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Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

Unit 2
Y b zhu, b chng q.
jade not carve, not become implement A saying, in classical style, conveying the importance of discipline and perseverance in achieving success. The root meaning of q () is a vessel, ie something that can be put to use. Its extended meanings include utensils, and talent.

Contents 2.1 Pronunciation 2.2 Adverbs 2.3 More SVs 2.4 Nouns and modification 2.5 Identity 2.6 Names and titles 2.7 Location and existence 2.8 Miscellany 2.9 Dialogue: at the airport 2.10 Reflections: What have you learned? 2.11 Pinyin notes and practice 2.12 Summary 2.13 Rhymes and rhythms

Exercise 1 Exercise 2 Exercise 3 Exercise 4 Exercise 5 Exercise 6 Exercise 7

2.1 Pronunciation
As before, to set the articulatory positions of your mouth and tongue for Chinese speech, contrast the following sets of Chinese and English words: a) li mi zhi bi pi fi lay May Jay bay pay Fay b) li shi mi pi bi lie shy my pie buy c) ch sh shn zhu zhu shu chew shoo shun jaw Joe show


dzi deeds tuzi toads luzi lords

xzi qc b c

seeds cheats beets (or beats)

2.2 Adverbs
In the first unit, you were introduced to a number of words that are classed adverbs: hn, b, y, hi or hishi and yjing. It is difficult to characterize the general function of adverbs beyond rather abstract notions like degree, amount, or manner; but they can be defined positionally as words that are placed before, and are semantically linked to, a following verb (or other adverb).

Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

2.2.1 Ti with le Ti, seen only in negative sentences in the first unit (b ti li), is also common in positive sentences, where it is frequently found with a final le: Ti ho le. Great!; Ti jnzhng le. [I]m real anxious!; Ti nn le. [It]s too difficult! Le in this context conveys a sense of excess (cf. English exceedingly), and as such, can be regarded as a special case of the notion of new situation. Notice that negative sentences with ti often suggest moderation rather than excess, so do not attract final le in the same way: b ti ho. 2.2.2 Other adverbs Below are examples of some additional common adverbs: du all, gng even more, bjio (pronounced bjio by some) rather; quite; fairly, and zngshi always. du all gng even more bjio quite zngshi always Tmen du hn . Du du. Du mi ch ne. Xinzi hn lng, kshi yqin gng lng. W jntin bjio mng. Zutin bjio r. Xushng zngshi hn mng hn li; dnshi losh gng mng gng li. [They]re all hungry. [They]re all right. None [of them] has eaten [yet]. [It]s cold now, but [it] was even colder before. Im fairly busy today. Yesterday was fairly warm. Students are always busy and tired, but teachers are even more so.

2.2.3 Intensifying or backing off a) Fichng very; especially; unusually Rather than answering a yes-no question about a state with a neutral positive response (N li ma? / Hn li.), you may want to intensify your answer. Fichng, an adverb whose literal meaning is not-often, is one of a number of options: Jntin fichng r! Fichng ho! [It]s really hot today. [It]s unusually good!

b) ADVs tng and mn ~ mn as intensifiers Some mention needs to be made here of two adverbs that are very common in certain phrases in colloquial speech. One is tng, whose core meaning is actually straight; erect, but which, as an ADV, carries the force of English very or really. The other is mn, which has a variant in low tone, mn. The variants may reflect confusion between two different roots, one, mn, with a core meaning of fierce and an adverbial meaning of entirely; utterly; and the other mn, with a core meaning of full, extended to very; full in the adverbial position. The distinction may have been obscured in part by the fact that the two merge to mn when the low-tone rule applies in common phrases such as

Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

mn ho. For whatever reason, they seem to be treated as synonymous in colloquial speech by many speakers. Exclamations with mn or tng often occur with a final de (written with the same character as possessive de, , and sometimes referred to as situational-de): Tng ho de. Mn ho de. Perfect; great! [That]s great!

Here are some common collocations, roughly glossed to convey the tone of the Chinese; mn is given in rising tone, but you may find that speakers from Taiwan and parts of southern China tend to say mn in contexts where the low tone is permitted. Tng b cu de. Tng shfu. Tng yu ysi de! Mn hoch de! Mn pioliang. Mn b cu de! Mn b zihu. Not bad! [It]s quite comfortable. How interesting! [It]sdelicious! [She]s real attractive. [That]s pretty darn good! [He] doesnt give a damn. (to care; be concerned)

c) -jle extremely Another option is the intensifying suffix -jle, which follows SVs directly (and is therefore not an adverb). Jle is a compound of j the extreme point or axis(cf. Bij North Pole), plus le. It is quite productive and can follow almost any SV to mean extremely SV. Ho jle! Tinq r jle! Excellent! The weathers extremely hot!

d) Yu <y>dinr kind of; a bit Rather than intensifying your answer, you may want to back off and answer kind of; rather; a bit. The construction is yu <y>dinr + SV (have a-bit SV), a phrase that appears in the adverbial slot and can be interpreted as a complex adverb. The yi of <y>dinr is often elided (hence the < >). Taiwan and other southern Mandarin regions, where the final r is not usual, say yu ydin SV. Like the English a bit, this construction conveys some sort of inadequacy. So t yu ydinr go hes a bit tall suggests that his height is problematical. [Note the presence of yu have in the Chinese, with no direct correspondence in the English equivalent!] W jntin yu (y)dinr mng. Jntin yu (y)dinr r. Wmen yu (y)dinr . Im kind of busy today. Its rather hot today. Were a bit hungry

Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

Summary of Adverbs (and other expressions of degree) ADV b y hi ~ hishi du yjing ti hn tng, mn ~ mn gng bjio ~ bjio zngshi fichng

~Eng equivalent not too; also still all already very; too very very; really even more rather; relatively always extremely; very ~Eng equivalent

with SVs b li y hn li hi ho hishi hn li du hn go ti mng le; b ti mng hn li mn b cu gng r bjio lng zngshi hn mng fichng lng with SVs

with Vact b shngbn y ch le hi mi zu ne du shujio le yjing zu le

with Vact

jle yu<y> din<r>

very; extremely ho jle kind of; rather; yu dinr gu a bit

2.2.4 Conjunctions Conjunctions are words that conjoin linguistic units, either as equal partners, as in the case of and or but (called coordinating conjunctions), or in a skewed partnership, as in the case of if and because (called subordinating conjunctions). In Chinese, there is no word quite comparable to English and that connects sentences; that function is often served by the adverb, y: Zutin w b shfu, jntin y b ti ho. I wasnt very well yesterday, and [I]m not too well today, either. It was hot yesterday, and its hot today, too.

Zutin hn r, jntin y hn r.

As noted in 1.7.5, conjunctions kshi and dnshi (the latter probably more common in non-northern regions) correspond to English but or however. A third word, bgu, can also be mentioned here; though its range of meaning is broader than that of the other two, it has considerable overlap with them and can also often be translated as but; however.

Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

Tmen hi mi chfn, ksh du b . W chfn le, dnshi hi mi xzo. T zu le, bgu jntin b shngbn. cf. T zu le, bgu jntin mi shngbn.

They havent eaten, but they arent hungry. Ive eaten, but I havent bathed yet. Shes left, but shes not going to work today. Shes gone, but she didnt go to work today.

2.3 More SVs

Here are some additional SVs that can be incorporated in the patterns introduced in the first two units. Of people yn strict Of tasks nn difficult Of things hoch nice [to eat] Of people or things qngchu clear Of situations xng be okay; be satisfactory; [itll] do Several of these SVs can be applied to people such as losh teachers and xusheng students; others, as noted, are more like to apply to things such as Zhngwn Chinese language or dngxi [physical] things. 2.3.1 Questions with znmeyng how [is it] The question word znmeyng (pronounced [zmeyng], without the first n) is used to ask questions corresponding to how is X. Znmeyng is also used as an informal greeting, rather like English hows it going. Jntin znmeyng? Hn r. Zhngwn znmeyng? Hn nn! Losh hn yn. 2.3.2 Examples Losh znmeyng? Hn lhi, t fichng yn. Hows the teacher? [She]s formidable; shes really strict. How is [it] today? [It]s hot. Hows Chinese [class]? [It]s difficult. The teachers strict. hotng nice [sounding] hokn nice [looking] gu expensive pioliang pretty rngy easy lhai formidable; tough

qgui strange; odd; surprising

Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

T znmeyng? Hn li, shujio le. Tmen znmeyng? B shfu, mi shngk. Zhngwn znmeyng? B nn y b rngy. Znmeyng? Hoch ma? Hi ky. Gu bu gu? B ti gu, hi xng. Tinq znmeyng? Zutin fichng lng, kshi jntin ho le.

How is he? [He]s tired, [he]s gone to bed. How are they doing? [They]re not well, [they] werent in class. Whats Chinese like? [It]s not difficult, nor is [it] easy. How is [it]? Good? [It]s okay. Is [it] expensive? Not too [it]s reasonable. Hows the weather? Yesterday was very cold, but todays okay.

2.3.3 Jude feel; think Znmeyng may be combined with, or may elicit the verb jude feel; think to form a more specific question about internal states: Xinzi n jude znmeyng? W jude b shfu. W hn jnzhng. W jude hn li. Hi xng. How do you feel now? Im not feeling well. Im nervous. I feel quite tired. Okay.

2.3.4 Znmeyng as a greeting Responses to znmeyng as an informal greeting include the following: Znmeyng? Hi ho. Hi xng. Hi ky. B cu. Mma-hh. Lo yngzi. [I]m fine. [I]m okay. (still alright) Passable. (still be+possible) Not bad. (not be+erroneous) So-so. The usual. (old way)

Notes a) Ky is a verb meaning may; be acceptable. b) Cu is a SV meaning be wrong; be mistaken. c) Mma-hh is a complex SV that is formed by repetition of the parts of the SV mhu be casual; careless.

Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

Exercise 1. Perform a dialogue between the two students, Mo Dwi and L Lsn, along the following lines: Mo Dwi Hi, Lsn! Tired. How about you? No, I already ate. It was okay. Howre your teachers? Strict? L Lsn Hello, Dwi. Howre you feeling today? Im a bit tired too I still havent eaten. How about you hungry? Was it good? Very, theyre formidable! Chinese is tough!

But Japanese is even harder. Theyre both hard! Well, I must be off. Okay, see you later. Okay, bye, take it easy. ___________________________________________________________________

2.4 Nouns and modification

This section begins with some additions to your repertoire of inanimate nouns. You will have a chance to practice these in context later in this unit as well as subsequently. yoshi sh hzho xngli b qinb mozi pbo tinq bo<zhi> zxngch dnch keys books passport luggage pen pencil (lead-pen) cap; hat ynjng shbo xi <y>sn bjbn shuj xnyngk glasses (eye-mirror) backpack (book-bundle) shoes [xizi in the South] [rain]umbrella notebook (pen-note-book) cell-phone (hand-machine) credit card (credit-card) [physical] things clothes dictionary (character-records) small vehicle; car car; automobile

wallet (leather-pack) dngxi weather (sky-air) yfu newspaper (report-paper) zdin

bike (self-go-vehicle) chzi bike (unit-vehicle) qch

2.4.1 Measure-words Nouns lead to the subject of measure-words. In English, one can distinguish two kinds of nouns: those that can be counted directly, and those that can only be counted in terms of a container or amount.

Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

countable [can be counted directly] book fish pen 2 books 1 fish 3 pens

non-countable: [counted by way of a container, amount, etc.] wine soup tea 10 bottles of wine 4 bowls of soup 5 cups of tea

It is true that wine, soup and tea can also be counted directly if the meaning is varieties of: 10 wines; 4 soups; 5 teas. But otherwise, such nouns need to be measured out. In Chinese (as well as in many other languages in the region, including Thai, Vietnamese and Burmese), all nouns can be considered non-countable, and are counted through the mediation of another noun-like word. [The vocabulary in these examples is only for illustration it need not be internalized yet.] sh s bn sh book 2 spine book 2 books y y tio y fish 1 length fish a fish b sn zh b pens 3 stub pen 3 pens ji sh png ji wine 10 bottles wine 10 bottles of wine tng s wn tng soup 4 bowls soup 4 bowls of soup ch sn bi ch tea 3 cup tea 3 cups of tea

Often a distinction is made between measures and classifiers. The phrases on the right all involve measures, which serve to portion out a substance that is otherwise not naturally bound; all the examples are, in fact, liquids. Chinese often uses Measures where English would use them, as the examples show. Classifiers, on the other hand, are rare in English; perhaps block is an example, as in block of apartments. Classifiers serve to classify nouns along various physical dimensions. Tio for example is a classifier used typically for sinuous things, such as roads, rivers, and fish: y tio l sn tio h a road 3 rivers ling tio y 2 fish s tio tu 4 legs

Interestingly, in many cases, the original impetus for a particular classifier has been obscured by cultural change. Items of news, for example, are still classified with tio (y tio xnwn an item of news) even though news is no longer delivered by way of a sinuous tickertape. The use of tio for watches may also be a relic of those days when people carried a fob watch on long, sinuous chains. Rather than keep the notional distinction between classifiers and measures, both will be referred to as Measure-words, abbreviated as Ms. Before you encounter Ms in sentences, it will be useful to practice them in phrases. We begin with the default M, g

Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

(usually untoned). It appears with many personal nouns, including rn person and xusheng student. Note that when combined with an M, the number two (but not a number ending in two, such as 12 or 22) is expressed as ling (pair) rather than r: ling ge two [of them]. And as that example shows, in context, the noun itself may be omitted. Recall that the tone of y one, level when counting or when clearly designating the number 1, shifts to either falling or rising when yi is in conjunction with a following M. The basic tone of g is falling (hence y g) and even though, as noted, g is often toneless, it still elicits the shift before losing its tone: y ge. The following sets can be recited regularly until familiar: y ge rn 1 person ling ge rn 2 people sn ge rn 3 people w ge rn 5 people sh ge rn. 10 people sn ge xusheng 3 students

y ge xusheng 1 student y ge 1 of them ling ge 2 of them

ling ge xusheng 2 students d-y ge the 1st [one]

d-r ge d-sn ge the 2nd [one] the 3rd [one]

The particle le following phrases like these (as in the main dialogue below) underscores the relevance of the new situation: S ge rn le. So thats 4 [people]. Another particularly useful M is kui lump; chunk; piece, which in the context of money (qin), means yuan, generally translated as dollar. The yun is a unit of the currency known as rnmnb [MB] peoples currency. y kui qin y kui ling kui qin ling kui sn kui qin w kui qin sn kui w kui sh kui qin sh kui

2.4.2 Possessive pronouns In English, possessive pronouns have quite a complicated relationship to ordinary pronouns (eg I > my >mine; she > her >hers), but in Chinese, they are formed in a perfectly regular fashion by the addition of the possessive marker, de: w I > w de my; mine. The full system is shown below: w de n de t de wmen de nmen de tmen de my; mine our; ours your; yours your; yours [plural] his; her; hers their; theirs

These may combine with nouns, as follows: w de zdin t de hzho my dictionary her passport

Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

wmen de xngli w de xi<zi> n de dngxi

our luggage my shoes your things

The possessive marker de may also link noun modifiers to other nouns: xusheng de shbo losh de sh Zhng losh de ynjng zutin de tinq jntin de bo<zhi> students bags teachers books Professor Zhangs glasses yesterdays weather todays newspaper

2.4.3 Demonstrative pronouns Demonstrative pronouns (this and that) and locational pronouns (here and there) are shown in the chart below. Examples in context will follow later in the unit. proximate zh ~ zhi this zhr ~ zhl here Notes a) The forms, zhi, ni and ni, are generally found only in combination with a following M: zh but zhi ge this one; n but ni ge that [one]. b) On the Mainland, where both forms of the locational pronouns occur, the rforms are more colloquial, the l-forms, more formal. Non-northern speakers of Mandarin, who tend to eschew forms with the r-suffix, either merge the locational pronouns with the demonstratives, pronouncing zhr as zh, nr as n, and nr as n, or [particularly in Taiwan] use zhl, nl and nl (> nl). Notice that in all cases, the distal forms differ from the question forms only in tone: n / n; ni / ni, etc. c) Before a pause, n is often used in an extended sense, translated in English as well; so; then; in that case: N, wmen zu ba. N, n de xngli ne? Well, lets go then. (so we leave BA) So how about your luggage then? distal n ~ ni that nr ~ nl there question n ~ ni which nr ~ nl where

Exercise 2. Provide Chinese equivalents for the following phrases and sentences: my wallet her glasses his things yesterdays paper 3 teachers 2 people 4 students 2 dollars their clothes the newspaper on July 4th Prof. Zhangs passport her bike


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

Hows Ling Zhf doing today? How was the weather yesterday?

/ Shes better. / It was freezing cold!

2.5 Identity
Statements such as Todays Monday or Im Oliver or Shes an engineer involve identity or category. In English, the primary verb that serves to identify or categorize is be (whose forms include is, are, was, etc.). In Chinese, the relationship is sometimes expressed by simple juxtaposition, with no explicit linking verb. Dates, for example, can be linked to days, as follows: Jntin jiyu b ho. Zutin q ho. Mngtin ji ho. Todays the 8th of September. Yesterday was the 7th. Tomorrows the 9th.

But the addition of an adverb, such bu, requires a verb, and in such cases, sh [usually untoned] must be expressed: Jntin b shi b ho, shi ji ho. Its not the 8th today, its the 9th.

And an untoned shi can also be present in the positive sentences: Jntin <shi> jiyu sh ho. Mngtin <shi> Zhngqi Ji. Todays September 10th. Tomorrows the Mid-Autumn Festival. [ie the Moon Festival]

Naming and other kinds of identification sometimes omit sh in fast speech, but more commonly it can be heard as a toneless whisper, sh. T shi Wng Shu, w de losh. Hes Wang Shuo, my teacher.

Wmen shi xusheng, t shi losh. Were students, hes a teacher. Zh shi jntin de bo. Shi n de yoshi ma? B shi w de sn, shi t de. Tmen du shi xusheng. This is todays paper. Are [these] your keys? [That]s not my umbrella, [it]s his. Theyre all students.

But dont forget, sh is not required with SVs: Xusheng zngshi hn li, du bu du? The students are always tired, right?


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

2.5.1 Questions Now we can introduce the question words shi (or shu) who, whom and shnme what (which, like znme, is pronounced [shme], without the n). Unlike English, where question words generally appear at the head of the sentence, in Chinese, they remain in the position of the information supplied in the answer. Note the differences in word order between the English sentences and the Chinese: T shi shi? T shi w de losh. N shi shnme? N shi w de hzho. <Shi> shi de yoshi? <Shi> w de xixie. <Shi> shu de xngli? <Shi> wmen de. Zh shi shi de? Shi w de. Shi shi d-y ge? T shi d-y ge. D-r ge ne? T shi d-r ge. Whos that? Thats my teacher. Whats that? Thats my passport. Whose keys are [these]? [They]re mine thanks. Whose luggage? Its ours. Whose is this? Its mine. Who is the first [one]? Hes the first. And the second? Shes the second.

2.5.2 Hedging your answer Frequently, when asked about identity, the answer is less than certain, so you may want to hedge your reply with a word like hoxing seems like (good-resemble). The following short interchanges involve trying to guess the contents of a series of wrapped packages by feeling them: D-y shi shnme? D-y hoxing shi yoshi. Zh shi shnme? Hoxing shi sh. N, zh shi shnme? Hoxing shi xizi. Whats the first? The first seems like keys. Whats this? Seems like a book. Well, whats this? Seems like shoes.

2.5.3 Naming Naming is also a form of identification. And in fact, if you were to go round the classroom naming all your tngxu classmates, you could do so with the verb sh as follows:


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

N shi Mo Xinn. N shi Li Hnb. N shi L Dn. N hoxing shi Lu Zhchng. N sh bu shi Lu Zhchng? T shi Li Fng!

Thats Mao Xianan. Thats Lei Hanbo. Thats Li Dan. Looks like thats Luo Zhicheng. Are you Luo Zhicheng? Hes Lei Feng.

Exercise 3. Provide Chinese for the interchanges: Q A th Is it the 29 today? No, its the 30th. Is this your umbrella? No, thats Prof. Zhangs. Whos first? Seems like Wng Ji is 1st and Li Guzhng is 2nd. Are you all students? Yes, were all Prof. Wis students. Is that your bike? No, its Li Fngs.

2.6 Names and titles

Names need not be introduced by sh. In some contexts more specialized verbs must be used. One you encountered in Unit 1: xng be surnamed (which also functions as a noun meaning surname). Another is jio to be named; to call. But before we illustrate their use, we should add to the brief remarks about names and titles made in 1.6.1 and 1.9.1. 2.6.1 Names Some common English names are directly transliterated into Chinese: Yuhn Shms John Smith, keeping the English word order of given name before surname. Students of Chinese are usually given Chinese names, based on their own (either their surnames if they have enough syllables, or their full names), and these conform to Chinese types of two or three syllables. In such cases, Chinese word order, with surname before given, is followed. (In all but the first example below, English surnames are reduced to single syllables in the Chinese, as shown by the highlighting.) Wi Dl Tng Ll Mo Xinn Li Hnb L Dn Paul Wheatley Lily Tomlin Anne Mauboussin Robert Leonhardt David Lippmann

Such names are indistinguishable from names of actual Chinese, such as these: Cu Ln Zhng H Kng Yuwi Mo Qlng Yun Sho Wng L Zhng Chnggng Bi Szhn


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

2.6.2 Xng Chinese names consist of a surname, or xng, in initial position, followed by a given name or mngzi, literally name-characters. Xng are usually but not always single syllables. As a verb, xng is almost always used when asking for, or responding with, someones surname: T xng shnme? T xng Hung. Xng Wng? B shi xng Wng, t xng Hung. Whats her surname? Shes surnamed Huang. Wang? No, not Wang, shes named Huang.

When addressing someone directly, the honorific expression guxng worthysurname (cf. gu expensive), with or without a pronoun, is the usual question: <Nn> guxng? W xng Wi. May [I] ask your surname [please]? Im surnamed Wei.

2.6.3 Jio In much of the English speaking world, where informality tends to be considered a virtue, the shift from surname to given name can proceed very quickly. However, in Chinese, address in a professional setting is likely to persist longer as xng plus title. So under normal levels of politeness, you would question someone about their xng, not about their mngzi. However, in the appropriate context, it is possible to seek someones full name (regardless of the number of syllables). In such cases, the verb jio be called is used. Jio can take either the person or the word mngzi as its subject; and it takes as its object at least two syllables of a name, never a single syllable. Below are some options, first for L Xingjn, a three-syllable name, then for Zhng H, with only two. Q T jio shnme mngzi? T de mngzi jio shnme? T jio shnme mngzi? T de mngzi jio shnme? A T jio L Xingjn. T <de mngzi> jio <L> Xingjn. T jio Zhng H. T <de mngzi> jio Zhng H.

2.6.4 Asking and giving a name Typically, in face-to-face interaction, one asks politely for a surname, and in many cases, the response will be just a surname. However, where statuses are more or less matched, once the surname is provided, it is often followed by the full name, and this is a good model for the foreign student to copy: <Nn> guxng? [Bi Szhn] Wo xng Bi, jio Bi Szhn. [X Xin] W xng X, jio X Xin.


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

2.6.5 Titles Here is a short selection of titles to add to losh. All of them follow a xng, though some may be used alone under certain conditions. Xinshng mister (first-born) is the generic title for adult males. In Taiwan, or overseas communities, xiojie Miss; Ms (small older-sister) is quite a common title for unmarried women up to a certain age or, still with the womans xng, even for young married women. In the same communities, married women can be addressed, with the husbands xng, as titai (etymologically related to ti, the adverb). The latter term is hardly ever used on the Mainland, and even xiojie is used much less there. On the Mainland, if no professional title (such as losh) is available, the options are to use full name or mingzi, or simply to avoid direct address completely. Shfu, literally craftsman, but often translated as master, has shifted in its usage in the last few decades, but traditionally, it has been used to address blue-collar workers (male or female). Finally, jngl manager, is a professional title for males or females, of the sort that might appear on a business card. Note the order surname before title: surname (given name) title Wi <Byng> losh Professor Sh <Jlng> xinsheng Mr. Chn <Yu> xiojie Miss; Ms Wng <Gubo> shfu master Zhu <L> jngl manager 2.6.6 Sh with names As noted above, while surnames [alone] can only be introduced with the verb xng, full names can be introduced by sh as well as jio. In fact, unlike the other two verbs, sh can also introduce name and title. The sh option identifies one of a known group, and as such, is often appropriate to a classroom setting: T shi L Gunghu; t shi Wng Shu; t shi Tng Bn; w shi Wi losh. D-y ge shi Xio Mngzu, d-r ge shi L Mng, d-sn ge shi Xi Jng. N sh bu shi Zhng xinsheng? Zhng jngl, ho. Zh shi D shfu. W shi Wng losh; tmen du shi w de xushng. Chn xiojie shi Bijng rn. Are you Mr. Zhang? How are you, Manager Zhang? This is Master Du. Im Prof. Wang and these are my students. Miss Chen is from Beijing.

Exercise 4. a) Assuming you were an official of appropriate rank and eminence to address the question, write out how the following people might respond (in the modern world) to <Nn> guxng?


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

H Sh, (20th C. philosopher and reformer, graduate of Cornell University): Sm Qin (the Han dynasty historian): Zhng Xuling (Manchurian warlord): Hn Y (Tang dynasty scholar): Yng Gufi (courtesan, from the late Tang dynasty): Cu Jin (rock musician):

W xng H, jio H Sh.

b) Translate the following, being careful to follow Chinese word order: 1. Im a teacher. 2. Whos she? 3. Her surnames Sng, her 4. Hi, my names L Dn. full names Sng Milng. 5. Whos he? / Hes my teacher. 6. Thats Zhu L. 7. His surnames Chn, full 8. And him? / His surnames X, full name, Chn B. name, X Xin. 11. This is master Wi. 12. Her names Smith [Shms]. _______________________________________________________________________

2.7 Location and existence

In English, location is expressed with the same verb as identity (or category): the verb to be (is, am, are, etc.). Chinese, however, uses entirely different verbs. Identity is signaled by sh; location, by zi be at: I D T shi xusheng. LOC T zi Bijng. Shes a student. Shes in Beijing.

2.7.1 Some Chinese place names China is called Zhnggu, often given the literal gloss of middle kingdom, a name which goes back to the time when it designated the ruling principality among the many that owed it fealty. The Chinese are then Zhnggu rn Chinese-people. Administrative units of the Peoples Republic include provinces ( shng), prefectures ( d), counties ( xin), townships ( xing) and villages ( cn). Of these, the county (xin) is the unit with the longest historical continuity, dating back some 2500 years. In modern mainland China the highest, or provincial level contains 33 divisions: 22 provinces (with Taiwan considered a 23rd), 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities, which are cities ruled by the central government (Bijng, Shnghi, Tinjn and Chngqng), and 2 special autonomous districts (Hong Kong [Xing Gng] and Macau [omn]).


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

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Taiwan, which administers the island of Tiwn, the Pescadores Islands (Pngh), as well as 13 small, scattered offshore islands, has a slightly different administrative structure. It has two centrally administered cities, Taipei (Tibi) and the south-western city of Kaohsiung (Goxing). The chart below lists important cities. They can be located in terms of their province (using the verb zi), or in terms of their proximity to another place (using the l pattern that follows in 2.7.2). Quadrant NW NW N NE NE NE W C E E SW SW SW Notes a) Nimngg Inner Mongolia, Xzng Tibet and Gungx are autonomous regions, zzhq. b) Shnyng was formerly called by its Manchu name, Mukden. c) The names of two provinces are distinguished only by tone: Shnx mountains-west (which is west of the province of Shndng mountains-east), and Shnx (pass-west), sometimes romanized as Shaanxi or Shenhsi to distinguish it, which is west again of Shnx. 2.7.2 Proximity Relative proximity of one place to another can be expressed by a construction that involves the word l [away] from, and the SVs jn be close and yun be far. Notice the difference in word order from English. Place-1 Bijng Beijing l place-2 l Gungzhu from Canton proximity hn yun / hn jn. very far / close. The city of: Xnng Wlmq Hhhot Shnyng Chngchn Hrbn Ls Xn Nnjng Gungzhu Guln Chngd Knmng is in zi the province (shng) of: Qnghi <shng>. Xnjing. *Nimngg. Lionng. Jln. Hilngjing. *Xzng. Shnx. Jings . Gungdng. *Gungx. Schun. Ynnn.


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin Julian K. Wheatley, MIT Usage Tinjn l Bijng bjio jn. Tinjns quite close to Beijng. Xn zi Shnx, l Bijng bjio yun. Xnng l Chngd hn jn ma? B jn; Xnng l Lnzhu hn jn. Xn l Bijng hn yun, dnsh Xnng gng yun. Xians in Shanxi, quite far from Beijing. Is Xining near Chengdu? No, its not; its close to Lanzhou. Xian is far from Bijng, but Xining is even farther.

People's Republic of China (PRC): Administrative Divisions & Territorial Disputes

Harbin Harbin

Urumqi Urumqi


HUIA.R. A.R. HUI YinYinchun chun


HEBEI Shijiazhuang Shijiazhuang Taiyuan Taiyuan



Xining QINGHAI Xining QINGHAI Lanzhou

Lanzhou Xi'an Xi'an

Jinan Jinan


Zhengzhou Zhengzhou

Lhasa Lhasa



Chengdu Chengdu

Wuhan Hangzhou Wuhan Hangzhou ZHEJNanchang ZHEJNanchang IANG Changsha IANG Changsha JIANGXI HUNAN JIANGXI HUNAN
Fuzhou Fuzhou


Hefei Nanjing Hefei Nanjing ANHUI ANHUI


Kunming Kunming Guiyang Guiyang


Guangzhou Guangzhou

Province Autonomous Region Municipality





Special Administrative Region


Figure by MIT OCW.

2.7.3 Zi be+at In certain contexts, zi may appear without a [following] object, typically when it means be at home, or as a euphemism for be alive: t b zi hes not at home or hes passed away (the latter meaning more often with le, b zi le, since that is likely to be news). Otherwise, zi is followed by words or phrases that are locations. But just what constitutes a location is not always obvious. Place names are locations as the examples in 2.7.1 show. So are the locational pronouns: 18

Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT


zhr ~ zhl nr ~ nl nr ~ nl

here there where

Otherwise, most nouns need to be followed by one of a number of position words, such as shng on or l in, before they can be locations and thereby act as objects to zi: zi zi fij shng shbo l on the plane in [my] bookbag

However, some common words for places do not always require following position words like shng or l. Sometimes additional position words are optional; sometimes they add a slight nuance of difference. zi ji <l> canting <l> jchng at home in the cafeteria at the airport

Before pronouns can act as objects of zi, they need support from one of the locational pronouns, such as zhr ~ zhl: zi w zhr, literally at me here; zi t nr at her there. English actually expresses the notion more naturally with the verb have: Qngwn, jntin de bo zi nr ~ nl? Zi w zhr ~ zhl. Xngli ne? Xngli zi t nr. Excuse me, wheres todays paper? I have it. And the luggage? He has the luggage.

2.7.4 Zi as a main verb; zi as a co-verb Zi may be used as a main verb (as in 2.7.1 and below), but it can also introduce a location and appear prior to another verb, in which case it is called a co-verb in Chinese grammatical tradition (CV). a) Examples of zi as a main verb Qngwn, M losh zi ma? M losh xinzi zi Ynnn. Yoshi zi nr? Zi nr. / Zi t nr. Nnjng l Hfi b ti yun, ksh Nnjng zi Jings, Hfi zi nhu. Excuse me, is Prof. Ma here? Prof. Ma is currently in Yunnan. Where are the keys? [They]re over there. / She has [them]. Nanjings not far from Hefei, but Nanjings in Jiangsu, [and] Hefeis in Anhui.


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

W de hzho zi n nr ma? B zi w zhr! N de xngli zi nr? Hi zi fij shng.

Do you have my passport? I dont have [it]. Where are your bags? [They]re still on the airplane.

b) Zi as a co-verb Co-verbs are like verbs in allowing direct modification by adverbs, but they frequently correspond to prepositions in English. Xusheng zhngshi zi cntng chfn. Wmen zi fij shng shujio le. Zi ji l chfn bjio ho. Students always eat in the cafeteria. We slept on the plane. Its better to eat at home.

In such cases, the zi-phrase expresses the location of an action. Later, you will see that zi-phrases also follow certain verbs (where zi is usually untoned): shng zai Bijng born in Beijing. 2.7.5 The verb yu have The verb yu, with an irregular negative miyou or simply mi, was encountered in the previous unit as the negative counterpart of le with action verbs: Chfn le miyou? Used alone, as a main verb, it conveys possession and existence: Possession W yu sn ge hzho. W miyou sn. Xushng du yu zdin. W miyou xngli. Nnjng miyou dti. Chzi l yu yfu, y yu shbo. I have 3 passports. I dont have an umbrella. The students all have dictionaries. I dont have any baggage. Theres no underground railway in Nanjing. There are clothes and bookbags in the car.



Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

Summary Identity; category Location Existence Possession Proximity (b) sh (b) zi (mi)you (mi)you l(b) jn / (b) yun N shi jntin de bo. T shi losh. Chngd zi Schun. Xn miyou jchng. W miyou hzho. is is (in etc.) [there] is /are have Thats todays paper. Shes a teacher. Chengdus in Sichuan. Theres no airport in Xian. I dont have a passport. Tianjins close to Beijing.

Tinjn l Bijng b yun. is close to / is far from

Exercise 5. Render the following short exchanges in idiomatic Chinese. [Hint: Chinese would probably not make use of the verb yu have in the A and C -dialogues.] A. Ji -Wheres the paper please? -No, todays. -You had it earlier. -Have you eaten yet? -Oh, youve already eaten! -Is your dorm far from here? -Whose bookbag? Y -Yesterdays? -Sorry, I dont have it. -But I dont have it now. -I have. -Yes, in the dorm. -Its kind of far.



-Not mine, I dont have a bookbag. -Is it L Dns? -No, I have Li Dans. -Is it young Lis? -No, hes not up yet. -Then its Sn Hos. -Is it? _______________________________________________________________________

2.8 Miscellany
2.8.1 Welcome The dialogue at the end of this unit contains an expression used for welcoming someone to a place. Explicit welcomes are probably more likely to be seen written on signs in shops than spoken, but they are not out of place with foreigners. The verbs are hunyng welcome and li come. With the verb li, destinations (rather than locations per se) can follow directly without any equivalent to the English preposition to: li Bijng, li Gungzhu. Notice that in English, the people being welcomed (you) are not mentioned, while in Chinese, they are (nmen):


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

Hunyng nmen li Chngd!

Welcome to Chengdu.

In Chinese settings, explicit thanks are usually reserved for favors that go beyond the expected. But given the airport context, an expression of gratitude as a response to the welcome is not inappropriate. This one involves the verbs xi to thank frequently repeated as xixie and the verb, ji to meet; join. The order is like that of English, but Chinese eschews connective words like to and for. (Thank you for coming to meet us appears in Chinese as simply thank you come meet us.) Xixie nmen li ji wmen. Thanks for coming to meet us.

In China, shops and other business establishments often have a formal expression of welcome written near the entrance. This expression is: hunyng gungln, or xixie gungln (both with the preferred four syllables). Gungln, literally illustrious presence, is a fancy word for guest or visitor. Sometimes, especially at openings or sales, welcome hostesses (hunyng xiojie), stationed at the shop entrance wearing red costumes, will welcome or thank you with the same phrases.

Hunyng nmen! [JKW 2003]

2.8.2 Particles In addition to ma and ne, there are two other common final particles which have been encountered in the first two units. One is the particle a, which among its diverse functions, gives a hearty tone to statements or exclamations, and which slightly softens the abruptness of questions: Lng a! Mng a! Shi a? [Wow, it]s cold! Busy, huh?! [Knock, knock.] Who [is it]?


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

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The other is ba, which is associated with suggestion or consensus: Zu ba. N ho ba. Shngch ba. Lets go. Thats fine then. Lets board the bus.

2.8.3 Praise Chinese will praise your efforts to speak their language (called Zhngwn or Hny), and will typically make use of an expression involving the verb shu speak (or, in southern Mandarin, jing) followed by the particle +de. If you wonder whether this +de is the same as the possessive de introduced earlier in this unit, the answer is that it is not. This +de is followed by SV expressions (eg an adverb plus a SV): shu+de hn ho. The other is either followed by a noun (w de shbo) or has the potential to be followed by a noun (w de [shbo]). Were meaning and distribution not sufficient evidence for positing two different des, we should cite the fact that they are also written with different characters, (w de ) and (shu+de), respectively. So in order to make the distinction clear (and prepare you for writing different characters), we write the former as de and the latter as +de. You should do the same. Zhngwn shu+de hn ho. ~ jing+de hn ho. [You] speak Chinese very well.

To which you respond, modestly, that in fact you dont speak at all well: Shu+de b ho ~ jing+de b ho. [I] speak very poorly.

The latter can be preceded by the expression nl (often repeated), which is the [more formal] word for where, but which is also used to deflect praise, as if questioning its basis: Nl, nl, shu+de b ho. ~ jing+de b ho. Nah, I speak rather badly.

When you see more examples, you will find that nothing can intervene in the combination shu+de. So if Zhngwn (or Hny) is mentioned, it cannot directly follow shu, but needs to be cited first, as shown in the examples above. Since Chinese are so gracious about praising ones feeble efforts to speak their language, it is good to get used to this interchange early. For now, though, practice it only as it appears, and only with the verb shu and its southern Mandarin counterpart, jing.


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

2.9 Dialogue: at the airport

Given the need to restrict vocabulary and structures, the following dialogue cannot be regarded as completely natural, but it serves as a good model for some of the material that has been introduced in the first two units. Situation: Professor Wng (W) has come to the airport with a university driver to meet half a dozen international students who are arriving in China to continue their study of Chinese. The students all have Chinese names as well as their regular ones. One of them (Dwi [Dw]) spots Wng losh holding a sign and walks over to introduce himself; some of the others follow and introduce themselves too. [X designates any one or a few.] Dw W. An W. Ym W. Ym W. Jf Nn ho, w sh Mo Dwi. How are you, Im Mao Dawei.

O, Mo Dwi, w sh Wng losh. Oh, Mao Dawei, Im Prof. Wang. Wng losh, nn ho! W sh L nn. L nn, n ho. Wng losh, w shi Xioln Yumi. Xioln Yumi, n ho. Ho, sn ge rn le. Hi yu t t xng Kng, jio Kng Mi. Ho, Kng Mi, n ho! S ge rn le. N ne? W sh Bi Jifi. Prof. Wang, how are you? Im Li Anna. Li Anna, how are you? Professor Wang, Im Xiaolin Youmei. Xiaolin Youmei, hi. Okay, [thats] 3. [pointing] And her too -- her name is Kong, shes called Kong Mei. Fine, how are you Kong Mei? [Thats] 4 then. And [ who are] you? Im Bai Jiefei.

W. All W. All

Bi Jifi, n ho. Bai Jiefei, hi. N ho, hunyng nmen li Bijng! Okay, then, welcome to Beijing! Xixie, xixie nmen li ji wmen. Thanks; thank you for coming to meet us. Zh sh Go shfu. Go shfu, nn ho. This is Mr. Gao. Mr. Gao, how are you?


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

Go All

i, nmen ho, nmen ho. Zhngwn shu+de hn ho! Nl, nl, shu+de b ho!

Ah, how are you, how are you? [You] speak Chinese very well! Nah, we dont speak very well.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------W. X. W. X.. W. X. Nmen hn li ba. B, b ti li, hi ho. ma? Chfn le ma? B , zi fij shng ch le. N, nmen de xngli ne? Zi zhr: y, r, sn, s, w, li. Du zi zhr. Youre probably tired. No, not too, [we]re okay. Are [you] hungry? Have [you] eaten? No, [we]re not, [we] ate on the airplane. And your bags? [They]re here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. [They]re all here.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------W. X. W. X. W. X. W. X. W. N ho, wmen zu ba. Shng ch ba. Ho, ho. Jntin yu dinr r, nmen r ma? Fine, lets go then. All aboard! Okay. [Aboard the minibus.] [It]s kind of hot today; are you hot?

B, b r, hi ho. Wmen du hn No, [we]re not, [we]re fine. Were shfu. all comfortable. Xngli, hzho, sn du yu ma? Du yu, du yu, xixie. Ho, n wmen zu ba. Bijng hn yun ma? B, l zhr b yun hn jn! [You] have [your] bags, [your] passports, umbrellas? [We] have them all, thanks. Fine, so lets go then! Is Beijing far? No, its not far from here quite close!


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

This model conversation is quite ambitious. All its vocabulary is fairly new, of course, and it also introduces quite a few grammatical patterns and features. But a bold beginning has the advantage of giving you interesting material to work with from the start. To make it more manageable, it is divided into four sections. The first involves collecting all the people; the second, with welcoming them; the third, with finding out how they are; and the fourth, with getting to the minibus to drive to Beijing. Get familiar with the scenario first, then visualize the conversation. You should be able to re-enact it more or less as presented before trying it out with partners. Exercise 6. a) Translate the following 1. Okay, thats three people. 2. Whos the first person? The second? 3. Thats it then, Im off. 4. Its late, I should be going. 5. Weve all eaten, we ate on the plane. 6. Were not hungry, were fine. 7. Welcome to [.]. 8. Thanks for coming to meet us. 9. Thats it then, see you tomorrow. 10. Okay, bye, take it easy. 11. How about you you thirsty? 12. That looks like my umbrella. b) Comment that 1. you havent eaten yet. 2. they havent left yet. 3. she hasnt had her shower yet. 4. he hasnt got out of class yet. 5. you havent read the days paper yet. 6. you were tired yesterday, but today youre fine. 7. youre not nervous anymore. 8. you were cold on the plane, but youre fine now. 9. theyve already gone to bed. 2.9.1 Airports and airlines China has invested heavily in infrastructure projects in the last few decades, including the construction of new airports (jchng) and the reconstruction of old ones. An airport said to be the worlds largest is due to be completed near Beijing in time for the 2008 Olympics. Some of the better known airports are Capital (Shud) in Beijing, Biyn (white clouds) in Canton, and Hngqio (the old airport) and Pdng (the new) in Shanghai the last two both named after districts. Pdng, which like so many of the new airports is far out of town, is served by a German-built mag-lev (magnetic levitation) train (officially called a cxun-fch magnet-suspend float-vehicle, but colloquially


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

referred to as a dincch electromagnetic-vehicle). It reaches a top speed of 430 kilometers an hour during its 7-8 minute run between the airport and an outlying subway station. Airlines are proliferating and consolidating in China. Airline is hngkng gngs, literally aviation company. Here is a list of some of the larger Chinese airlines for you to practice saying: Zhnggu Hngkng Gngs Zhnggu Dngfng Hngkng Gngs Zhnggu Bifng Hngkng Gngs Zhnggu Xbi Hngkng Gngs Zhnggu Nnfng Hngkng Gngs Zhnggu Xnn Hngkng Gngs Xnjing Hngkng Gngs Ynnn Hngkng Gngs Gnglng Hngkng Gngs Air China China Eastern Airlines China Northern Airlines China Northwest Airlines China Southern Airlines China Southwest Airlines Xinjiang Airlines Yunnan Airlines Dragonair [Hong Kong-dragon]

Arriving at Xnng. [JKW 2005]

2.10 Reflections: What have you learned?

2.10.1 Words Short words predominate. Most, but not all, Chinese words longer than a syllable are, historically at least, compounds: losh old-teacher (with old having the respectful connotations of venerable); xzo wash-bathe; hoxing good-likeness. 2.10.2 Meaning In learning a foreign language, particularly a language that is linguistically and culturally distant from ones native tongue, you quickly learn about the difficulties of translation. This is true for sentences as well as words. Hi ho, for example, as a response to Li bu


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

li? is composed of two words which, in other contexts, mean still and be+good. But still good does not make sense as a translation. Not too or no, Im fine are closer to the Chinese sense, a fact we can only know from understanding how the Chinese functions in its context, then seeking an English expression that serves the same function (or has the same meaning in the context). As translators will tell you, this can be difficult to do, and in some cases nearly impossible without extensive circumlocution. For learners, it is not enough to know the meaning of the sentence in context; learners want, and need to understand the role of sentence parts words in the formation of that meaning. One reason for this is that word meanings, or glosses, being more abstract, are more stable. Good (or be good) is abstracted from the meaning of the word in specific contexts (where it may be translated variously as be well, be okay, hello, nice). That is why, in addition to citing a meaning appropriate to the context, word meanings are also provided in parentheses: eg: Hi ho [I]m okay. (still be+good) Providing word-for-word glosses serves another purpose. It takes us into the world of the foreign language and reveals conceptual differences that help to define the other culture. The fact that chfn have a meal (and, by extension, in other contexts make a living) is composed of ch eat and fn cooked rice, reveals the role of that staple in the Chinese diet. It is a moot point whether translators should try to capture that fact by translating chfn as eat-rice rather than simply eat or have a meal. What do you think?

2.11 Pinyin notes and practice

2.11.1 Toneless syllables As you have observed, not all syllables in Mandarin have a tone, eg: the second syllables in xngli and mng ma. In this respect, Mandarin contrasts with some of the regional languages such as Cantonese, in which most syllables are toned. There are several types of toneless syllable (called qngshng light-tone) in standard Mandarin: (i) (ii) Particles such as ma, ne and ba never appear with a full tone, and so we can only write them with qngshng. Many words show qngshng in the final syllable: shfu comfortable, or wmen we; us. On the evidence of compounds and other relatable expressions, these toneless syllables often turn out to have fully toned versions: shfu has an adverbial form, shshuff in which final f appears with a rising tone. But dictionaries list words such as wmen and shfu without tone on the second syllable, and we will do the same. Certain words (syllables) are toned in some contexts, toneless in others: b li (with bu toned) but ho bu ho (with bu toneless). We will follow pronunciation in such cases, writing the tone in citation in contexts where it is pronounced, but omitting it in appropriate grammatical contexts.



Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

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Finally, the incidence of qngshng varies with the rate and formality of speech as well as the region (with the northeast being particularly susceptible to toneless syllables). Thus in fast speech, jntin today may be pronounced jntian, without tone on tian. In these cases, we will still write the full tone, using current dictionaries as our guide.

For students purposes, the general rule is: you are always safe in writing the word in its lexical, careful, slow speech form, e.g.: wmen, shfu, ho b ho, jntin. a) Writing changed tones In this text, we do not write the changed tone for combinations of low tones; we write hn ho, and apply the rule. This accords with the standard rules for writing pinyin entries in dictionaries or in continuous text. We do make an exception in writing the changed tones for bu and yi, however: b go but b li; y zhng but y ge. 2.11.2 A pinyin quirk Standard pinyin writes shnme, znme (how) and znmen (we [inclusive]), all with a medial n that is not reflected in the pronunciation. This compares to other systems of transcription, such as Yale which writes shme, National Romanization, which writes sherme (with the r representing the rising tone), and Zhuyin Fuhao which writes , ie she me none of them with an internal n. The reason pinyin writes a silent -n in these words has to do with the characters that represent them. The first syllable of shnme, znme and znmen are written with characters that are, in other contexts, pronounced shn (with falling tone), zn and zn respectively. While one is tempted to rectify the system and simply write shme, zme and zmen in conformity with actual pronunciations, pinyin is now regarded as a standard transliteration in the Chinese speaking world and we should accept it as it is, if for no other reason than the fact that reference materials as well as computer input systems are based on it. 2.11.3 Tone combos (the next 6) Recall the prototype examples of the six sets of tone combos presented in Unit 1: losh hi ho, zijin, b r, hn mng, b go. Now we add six more combos the first three all beginning with level-toned syllables for a total of 12 of the 15. 7 8 9

Knmng Zhngwn hunyng


jchng Qnghi

chfn tinq

Wirun (Microsoft) q ho

Hfi Ynnn tngxu (classmate)

qngwn hokn ynjng


zdin dti (underground train) Hny

Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

Exercise 7. a) Place the tone marks over the following words. (You may need to review the appropriate part of the lesson on sounds and symbols.) level tone low rising jie zei xue qiao pou bei nao shao tuo jiu xiao zhui cui bie liao

b) Now focus on the problematical initials those found on lines 3,4,5 of our initial chart. Assign a tone, and the practice reading down: ti ci ch!i qi ta ca ch!a qia dang zang zhang jiang si shi xi dou zou zhou jiu dao zao zhao jiao


2.12 Summary
tile Adverbs SVs Znmeyng Nouns M-words DE Demonstr. Identity QWs Naming Titles Location Locn with V Proximity Possession Existence Welcome PTs Praise Airports Qngshng Ti mng le. (B ti mng.) Zngshi hn mng hn li; gng mng; yu ydinr lng; etc. Hn nn; B hoch; Hn lhai. Jntin znmeyng? N jude znmeyng? yoshi, xngli, dngxi, zxngch, etc. rsh ge <xushng>; sn kui <qin> w de zdin; zutin de bo zh ~ zhi; zhr ~ zhl Jntin q ho; Du shi w de xusheng. shi, shnme, nr ~ nl, guxng, znmeyng T xng Zhng, jio Zhng Dmng; t shi Zhng Dmng. Wi losh; Go shfu; Zhu jngl Xngli du zi zhr; Du zi w zhr. Wmen zi fij shng ch le. Tinjn l Bijng hn jn. W miyou xngli. Nnjng miyou dti. Hunyng nmen li Bijng. / Xixie nmen li ji wmen. Shngch ba. Zhngwn shu+de hn ho! / Nl, nl, shu+de b ho. Zhnggu Hngkng Gngs; jchng; guni, guj xngli; zu ba


Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin

Julian K. Wheatley, MIT

2.13 Rhymes and rhythms

First a short rhyme that gives you practice with M-words: zh (written with a different character from the zh used with b pen) is the M for animals such as chickens (y zh j) and, as below, frogs; zhng is a M for flat things such as tickets, tables, maps, lawns, as well as mouths; tio is a M for sinuous objects. Ynjing eye is tonally distinct from ynjng glasses; eyes are counted by way of the default M, ge. Dshng, literally bigsound, is loud; xioshng is the opposite. Y zh qngw Y zh qngw, y zhng zu, ling ge ynjing, s tio tu. N shu: Shu dshng ydinr: Shu xioshng ydinr: D jio D jio d, d jio d, yntin xiy b hip; d jio ho, d jio ho, yntin xiy shuibdo. Nursery rhyme (colloquial) Big feet big, big feet big, cloudy fall+rain not fear; big feet good, big feet good, cloudy fall rain slip-not-fall. Big feet in contrast to bound feet, presumably. one frog, one mouth two eyes, four legs. You say it: Say it louder: Say it softer:

Rokulng tongue twisters [Traditional] characters are included to show how the phonetic components of Chinese characters provide visual support for these two tongue twisters.

Mma qm, m mn, mma m m.

Mum rides horse, horse slow, mum scolds horse.

Niniu qin ni, ni nng, niniu ni ni.

Little-girl leads ox, ox cunning, little-girl wrenches ox.