Friday, September 30, 2016
In Mandarin 左is pronounced Zuǒ.
在左邊 Zài zuǒbiān means on the left.
Next time you're in a dark place and your Chinese friend can't see you but can hear you you can answer:
我在你的左邊 Wǒ zài nǐ de zuǒbiān - I'm on your left. Unless of course you aren't... in which case fix that then say it.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Today's Chinese word of the day is 看得懂嗎 which means Can you read this?
In Mandarin it is pronounced Kàn de dòng ma.
The first character is to see or read. The second character is a verbal compliment which changes the degree of the read character. The third character means understanding and the last character makes it a question.
Today I thought I'd share a new idea with you all. I came up with a T-Shirt design back in 2001 when I got home from Taiwan. I wrote it on a white t-shirt and used to wear it around campus while I was in college. I got a few chuckles from the chinese speakers I walked by.
If you would like to grab one of these to wear around, I put the design up on zazzle here. EDIT: Updated the de character since I had the wrong de there...
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Monday, September 26, 2016
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Saturday, September 24, 2016
In Mandarin 加油 is pronounced Jiāyóu.
This not being something commonly heard in english I thought I better explain. It literally means add oil, but by oil they mean gasoline. The phrase means keep going, keep up the good work, step on it, etc. It is commonly heard when friends part ways as an encouragement.
Friday, September 23, 2016
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
In Mandarin 女兒 is pronounced Nǚ'ér.
Yes, in pinyin there is an umlaut. It is pronounced the same way it is pronounced in German from what I understand.
The first character 女 Nǚ means female, while the second character 兒 ér means child or son. So daughter is a female child/son.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
In Mandarin 學校 is pronounced xuéxiào.
Note for those not familiar with pinyin pronunciation the letter x in pinyin sounds similar to the sh sound except with the teeth apart.
我在學校 Wǒ zài xuéxiào - I'm at school.
我的學校是大 Wǒ de xuéxiào shì dà - My school is big.
By the way feel free to leave me comments or e-mail me topics or words you would like me to cover in the future. Otherwise I'll just keep picking random topics at my own whim :)
Monday, September 19, 2016
In Mandarin 在家 is pronounced zàijiā.
I couldn't think of whether to have 在 or 家 come first today, so I decided to just put them together. It's hard to say at without saying a place and it's hard to say a place without saying at.
我在家 Wǒ zàijiā means I'm at home.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Friday, September 16, 2016
In Mandarin 了 is pronounced le.
This character is special in that it isn't a verb in itself but marks other verbs as being past tense.
Though Chinese doesn't have conjugation it is sometimes useful to say something happened rather than is happening. To do this you use the 了 character. Usually this is used at the end of a sentence such as 我吃了 wǒ chīle meaning I ate. Compare that to 我吃 wǒ chī which means I am eating.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
In Mandarin 吃飽 is pronounced chī bǎo.
It doesn't sound very useful in English but is a common question in Chinese.
吃饱了嗎 Chī bǎo le ma means Have you eaten yet.
我吃饱了 Wǒ chī bǎole means I'm full.
The first character means eat, the second means full.
Monday, September 12, 2016
In mandarin 美國 is pronounced měiguó. The first character means beautiful, while the second character means country.
As with 中国人 美國 means American (as in a person from America). Note the second character is slightly different. Those are actually the same character but yesterday I got lazy and put the simplified character instead of the traditional one. I'll try to remember to always use traditional characters from now on.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
In Mandarin 中国 is pronounced zhōngguó. Note for anyone not familiar with pinyin the zh is pronounced similarly to a J but with your tongue further back in your mouth.
The first character 中 zhōng means middle and the second character 国 guó means country. China's name for itself is middle country.
中国 can be used with 人 to make 中国人 zhōngguó rén meaning Chinese man or Chinese person.
我是中国人 Wǒ shì zhōngguó rén - I am a Chinese person.
我不是一個中國人 Wǒ bùshì yīgè zhōngguó rén - I am not a Chinese man.
Saturday, September 10, 2016
In mandarin 七八九十 are pronounced qī bā jiǔ shí.
To wrap up numbers I thought we should finish with the last four numbers. With these all numbers from 1 to 99 can be formed.
To say eleven you simply say 十一 shíyī "ten one". Twelve is 十二 shí'èr. And so on.
Fourty two is 四十二 sìshí'èr "four ten two".
With that you should be able to make all combinations to count from 1 to 99.
Thursday, September 8, 2016
In mandarin 兩 is pronounced liǎng.
Two is a bit different in chinese, there is 二 (Èr) which is used when counting as in 一二三 one, two three, yī èr sān and 兩 liǎng which is used when saying there are two of something.
兩個人 liǎng gè rén which means "two people".
兩個朋友 liǎng gè péngyǒu which means "two friends".
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Discontinuing the pattern started yesterday with one, two, three. The rest of the numbers are not simply horizontal strokes in the amount of the number.
In mandarin 四五六 are pronounced sì wǔ liù.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Monday, September 5, 2016
Saturday, September 3, 2016
Friday, September 2, 2016
In mandarin chinese 很多 is pronounced hěnduō.
我有很多東西 Wǒ yǒu hěnduō dōngxī - I have a lot of stuff.
The first character 很 hěn means very. The second character 多 duō means many.
很 hěn can be used with 好 hǎo to mean very good 很好 Hěn hǎo.
我很好 Wǒ hěn hǎo - I'm very good.