nǐ) is 3rd tone, 呢 (ne) is neutral tone.
Amber: Right and it’s kind of just a way to turn the conversation around. It means everything that you just said, I’m throwing back at you, basically. So, it’s kind of like, “And you?”
Victor: Yes, to form a follow-up question, rather than using 吗 (ma), like the last question we made, you instead use this little marker 呢 (ne).
Amber: Right. And so, the bonus of learning this is that you really barely have to say anything. They can say it all and (something, something, something....), and you can just say, 你呢? (Nǐ ne?)
Victor: Yeah. It is used to ask the same question as the one previously asked, but a short form.
Amber: Right.


Amber: OK, well, we hope that helped you ultimately learn a little more small talk in Chinese and that’s it for Gengo Lesson No. 3.
Victor: OK, 再见。 (zàijiàn.)
Amber: We will see you next time. 再见。 (Zàijiàn).