Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

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 5 - Do you have an unreasonable Chinese landlord?
Amber: 这节课是关于租房子的。(Zhè jié kè shì guānyú zū fángzi de.)
DAVID: Right. It’s about renting an apartment or, in this case, when someone can't afford to rent an apartment anymore.
Amber: 对,租不起了!(Duì, zū bù qǐle!)
DAVID: Right. So we’ve got a dialogue that’s taking place between two people. And they are talking, Amber, about renting an apartment.
Amber: 租房子。(Zū fángzi.)
DAVID: Right. So this is casual Chinese, as always, because it’s friends. So let’s get to the dialogue now. Yeah, this is a tough situation in Beijing these days and Shanghai.
A: 我想买房子。(Wǒ xiǎng mǎi fángzi.)
B: 你买得起吗?(Nǐ mǎideqǐ ma?)
A: 现在租也快租不起了。(Xiànzài zū yě kuài zūbùqǐ le.)
B: 房东又要涨房租?(Fángdōng yòu yào zhǎng fángzū?)
A: 要涨500块。(Yào zhǎng wǔbǎi kuài.)
B: 找个人合租吧。(Zhǎo gè rén hézū ba.)
A: I want to buy a house.
B: Can you afford it?
A: Right now, even renting is almost unaffordable.
B: The landlord wants to raise the rent again?
A: They want to rise it by 500 kuai.
B: Find someone to share the rent.
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
DAVID: Rents really are going up.
Amber: 对,可能是因为买房子便宜了,所以租房子很贵。(Duì, kěnéng shì yīnwèi mǎi fángzi piányíle, suǒyǐ zū fángzi hěn guì.)
DAVID: Well, I would not say that buying a house in Chinese is cheap, but that is what it feels like sometimes if you take a look at what’s happening to rents.
Amber: 对, 唔....(Duì, wú....)
DAVID: Anyway, our dialogue today if filled with vocab for renting and buying apartment’s, so that’s what our vocab section is on.
Amber: 租。(zū.)
DAVID: To rent.
Amber: 租, 租, 房子。(zū, zū, fángzi.)
DAVID: House.
Amber: 房 子, 房子, 买得起。(fángzi, fángzi, mǎideqǐ.)
DAVID: To afford, to buy.
Amber: 买 得 起, 买得起, 房租。(mǎideqǐ, mǎideqǐ, fángzū.)
DAVID: Rent.
Amber: 房 租, 房租, 房东。(fángzū, fángzū, fángdōng.)
DAVID: Landlord.
Amber: 房 东, 房东, 房客。(fángdōng, fángdōng, fángkè.)
DAVID: Tennant.
Amber: 房 客, 房客, 涨。(fángkè, fángkè, zhǎng.)
DAVID: To rise.
Amber: 涨, 涨, 合租。(zhǎng, zhǎng, hézū.)
DAVID: To share the rent.
Amber: 合 租, 合租。(hézū, hézū.)
DAVID: Let’s take a closer look at some of these words and phrases. Our first choice is…
Amber: 租房子。(Zū fángzi.)
DAVID: To rent a house.
Amber: 租房子。(Zū fángzi.)
DAVID: And actually it’s not just a house, it could be an apartment, it could be a condo.
Amber: 对, 在中文所有的房子都叫房子。(Duì, zài zhōngwén suǒyǒu de fángzi dōu jiào fángzi.)
DAVID: All kinds of 房子(Fángzi), they’re all called 房子.(Fángzi.)
Amber: 对, 对, 对。(Duì, duì, duì.)
DAVID: And we see these characters and a huge variety of words. We’ve got the verb “to rent”.
Amber: 租。(Zū.)
DAVID: To rent.
Amber: 租。(Zū.)
DAVID: I want to rent a house.
Amber: 我想租一个房子。(Wǒ xiǎng zū yīgè fángzi.)
DAVID: I want to rent an apartment.
Amber: 我想租一个房子 or 公寓。(Wǒ xiǎng zū yīgè fángzi or gōngyù.)
DAVID: Yeah, yeah. You can say 房子 (Fángzi) which is general.
Amber: 对。(Duì.)
DAVID: We’ve also got, as you just said, apartment.
DAVID: Which is the upper-scale, more expensive international style ones, but you can also rent a Chinese apartment.
Amber: 民宅。(Mínzhái.)
DAVID: So to rent a cheaper apartment is…
Amber: 我想租一个民宅。(Wǒ xiǎng zū yīgè mínzhái.)
DAVID: Right. Now, the words for “landlord” and “tenant” are also related to the word for house. “Landlord” is…
Amber: 房东。(Fángdōng.)
DAVID: Landlord.
Amber: 房东。(Fángdōng.)
DAVID: My landlord is not reasonable.
Amber: 我的房东 不讲道理。(Wǒ de fángdōng bù jiǎng dàolǐ.)
DAVID: My landlord wants to raise the rent.
Amber: 我的房东 要涨房租。(Wǒ de fángdōng yào zhǎng fángzū.)
DAVID: Right. The word for tenant is…
Amber: 房客。(Fángkè.)
DAVID: Which is literally like a “house guest” almost”.
Amber: 唔,对,客就是 (Wú, duì, kè jiùshì) guest.
DAVID: Yes, right. It’s close to the word for customer.
Amber: 唔, 客人。(Wú, kèrén.)
DAVID: Right, or “hacker” - 黑客(Hēikè), the black guest. So here it means, literally it means “house guest”.
Amber: 房客。(Hēikè.)
DAVID: I can't afford an apartment, so I'm a tenant.
Amber: 我买不起房子,所以我是个房客, 好多人都是这样。(Wǒ mǎi bù qǐ fángzi, suǒyǐ wǒ shìgè fángkè, hǎoduō rén dōu shì zhèyàng.)
DAVID: Yes, a lot of people are. And the increasing costs, as in our dialogue, are driving a lot more people to share.
Amber: 合租。(Hézū.)
DAVID: Jointly-rent.
Amber: 合租。(Hézū.)
DAVID: Right. Look at the transcript, get these characters if you go to bulletin boards or online housing, this is how you’ll find the shared rental section of Chinese sites.
Amber: 唔,对, 合租。(Wú, duì, hézū.)
DAVID: Right, “to rent together”. So you’ll often see posts online that will often say something like, “I want to find someone to rent an apartment with.”
Amber: 我想找个人合租房子。 (Wǒ xiǎng zhǎo gèrén hézū fángzi.)
DAVID: Right. Although you don’t need to say 房子 (Fángzi) there.
Amber: 对, 你直接说合租 就可以。(Duì, nǐ zhíjiē shuō he zū jiù kěyǐ.)
DAVID: Right. It’s enough, people will know that you’re talking about housing.
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
DAVID: Okay. So that’s our key vocab for this section. In our grammar point, we’re going to talk about a complex verb that is super fun to use.

Lesson focus

M2: It’s grammar time.
DAVID: So our grammar point today is about when you can't afford something.
Amber: 买不起。(Mǎi bù qǐ.)
DAVID: Or when you can.
Amber: 买得起。(Mǎi dé qǐ.)
DAVID: Let’s hear those two again.
Amber: 买不起 和 买得起。(Mǎi bù qǐ hé mǎi dé qǐ.)
DAVID: Right. Now, what we’ve got is we’ve got the verb. In this case, “to buy”.
Amber: 买。(Mǎi.)
DAVID: And then we have this particle, 得(Dé), which is signaling that there’s going to be a result of the verb. And then we have, what’s called, a verb complement.
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
DAVID: Right. Now, 起 is a pretty funny verb complement. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense, but in this context it means “you can’t do it, you can't afford it.” So “I can’t afford to buy.”
Amber: 我买不起。(Wǒ mǎi bù qǐ.)
DAVID: I can't afford to rent.
Amber: 我租不起。(Wǒ zū bù qǐ.)
DAVID: Now, we see 起 used a lot with verbs that are about buying and spending money. So we could do this with the verb “to rent” as well.
Amber: 没错, 租不起。(Méi cuò, zū bù qǐ.)
DAVID: Right. That is “to be unable to rent”.
Amber: 没错, 没有能力租什么什么东西。(Méi cuò, méiyǒu nénglì zū shénme shénme dōngxī.)
DAVID: Yes, well, you don’t have the money to do it specifically, right?
Amber: Mhm.
DAVID: So that’s “you can't rent”. What if you can rent?
Amber: 租得起。(Zū dé qǐ.)
DAVID: Right. So if you are coming from Switzerland, you might arrive in Beijing and say “My Gosh, the rents are so low. I can afford to rent.”
Amber: 房租很便宜,我租得起。(Fángzū hěn piányí, wǒ zū dé qǐ.)
DAVID: So the important thing to remember here is that these are opposites.
Amber: 唔,买得起。(Wú, mǎi dé qǐ.)
Amber: 买不起。(Mǎi bù qǐ.)
Amber: 租得起。(Zū dé qǐ.)
Amber: 租不起。(Zū bù qǐ.)
DAVID: In our grammar write-up for this lesson we’re going to give you a lot of examples of verbs that can take this 起.(Qǐ.)
Amber: Mhm, 比如说 想不起。(Bǐrú shuō xiǎng bù qǐ.)
Amber: 对不起。(Duìbùqǐ.)
DAVID: Now, the meaning of each phrase can differ slightly because 起 (Qǐ) is one of these verbs that is really hard to translate.
Amber: 没错。(Méi cuò.)
DAVID: You know, “to get up” or “to rise often”, I can’t rent it because I can't get up to the point of renting it, but it’s a very abstract meaning. The important thing to note is that when it gets paired with 得 or 不(Dé or bù), we got a statement about being able to do something or not being able to do something.
Amber: 可以做或者不可以做。(Kěyǐ zuò huòzhě bù kěyǐ zuò.)


DAVID: Right. Before we go, a couple of examples, just to practice.
Amber: 对不起,我买不起房子。(Duìbùqǐ, wǒ mǎi bù qǐ fángzi.)
DAVID: I'm sorry, I can't buy a house.
Amber: 对不起,我买不起房子。(Duìbùqǐ, wǒ mǎi bù qǐ fángzi.)
DAVID: Or …..
Amber: 这个太贵了, 我租不起。(Zhège tài guìle, wǒ zū bù qǐ.)
DAVID: This is too expensive, I can't afford the rent.
Amber: 这个太贵了, 我租不起。(Zhège tài guìle, wǒ zū bù qǐ.)
DAVID: So remember, for lots more examples of this pattern, go and check our premium transcripts at ChineseClass101.com. That said, this is all the time we have for this show. From Beijing, I'm David.
Amber: 我是安伯。(Wǒ shì ān bó.)
DAVID: Thanks for listening and we’ll see you on the site.
Amber: 我们下次见吧!(Wǒmen xià cì jiàn ba!)