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Lesson Transcript

David: Welcome to Chineseclass101.com. I’m David.
Amber: 大家好,我是安伯。(Dàjiā hǎo, wǒ shì ān bó.)
David: And, we’re here today with Upper Beginner, Season 1, Lesson 16 – Do you have a hidden talent for speaking Chinese?
Amber: 唔,可能真的有。(Wú, kěnéng zhēn de yǒu.)
David: Right. If you’re this stage, you probably do. So, we’ve got lesson today that is going to take this Chinese make it even better.
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
David: Right. It takes place at home.
Amber: 对,家庭聚会。(Duì, jiātíng jùhuì.)
David: Right. What’s not a meeting.
Amber: 对,不是。(Duì, bùshì.)
David: That’s definitely at home, it’s between two people who are looking at family photos. And, something surprising about them. So, we’ve got a dialogue for you, this is casual mandarin, as always. Let’s get to it.
A: 照片上是谁?(Zhàopiàn shàng shì shéi?)
B: 我爷爷奶奶。(Wǒ yéye nǎinai.)
A: 这是巴黎吗?(Zhè shì Bālí ma?)
B: 对,战争以前他们住在法国。(Duì , zhànzhēng yǐqián tāmen zhù zài Fǎguó.)
A: 哦?他们会说法语?(ò , tāmen huì shuō Fǎyǔ?)
B: 我也会,你不知道吗?(Wǒ yě huì, nǐ bù zhīdào ma?)
A: Who is in the photo?
B: My grandfather and grandmother.
A: Is this Paris?
B: Yes, before the war they lived in France.
A: Oh? They could speak French?
B: I can too. Didn't you know?
David: Right. So, we have two people looking at a photo.
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò)
David: Of a young couple in love, in Paris.
Amber: 浪漫的法国。(Làngmàn de fàguó.)
David: Right. Amber is getting excited, [*]…
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
David: But, who are these people, what is this doing on your piano or on the shelf?
Amber: 对,竟然是爷爷跟奶奶。(Duì, jìngrán shì yéyé gēn nǎinai.)
David: Yes? Well, I think it’s nice that they kept speaking French, too. Anyway, our vocab today is about travelling to France or speaking French.
Amber: 照片。(zhàopiān.)
David: Photo.
Amber: 照 片, 照片, 巴黎。(zhàopiān, zhàopiān, Bālí.)
David: Paris.
Amber: 巴 黎, 巴黎, 首都。(Bālí, Bālí, shǒudū.)
David: Capital.
Amber: 首 都, 首都, 法国。(shǒudū, shǒudū, Fǎguó.)
David: France.
Amber: 法 国, 法国, 战争。(Fǎguó, Fǎguó, zhànzhēng.)
David: War.
Amber: 战 争, 战争, 以前。(zhànzhēng, zhànzhēng, yǐqián.)
David: Before.
Amber: 以 前, 以前, 浪漫。(yǐqián, yǐqián, làngmàn.)
David: Romantic.
Amber: 浪 漫, 浪漫, 法语。(làngmàn, làngmàn, Fǎyǔ.)
David: French.
Amber: 法 语, 法语。(Fǎyǔ, Fǎyǔ.)
David: Let’s take a closer look at some of these words. Our first word is the country, France.
Amber: 法国。(Fǎguó.)
David: “France”
Amber: 法国。(Fǎguó.)
David: Now, we actually hear these two ways. Amber, you said it the modern way, which is a third tone on 法.(Fǎ.)
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
David: And then the second on 国.(Guó.) So, say this again for us, slowly.
Amber: 法国。(Fàguó.)
David: Listen to the way the third tone turns into the second.
Amber: 法国。(Fàguó.)
David: It’s a bit like a big extended third tone. Right? You don’t always show this, though, because it used to be pronounced in the fourth tone.
Amber: 法国。(Fàguó.)
David: Right. And, the same goes for the French language.
Amber: 没错, 你可以说法语, 也可以说法语。(Méi cuò, nǐ kěyǐ shuō fǎyǔ, yě kěyǐ shuō fǎyǔ.)
David: Right. Generally, older people will say things in the fourth tone.
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
David: But, these days, younger people will say it in third tone.
Amber: 在老的电影里,也说法国, 法语。(Zài lǎo de diànyǐng lǐ, yě shuō fàguó, fǎyǔ.)
David: Yes. So, third tone or fourth tone, you can get away with both.
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
David: Right? When you are talking about France, you’re going to have to mention Paris.
Amber: 巴黎。(Bālí.)
David: “Paris”.
Amber: 巴黎。(Bālí.)
David: Paris is the capital of France.
Amber: 巴黎是法国的首都。(Bālí shì fàguó de shǒudū.)
David: “Paris is the capital of France.”
Amber: 巴黎是法国的首都。(Bālí shì fàguó de shǒudū.)
David: In Paris, people speak French.
Amber: 在巴黎人们说法语。(Zài bālí rénmen shuō fǎyǔ.)
David: “In Paris, people speak French.”
Amber: 在巴黎人们说法语。(Zài bālí rénmen shuō fǎyǔ.)
David: Through outer world, Paris is known for being a romantic city.
Amber: 浪漫的城市。(Làngmàn de chéngshì.)
David: Let’s hear that adjective for “romantic”.
Amber: 浪漫。(Làngmàn.)
David: Two fourth tones.
Amber: 浪 漫。(Làng màn.)
David: In China, as elsewhere, if you’re dating someone, they usually want you to be romantic.
Amber: 对,人们希望你很浪漫。(Duì, rénmen xīwàng nǐ hěn làngmàn.)
David: Right. And, if you’re not, they will tell you: “You’re not being romantic.”
Amber: 你怎么不浪漫?(Nǐ zěnme bù làngmàn?)
David: “Why aren’t you being romantic?”
Amber: 你怎么不浪漫?(Nǐ zěnme bù làngmàn?)
David: Or, “Be more romantic.”
Amber: 你浪漫一点儿呀!你还是经常说。(Nǐ làngmàn yīdiǎn er ya! Nǐ háishì jīngcháng shuō.)
David: Yes. “Be a bit more romantic.”
Amber: 你浪漫一点儿呀!(Nǐ làngmàn yīdiǎn er ya!)
David: Right. You, romantic, a little bit more.
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
David: Right. And, of course, one of the ways of being romantic is to speak French.
Amber: 没错, 很有用, 说法语很浪漫。(Méi cuò, hěn yǒuyòng, shuō fǎyǔ hěn làngmàn.)
David: “Speaking French is very romantic.”
Amber: 说法语很浪漫。(Shuō fǎyǔ hěn làngmàn.)

Lesson focus

M2: It’s grammar time.
David: Ok. We have something that’s really strange in the dialogue today. Right. Especially for English speakers, because we’re used to tense.
Amber: 啊 ……. 对。(A……. Duì.)
David: Right. In Chinese, you don’t have tense exactly.
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
David: You’ve got something that’s called aspect, which is a bit different.
Amber: Ah, 对。(Duì.)
David: Right? In the dialogue, we see a little bit of how it’s different with two lines.
Amber: 哦?他们会说法语?(Ó? Tāmen huì shuō fǎyǔ?)
David: “Huh? They could speak French?”
Amber: 哦?他们会说法语?(Ó? Tāmen huì shuō fǎyǔ?)
David: “We’re talking about the Past Tense.” However, note that there is nothing in this sentence to indicate Past Tense.
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
David: Listen again.
Amber: 哦?他们会说法语?(Ó? Tāmen huì shuō fǎyǔ?)
David: So, this could be talking about the Present Tense or it could be talking about Past Tense, or even the Future Tense. It’s the context that let’s us figure this out. We’re going to tell you a little more about why, but first, let’s look at the line that follows this.
Amber: 我也会,你不知道吗?(Wǒ yě huì, nǐ bù zhīdào ma?)
David: “I can, too, didn’t you know?”
Amber: 我也会,你不知道吗?(Wǒ yě huì, nǐ bù zhīdào ma?)
David: And, this is interesting again because we have first…
Amber: 会, 我也会。(Huì, wǒ yě huì.)
David: “I can, too.” So this is the Present Tense, if we have to translate it. And then, the second part of that sentence?
Amber: 你不知道吗?(Nǐ bù zhīdào ma?)
David: The really saying, “You didn’t know?”.
Amber: 对。(Duì.)
David: “Before this, you weren’t aware of this?”
Amber: 唔,你不知道吗?(Wú, nǐ bù zhīdào ma?)
David: “I’m French, you didn’t know?”
Amber: 我是法国人,你不知道吗?(Wǒ shì fàguó rén, nǐ bù zhīdào ma?)
David: “These are my grandparents. You didn’t know?”
Amber: 这是我的爷爷奶奶,你不知道吗?(Zhè shì wǒ de yéyé nǎinai, nǐ bù zhīdào ma?)
David: “Paris is the capital of France. You didn’t know this?”
Amber: 巴黎是法国的首都,你不知道吗?(Bālí shì fàguó de shǒudū, nǐ bù zhīdào ma?)
David: “What happens in Chinese, verbs that are about thinking or feeling, or being able to do things are always in the Present Tense.
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
David: Even if you’re describing the past. Now, in our dialogue, we saw this in affirmative case. We heard that they could speak French.
Amber: 他们会说法语。(Tāmen huì shuō fǎyǔ.)
David: Or, you could say, “I knew they lived in Paris.”
Amber: 我知道他们住在巴黎。(Wǒ zhīdào tāmen zhù zài bālí.)
David: What’s interesting is not what happens when we put these into the negative. In the last line we hear “you didn’t know”.
Amber: 你不知道吗?(Nǐ bù zhīdào ma?)
David: Even though we’re talking about the past, when we negate this, we use?
Amber: 不。(Bù.)
David: Instead of?
Amber: 没。(Méi.)
David: “I didn’t know.”
Amber: 我不知道。(Wǒ bù zhīdào..)
David: “I couldn’t speak French.”
Amber: 我不会说法语。(Wǒ bù huì shuō fǎyǔ.)
David: “I didn’t feel romantic.”
Amber: 我不感觉浪漫。(Wǒ bù gǎnjué làngmàn.)
David: Thinking, feeling, being able to do things. Even if it’s in the past tense in English, in Chinese it’s Present Aspect.
Amber: 没错, 总是一样的。(Méi cuò, zǒng shì yīyàng de.)
David: Right. This is a bit tricky if you’re translating things, but now you’re aware of it, you’re going to hear it and see it all the time.
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)


David: Ok. So, that’s all the time we have for today. And if you have any questions, please, leave us a note on the site. Or, you can send us an e-mail at contactus@chineseclass101.com.
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
David: For now, though, thanks for listening. From Beijing, I’m David.
Amber: 我是安伯。(Wǒ shì ān bó.)
David: Take care and we’ll see you on the site.
Amber: 网上见。(Wǎngshàng jiàn.)