Learn Chinese for Free—Lesson 199
Today's Chinese characters:
This is step 4 of 5 of our review process. All characters are ordered according to their radicals. Below you find the interesting "The Meaning Of" and "How To" tables!
Description and Examples
The meaning of: 你好！(Ni hao!)
It means "Hi!", "How do you do?", "Hello!" It is an everyday greeting and is used at any time, on any occasion and by a person of any social status. The reply should also be "你
The meaning of: 你 and 您—Part 1
Anyway, the usage of 你
The meaning of: 请问⋯
It's a polite expression used to ask questions. It might correspond to "May I ask...", "Excuse me...", etc. followed by a question. For example:
The meaning of: 不—Part 1
Change of tone: 不
Attention: this rule about the change of the tone is limited to the character 不
The meaning of: 明早见！
The meaning of: 不太好 and 太不好
Note the different degree of goodness - or badness - that is expressed by the following phrases:
The meaning of: 他姓什么？
The meaning of: 你叫什么名字？
It is used by elders when they want to know the names of young people or between young people. One may also say "你
One shouldn't use it, therefore, when he wants to know an elder's name or when he needs to show respect and politeness to his hearer. Use "您
The meaning of: 张家和王家
The meaning of: “您是⋯⋯”
It means "Who are you?" (literally "You are...") The hearer should respond with her name or social status. Such a sentence is used only when a stranger has started to speak to you.
The meaning of: 请问，您哪位？
This is another polite way to ask about the identity of a stranger who has started to speak to us, or call us.
The meaning of: 几个人？
How to say: How are you?—Part 1
literally: You good吗
If you just want to greet a person, in this free Chinese course we will study how to do that the Chinese way. In the meantime, it's fine if you just say 你
A little preview: In Chinese, a very common expression used to greet someone is "Did you eat?" (你吃了吗？Nǐ chī le ma?) that, I know, would sound strange if asked in English. The answer, in the English speaking world, maybe would be a surprised "Why?"
Well, it's the same if we greet a Chinese person saying "你
Anyway, again, if we really want to ask a friend about her state of health or condition, "你
How to say: What's your name?—Part 1
This is probably the most polite way to ask someone's name. It shows respect, honour, esteem.
Please note that what is actually asked is only the surname. At this level of formality, there is no need to ask for the first name.
How to greet someone—Part 1
You already know the simplest way to greet someone:
And, with a simple variation, you can also say:
But there are a lot of different ways to greet people.
Today we can learn another one. We just need to replace the pronoun with the proper titles. For example, we could greet a woman the following way:
And if she is a teacher or a physician, we could say:
On the other hand, if we want to greet a man, we could say:
How to write and read years
Simply write the number followed by 年
All the following examples are correct:
The following example is wrong:
ATTENTION: Cannot read 二
How to write and read months
Simply write the corresponding number (from 1 to 12) followed by 月
How to write and read days
How to say: What's your name?—Part 2
In Part 1 we have seen that the polite way to ask someone's name is:
It shows respect, honour, esteem.
Well, to show the same respect and at the same time modesty, you should answer:
...followed by your surname. Your answer would mean that there is no need to define your surname as precious because it is not more precious than the others, showing that way respect and modesty.
How to ask questions—Part 1
As we have seen in the case of “你
This is the most frequently used way of asking a question.
How to ask questions—Part 2
The affirmative-negative question, or alternative question (often referred as A不
How to answer: Yes or No
The most common way of simply and politely answering yes in Chinese is by repeating the main element (verb or adjective) of the question's predicate, or its negative form if you want to answer no.
How to ask questions—Part 3
The pronoun 怎么
Examples of asking about a way or manner.
How to and when read 儿 as 'r'
This is a feature, called erhua or erization, of Standard Mandarin Chinese.
When an erization occurs, 儿
How do you know when 儿
Just for you to know, despite being a rule of Standard Mandarin, in the south of China (including Shanghai) it is definitely unknown or completely ignored. It seems that a lot of people really don't like it!
How to say: The two of you
How to say: How are you?—Part 2
How to greet someone—Part 2
It is an everyday greeting that is used when people meet each other in the early morning (until 8-9 a.m.). You can also only say "早
How to say: How do you spell it?
"Smith, ess em i tee aitch!" The surname Smith is made up of five letters. To clear up all doubt on how to write it, we just read it letter by letter. Chinese surnames (actually all Chinese characters) are not made up of letters, but of strokes, figures, parts. How can we ask to and actually "spell" a Chinese character? Chinese people "spell" a character in two ways:
That is: Out of those characters whose pronunciation is hu2, which one?
That is: Out of those characters whose pronunciation is míng, which one?
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