Vocabulary

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谢谢 [謝謝] xièxie thank you
普通话 [普通話] pǔtōnghuà mandarin
谢谢你 [謝謝你] xièxie nǐ thank you
我爱你。 [我愛你。] wǒ ài nǐ. I love you.

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

Introduction to Chinese


Why learn Chinese?


In this lesson, you'll learn the reasons why you should start learning Chinese, and how to get started.

Why learn Chinese?


Chinese is a "super language" with many dialects. Cantonese, for instance, is a dialect of Chinese. In mainland China, in order for people speaking different dialects to understand and communicate with each other, a standard and official language was created based on Beijing dialect. It is called Mandarin Chinese or:

  1. 普通话
    pǔtōng huà
    "the common dialect (lit.)"

Mandarin Chinese is so widely spoken that it's not only in China. Other countries, like Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, use Mandarin as an everyday language as well. Statistics show that more than 14% of the world population are native Mandarin speakers, which makes Mandarin the most spoken native language in the world.
Being able to speak Mandarin Chinese means you will be able to communicate with one sixth of the people on this planet!

Beside the large Chinese speaking population, China is also one of the oldest civilisations in the world, with over 5000 years of rich history.

Did you know that The Terracotta Army, which is a collection of Terracotta sculptures, was built in 209 BCE (Before Common Era)? They were buried upon the death of the first emperor of China, 秦始皇, in order to protect him in his afterlife. Today you can visit them in Xi'an, China. Being able to speak Chinese will definitely help you understand the story behind this magnificent world heritage.

Chinese culture has had a huge influence on cultures throughout Asia. In terms of language, Chinese language shaped many other languages, similar to the way Latin shaped the languages of Europe. Chinese characters have been introduced to most of the Asian languages, such as Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Thai. Even today, "Kanji," or Chinese characters, is still part of the Japanese writing system.

By learning Chinese, you will be able to understand and appreciate different aspects of ancient Chinese and Asian cultures, such as calligraphy, paintings, poetry, music and architecture. This makes touring around Asia all the easier.

Last but not the least, China is the second largest economy in the world. Since China opened its door to the West in the late 70s, the Chinese government has been working on bringing foreign investment and economic cooperation to the country. This creates many employment opportunities for foreigners to work in China.

China is also one of the fastest growing nation as well. The future of China is promising - that's why many companies now do business with China and why many movies set in the future show China as a superpower and global influencer.

Learning Chinese will allow you to have a leg-up on the future. This can mean big things for your career and might help you land your dream job.

Even if you don't work and live in China, being able to speak Chinese will give you an edge when competing for employment opportunities in your own country.

The Chinese Language


Chinese is often called one of the most difficult language in the world. It is certainly a challenge. But it’s not as difficult as you might think.

Chinese grammar is actually pretty easy. It has the same sentence order as English. Plus, there are no noun plural forms and verb tenses to memorize.

Even the four tones are not that difficult. Pay attention when native speakers are talking, and mimic their pronunciation. You'll definitely get the hang of it.

Plus, many Chinese people, especially the younger Chinese, speak some English. They're always so eager to help you. You'll find a lot of teachers, once you let people know you're studying Chinese.

How to get started


Let's get started by looking at a couple common Chinese phrases.

To express your gratitude, you can say:

  1. 谢谢
    xièxie

You can use this phrase in any occasion and under any circumstances. To make your gratitude more "heartfelt," you can add 你 , which means "you."

  1. 谢谢你
    xièxie nǐ

Let's look at another well-known phrase:

  1. 我爱你
    Wǒ ài nǐ

Do you know what that means?

means "I." 爱 ài means "love." 你 means "you." So 我爱你 Wǒ ài nǐ means "I love you." Exactly the same order as in English.

If the Chinese characters, or 汉字 Hànzì look daunting, don't worry! There's a romanization system for all the Chinese characters in Mandarin called Pinyin.

With the help of 拼音 pīnyīn, you should be able to pronounce any Chinese words you see, no problem.

Lesson Transcript

Hide
Hi!
Welcome to Introduction to Chinese.
My name is Alisha and I'm joined by...
Hi everyone.
I'm Rui!
In this series, you'll learn everything you need to know to get started learning Chinese.
That's right!
And we're here to help guide you through your journey.
In this lesson, you'll learn the reasons why you should start learning Chinese, and how to get started.
Why learn Chinese?
Chinese is a "super language" with many dialects. Cantonese, for instance, is a dialect of Chinese. In mainland China, in order for people speaking different dialects to understand and communicate with each other, a standard and official language was created based on Beijing dialect. It is called Mandarin Chinese...
普通话 (pǔtōng huà). This literally means "the common dialect."
Mandarin Chinese is so widely spoken that it's not only in China. Other countries, like Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, use Mandarin as an everyday language as well. Statistics show that more than 14% of the world population are native Mandarin speakers, which makes Mandarin the most spoken native language in the world.
Which you wouldn't be able to do otherwise. Who knows? One of them could be your future husband or wife.
Being able to speak Mandarin Chinese means you will be able to communicate with one-sixth of the people on this planet!
Beside the large Chinese speaking population, China is also one of the oldest civilisation in the world, with over 5000 years of rich history. Did you know that the terracotta army, which is a collection of terracotta sculptures, was built in 209 BCE (Before Common Era)?
They were buried upon the death of the first emperor of China, 秦始皇 (Qínshǐhuáng), in order to protect him in his afterlife. Today you can visit them in Xi'an province of China. Being able to speak Chinese will definitely help you understand the story behind this magnificent world heritage.
Chinese culture has had a huge influence on cultures throughout Asia. In terms of language, Chinese language shaped many other languages, similar to the way Latin shaped the languages of Europe. Chinese characters have been introduced to most of the Asian languages, such as Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Thai. Even today, "Kanji," or Chinese characters, is still part of the Japanese writing system.
By learning Chinese, you will be able to understand and appreciate different aspects of ancient Chinese and Asian cultures, such as calligraphy, paintings, poetry, music and architecture. This makes touring around Asia all the easier.
Last but not the least, China is the second largest economy in the world. Since China opened its door to the West in the late 70s, the Chinese government has been working on bringing foreign investment and economic cooperation to the country. This creates many employment opportunities for foreigners to work in China.
China is also one of the fastest growing nation as well. The future of China is promising - that's why many companies now do business with China and why many movies set in the future show China as a superpower and global influencer.
Learning Chinese will allow you to have a leg-up on the future. This can mean big things for your career and might help you land your dream job.
Even if you don't work and live in China, being able to speak Chinese will give you an edge when competing for employment opportunities in your own country.
The Chinese Language
Chinese is often called one of the most difficult languages in the world. It is certainly a challenge.
But it’s not as difficult as you might think.
Chinese grammar is actually pretty easy. It has the same sentence order as English. Plus, there are no noun plural forms and verb tenses to memorize.
Even the four tones are not that difficult. Pay attention when native speakers are talking, and mimic their pronunciation. You'll definitely get the hang of it.
Plus, many Chinese people, especially the younger Chinese, speak some English. They're always so eager to help you. You'll find a lot of teachers, once you let people know you're studying Chinese.
Most importantly, we're here to offer you any help you might need while learning Chinese.
How to get started.
Let's get started by looking at a couple common Chinese phrases.
To express your gratitude, you say...
谢谢 (xièxie)
You can use this phrase in any occasion and under any circumstances. To make your gratitude more "heartfelt," you can add...
你 (nǐ), which means "you."
谢谢你 (xièxie nǐ)
It makes your "thank you" sound more personal and polite. So, to say "thanks" or "thank you," you can say
谢谢 (xièxie), or 谢谢你 (xièxie nǐ)
Let's look at another well-known phrase:
我爱你 (Wǒ ài nǐ)
Do you know what that means?
我 (Wǒ) means "I." 爱 (ài) means "love." 你 (nǐ) means "you." So 我爱你 (Wǒ ài nǐ) means "I love you."
Exactly the same order as in English.
If the Chinese characters, or...
汉字 (Hànzì)
look daunting, don't worry! There's a romanization system for all the Chinese characters in Mandarin called Pinyin.
With the help of 拼音 (pīnyīn), you should be able to pronounce any Chinese words you see, no problem.
We'll get into that in a later episode of this series.
Well done. Now you know how to say "thank you"...
谢谢 (xièxie), or 谢谢你 (xièxie nǐ)
... in Chinese!
We've covered a lot of things already, so why don't we wrap up the first lesson and recap on what we've learned.
In this lesson, you learned that studying another language has many benefits such as providing new job and business opportunities.
Chinese has a colorful history, with many things for you to see and learn.
And to say "thank you" in Chinese, it's...
谢谢 (xièxie)
In the next lesson, we're going to demystify Chinese pronunciation by taking a look at the sounds and tones of Chinese, so be sure to watch the next video.
See you in the next lesson. Bye!
Bye!