|Guys, I grew up in New York. We have the best tap water in America. I grew up drinking tap water every day. I think it’s heresy to not drink tap water but in China, I don’t drink tap water. Nobody drinks tap water. Chinese people do not drink tap water and my rule has been, well if Chinese people don’t drink tap water, I am not drinking tap water. Once I see Chinese people drinking tap water, then I will start drinking tap water. The tap water in China is not good for drinking. I am not sure what it will do for you but everyone swears it will make you sick. Now you shouldn’t drink it straight but you can use it in small amounts. I use it to brush my teeth, I wish fruits in tap water and then just eat the fruit and believe me, I’ve never gotten sick in China. If you use just a little bit, you will be okay. Just don’t drink it straight. The other thing you can do is, you can boil it. Chinese people in fact are used to drinking hot drinks all year around. They drink hot tea even in the summer because they are used to boiling the water. In China, if you want to drink any water, you have to boil it first. In fact, most Chinese people think it’s bad for health to drink cold drinks. So they always drink hot drinks. When I say I am feeling sick, Chinese people always tell me, oh you should drink some more hot things, more hot water. This is the Chinese remedy for any disease. If you are staying in a very, very, very nice hotel, there may be drinkable water coming from the tap but don’t drink it unless you’ve asked first. Don’t assume that your hotel is nice enough that they will have drinkable water. Even very nice hotels in China will still not have drinkable water from the tap. So this brings us to today’s lesson, buying water and asking if the water is drinkable. So first, buying bottled water. A lot of times on the street, you will see people selling bottled water. They of course sell bottled water in restaurants and at convenient stores all over the place. If you want to buy some water, just go up and say, please give me one bottle of water. In Chinese, this is 请给我一瓶水(Qǐng gěi wǒ yī píng shuǐ.) More slowly, 请给我一瓶水(Qǐng gěi wǒ yī píng shuǐ.) One last time, 请给我一瓶水(Qǐng gěi wǒ yī píng shuǐ.) All right, tone by tone, 请(qǐng), is third tone, the falling rising tone, 请(qǐng). 给(gěi) is also third tone, the falling rising tone, 给(gěi) and 我(wǒ) is again third tone, the falling, rising tone, 我(wǒ). 一(yī) is first tone, the flat tone, 一(yī).[note that "一" is the fourth tone before a non-fourth tone word, so 一瓶 pronounces "yì píng".] 瓶(píng) is second tone, the rising tone and 水(shuǐ) is third tone, the falling rising tone, 水(shuǐ). Now remember, we had three third tones in the beginning there. That means the middle third tone has to become a second tone, a rising tone. So it becomes third tone, second tone, third tone. 请给我(Qǐng géi wǒ) So let’s break down the meaning 请(qǐng) means please, 给(gěi) means to give, 我(wǒ) means me or I, 一(yī) means one, 瓶(píng) means bottle and 水(shuǐ) means water. So please give me one bottle water, please give me a bottle of water. May I have a bottle of water please? So that’s one more time, 请给我一瓶水(Qǐng géi wǒ yì píng shuǐ.) All right now maybe you want to buy two bottles of water. Maybe you are there with your spouse, maybe you see a really cute Chinese guy, maybe you are just trying to make friends. The way you change this to two bottles of water is you just replace the one 一(yī) with two 两(liǎng). All right. The 两(liǎng) means two and it is third tone, the falling rising tone, 两(liǎng). So here we go 请给我两瓶水(Qǐng géi wǒ liǎng píng shuǐ.) All right guys, one last tip. When you are buying water on the street, when you are buying from people just walking around selling on the street, be careful. There is a trick that people have been known to pull off sometimes which is they take old bottles of bottled water, empty bottles and they refill them with tap water and then just screw the tops back on. Make sure the safety seal clicks, it rips open when you are unscrewing the top. If it doesn’t, get rid of the bottle and the water is really cheap. So if you have to get rid of 1 or 2, if you get ripped off, don’t worry about it. It’s probably only $0.10 or $0.20 anyway. The next phrase we are going to learn is no ice please. Obviously if the tap water is bad, you don’t want to be having any ice in your drink. The ice is probably made from tap water and when it melts, it’s the same thing as drinking tap water. So the phrase in Chinese is 不要冰块(Bú yào bīng kuài.) Let’s break it down by tone, 不(bú), now 不(bú) means no. It’s usually fourth tone, the falling tone 不(bù) but here because it precedes 要(yào) which is also fourth tone, it becomes second tone, the rising tone, 不(bú). The next one is 要(yào), fourth tone, the falling tone, 要(yào), 不要(bú yào). 冰(bīng), first tone, the flat tone, 冰(bīng) and the last is 块(kuài), fourth tone, the falling tone, 块(kuài). 不要冰块(Bú yào bīng kuài.) Now breaking it down syllable by syllable with the meanings. 不(bú) means no, 要(yào) means to want or to need and together 不要(bú yào) means don’t, 冰(bīng) means ice and 块(kuài) is a word that can mean pieces or chunks. So altogether it is no want ice pieces or I don’t want ice or no ice please.