Hello everyone, 大家好, thanks for joining us for another episode of Growing up with Chinese 成长汉语.
Have you all been practicing how to say what nationality you are? 我是美国人, I’m American. 你是哪国人? Which country are you from? OK, that’s what we covered last time.
Today we’ve got a fabulous line up ready for all of you. we’re going to be covering time. It’s always a good thing to know how to ask someone for the time, or just to know how to talk about time in general. And because we’re going to be talking about time, we’re also recovering numbers again. And guess what. By the end of today’s show, you are all going to be able to count to ten thousand. I’m very serious.
But before we do that as always, we need to check in with Mike and 小明 first. And I hate to say to everyone, but I think the two of them are up to no good*1 today. But, I’ll let you be the judge of that. For now, let’s see what’s going on.
现在几点? What time is it? 现在 means now, and 几点 means what time. So put it together 现在几点 is asking “what time is it?”
都七点了? It’s already seven o’clock? The sentence pattern 都 something something 了 implies already. It’s seven o’clock already? 都七点了?
现在七点吧. I love 吧. It’s a way of verbalizing a suggestion. If you use 吧, it implies that you aren’t one hundred percent certain of the outcome. For example, 小明’s mom says 七点吧? and it’s like saying it’s seven right or it should be around seven. There are some degree of uncertainty when 吧 is used. 你十六岁了吧? You’re sixteen right? Now the use of 吧 will be coming up again and again. So you all are good to see more situations where it can be used. For now, the important thing to remember is that 吧 implies suggestion.
咱们什么时候吃饭呢? When are we going to eat? 咱们 is we. 什么时候 is what time, or when. 吃饭 is eat. So strung together, 咱们什么时候吃饭? is “when are we going to eat?”
你们再等一会儿. You just need to wait a little bit longer. Now we’ve already gone over the meaning of 再 before. But I wanna point it out again here. We all know that 再见 means good bye, right? But if you break them apart the characters on their own mean again 再, and to see 见. So 再 means again or another time. So if you 再等一会儿, it’s like saying wait just a little bit more. You’ve already been waiting and you have to wait some more. 等一会儿, wait a bit. 再等一会儿, wait just a bit more.
小明妈：啊？ 八点了？ 你们再等一会儿。
OK, let’s check out today’s vocabulary list.
- 现在 now. xiàn zài
- 几 how many, how much. jǐ
- 点 in this context, it means o’clock. diǎn
- 都 already. dōu
- 咱们 we, you and I. zán men
- 时候 time, moment. shí hou
- 吃 eat, to eat. chī
- 饭 food. fàn
- 妈妈 mother. mā ma
The radical we are going to be looking at today is the 王字旁 or the king radical. Now, let’s first, take a look at how you write 王 on its own king. 王 is written like that. That is the character for king or 王. Now we see it in its radical form in one of today’s characters, and that is 现 as in 现在 which means now. This is the character we see it in. And you can see it doesn’t really change from its actual form to its radical form. It’s just lying down on here goes up. This is the 王字旁 or king radical.
We’ve touched lightly on the concept to be addressing people with titles in China. But we’re going to go into a little more depth today.
In America, titles are used kind of radically. I might call my teacher by her first name but I might call my friend’s parents Mr. or Mrs. Smith. My grandmother’s name is Betty, but I call her Bunny. Not grandma Betty or grandma Bunny, just Bunny. Now of course, it depends on a person. But usually the idea in America is that the better you know someone, the more likely you are to call him by his first name.
In China it’s pretty different. In today’s clip, Mike called 小明’s mom 阿姨 aunty. Now if 小明 would’ve meet Mike’s mom, he would for sure call her 阿姨 as well. When it comes to younger people addressing older people in China, titles are a must. Calling someone 阿姨 or 叔叔 or any other title, is a form of respect. And the younger generation in China is expected to show respect to the older generation.
Now this tradition can be traced all the way back to the philosopher Confucius. He was born in five fifty-one BCE. So we’re talking over two thousand years ago. But his teachings to this day still remain integral part of Chinese culture. The legacy of respecting ones elders also called filial piety*2 is something Confucius believe to be a crucial part of a harmonious society. So in China often times children, parents and grandparents will all live together in the same house. The grandparents will look after the grandchildren and the parents will look after their parents. The notion of every generation of a family living on their own can be quite shocking to many Chinese people.
Well that cultural spotlight was a quite brain work out. And we’re not quite finished yet. Let’s look at the language points from today’s dialogue.
现在几点? There is no 呢 or 吗 at the end of this question. But it is indeed a question right? Now the clue here is 几. 你几岁了? Remember that question from before? How old are you? 几 is a measure word asking how many or how much and in this case we are talking about time. 几 how much, 点 o’clock. 现在几点? What time is it?
都七点了? OK it’s time to pull 了 back into our discussion. Actually, when you’re asking for the time, you can say 现在几点了 or you can simply say 几点了? When 了 is used in this way, it implies something that has already happened. Now if you think about time, or the question what time is it, the response it’s seven o’clock has happened, it’s seven already, right? So that is why 了 is used here. Now in 都七点了? It’s already seven o’clock? The same logic applies. It’s already seven o’clock. It’s happened. So a 了 must be used at the end of the sentence.
- 小明，你看看，都几点了？ 起床！／啊，都七点半啦。上学要迟到了。
什么时候. 什么 remember means what. And 时候 refers to time or a specific amount of time. And so you get when 什么时候. Now, 什么时候 can be used to ask for a specific time like 什么时候吃饭, what time are we going to eat. Or it can be used just ask for a general time like “when are you going to buy an apartment?” About a month from now, next year. The time isn’t specific.
All right everyone we are almost done for the day. Now I have a letter here from Josh in the United States that I want to share with all of you before we go.
“Could you talk some more about specific Chinese dishes?”
Well Josh actually if I were to talk about specific Chinese dishes, it would take me a year probably to go through all of them. The way food works in China is depending on the region there are different kinds of food, so for example you have 四川 cuisine that I think it is mostly predominately very spicy. Then take 广州 for example 广州 cuisine is more mild, tends to be a little sweeter and there’s lots of dim sum*3 and little delicacies*4 like that. Then you go to 上海 you have 上海 cuisine you have 北京 cuisine you have 湖南 cuisine, they’re all of kinds of cuisines and they are all different and very delicious. So if you do get the chance to come to China, you can travel around and eat your way*5 around China.
OK, that’s all we have time for for today, I hope all of you had fun. 我该走了. I should get going, and you all should too. Now don’t forget to go online to our website to review today’s materials if you’re confused by anything and keep your letters coming. 大家, 加油, 下次见, see you next time.