11 Lesson 13 Dialogue 1: 你家在哪儿?






中文 拼音 英文
中间 zhōng jiān n., middle
北大 běi dà n., a shorter way to say 北京大学
故宫 gù gōng n., Forbidden City
prep., away from
jìn adj., near, close
yuǎn adj., far
对面 duì miàn n., the opposite side
dōng n., east
书店 shū diàn n., bookstore
wǎng prep., towards
guǎi v., to turn
旁边 páng biān n., beside, aside, next to
guò particle, used after verbs to indicate a past experience
v., to pass
活动 huó dòng n./v., activity, event; to exercise
中心 zhōng xīn n., center
多远 duō yuǎn question word, how far
红绿灯 hóng lǜ dēng n., traffic light
yòu n., right
路口 lù kǒu n., intersection
餐馆 cān guǎn n., restaurant
zuǒ n., left
biān n., side
后面 hòu miàn n., back
ò interjection, indicating “I see”
回见 huí jiàn verb phrase, another way to say 再见

Grammar Notes:

  1. Direction and location words:
    on/above (shàng)
    under/below (xià)
    in front (qián)
    behind (hòu)
    right (yòu)
    left (zuǒ)
    in ()
    out (wài)
    east (dōng)
    west (西)
    north (běi)
    south (nán)
    The above location words can be used with either (face, surface) or (side) to form the location nouns such as 上面/上边,里面/里边, etc. There are two special location words: 中间 (middle) and 旁边 (beside).
    The above words are often used with the preposition (at, in, on) to indicate something is located somewhere. The structure is “Subject + + place + ( +) location word”. For example:
    我的书在哪里?你的书在桌子上。(Where is my book? It is on the table.)
    书店在商店和饭店的中间。(The bookstore is in the middle of the shop and the restaurant.)
  2. 离.
    This word means “away from”, and is often used to express distance. The structure is “place 1 + + place 2 + 远/近“. For example:
    中国离美国很远。(China is far away from the USA.)
    北京大学离故宫很近。(Beijing University is close to the Forbidden City.)
    When asking questions about the distance, we use 多远. The structure is “place 1 + + place 2 + () + 多远?” For example:
    图书馆离宿舍有多远?(How far is the library from the dorm?)
  3. Comparison with 没有
    When expressing something is “not as adjective as something else”, we use the word 没有. The structure is “Noun 1 + 没有 + Noun 2 + (那么) + Adj.”, in which the adverb 那么 (so) is optional, indicating a degree. For example:
    我的弟弟没有我高。(My little brother is not as tall as me.)
    这件衣服没有那件(那么)漂亮。(This coat is not as pretty as that one.)
    我没有你(那么)有钱。(I am not as rich as you.)
  4. The particlein the sentence “她以前没去过”
    This word is used right after verbs to talk about past experiences, equivalent as the English “have/has done something”. The structure is “Subject + Verb + 过 + Object“. For example:
    我去过中国。(I have been to China.)
    他们吃过中国菜。(They have tasted Chinese food.)
    As this structure talks about past experiences,is used to negate the sentences. For example:
    我没去过中国。(I haven’t been to China.)
    他们没吃过中国菜。(They haven’t tasted Chinese food.)
  5. The verb in the sentence “过两个红绿灯”
    can be used as a verb, meaning “to pass”. For example:
    他过了一个路口,又过了一个路口。(He passed one intersection and then another.)
  6. 多远
    This question word, meaning “how far”, is used to ask about “distance”. The structure is “Place 1 + + Place 2 + ( +)多远?“ For example:
    北京离上海(有)多远?(How far away is Beijing from Shanghai?)
    中国离美国多远?(How far away is China from the USA?)

Culture Notes:

Unlike English, where people say directions as “North, south, east, and west,” Chinese people always list directions in a clockwise manner: “(dōng, east), (nán, south), 西 (, west), (běi, north).”  There are several reasons why they say them this way: (1) the four direction words are associated with the four seasons, specifically, (east) is associated with (spring); south–summer; 西west–fall; north–winter. The direction words follow the sequence of the four seasons. (2) In the ancient times, people believed that the sun moved around the earth, therefore, the traditional Chinese order of the cardinal directions (东南西北) offers a still fuller sequence. The sun rises in the east, moves to the south, descends in the west and then returns to its point of origin.

Another interesting fact is that, in Chinese, “ East” and “西 West” always come first when describing intermediate directions, which is opposite to the English expressions. So the English direction word “southeast” is expressed in Chinese as “东南 (dōng nán)” or literally, “east-south.” The reason is mainly related to the geographic fact that almost all the rivers in China flow from east to west; therefore, the two words and 西 are used as the main direction words while and are used as attached to them.


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