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Start speaking Chinese in minutes and grasp the language, culture and customs in just minutes more with Chinese survival phrases, a completely new way to master the basics of Chinese. To get more Chinese lessons and for free, go to chineseclass101.com and sign up for your free lifetime account. Signing up takes less than a minute and you will find more great lessons just like this one. To get more free Chinese lessons, go to chineseclass101.com
Hey guys, today we are going to cover getting to the table in a restaurant. As for ordering, well you will have to hang out till next week, sorry guys. All right, when you get into a restaurant, probably the first question you are going to be asked is, how many people in your party which is 几个人?(Jǐ ge rén?) This is a very simple way of asking this question, 几个人?(Jǐ ge rén?). Quite literally is, how many people and that’s it. Oftentimes in Chinese, there is no little flares, no politeness added on to questions or anything like that. You just say exactly the barebones of what you mean, 几个人? (Jǐ ge rén?) All right, so let’s go over syllable by syllable and we will go over the meanings too. So first let’s do the tones, 几(jǐ) third tone, falling rising tone, 几(jǐ), 个(ge) sometimes has no tone, all right. It’s really easy, 个 (ge). And then 人(rén) second tone, rising tone, 人(rén). So 几个人? (Jǐ ge rén?) As I said before, this literally means how many people, all right 几(jǐ) means how many and 人(rén) means people. So I guess you are probably wondering why I keep skipping over that middle word that 个 (ge). It would actually be a lot easier if I didn’t explain this. I would much prefer to never explain this you know. So just end the lesson right now and we go into the overview. You practice the phrase a couple of times and hopefully forget about 个 (ge) but you know, my boss said I have to do this. So we will talk about it for a second. 个 (ge) is what is called a measure word. All right, in Chinese, when you are talking about a certain number of a noun, when you are counting different nouns, when you are counting people, when you are counting pieces of paper, counting CDs, you need to use measure words to count those nouns. So when a number is referring to a number of things, to a number of nouns, that number will be followed by a measure word. Now there are many different kinds of measure words and almost all measure words are keyed to a certain kind of noun. There are measure words for long, thin things that can apply to things like pants or pens or streets, all of these being long and thin or things that are for wide flat things like CDs or pieces of paper but there is also one multi-purpose measure word. A measure word that can be used when all else fails. This is 个 (ge), the one we’ve been talking about before. Most things technically have a measure word that applies to them but if you want to use a nice shortcut, if you want to get around all this remembering measure words, you as a beginner – now we have to remember, you are a foreigner and everyone will remember that and probably see that about you right from the get go, you can use 个 (ge) as your all purpose measure word. Whenever you are counting anything, you can say 个 (ge). So 两个(liǎng ge), two of something, 三个(sān ge), three of something, 四个(sì ge), four of something. So if someone asks you the question 几个人?(Jǐ ge rén?) and that question means, how many people in your party, you can just answer oh 两个(liǎng ge) that means two people. You don’t have to include 人(rén) which means people 两个人(liǎng ge rén), you don’t need to say that because from their question, they know what thing you are counting. You’d literally say two of something but they know what something it was because they asked how many people. In response to the question how many people, no one ever answers three cats. That just wouldn’t make any sense. Of course if you want to put 人(rén) in there at the end, that’s perfectly fine too. However most Chinese people prefer simple ways of speaking and would probably say 两个(liǎng ge) two or 三个(sān ge) three people. All right, so guys let’s just go over little practice. We will count to 1 to 5 counting people, all right. You ready? Go! One person, 一个人(yī ge rén), two people, 两个人(liǎng ge rén), three people, 三个人(sān ge rén), four people, 四个人(sì ge rén), last, five people 五个人(wǔ ge rén). So you walk into a restaurant, you and two of your best friends and the woman says to you first, 欢迎光临(Huānyíng guānglín.) which we said before means welcome and then she says something that sounds vaguely like 几个人? (Jǐ ge rén?) which you know means how many people. So you say 三个(sān ge) and maybe you hold up three fingers too. That just might make things a little bit clear but remember 三个(sān ge) three of something, 三个(sān ge).
All right, to close our today’s lesson, we’d like you to practice what we’ve just learned. I will provide you with the English equivalent of a phrase and you are responsible for shouting it out loud. You will have a few seconds before I give you the answer. So 加油(jiā yóu)! How many people, 几个人?(Jǐ ge rén?), three people, 三个人(sān ge rén). Remember guys, you can leave off the 人(rén) if you don’t want to say it but only if they’ve asked a question before that was, how many people. That already indicated what noun we are counting. If nobody has said anything about people and you just say 三个(sān ge), they are going to say, three of what thing. And guys, remember if you get nervous, if you can’t understand what people are saying, you can just walk into the restaurant and say 三个人(sān ge rén) and people will know what you mean. They won’t think you are ordering three people.
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