大家好, welcome back to another episode of Growing up with Chinese 成长汉语.
We are all early up to our fifth episode of the show. Do you feel your Chinese vocabulary is growing? I hope so. Now before we get into our topic for today, I want to congratulate all of you on the wonderful job you are doing. I know learning any foreign language can be hard. But hopefully you are all having fun in the process of learning Chinese with us here on the show.
Now so far we managed to cover the basics greetings, thank yous, introductions, and asking someone’s age. That’s quite a lot. So keep up all good work everyone.
Today’s content should be fun. At least, I think it’s fun. We will be covering some basic questions and answer phrases in Chinese. Now as always we are joined by Mike and 小明, today Mike’s full of a lot of questions and 小明 has a lot of answers. Let’s go check out what the two of them are up to.
Ah, looking through photo albums is always fun isn’t it. Especially when you’ve never seen any of the pictures before. So how much of that were all of you able to follow? Quite a bit is my guess. The new territory here is the question and answer format of Chinese. Now it’s quite straightforward once you know how it works. So, let’s break down today’s dialogue.
她是你的同学吗? 同学 means classmate. 她是你的同学吗? Is she your classmate.
这是什么? What is this? 这 means this. 是 means is. 什么 remember this? It means what. 这是什么. You can remember the reply by remembering the question. 这是什么? 这是, whatever it is. 那是什么 what is that. 那 means that. 那是他的狗 that’s his dog. 他 means his, 狗 means dog. 他的狗 his dog. 那是什么? 那是他的狗.
All right, we have more to add to our family vocabulary. 叔叔 means uncle. Mike mistakes 小明’s uncle for his father 叔叔. 弟弟 refers specifically to someone’s younger brother. So we know that 小明’s uncle is his father’s younger brother. 弟弟, 叔叔.
你知道这是哪儿吗? 哪儿 means where. 知道 means to know. 你知道这是哪儿吗? So can you piece out*1 this phrase? That’s right, it’s “do you know where this is?” Now similarly, if you say 你知道那是哪儿吗, it’s “do you know where that is?”
OK everyone let’s check out what we have lined up for today’s vocabulary.
Let’s start out by taking a look at some specific vocabulary words.
- 是 is. shì
- 的 used after an attribute when the attribute modifies the noun. de
- 吗 used at the end of a question. ma
- 这 this. zhè
- 那 that. nà
- 哪（儿） where as a question. nǎ(er)
- 知道 to know. zhī dao
Well, let’s look at the character from today’s phrases. And it is 吗 which is the character used when you ask a question. Now this character can be broken up into left side first, top to bottom, left to right, top to bottom, left to right.
Stroke order is very important when writing Chinese characters. Usually it’s left to right, top to bottom. But sometimes there are variations on these rules. Don’t get overwhelmed though. It will be repeating stroke order every show so you’ll get a lot of good practice.
OK, so now this character is broken up on the left side, this side, we have the character for 口 or mouth and it is the character’s radical. Radicals are found in compound characters. And in this case, a radical is the word for mouth. Now, on the right, we have the character for horse or 马. So this character together is pronounced ma right?
Today we’re spotlighting colors. As in any culture, China has some specific colors that have specific meanings. Although nowadays people aren’t as strict with color meaning as they were in the past. But still these things can be good to know just in case. And we will begin with the color yellow 黄色. 黄 means yellow and 色 means color, so the color yellow 黄色.
Historically speaking, yellow was the imperial color of China. Emperors of China’s many dynasties all wore the color yellow in part because yellow symbolizes gold, and gold symbolizes wealth or general riches. Anyone not in the imperial linage was not allowed to it any form of the color yellow it was considered treason*2.
And nowadays of course you can see people wearing yellow wherever you go in China and it is not considered a crime. It’s considered quite a patriotic color actually because if you think of the Chinese flag it has five yellow stars in the upper left corner.
Red is one of my favorite colors and luckily red is all over China 红色. There are many meanings and functions of the color red in Chinese culture. First, and foremost it represents good luck and happiness. When stores or restaurants have an opening, red banners are hung. Birthday cakebox are red, and most writing on birthday cakes are red as well.
When holidays come around especially Chinese new year, cities around China become awash in*3 red. Red paper cuttings are hung, fireworks are wrapped in red paper and people wear red clothing. Red belts, red sock, even when underwear. Color red in China is considered to be a color that bad luck and evil sprits are afraid of. So that’s why red can be seen at so many celebrations and especially at the beginning of the new year. It’s happy and lucky and chases away bad luck.
It’s fun knowing that colors can have so many different meanings isn’t it. Well for now it’s the colors aside and get our minds back into today’s lesson content, and focus on some language points.
Now we have a word that we will be coming up a lot. And on its own in today’s context, it doesn’t really mean anything 的. 的 actually implies something. It implies belonging to. So 我 is I, 我的 is mine. 她 is her, 她的 is hers. 我的狗 my dog, 她的名字 her name. 我们的同学 our classmates. Can you see how it’s used? Now there are other uses for 的 that we will cover later. But for now, try practicing using 的 in today’s context. Let’s take a look at some more examples.
All right, let’s take a second to talk about 吗. Now remember how last class, we talked about 呢 and how it functions like a question mark. Well 吗 is the other spoken question mark in Chinese. Whenever you hear 吗 at the end of a sentence, you instantly know it’s a question. Now 吗 and 呢 aren’t interchangeable though, they do not mean the same thing. Remember 呢 is like saying what about. 你呢? What about you. 吗 is used simply in a question specifically when it could have a yes or no answer.
We’ve got a language pattern today. 这是 this is, 那是 that is. Now, to turn them into a question, a 吗 gets added to the end, yes or no question. “这是 something something 吗?” Is this …? “那是 something something 吗?” Is that …? “她是 something something 吗?” Is she …? Let’s look at some examples.
It’s nice to know some ways to ask questions isn’t it. There’s a famous saying that goes there are no stupid questions. It’s so important to be able to ask questions. It’s how we all learn. And so, it’s time for me to ask you all a question. Do you have any questions?
Please send them in to our feedback page or if you’re not in the mood to write, don’t forget you can always check out our website and see if the answers lie there. That’s all we have time for today everyone, but I shall see you next time. 加油, 再见.