(王贵和李小朋 are about to leave the classroom.)
|今年||jīn nián||time word, this year|
|多||duō||adv., how; to what extent; many|
|多大||duō dà||question word, how old|
|岁||suì||n., years old|
|生||shēng||v., to give birth|
|日||rì||n., the sun, day|
|生日||shēng rì||n., birthday|
|号||hào||n., day of a month, used when telling calendar|
|天||tiān||n., day, sky|
|今天||jīn tiān||n., today|
|星期||xīng qī||n., week|
|星期一||xīng qī yī||n., Monday|
|星期四||xīng qī sì||n., Thursday|
|晚上||wǎn shàng||n., night, evening|
|吃||chī||v., to eat|
|晚饭||wǎn fàn||n., dinner|
|怎么样||zěn me yàng||phrase, how something is, or what it is like|
|谢谢||xiè xie||v./n., thanks|
|星期五||xīng qī wǔ||n., Friday|
|太||tài||adv., too, excessively|
|见||jiàn||v., to meet|
|刻||kè||n., quarter hour|
|再见||zài jiàn||v., to see again, Goodbye|
|拜拜||bāi bai||interjection, bye-bye|
- 多 (duō, how, to what extent):
It is an adverb, often used before an adjective to ask about the degree or extent of something. The structure is “Subj. + 多 + Adj. ?” , meaning “”How [adjective] is [subject]?”
In this dialogue, the question phrase 多大 (duō dà) is used to ask “how old”. Another example is 多高, which is used to ask “how tall or high”. There is another way to ask “how old” in Chinese, i.e., 几岁 (jǐ suì); however, it is most often used for children less than 10 years old.
- Chinese numbers 1-100:
Counting in Chinese is very easy, which only requires you to learn 11 numbers: the numbers 1 to 10 and the word for “hundred”. Let’s start with 1-10:
一 (yī, one), 二 (èr, two), 三 (sān, three), 四 (sì, four), 五 (wǔ, five), 六 (liù, six), 七 (qī, seven), 八 (bā, eight), 九 (jiǔ, nine), 十 (shí, ten). Click the link to learn the pronunciation here: 1-10 pronunciation.
How do we say the numbers from 11 to 19 in Chinese? “Eleven” is 十一 (shí yī). “Twelve” is 十二 (shí èr). “Thirteen” is 十三 (shí sān). Can you figure out the pattern now?
“Twenty” in Chinese is 二十 (èr shí), meaning “two tens”. “Thirty” is 三十 (sān shí), meaning “three tens”. Can you say 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90 in Chinese?
100 is 一百 (yī bǎi) in Chinese.
- 岁 (suì, years old):
It is used to tell a person’s age, similar to “years old” in English. The structure is “Subj. + Number + 岁“, which is equivalent to “Subj. is x years old” in English. For example, 我二十岁。(I am twenty years old.) Note that no verb is used when using 岁 (suì).
- Month names:
The way to say months in Chinese is easy: “Number + 月 (yuè, month)”. Here are all of them: 一月 ( yĨ yuè, January)，二月 ( èr yuè, February)，三月(sąn yuè, March)，四月(sì yuè, April)，五月(wǔ yuè, May)，六月(liù yuè, June)，七月(qĨ yuè, July)，八月(bā yuè, August)，九月(jiǔ yuè, September)，十月(shí yuè, October)，十一月(shí yĨ yuè, November)，十二月(shí ’èr yuè, December).
- Days of the month:
The structure we use to say the days of a month is: “x 月 + x 号
(hào)/日/(rì)”. For example, “March 8” is 三月八号 or 三月八日. Note: 号 is more commonly used in spoken Mandarin, while 日 is more often used in written Chinese.
The way to say years in Chinese is also easy: “Number + 年 (nián)”. For example, to indicate the year 1987, we say “一九八七年(yī jiǔ bā qī nián)”. Note that the numbers are pronounced one at a time.
- Days of the week:
Days of the week in Chinese are formed by the word 星期 (xīng qī, week), followed by a number: Monday 星期一, Tuesday 星期二, Wednesday 星期三, Thursday 星期四, Friday 星期五, Saturday 星期六, Sunday 星期天/日. Note: (1) Sunday is the only exception. Rather than a number, 天 (tiān) or 日 (rì) is used. 日 is more formally used than 天. (2) In Chinese culture, the first day of the week is Monday rather than Sunday. (3) There are actually two other ways to say 星期 in Chinese: 礼拜 (lǐbài) and 周 (zhōu). So for 星期一, we can also say 礼拜一 or 周一. 星期 is more formal than the other two.
- Structure of dates:
Dates in Chinese are arranged from the largest unit to the smallest: year, month, day. The structure is “x 年 + y 月 + z 日/号 + 星期 x “. For example, “Monday, May 1, 2019” is translated into “2019年5月1日星期一”.
- 我请你吃晚饭(wǒ qǐng nǐ chī wǎn fàn)：
Literally it is “I treat you to dinner”, meaning “I invite you to dinner, and it is on me”. The structure is “Subj. + 请 + sb. + do sth.“. For example, 我请你看电影。(I treat you to a movie).
- 怎么样 (zěn me yàng):
It is a question phrase, used to ask how something is, or what it is like. The structure is “Subj. + 怎么样?“. For example, 你的工作怎么样？meaning “how is your work”.
- 太 (tài, too):
It is an adverb, often used before adjectives, then followed by 了. It is used to express that something really is excessive (often as a complaint), or can also colloquially express the meaning of “so” or “very”. The structure is “太 + Adj. + 了“. For example,
那太贵了。(That is too expensive).
你太好了！(You are so nice!)
你的哥哥太帅了！(Your elder brother is too handsome.)
她太美了！（She is excessively pretty.)
Note: When used in a negative sentence, 了 is not needed. For example:
- How to tell time in Chinese?
点(diǎn, o’clock)、半(bàn, half hour)、刻(kè, quarter hour)、分(fēn, minute) are used to tell time.
The structure to tell hours is: “number of the hour + 点 (diǎn – o’clock)”. For example, “9 o’clock” is 九点 or 九点钟(diǎn zhōng). 点 is the short form for 点钟. Note: “2 o’clock” is 两点 rather than 二点.
To express “half hour,” we use the word半(bàn, half). The structure is “number +点半“. For example, “12:30” is 十二点半.
The structure to tell minutes is: “number + 分 (fēn – minutes)”. For example, “13 minutes” is 十三分.
To indicate “quarters,” we use 刻 (kè, quarter hour). The structure is: “x点 y 刻“. For example, 5:15 is 五点一刻, and 3:45 is 三点三刻.
In China, people generally use a twelve-hour clock, preceded by 上午 (shàng wŭ) for “a.m.” or 下午 (xià wŭ) for “p.m.” when necessary. 中午 (zhōng wǔ) is used to indicate “noon” or “midday”. If the time is after 6:00 p.m., we normally use 晚上 (wǎn shàng). The structure is “上午/下午/中午/晚上 + x 点“. For example, 8:00 a.m. is translated into “上午八点” in Chinese.
- Placement of time words in Chinese:
Time words can appear either at the beginning of a Chinese sentence (before the subject), or directly after the subject. The structures are: “Time + Subj. + Verb + Obj.” or “Subj. + Time + Verb + Obj.” For instance,
今天我很忙 and 我今天很忙 are both correct.
- Asking a person’s age in China more common than in the West because age defines how Chinese people appropriately and politely address each other. For example, if a guy learns that another guy is older than him, he would call that guy 哥 (gē) or 大哥 (dà gē). Words such as “大哥”/ “哥” or “大姐” ( dà jiě)/ “姐” ( jiě), “小哥哥” ( xiǎo gē ge) or “小姐姐” ( xiǎo jiě jie) are common ways Chinese people address the people they know in everyday life, and the word they choose is related to the age difference between the speakers.
Besides 你多大 and 你几岁, there are many other ways to ask for people’s ages in Chinese. To learn more, please watch this video.
- You may have noticed that in the vocabulary list, there is a word 事(儿). In northern China, people like to add -er sound (儿) to certain syllables in spoken Chinese, as in 事儿 (shìr, thing), 哪儿 (nǎr, where), 一点儿 (yìdiǎnr, a little), and 好玩儿 (hǎo wánr, fun). However, people in the South prefer not to add the -er sound. They would say the four examples listed above without 儿, namely 事 shì, 哪 nǎ, 一点 yì diǎn, 好玩 hǎo wán.
- 再见 is the most common way for Chinese people to say goodbye. 再 (zài) means “again” and 见 (jiàn) is “to see”, so when they say it to a person, they are expecting to see that person again. 拜拜, a more informal way to say goodbye, is more often used by younger generations.
回头见 (huí tóu jiàn, see you later) or simply 回见 (huí jiàn) is another commonly used expression to bid goodbye. Chinese people use the format of “_ 见” (_ jiàn, “_ see”) to form the expression “see you _ (a certain time)”. For example, 明天见 (míng tiān jiàn, see you tomorrow), 一会儿见 (yīhuǐ’er jiàn, see you soon).
English speakers would say “have a nice day” when saying goodbye, but Chinese people do not do that. It also sounds unnatural to translate it into Chinese word by word. In formal situations, Chinese people use 保重 (bǎo zhòng, take care) to express wishes when they say goodbye. In colloquial Chinese, people use specific verbs to wish somebody good or great. For example, 玩得开心点 (wán dé kāi xīn diǎn, have a good time)，好好休息 (hǎo hǎo xiū xī, have a good rest).
Learn many other ways to say goodbye in Chinese.