大家好, welcome back to another episode of Growing up with Chinese 成长汉语. Thanks for joining us today. 你们好吗? How are you all? I hope your answer to that question is 很好 very good. 我很好. I’m very good.
So last show we learn some basic question and answer formats with the help of Mike and 小明, and the photo album. Today’s clip has a good review of what we talked about last time so I won’t repeat anything right now. But I will give a slight introduction into today’s topic, nationality 国籍.
Now this is the topic that will surely come up wherever you might travel in the world. Especially in China. So today we have Mike, 小明 and 兰兰 to show us how it’s done in Chinese. Let’s take a look.
你好, 你好. 我叫麦克. 我是小明的新朋友. Hello hello my name is Mike. I’m 小明’s new friend. 新 means new, so when Mike says 我是小明的新朋友, he’s saying that he’s 小明’s new friend. Now new is an adjective right? So with Chinese for most of the time adjectives go before nouns just like in English. It’s not “friend new” but “new friend” 新朋友.
你是哪国人? Which country are you from? Now what is new in this sentence structure is 哪国人. 哪 we covered last lesson. Here, although it means which, 国 on its own means country, 人 means person. So, 你是哪国人 is a question asking which country are you from?
是英国人吗? Are you British? Here, 兰兰 didn’t say 你 which was implied. You could certainly say 你是英国人吗? But she didn’t need to because her previous sentence had you or 你 in it. 你是哪国人? 英国 is the word for Britain. So yes, 英国人 literally means person of Britain, or British. 是英国人吗? Are you British? And Mike’s reply was 我不是英国人, 我是美国人. I’m not British, I’m American.
So that’s not too hard to follow right? Let’s watch the action once more.
OK everyone, let’s look at today’s vocabulary.
First let’s take a look at our list of vocabulary words.
- 新 new. xīn
- 哪 which, what. nǎ
- 国 country. guó
- 人 person. rén
- 英国 England. yíng guó
- 美国 the United States of America. měi guó
- 书 book. shū
- 秘密 secret. mìmi
OK it’s time for a little character discussion. Last class we brought up the concept of radicals. Radicals kind of act like the first letter in a word in English. When you look Chinese characters up in a dictionary, you look them up by their radical. So, rather than overwhelm all of you with crazy amounts of characters and their meanings, we are going to be focusing on radicals for a while.
Today’s radical is the 单人旁 or single person radical. 偏旁 is the proper way to say radical. But when you are talking about a specific radical, like the single person radical for example, you don’t need to say 偏. So it’s just 单人旁 single person radical. OK, let’s look at the character 你 which means “you.”
This is a character 你 you. Now, the character for person 人 is written like this, 人. That’s the character for person. Now, when it’s used as a radical it changes to look like this. Sort of a shift in angles. OK, now we know that 你 the character over here means you, right? So the fact that the character for you 你 has a single person radical 单人旁 is very appropriate, is it not?
Seeing as we’re on the topic of nationality today. We thought it would be a good idea to go over some interesting facts about China the nation. Now I’m sure all of you know that China is a country in Asia, specifically the eastern part of Asia. When I was in an elementary school at 南京, I learned that the basic shape of China resembles a rooster. Can all of you see the resemblance? There is the head, the body, and the tail.
Currently, China shares a border with fourteen countries, can you imagine? They are Mongolia, Russia, North Korea, Viet Nam, Laos, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
In nineteen fourty-nine the People’s Republic of China was founded, and that was when China’s flag came into being. The Chinese flag is actually one of my most favorite flags. The base color is red, there are five yellow stars in the upper left corner.
Now I know last show we talked about the meaning of red in Chinese culture. But I purposefully left one out so that it could be mentioned today. In the Chinese flag red represents revolution. The stars represent the unity of the Chinese Communists Party and the people of China. The stars are yellow because yellow in this case represents brightness, pretty cool huh.
All right everyone time to move from cultural spotlight into today’s language points.
Now I know we’ve already covered 是. But I want to highlight it again. 是 in Chinese is used like be in English. 我是小明的同学. I am 小明’s classmate. Now, Mike says to 兰兰 “我不是英国人,” I am not British. 不是 I’m not. 不 can be used with 是, 不是 note this tone change to negate something. 我不是小明, I am not 小明. 我不是Mike, I am not Mike. 我是Charlotte, I am Charlotte.
哪. Just to clear up any confusion we covered 哪儿 last time. But what we covered was 哪儿 and not 哪. Their meanings are pretty much identical that you can be sure. So where does the 儿 come from? Well, any specific instances the 儿 functions as a suffix to indicate smallness, so think about this way. “Where” is limitless right? 你是哪国人? What country are you from? There are many countries in the world. So the question is quite large, no?
- 小明，你看，这是我最好的朋友。／他是哪国人？ 也是美国人吗？／对，他也是美国人。
英国人, 美国人. Have all of you caught the pattern that has arisen with speaking of a nationality in Chinese? Essentially, you say the name of the country and add a 人 or person to the end. 英国人 British, 美国人 American, 中国人 Chinese. Now this pattern works for every country I can think of in Chinese. And actually it applies to cities as well. If you from 北京 you say 北京人, it’s a whole lot easier than English isn’t it. We’ve got all kinds of endings for nationality. We have American, British, Chinese, Pakistani, Filipino, Canadian, Thai, French, Czech. The endings are all different. So, thankfully Chinese is much more straightforward: country + person. 英国人, 美国人.
- 麦克，他是美国人吗？／美国人？ 不，他是加拿大人。
OK that brings us to the end of today’s show. I hope you all had fun.
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