lesson1 Introduction

  • 我姓张,叫张武。
    wǒ xìng zhāng , jiào zhāng wǔ 。
    My family name is Zhang, and my given name is Wu.
  • 我叫刘杰。
    wǒ jiào liú jié 。
    My name is Liu Jie.
  • 我是美国人。
    wǒ shì měi guó rén 。
    I am American.
  • 我来自加拿大。
    wǒ lái zì jiā ná dà 。
    I come from Canada.
  • 我是一名教师。
    wǒ shì yī míng jiào shī 。
    I am a teacher.
  • 我在微软公司工作。
    wǒ zài wēi ruǎn gōng sī gōng zuò 。
    I work in Microsoft.
  • 我来给你介绍一下。 这位是大卫。
    wǒ lái gěi nǐ jiè shào yī xià 。 zhè wèi shì dà wèi 。
    Let me introduce David to you.
  • 这位是王伟。
    zhè wèi shì wáng wěi 。
    This is Wang Wei.
  • 她是李燕。
    tā shì lǐ yàn 。
    She is Li Yan.
  • 我来介绍一下自己。
    wǒ lái jiè shào yī xià zì jǐ 。
    Please allow me to introduce my self.

Chinese Pinyin

When learning Chinese Pinyin, you shall be aware of certain limitations:

    1. Pinyin does not represent English pronunciation and should not be pronounced according to English conventions. You are advised to learn Pinyin phonetic conventions, bearing in mind that many sounds have no equivalents in Englishss.
    2. Since Pinyin is based only on the sounds of Mandarin Chinese, Pinyin is unsuitable for use for speakers of some other Chinese spoken dialects, because the sounds do not correspond to their speech.
    3. The phonotactics of spoken Mandarin Chinese dictate a relatively small set of possible syllables and there is a potential for homonyms. Because of this, Pinyin can be ambiguous, especially when transcribing Standard Written Chinese, which uses formal constructions not often found in speech. However, this should not be an issue in the transcription of normal spoken Mandarin conversation since speakers would not use such ambiguous constructions in speech.

Chinese Language History

The earliest Chinese characters were found about 6,000 years ago.
Evolution method 1: Totally 7 periods
1, Oracle Bone Script; 2, Inscriptions on bronze; 3, Seal Script; 4, Clerical Script; 5, Regular Script; 6, Cursive Script; 7, Semi-Cursive Script
Evolution method 2: Totally 5 periods
声 Sound (from nature)
形 shape (such as some marks when people go out for hunting, some animal claw print …)
象 Components (To create language)
数 Numbers (counting)
理 Extending

san nian qian(3 years ago) and qian san nian(first 3 years)

sān nián qián (三年前), means three years agao
qián sān nián (前三年), mean the first three years.

If qián is after number/time, qian means ago, while if qián is before the number/time, it means first.

other examples:
shí fēn zhōng hòu
十分钟后,ten minutes later
hòu shí fēn zhōng
后十分钟,last ten minutes
xīng qián
一个星期前,a week ago
qián xīng
前一个星期, first one week

The meaning of yì sī

What is the meaning of “意思” in Chinese? While in Chinese, sī can mean serveral things.

1. sī means mearning: e.g. zhè shì shén me “这是什么意思“: what does it mean/what is the meaning of this.

2. Or it can mean interesting/not interesting, e.g. zhè diàn yǐng zhēn méi (这个电影真没意思): This movie is really boring/not interesting.

3. Or when you give people a present and thatt present is not something expensive or just a little thing, here means server as a token! example, wǒ mǎi le diǎn er shuǐ guǒ gěi tā ,jiù suàn (我买了点儿水果给他,就算意思意思): I bought some fruits for him, just serve as a token(Show my token).

4. Sometimes, sī shows a tendency or trend of something, for example, xiàn zài tiān qì tiān bǐ tiān liáng ,yǒu qiū tiān de le (现在天气一天比一天凉,有秋天的意思了。) : Now the weather is getting cooler and cooler, it seems autumn is coming. another example: kàn tā duì de yǒu yì (我看他对那个女的有意思): I think he fell in love with that girl.
Now you may try to translate these sentences into Chinese with sī (意思)
1. What is the meaning of
bù zài hu in Chinese?
2. Chinese is very interesting
3. This is to just show my token.
4. Do you really like that girl?

When do we use lè or guò?

When you learn Mandarin, you can find a lots of function words or we called them grammar words sometimes, “lè” and “guò” are two very important grammar words in Mandarin, they indicate action is the past/past tense. But what is the difference? and when do you use guò or lè?

For example, if you want to say, “I  had dinner last night”, you will say “wǒ zuó tiān wǎn shàng chī fàn le“(我昨天晚上吃饭), it’s a past tense sentence.

While, if you want to say “I have been to Beijing”, then you have to say “wǒ qù guò běi jīng” (我去北京), here is past perfect tense.


Now, try to translate these sentences into Chinese:
1. I learnt Mandarin yesterday.
2. I have eaten my breakfast.
3. I forgot my book at home.
4. I have said to him already.

xian sheng V.S lao shi

xiān shēng (先生)means Sir, Mister, or Husband.
1. tā shì wǒ xiān shēng (他是我先生): He is my husband.
2. wáng xiān shēng ,nǐ hǎo (王先生,你好!)Hello, Mr.Wang.

lǎo shī(老师)is teacher. xiān shēng (先生)meant teacher in ancient time, but now we are not using it that often to call a person xiān shēng (先生)as a teacher!

Learn Chinese Characters

Learn Chinese Characters is important! Since Chinese is a tonal language, when you learn it, you will find out there are many words that pronunce exactly the same! or sometimes same word can pronunce differenly?

Now we will need to learn how to recognize different characters, there are almost 30,000 to 40,000 characters in Chinese, but don’t be afraid, you only need to know 3,000 to 4,000!

With these characters, you can read a book, magazine or even newspaper withour any problems!

Cantonese Learning in Hong Kong

Cantonese is one of the most difficult languages in the world, maybe it is the hardest language! But don’t be afraid, like all languages, it has it’s own system, Cantonese is one of the thousands dialect in China, mainly spoken by people livingin Canton province.

If you are now in Hong Kong or planning to come to Hong Kong and want to speak to the lcoal people here, you need to learn this language, learn Cantonese.

To start learning Cantonese, you need to understand their and 6 tones with different pitches, someone says that Cantonese has 9 tones, yes, that’s true actually, however, there are not many words have the other 3 tones. The Cantonese people will only use 6 tones in their lifes. (sometimes they don’t even what the 6 tones are. :)!