13 Lesson 5 Dialogue 1: What would you like to drink?


Waiter: 请问你们想喝点儿什么?

Waiter: 有。美国啤酒、中国啤酒,我们都有。


Waiter: 小姐,你呢?

Waiter: 请问你今年多大?

Waiter: 我们这儿的咖啡和茶都不错,你可以喝点儿。



Vocabulary Words:

Chinese Pinyin English
教书 jiāo shū v., to teach courses
学校 xué xiào n., school
qiāo v., to knock
mén n., door
jìn v., to enter
jiā measure word for establishments (e.g., companies, shops, restaurants, etc.)
饭馆 fàn guǎn n., restaurant
v., to drink
点儿 diǎn ér adv., a little, a bit
啤酒 pí jiǔ n., beer
好喝 hǎo hē adj., nice to drink
píng measure word for bottles
gěi v., to give
咖啡 kā fēi n., coffee
可以 kě yǐ v., may; adj., okay, alright
zhī adv., only
bēi measure word for glasses or cups
chá n., tea
hái adv., still
néng modal verb, can
xiǎng v., to think
睡觉 shuì jiào v., to sleep
nǎi n., milk

Grammar Notes:

  1. 点儿 (diǎn ér):It means “a little” or “a bit” and is put before a noun, used in much the same way as these words in English. Chinese people would say “一点儿” or even ““. They mean the same and can be used as a generic way to soften the tone of a sentence. This can often make things sound more polite or modest. “喝点儿什么” is more polite than “喝什么“. “一点儿” are usually used right before nouns such as 一点儿咖啡,一点儿茶.
  2.   (hǎo) + verb: The character can be followed by many different verbs to form “ (hǎo) + verb” combinations, meaning “nice to verb”. For example, 好喝 means “nice to drink” or “delicious”, and 好吃 means “nice to eat” or “tasty”.
  3. The adverb(hái):This word is always used before a verb or an adjective, but it has several meanings. We have learned its meaning of “and also, in addition”. For example, 我喜欢唱歌,还喜欢跳舞。(I like singing; in addition, I like dancing.) In this sentence, comes before the verb 喜欢 to connect two clauses 我喜欢唱歌 and 喜欢跳舞. The two clauses connected by “” share the same subject .In this dialogue, in the sentence 你还很小 means “still,” indicating that the state continues to exist. Another example: 好久不见,你还是这么漂亮。(Long time, no see. You are still so pretty.)
  4. The verb  (xiǎng)It has multiple meanings. In the sentence 我想一下 (Let me think for a moment), indicates “to think”. In the sentence 今晚我想十点半睡觉, the word is used to express the speaker’s wish or hope for something to occur. In the sentence 现在我不想喝咖啡, the word indicates “want/would like”.
  5. Measure words an (píng) and (bēi):The new measure words: and are used between numbers and nouns. can be used for water, wine, liquid, etc., meaning “bottle”. For example, 两瓶啤酒 (two bottles of beer). is used for beverage, including water, tea, coffee, wine, etc., meaning “cup; glass; mug”. For example, 三杯啤酒  means “three glasses of beer”.
  6. The modal verb (néng): is often used before verbs to indicate possibility of something happening, It is used in the following two ways:(1) It is used in negative sentences, indicating “not allow” or “forbid”. For example, 你不能喝酒 means “You are not allowed to drink alcohol.” 这儿不能游泳 means “You cannot swim here.”(2) It is used to form polite questions, meaning “would it be possible”. For example, 你能帮我一下吗 means “Would it be possible that you help me?” 老师,我能说英文吗 means “Teacher, may I speak English.”

Culture Notes:

  1. Chinese people drink hot water all year around, whether it is winter or summer, day or night. They do not drink cold water from the tap (the majority of tap water in China is not safe for drinking, so it is boiled and then stored in thermoses), and they seldom drink iced water because hot water is believed to have health benefits and helps ward off illnesses.Besides hot water, tea is also popular among the Chinese because it is an important part of Chinese tradition. Tea is valued not only for its good smell and taste, but also for its perceived health and digestive benefits. Offering the guests a cup of tea is a long-standing tradition, as well as drinking tea before or after a meal. There are many kinds of teas, including green tea, black tea, flower tea, herbal tea, Oolong tea, Jasmine tea, Chrysanthemum tea; the list goes on and on. To learn more about tea history in China, please watch this video.
  2. Under the Minors Protection Law of China, the sale of cigarettes or alcohol to minors (“minors” refers to citizens under the age of 18) is prohibited, and business operators shall put up a sign, saying they will not sell cigarettes or alcohol to minors, in a prominent place. If it is hard to tell whether the buyer is an adult or not, he/she shall be required to show his/her identity card.However, this law is NOT strictly enforced due to China’s traditional alcohol culture. China has 4,000 years’ worth of history about liquor drinking and it has become part of the daily life, whether it is when eating dinner at home, celebrating holidays, getting together with friends, spending nights out in cities, or conducting business meetings. Unlike the West’s freestyle way of drinking, the Chinese way is more controlled, ritualized and purposeful. Chinese business people prefer to make business deals with several cups of alcohol. Friends and family members also like to have several rounds of drinks at festivals or during regular social gatherings.


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Elementary Chinese I Copyright © 2022 by Wenying Zhou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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