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Lesson Transcript

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
Michael: Okay guys, today we are going to cover a phrase which will probably not be your most common phrase or at least I hope not but it might be the most important one. Where is the bathroom? In Chinese, where is the bathroom is 洗手间在哪(Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎ)?, one more time 洗手间在哪(Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎ)?. All right, let’s break it down syllable by syllable. First we have two third tones and then a first tone and remember, two third tones together means the first third tone becomes a second tone, a rising tone. So it’s rising tone, falling rising tone and then flat tone 洗手间(xí shǒu jiān), this means bathroom. Literally it means wash hand room but that can mean the washroom or the bathroom, 洗手间(xí shǒu jiān). The second half is 在哪(zài nǎ), this is fourth tone and then third tone, falling tone, then falling rising tone, 在哪(zài nǎ), 在(zài) means at and 哪(nǎ) means where. So at where 在哪(zài nǎ), 洗手间在哪(Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎ), bathroom at where, 洗手间在哪(Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎ). Now a real easy way to say bathroom if you can’t remember the Chinese is just WC. For some reason everybody in China knows the word WC. I have no idea where this word came from. I thought it was British English but I’ve had British friends tell me they don’t know where it comes from. Maybe it’s an outdated phrase. I hear it stands for water closet and I knew that before but I don’t know where anybody uses this word water closet but you can use this in China anywhere you go. You just say WC or you can say WC在哪(WC zài nǎ)? if you want to mix up the languages. Guys, obviously the word WC is not originally Chinese but at this point, it’s become a Chinese word. There are a lot of words like this in Chinese. In fact there are even characters for bye bye. All right guys, listen. Here is one last tip. If you plan on being out for a long time, just steal yourself for the bathroom experiences you are going to have. It might be a good idea to just take care of your business whenever you see a bathroom that you think is going to be okay because a lot of times, there will be a bathroom, but you might not want to use it. 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)! Okay here we go. Where is the bathroom? 洗手间在哪(Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎ)?All right, my boss says I am just supposed to read the script but I am going to give you one last hint if you want to make your Chinese really sound Chinese. You add 啊(a) to the end of this question which gives it more of an interrogative flavor. You say 洗手间在哪啊(Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎ a)? This is how Chinese people say. They go 哪啊(nǎ a)? and it gives you more of this sort of questioning tone to your voice. Hey, 洗手间在哪啊(Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎ a)?
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ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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This question is one of the most important when traveling. In how many languages can you say it?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 02:34 PM
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Thank you for your comment. 哪儿 should be written as "nǎr", 哪 is "nǎ", they both mean "where", they are just two variations.

As always, let us know if you have any questions.

Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Thursday at 01:21 AM
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哪儿 is "nǎr" or "nǎ"?

I'm in doubt, because the dialogue and vocabulary list "nǎr", but the lesson transcript has "nǎ".

Thank you!


ChineseClass101.com Verified
Saturday at 05:41 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,


Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Saturday at 02:52 AM
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thank you for the lesson transcript


ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 04:44 PM
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Hi Ian

It is an interesting fact. Thank you for your post.


Team ChineseClass101.com

Monday at 09:06 PM
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I never fully understood the British term 'WC' having been raised in the UK. You just get taught it stands for a bathroom. 😜

Wednesday at 08:03 PM
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First time I heard of it. Very interesting!

Friday at 05:09 AM
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I venture to say the term water closet came from the passenger shipping industry as far back as the late 19th century. These ships often carried persons using many different languages. The rooms were nearly always small closet sized rooms containing the facilities with water plumbing and drains were identified by a large "WC" on the door. Staff personnel and sailors would refer to them as "heads", but everyone else recognized the WC designation.

Saturday at 06:49 PM
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"WC" is also used in french, but with a local pronunciation ("vaysay"). Nodoby uses "water closet" though. It's rather informal, and I wouldn't use it with any other than close friends anf family.

I really like your survival phrases ! Even though I've studied some chinese before, I learned some new things listening to your lessons. And I really like how nenrgetic you always sound ! Please keep it up !