17 Lesson 7 Dialogue 1: Learning Chinese is cool





Chinese Pinyin English
adj., cool
平常 píng cháng adv., usually
习惯 xí guàn n., habit
de particle, see grammar notes below
prefix for ordinal numbers, see grammar notes
天天 tiān tiān time word, every day
功课 gōng kè n., lesson, assignment
nán adj., difficult
容易 róng yì adj., easy
有点儿 yǒu diǎn ér adv., a little bit, somewhat, rather
复习 fù xí v., to review
预习 yù xí v., to preview
xiě v., to write
汉字 hàn zì n., Chinese characters
kuā v., praise, brag, boast
而且 ér qiě conj., moreover, in addition
听写 tīng xiě n., dictation; v., to dictate
生词 shēng cí n., new words
zhēn adv., really
màn adj., slow
怎么 zěn me question word, how

Grammar Notes:

  1. Descriptive complement:
    The particle is often used after a verb or an adjective to describe the verb before it, as in the structure: Verb / Adj. + + Descriptive complement. For example, 我写得慢。In this sentence, 得慢 is the descriptive complement, used to describe the verb . It is similar to the English word “slowly”. Here are more examples:
    我的中文老师说得很快。(My Chinese teacher speaks Chinese fast.)
    她唱得很好听。(She sings well.)
    你学得很好。(You learned well.)
  2. The adverb (zhēn):
    It is used only in exclamatory sentences and comes before an adjective. For example, 你真好! (“you are truly nice”). In this sentence, is used to modify . More examples:
  3. Ordinal numbers:
    Chinese ordinal numbers are formed by adding the prefix () before cardinal numbers, which you can see from 第一 (the first) and  第二 (the second). Note that when adding a noun after a Chinese ordinal numbers, we must add a measure word in between, as in the structure “ + Number + Measure Word + Noun“. For instance, 第一个学生 (the first student), 第三家饭馆 (the third restaurant).
  4. The phrase 有一点儿:
    This phrase can be shortened as 有点 or 有一点. In the north, Chinese people would prefer to add -er sound after the phrase, so they would say 有点儿 or 有一点儿. It is used before an adjective, used to express a tone of complaint by the speaker, or some other form of negative impression. It doesn’t just mean “a bit,” but rather “a bit too” from the speaker’s perspective. For example, 中文有点儿难。This sentence indicates that the speaker is complaining that Chinese is a bit too difficult. More examples:
    法国菜有点儿贵。(French food is a bit too expensive.)
    日语有点儿难学。(Japanese is a bit too difficult to learn.)
    老师说得有点儿快。(The teacher speaks a bit too fast.)

Culture Notes:

Chinese characters have two versions: traditional and simplified Chinese. Traditional Chinese was originally the standard written system in all Chinese-speaking regions. In the 1950s and 1960s, the simplified characters used today were developed and implemented by the government of the People’s Republic of China to help improve China’s literacy rates. As its name suggests, simplified characters contain fewer strokes and look much simpler than traditional characters, which makes writing Chinese much easier. For example, compare 說話 (traditional) with 说话 (simplified), as well as (traditional) and (simplified).

Note that not all Chinese characters have been simplified because some are already so simple that there is no need to change them. There are many such characters, including: 上、下、 我,好,人.

Today, simplified Chinese is officially used in mainland China, Singapore, and Malaysia. Traditional Chinese is still used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau regions.


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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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