Dialogue

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Lesson Transcript

Taiwanese Mandarin Survival Phrases Lesson 20: Where Are the Power Converters?
In this lesson, you will learn how to ask for an item in a store.
In Chinese, if you want to ask, “Where can I buy power converters?” you can say, 我在哪裡可以買變壓器(Wǒ zài nǎlǐ kěyǐ mǎi biànyāqì)?
Let’s break it down by tone:
我(wǒ) is third tone, the falling-rising tone.
在(zài) is fourth tone, the falling tone.
哪裡(nǎlǐ) is third tone, the falling-rising tone.
可(kě) is also third tone, the falling-rising tone.
以(yǐ) is third tone again.
買(mǎi) is once again third tone.
變(biàn) is in fourth tone,
壓(yā) is in first tone,
器 (qì) is in fourth tone
Because you have five third tones in a row, you need to break them up with second tones, the rising tones. When you have four third tones in a row, you need to make the first syllable and the third syllable a second, rising tone. When you have five third tones in a row, we can change the first syllable and the third syllable to a second tone. Since 以 has no tone, we can keep the fifth third tone
Now, let’s break down the meanings.
我(wǒ) is "I.”
在(zài) means "at."
哪裡(nǎlǐ) means "where."
可以(kě yǐ) means "to be able to" or "can."
買(mǎi) is "to buy."
變壓器(biàn yā qì) means "power converter."
When translated to English, this whole phrase means “Where can I buy a power converter?” Also, please note that we use the question word "where,” so we do not need to use 嗎(ma) at the end of the sentence.
Altogether, we have 我在哪裡可以買變壓器(Wǒ zài nǎlǐ kěyǐ mǎi biànyāqì)?
Listen again, one more time, slowly:
[Slow] 我在哪裡可以買變壓器(Wǒ zài nǎlǐ kěyǐ mǎi biànyāqì)?
[Normal] 我在哪裡可以買變壓器(Wǒ zài nǎlǐ kěyǐ mǎi biànyāqì)?
In Chinese, if you want to ask about any item in general, you can substitute “power converter” for any other item.
For example, you can ask about a telephone card.
In Chinese, "telephone card" is 電話卡(diàn huà kǎ).
Let’s break it down by tone:
電(diàn) is in fourth tone.
話(huà) is in fourth tone.
卡(kǎ) is in third tone.
By meaning, 電話(diàn huà) means "telephone" and 卡(kǎ) means "card".
Altogether, “Where can I buy a telephone card,” is 我在哪裡可以買電話卡(Wǒ zài nár kěyí mǎi diànhuàkǎ)?
Listen again, one more time, slowly:
[Slow] 我在哪裡可以買電話卡(Wǒ zài nár kěyí mǎi diànhuàkǎ)?
[Normal] 我在哪裡可以買電話卡(Wǒ zài nár kěyí mǎi diànhuàkǎ)?

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Have you ever forgotten a power converter when traveling?