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Lesson Transcript

Hēi, dàjiā hǎo, wǒ jiào Mǎ Yànrú. Hi everybody! I’m Mǎ Yànrú.
Welcome to ChineseClass101.com’s “Sān fēnzhōng Hànyǔ”. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Chinese.
In the last lesson, we learned how to ask "What" questions in Chinese.
This time, we are going to ask questions using the interrogative word "Where?"
Imagine you want to ask where your friend is now. You will ask him Nǐ zài nǎlǐ?. This is the exact translation of "Where are you?"
[slowly] Nǐ zài nǎlǐ?
So let’s break down this answer.
First we had-
nǐ is "you". And then is the word zài, a word we learned in our previous lessons, which means some action is in progress. But here it is a preposition used to say where somebody or something is.
Finally is nǎlǐ, which is the basic translation of "Where" in Chinese.
So, altogether it is Nǐ zài nǎlǐ?, "Where are you?"
So in Chinese, "Where" is mainly translated as nǎlǐ.
So for example, if you want to ask "Where do you live?" You will say Nǐ zhù zài nǎlǐ?
Unlike English, the structure of this sentence in Chinese is that the subject always comes 1st position, then the verb, and then the interrogative word.
But be careful, because several variations of nǎlǐ are possible in Chinese. For example, nǎr, nǎ, and so on. Nǎr and nǎ are actually the colloquial form of nǎlǐ. So because they have the same meaning, nǎlǐ can be replaced by nǎr or nǎ almost all the time in daily conversations. And it’s good to use those two words instead, especially nǎr. They will make you sound very natural!
And if you want to ask "Where do you come from?" you can also say Nǐ cóng shénme dìfāng lái? As you see, we have replaced nǎlǐ with shénme dìfāng which literally means “what place.” It seems a little long, but it is very simple to understand, isn’t it? All you need to remember is that “where” equals ‘what place’ and then the translation for what place.
Let’s say it again.
Nǐ cóng shénme dìfāng lái?
[slowly] Nǐ cóng shénme dìfāng lái?
And if you want to ask somebody what their nationality is or where their hometown is, you can say Nǐ shì nǎlǐ rén?
Unlike “what”, the usage of the form nǎlǐ +noun is very limited. So here you can remember nǎlǐ rén as one word. Once again, “where do you come from?” is Nǐ shì nǎlǐ rén?
Now it’s time for Yanru’s tips.
As we said, nǎlǐ can be replaced by nǎr or nǎ almost all the time in daily conversations. But in the sentence Nǐ shì nǎlǐ rén? you can say Nǐ shì nǎr rén? but not Nǐ shì nǎ rén? The listener might understand what you are trying to say, but it’s not good Chinese.
Before ending this lesson, Let’s look back at all the ways to translate "Where" in Chinese-
- nǎlǐ is the basic "Where", as in "Where do you live?" Nǐ zài nǎlǐ?
- nǎr or nǎ is the colloquial form of nǎlǐ which can replace nǎlǐ almost all the time in daily conversations.
-shénme dìfāng equals “what place.” Nǐ cóng shénme dìfāng lái?
-And nǎlǐ rén is insisting on the origin or the starting point, as in "Where do you come from?" Nǐ shì nǎlǐ rén?
In this lesson, we learned how to correctly use the interrogative Chinese word for "Where", nǎlǐ, and also its different variations.
In the next lesson we’ll learn more about asking questions, this time using "When" in Chinese.
I’ll be waiting for you in the next“Sān fēnzhōng Hànyǔ” lesson.
zàijiàn !

8 Comments

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ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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Where are you from?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 08:07 AM
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你好 robert groulx,


谢谢 for posting and studying with us. If you have any questions, please let us know.😄


Kind regards,

雷文特 (Levente)

Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Friday at 05:25 AM
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thank you for the lesson transcript


favorite phrase is " Nǐ zài nǎlǐ?


robert

ChineseClass101.com
Tuesday at 07:54 PM
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Hello Ben,


Thank you for your comment. Yes you are right! '我住在美国。' is correct.


Keep up the good work, and let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Ben
Tuesday at 06:50 PM
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Oops I forgot a character in my previous post, I think. :)


我住在美国。

Ben
Monday at 11:07 PM
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我住美国。

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 05:10 PM
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Hi Daniel,


Thank you for leaving the comment. It's perfect! ?

If you have any questions, please let us know.


Olivia

Team ChineseClass101.com

Daniel
Saturday at 09:21 AM
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Wǒ zhù zài měiguó