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Lesson Transcript

Victor: Dajia hao!
Amber: Amber here! Gengo Chinese Season 1 , Lesson 4 - The Art of Chinese Small Talk
Amber: Hello, and welcome back to the ChineseClass101.com , the fastest, easiest and most fun way to learn Chinese! I'm joined in the studio by...
Victor: Hello everyone. Victor here.
Amber: Hi everybody! Welcome back to ChineseClass101. I’m Amber.
Victor: And I’m Victor. Dajia hao.
Amber: Welcome back to our Making China’s Acquaintance series.
Victor: Now last lesson you may recall that we all got to know each other a little better.
Amber: Yeah so now here is your pop quiz. Were you listening? Victor, 'Ni shi zhongguoren ma?"
Victor: Yes, I am Chinese. Amber, 'Ni shi Jianadaren ma?'
Amber: Yes, I am Canadian. We also learned the word for where in Chinese. Actually 2 words.
Victor: Nar and Nali.
Amber: And also that to make a yes/no question out of a statement in Chinese, you just have to add the little verbal question mark, 'ma'.
Victor: OK so this is a long plane ride Amber. We’re still on the plane!
Amber: And our ‘get to know you’ chat in Chinese continues.
Victor: We rejoin our passengers Lili and Maike.
Amber: So what better thing could we teach you than the most famous conversation in the world.
Victor: hmm… what could that be.
Amber: The weather! Of course! It crosses all cultural divides.
Victor: We can never underestimate the power of a conversation about the weather.
Amber: Yes start with the small talk. We’ll teach you rocket science later.
Victor: Plus we will learn a couple more little small talk tips in this dialogue.
Amber: So let’s listen in.

Lesson conversation

Lili: 加州很好。天气真好。
Mike: 北京也很好。
Lili: 但是北京空气不好。
Mike: 对了,你是做什么工作的?
Lili: 我是会计。
Mike: 什么?慢一点儿,好吗?
Lili: 我是会计。
Mike: 对不起,我听不懂。
Lili: 我是"Accountant"。
Mike: 你会说英语吗?
Lili: 我会说一点儿。
Lili: 加州很好。天气真好。
Mike: 北京也很好。
Lili: 但是北京空气不好。
Mike: 对了,你是做什么工作的?
Lili: 我是会计。
Mike: 什么?慢一点儿,好吗?
Lili: 我是会计。
Mike: 对不起,我听不懂。
Lili: 我是"Accountant"。
Mike: 你会说英语吗?
Lili: 我会说一点儿。
English Host: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
English Host: Now let’s hear it with the English translation.
Lili: 加州很好。天气真好。
Amber: California is really nice. The weather is really great.
Mike: 北京也很好。
Amber: Beijing is nice too.
Lili: 但是北京空气不好。
Amber: But the air quality in Beijing is poor.
Mike: 对了,你是做什么工作的?
Amber: So, what do you do for work?
Lili: 我是会计。
Amber: I'm an accountant.
Mike: 什么?慢一点儿,好吗?
Amber: What? A little slower?
Lili: 我是会计。
Amber: I'm an accountant.
Mike: 对不起,我听不懂。
Amber: I'm sorry, I can't understand.
Lili: 我是"Accountant"。
Amber: I'm an accountant.
Mike: 你会说英语吗?
Amber: Can you speak English?
Lili: 我会说一点儿。
Amber: I can speak a little.
Victor: I think this dialogue is very realistic!
Amber: Yes I think you will have this conversation about 2000 times in Chinese before you're done.
Victor: Especiallly the part about, ‘can you speak English?’
Amber: Yes… one thing cool is that most Chinese people will be very patient and enjoy a conversation with you in Chinese.
Victor: Yes, most Chinese people love to talk with foreigners. Foreigners who speak Chinese are a real novelty to us.
Amber: And they will let you struggle through… and you will suddenly find out that their English is good, about a million times better than your Chinese, but they’ve just been being very kind and patient, hearing you out.
Vocabulary and Phrases
Amber: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
: The first word we shall see is:
Victor: 天气 [natural native speed]
Amber: weather
Victor: 天气 [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 天气 [natural native speed]
: Next:
Victor: 北京 [natural native speed]
Amber: Beijing
Victor: 北京 [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 北京 [natural native speed]
: Next:
Victor: 但是 [natural native speed]
Amber: but
Victor: 但是 [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 但是 [natural native speed]
: Next:
Victor: 空气 [natural native speed]
Amber: air
Victor: 空气 [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 空气 [natural native speed]
: Next:
Victor: 做 [natural native speed]
Amber: to do
Victor: 做 [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 做 [natural native speed]
: Next:
Victor: 工作 [natural native speed]
Amber: to work
Victor: 工作 [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 工作 [natural native speed]
: Next:
Victor: 会计 [natural native speed]
Amber: accountant
Victor: 会计 [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 会计 [natural native speed]
: Next:
Victor: 什么 [natural native speed]
Amber: what
Victor: 什么 [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Victor: 什么 [natural native speed]
Amber: Let's have a closer look at the usuage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Victor: The first word/phrase we’ll look at is....
Victor: 但是 (dànshì)
Amber: 'but'.
Victor: Just one of the words for 'but' in Chinese. there is another 'but' word, 可是 (kěshì).
Amber: And it's pretty much used like the English but... as we heard in the sentence
Victor: Dànshì Běijīng kōngqì bù hǎo.
Amber: Now this brings us to another thing. Two great new vocab words in the podcast.
VIctor: Ah yes. First we heard about the great tianqi in California.
Amber: Yep. Which i'm sure everyone can guess what we are talking about.
VIctor: Yes, the great weather. Tianqi hen hao.
Amber: So California got the great weather. What did Beijing get???
Victor: Kongqi bu hao.
Amber: Uh oh. So we know that 'bu' is our negator. so bu hao means not good.
Victor: Yes, and kongqi is basically 'the air'.
Amber: Oh yeah. The air quality is bu hao in Beijing, pretty much.
Victor: Yeah between the sand storms, and the pollution, and the cold...
Amber: Don't let us put you off though haha.
Victor: No, Beijing is great, I love it.
Amber: OK next we hear the segue… 对了. Now remember we heard this ‘对’ before.
Victor: Yes it means ‘correct’
Amber: Yes, and its kind of a versatile word, because last time we heard it it was acting like ‘yes’… remember maike was saying ‘yes, I am american’
Victor: Dui, wo shi meiguoren.
Amber: Now today we hear it with a little particle at the end, the ‘le’. Basically the le doesn’t mean anything on its own, it’s more of a ‘feeling’ here.
Victor: Yeah but we often use this ‘dui le’ as a sort of interjection
Amber; Yes, like and English ‘so’… or ‘oh, right’.
Victor: Dui le.
Amber: OK what comes next. Where is he going with this?
Victor: Well he wants to get to know her better, so he asks a natural question, what do you do for work
Amber: So first, what is the word for work?
Victor: 工作 (1st 4th tone)
Amber: So this is a phrase you can try to memorize, it is something you can use over and over with people that you meet.
Victor: First comes ‘you’ of course, ‘ni’. Then we hear the verb ‘to be’ ‘shi’, which is part of this sentence pattern. Then the word for ‘do’ ‘zuo’ (4th tone).
Amber: So so far we’re up to ‘ni shi zuo’ or ‘you do…’
Victor: Ni shi zuo shenme…
Amber: Shenme (2nd neutral) is the word for ‘what’.
Victor: Yep, and next comes our word for work, ‘gongzuo’. And a little part of this sentence pattern at the end, the particle ‘de’ to finish things off.
Amber: So a great phrase to memorize and use often. Good conversation starter!
Victor: Yes. 你是做什么工作的?
Amber: Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for… the suspense…! What is she??
Victor: Kuaiji!
Amber: What the heck is that?
Victor: Accountant.
Amber: mm, tough one. For maike too. So what does he do. Does he give up... no!
Victor: He pulls a little line out of the bootcamp.
Amber: Bootcamp 3 to be precise!
Victor: 慢一点儿,好吗?
Amber: Remember everyone? 'A little slower, could ya??'
Victor: 慢一点儿,好吗?
Amber: Now what. Maike has no choice but to wave the white flag of Chinese surrender. he says
Victor: 我听不懂。 (Wǒ tīngbùdǒng.)
Amber: Amber
Victor: Let’s break down this phrase though. Wo means ‘I’ of course. Then we have this little grouping of ‘ting bu dong’ ‘ting’ means to hear. Bu means not. Dong is understand.
Amber: So ting bu dong is kind of like ‘hear not understand’.
Victor: Yes, exactly.
Amber: So he’s hearing you, you’ve said it slow enough… but there’s a little ‘malfunction at the junction’ so to speak. There’s something not connecting.
Victor: So you can use ting bu dong anytime someone says something you don’t understand. And maybe the person will try to explain it to you in a simpler way.
Amber: Or, even luckier, like Maike.
Victor: Yes what does our lovely Lili do?
Amber: She throws in a little bit o’ English. Maike’s lucky day I would say.
Victor: Right, she says ‘我是"Accountant.’
Amber: I don’t blame Maike for not knowing the word for accountant yet. I mean, he probably doesn’t even know how to say ‘pass me the barf bag’ yet… so why would he know that.
Victor: Yes, so naturally, we hear him respond
Amber: Rather incredulously, I might add…
Victor: ‘你会说英语吗?
Amber: You .. can.. speak.. English???

Lesson focus

Amber: Now this is a moment where we can pause and learn something really great. How to talk about ‘ablilty’ in Chinese.
Victor: Yes so Maike is pretty excited to discover that Lili has thrown out an English word.
Amber: So he responds
Victor: 你会说英文吗?
Amber: So in this sentence, we hear the word for ‘English’. What is that Victor?
Victor: 英文. (1st tone, 2nd tone)
Amber: and the verb for to speak
Victor: shuo (1st tone)
Amber: the verb for ‘to be able’ or to have the ability to do something is
Victor: Hui (4th tone)
Amber: So you put it all together and you get
Victor: 你会说英文吗?
Amber: and the ma rounds it out as our nice verbal question mark.
Victor: So literally, 你会说英文吗?is
Amber: you able to speak English question mark?
Victor: He sounds quite excited as he says this…
Amber: Yes the next 14.5 hours are looking up. So she answers
Victor: 我会说一点儿。
Amber: I can speak a little.
Victor: So remember慢一点儿?
Amber: Yes, we just heard the一点儿 again.
Victor: Yes, remember we learned in bootcamp 3 that a when you see word +一点儿 it means ‘a little’. So in this case会说一点儿 means
Amber: able to speak ‘a little’.
Victor: Yes so Lili tells Maike, 我会说一点儿。
Amber; I can speak a little.
Victor: 我会说一点儿。
Amber: And everyone is going to 'hui shuo' a little more Chinese after this lesson, because we're going to teach you one other important grammar point.
Victor: Yes it's something to do with using adjectives.
Amber: So here we were describing California, and said
Victor: 加州很好。
Amber: California is very good, literally.
Victor: We use the word 很 (hěn) here, between the 'jiazhou' and the descriptive adjective about jiazhou.
Amber: Now here, 'hen' can be loosely translated as 'very'... but it's not as 'very' as its English equivalent.
Victor: In Chinese, most monosyllabic adjectives are used in combination with 很 (hěn); you wouldn't normally say 我好 (Wǒ hǎo.), rather you would have an adverb like 很 (hěn) before the adjective, i.e. 我很好 (Wǒ hěn hǎo.)
Amber: And, as we see from the next sentence, actually 'hen' isnt the only word that can come between a subject and its adjective.
Victor: Yes, we hear
Amber: "The weather is really good." So, yeah, we could also say tianqi hen hao here, and that would be fine. The weather is very good.
Victor: But... the weather is really good in california, so we say '天气真好'
Amber: So now we can talk about the weather, what we do for work, what language we can speak… great lesson!
Victor: Yes and check out the supplementary PDF materials for some more professions and languages, and how to say them in Chinese.
Amber: Until then, we leave our lovely passengers to their chatter, and we will rejoin our journey next time for new language adventures!
Victor: Until then, see you next time!
Amber: That just about does it for today.
Amber: Victor, I'd like to share a study tip a listener shared with us.
Victor: Ahh, you're talking about the student who uses just the conversation tracks to review the lessons.
Amber: Victor, you read my mind.
Victor: (laughter)
Amber: Yep a listener of ours listens to each lesson several times,
Victor: Then afterward, get the conversation only track from our site.
Amber: She then listens to them on shuffle again and again. She created her own immersion program using ChinesePod101.com.
Victor: This is a great idea. Please give it a try and let us know what you think?
Amber: okay...
Amber: Zaijian!
Victor: Zaijian!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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What is your profession? Tell us in Chinese, if you can!

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 09:34 PM
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你好 Manasa,

Thank you for your comment. 我是学上 => 我是学生。Keep it up!

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Wednesday at 12:55 AM
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ChineseClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 05:35 AM
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你好 robert groulx!

谢谢 for commenting. We are very happy to have you here. Let us know if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

雷文特 (Levente)

Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Wednesday at 01:05 AM
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thank you fo the lesson transcript

favorite occupation is 我是

my previous occupation is purchasing agent and inventory manager


Thursday at 06:58 PM
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Hello alex,

Thank you for your comment. We do need measure words for professions in some cases. In this sentence 'He is a very good teacher', you can say '他是一位/个很好的老师。'. When we say 'I'm a teacher', we can simply say '我是老师。' without using a measure word.

Thank you for learning with us, let us know if you have any questions.

Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Wednesday at 04:59 AM
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So you don't need a measure word for professions? also how do you say "he is a very good teacher"?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:45 AM
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Thanks for your post. I've seen your other post about some lesson's speed and advanced examples and I've forwarded the comment to the content team.

Thanks for learning with us. Let us know if you have any questions.


Team ChineseClass101.com

Sunday at 06:06 AM
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这series very useful!

谢谢 Amber and Victor!

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 10:05 PM
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Hi, Efrem,

真的吗?(zhēn de ma ?)


你玩乐器还是唱歌?(Nǐ wán yuè qì hái shì chàng gē ?)

Do you play instruments or sing songs?


Team ChineseClass101.com

Tuesday at 12:38 PM
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