Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Brendan: You’re listening to Chineseclass101.com, the fastest, easiest and funniest way of learning Chinese. I’m Brendan.
Echo: 嗨,大家好,我是Echo. (Hāi, dàjiā hǎo, wǒ shì Echo.)
Brendan: And today we’re coming at you with Lower Intermediate Series, Season 1, Lesson 15 – “The worker’s Paradise”. As you may know, everything became good for Chinese people about 61 years ago. But for some, the promise has yet to be entirely fulfilled. That’s the theme of today’s lesson. Now, our dialogue today takes place between two friends, they’re walking down the street, they’re passing a construction site.
Echo: Right.
Brendan: And because they’re friends, because they’re on the street…
Echo: They’re speaking casual mandarin.
Brendan: As always. Now, we’re going to take you to the dialogue in a moment, but before we do, a reminder. If you’d like to read along with us as we play the dialogue and s we talk about it, the transcript and other materials will be available in the premium Learning Center and they’re a great thing to have in front of you as you listen.
Echo: That’s right.
Brendan: All right. Let’s go to the dialogue. It’s true. Construction workers, you can see them all over Beijing, in almost the entire cities under construction.
DIALOGUE
A:你不能想象在中国的民工的日子。(Nǐ bù néng xiǎngxiàng zài Zhōngguó de míngōng de rìzi.)
B:是啊,他们每天工作很久。(Shì a, tāmen měi tiān gōngzuò hěn jiǔ.)
A:工作也很危险。(Gōngzuò yě hěn wēixiǎn.)
B:工资也太低了。(Gōngzī yě tài dīle.)
A:他们一个月能拿多少钱?(Tāmen yī ge yuè néng ná duō shǎo qián ?)
B:3000一个月。(Sānwàn yī ge yuè.)
A:什么?比我多?(Shénme? Bǐ wǒ duō?)
Brendan: Once more, slowly.
A:你不能想象在中国的民工的日子。(Nǐ bù néng xiǎngxiàng zài Zhōngguó de míngōng de rìzi.)
B:是啊,他们每天工作很久。(Shì a, tāmen měi tiān gōngzuò hěn jiǔ.)
A:工作也很危险。(Gōngzuò yě hěn wēixiǎn.)
B:工资也太低了。(Gōngzī yě tài dīle.)
A:他们一个月能拿多少钱?(Tāmen yī ge yuè néng ná duō shǎo qián ?)
B:3000一个月。(Sānwàn yī ge yuè.)
A:什么?比我多?(Shénme? Bǐ wǒ duō?)
Brendan: And now, with English translation.
A:你不能想象在中国的民工的日子。(Nǐ bù néng xiǎngxiàng zài Zhōngguó de míngōng de rìzi.)
A: You couldn't imagine being a construction worker in China.
B:是啊,他们每天工作很久。(Shì a, tāmen měi tiān gōngzuò hěn jiǔ.)
B: I know, they have to work long days.
A:工作也很危险。(Gōngzuò yě hěn wēixiǎn.)
A: And the work is dangerous too.
B:工资也太低了。(Gōngzī yě tài dīle.)
B: And the pay is very low.
A:他们一个月能拿多少钱?(Tāmen yī ge yuè néng ná duō shǎo qián ?)
A: How much do they make a month?
B:3000一个月。(Sānwàn yī ge yuè.)
B: Three thousand a month.
A:什么?比我多?(Shénme? Bǐ wǒ duō?)
A: Ahh, that's more than I make!
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Echo: That’s right.
Brendan: And these guys come from all over the country. They’re working really, really hard.
Echo: Yes. Actually, they don’t get 3000 a month.
Brendan: No, no. They may get promised 3000 a month, but even then, I’d say, it’s very rare for them to make really even half that much.
Echo: Yes.
Brendan: It’s a tough gig. So, the next time you pass these guys on the street, if one of them shouts a low at you, say hello back.
Echo: Yes. Give some respect.
Brendan: They’ve earned it. Anyway, let’s look at some of the vocabulary from this dialogue.
VOCAB LIST
Echo: 工人 (gōngrén)
Brendan: “Worker”
Echo: 想象 (xiǎngxiàng)
Brendan: “Imagine”
Echo: 建筑 (jiànzhù)
Brendan: “Construction”
Echo: 移民 (yímín)
Brendan: “Emigrate”
Echo: 努力工作 (nǔlì gōngzuò)
Brendan: “Hard working”
Echo: 诚实 (chéngshí)
Brendan: “Honest”
Echo: 辛苦 (xīnkǔ)
Brendan: “Hard”
Echo: 安全帽 (ānquánmào)
Brendan: “Safety helmet”
Echo: 假期 (jiàqī)
Brendan: “Vacation”
Echo: 假期 (jiàqī)
VOCAB AND PHRASE USAGE
Brendan: Ok. Let’s take a closer look at the usage of these words with some sample sentences.
Echo: The first one is 工人. (gōngrén.)
Brendan: “A worker” or “a laborer”. Now, 工人 (gōngrén) is somebody who works with mostly physical labor.
Echo: That’s right. Not in the office.
Brendan: Right.
Echo: 工人们工作很辛苦。(Gōngrénmen gōngzuò hěn xīnkǔ.)
Brendan: “The laborers are all working very hard.”
Echo: 工人们工作很辛苦。(Gōngrénmen gōngzuò hěn xīnkǔ.)And the second word is 想象。(Xiǎngxiàng.)
Brendan: “To imagine” as in “With a job like that.”
Echo: 你能想象他的工作吗?(Nǐ néng xiǎngxiàng tā de gōngzuò ma?)
Brendan: “Can you imagine doing his job?”
Echo: 你能想象他的工作吗?建筑 (Nǐ néng xiǎngxiàng tā de gōngzuò ma? Jiànzhú)
Brendan: Yes, that’s with the job in question is. 建筑 (Jiànzhú) means “construction”.
Echo: 建筑现场很危险。(Jiànzhú xiànchǎng hěn wéixiǎn.)
Brendan: “The construction site is very dangerous.”
Echo: 建筑现场很危险。(Jiànzhú xiànchǎng hěn wéixiǎn.) We have another word for the construction site, is 工地。(Gōngdì.)
Brendan: It’s just a shorter way of saying it.
Echo: Yes, like 工作的地方。(Gōngzuò dì dìfāng.)
Brendan: Yes, exactly. “The work site”.
Echo: 工地。(Gōngdì.) Ok, the next one. 移民。(Yímín.)
Brendan: Now, this means “to emigrate” or “to immigrate”. And this would be used really for between countries.
Echo: Or, between cities, too.
Brendan: Yes, and that of course is…
Echo: In China.
Brendan: That’s what it is for most of the construction workers, they’re coming from one part of the country to another.
Echo: Yes, like we said before, Beijing now has a lot of 民工。(Míngōng.)
Brendan: That is “migrant workers”.
Echo: Yes, and so we can call Beijing is a 移民城市。(Yímín chéngshì.)
Brendan: That’s right. It’s an “immigrant city”. I’m one of them.
Echo: All right. Now, 我们听一个句子:他想要移民去美国。(Wǒmen tīng yīgè jùzi: Tā xiǎng yào yímín qù měiguó.)
Brendan: “He wants to immigrate to America.”
Echo: 他想要移民去美国。(Tā xiǎng yào yímín qù měiguó.)
Brendan: Not so many construction jobs there at the moment.
Echo: So, next one is actually a phrase. 努力工作。(Nǔlì gōngzuò.)
Brendan: Right. That is “to work hard” or “to be hard working”.
Echo: 工人们都很努力工作。(Gōngrénmen dōu hěn nǔlì gōngzuò.)
Brendan: That is “The laborers are all very hard working.”
Echo: 工人们都很努力工作。(Gōngrénmen dōu hěn nǔlì gōngzuò.) Next one 诚实。(Chéngshí.)
Brendan: Right. This means “honest” or kind of “acting in good faith”.
Echo: 你不能诚实一点吗?(Nǐ bùnéng chéngshí yīdiǎn ma?)
Brendan: “Can’t he be more honest?”
Echo: 你不能诚实一点吗?(Nǐ bùnéng chéngshí yīdiǎn ma?)
Brendan: No, I don’t really know what prompted that. I’m pretty honest, right?
Echo: OK, 下面一个词 (Xiàmiàn yīgè cí ) Brendan很喜欢。辛苦。(Hěn xǐhuān. Xīnkǔ.)
Brendan: Yes, this one’s interesting. It doesn’t actually translate very well into English.
Echo: Right.
Brendan: It means “hard”, but you’d only use it of a work.
Echo: 工作真是辛苦啊。(Gōngzuò zhēnshi xīnkǔ a.)
Brendan: “Work is really tough.”
Echo: 工作真是辛苦啊。下面这个词是在建筑现场不能少的一个东西:安全帽。(Gōngzuò zhēnshi xīnkǔ a. Xiàmiàn zhège cí shì zài jiànzhú xiànchǎng bùnéng shǎo de yīgè dōngxī: Ānquán mào.)
Brendan: “A safety helmet”. I’m wearing one right now, actually. It’s part of our office safety policy.
Echo: 工人们一定要戴安全帽。(Gōngrénmen yīdìng yào dài ānquán mào.)
Brendan: “All workers must wear safety helmets.”
Echo: 工人们一定要戴安全帽。下面是最后一个:假期。(Gōngrénmen yīdìng yào dài ānquán mào. Xiàmiàn shì zuìhòu yīgè: Jiàqī.)
Brendan: Which means “a vacation”.
Echo: 假期。这份工作是没有假期的。(Jiàqī. Zhè fèn gōngzuò shì méiyǒu jià qí de.)
Brendan: “This job doesn’t have any vacations.”
Echo: 这份工作是没有假期的。(Zhè fèn gōngzuò shì méiyǒu jià qí de.)
Brendan: So, those were the sentences. Now we get to move on to my favorite part of the lesson, grammar time.

Lesson focus

Brendan: Now, our grammar point for this lesson is yet another facet of our versatile friend 了.
Echo: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
Brendan: You may have noticed 了 cropping up in almost any sentence before. It does a lot of different things.
Echo: 差不多.(Chàbùduō.) Right.
Brendan: This is yet another new thing that you can use it to do.
Echo: So, in the dialogue, we saw this sentence 工资也太低了。(Gōngzī yě tài dīle.)
Brendan: “And their pay is very low.”
Echo: 工资也太低了。(Gōngzī yě tài dīle.)
Brendan: Now, what happens when 了after an adjective, in this case:
Echo: 低 (Dī)
Brendan: Is you’re emphasizing that adjective.
Echo: Right.
Brendan: So, you’re not just saying “And their salary is very low.” You’re saying “And their salary is very low.”
Echo: Right. Is to emphasize intonation of this sentences.
Brendan: Yes, I mean you’re, you’re almost spotlighting that adjective.
Echo: 没错。工资太低了。(Méi cuò. Gōngzī tài dīle.)
Brendan: So, let’s look at some other sentences using that same pattern.
Echo: 这工作也太辛苦了。(Zhè gōngzuò yě tài xīnkǔle.)
Brendan: “This job is way too hard.”
Echo: 这工作也太辛苦了。(Zhè gōngzuò yě tài xīnkǔle.)
Brendan: Where again, we’ve got 辛苦 (Xīnkǔ) in between 太 (Tài) and 了。(Le.)
Echo: 没错 (Méi cuò) So, 了(Le)is to emphasize 辛苦 (Xīnkǔ)here. 民工的工作也太危险了。(Míngōngde gōngzuò yě tài wéixiǎnle.)
Brendan: “My grand workers’ jobs are too dangerous.”
Echo: 民工的工作也太危险了。(Míngōng de gōngzuò yě tài wéixiǎnle.)
Brendan: So, as you can see, we can actually daisy chain it. We can have 不 (Bù)in front of the adjective.
Echo: Right.
Brendan: And then, still, emphasize that with 了(Le) or still spotlighting the adjective and the 不 (Bù) in this case.
Echo: 没错 (Méi cuò) together.
Brendan: Yes.
Echo: Like 太不对了。(Tài bùduìle.)
Brendan: Yes, it was way wrong. Now, so far, all of these sentences have had 太 (Tài) which is already kind of emphasizing the adjective that comes after it. But, you can have sentences without that, too.
Echo: 这次就对了。(Zhè cì jiù duìle.)
Brendan: “Now you’re getting it.” And, literally, it’s, you know, “This time is right.”.
Echo: 这次就对了。(Zhè cì jiù duìle.)

Outro

Brendan: And that’s our lesson for today. Before we go, a reminder. If you’d like to work on you Chinese pronunciation, we’ve got a voice recording tool on the site…
Echo: Right.
Brendan: That will help you listen to yourself, pick out your mistakes and correct them. It is as far as I know, the best way of doing this. I’ve done it, it was painful, it was tough, but it really helped my pronunciation. If you have any questions or any comments about today’s lesson…
Echo: You can always write to us at contactus@Chineseclass101.com or leave a comment on the site.
Brendan: And we look forward to hearing from you.
Echo: That’s right.
Brendan: From Beijing, I’m Brandon.

14 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
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Are you still complaining about not getting paid enough at work? Maybe you should try the migrant worker's job in China?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 02:31 PM
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Hello robert groulx,


Thank you for your comment, we hope you enjoyed the lesson!


Let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Thursday at 10:16 PM
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thank you for the lesson


my favorite words are 这次就对了。


robert

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 08:43 PM
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Hello Stiddy,


Thank you for your comment. Yes, both sentences are also correct. 👍


Let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Stiddy
Wednesday at 01:13 AM
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他们一个月能拿多少钱?

Is it possible to leave out 能 or write 拿到 instead?

1) 他们一个月拿多少钱?

2) 他们一个月拿到多少钱?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 08:48 PM
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Hi Guy


Thanks for your post, and sorry for the mistake. I'm going to forward your comment to the content team.


'Sānwàn yí ge yuè.' means ‘三万一个月。’(30000 per month.)


Amy

Team ChineseClass101.com

guy
Thursday at 11:18 PM
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pinyin translation : 3000一个月。(Sānwàn yī ge yuè.) instead of 三千 (Sānqiān yī ge yuè.)

Regrettably for the workers ...

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 12:05 AM
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你好 杰米


You are right. You've noticed here the 了 is only for emphasis.

'太 + adjective/adverb + 了' is the most used way, but '太 + adjective without 了' is not grammatically wrong.

You may say “这份工作太辛苦。”or “这份工作太辛苦了。”

When you say “这份工作太辛苦。”, typically you voice the last 3 characters 太辛苦 a little bit longer and/or more strongly.

The function of 了 is like 呢,啦,etc, which is only a tone partical and has nothing to do with tenses here.


Thanks for learning with us.


Amy

Team ChineseClass101.com

杰米
Sunday at 10:28 AM
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I was under the impression that it was grammatically incorrect to have a sentence with 太 + adjective without 了. But the way Brendan and Echo describe it, it seems that it is only there for emphasis.


Can I say, “这份工作太辛苦”? or do I have to include 了?“这份工作太辛苦了”

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 03:13 PM
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Hi HR,


Thank you for posting.

We appreciate your feedback, and it will be considered for our future lessons.

Please, feel free to ask and comment as often as you wish.


Kind regards,

Laura

Team ChineseClass101.com

Echo
Monday at 11:53 PM
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@careyxxx,


可以,只要他有足夠的錢負擔北京的生活就可以,不過外地人戶口的孩子不能在北京考大學,但是有錢的話也有辦法得到北京戶口。就是因為對外地人到北京沒有限制,所以北京現在的人口差不多已經有1900萬了,城市負荷很重。


民工和普通的外地人都有差不多的工作機會,當然,就是工作內容不同而已。


--Echo