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Introduction | Episodes |

9 Family 家庭

大家好, welcome back to 成长汉语 Growing up with Chinese. Our series go with to help all of you learn some very useful and basic Chinese.

Now today we’ll be going over the second part of the clip we saw last time. So it will be part of review, part of new phrases. Now do you all remember your dining vocabulary. Did you practice your chopsticks ability? 你们会用筷子吗? Can you all use chopsticks now? I certainly hope so. Anyway, chopsticks ability isn’t that necessary for speaking Chinese. So don’t worry about it. Let’s check out today’s clip.

小明妈:小明、麦克吃饭!

小明爸:麦克,你会用筷子吗?
麦克:我不太会用。
小明妈:没关系,麦克。这是刀叉。

小明爸:哎,麦克,你们家有几口人?
麦克:我们家有五口人,奶奶、爸爸、妈妈、姐姐和我。
小明爸:噢。
麦克:小明,你有姐姐吗?
小明:我没有姐姐。
麦克:那你有妹妹吗?
小明:也没有,我家只有一个孩子。

小明、麦克:妈妈、阿姨,我们洗碗吧。
小明父母:好啊。

All right everyone. Knowing that we’ve all recovered a bit of pieces of the vocabulary in some of today’s phrases. I’m thinking that you all understood that everyone was talking about family while they were eating dinner. Let’s check out now exactly what was said.

你们家有几口人? How many people are in your family? 家 can mean family or home by taking in the context of this sentence. 小明’s dad is clearly asking about Mike’s family. 几口人 is how many people. So, 你们家有几口人 asks the question how many people are in your family. Now the format of Mike’s response is taking from the question. 我们家有五口人. There are five people in our family.

小明爸:哎,麦克,你们家有几口人
麦克:我们家有五口人,奶奶、爸爸、妈妈、姐姐和我。
小明爸:噢。

你有姐姐吗? Do you have an older sister. 你有 is you have, 姐姐 is the word for specifically older sister, and 吗 turns the sentence into a question. 你有姐姐吗? Do you have an older sister?

麦克:小明你有姐姐吗
小明:我没有姐姐。

我家只有一个孩子. My family only has one child. 只有 means only has or only have. You can pair 只 with any verb that works with only like 只吃 only eats, 只要 only want or only wants. 只知道 to only know. 一个 is one. 个 being a measure word that we will talk about just a bit. 孩子 means child. So, 我家只有一个孩子 is my family only has one child.

麦克:小明,你有姐姐吗?
小明:我没有姐姐。
麦克:那你有妹妹吗?
小明:也没有,我家只有一个孩子

And you have it. Now the clip should make a whole at more sense to all of you. Let’s watch it again.

小明爸:麦克,你会用筷子吗?
麦克:我不太会用。
小明妈:没关系,麦克。这是刀叉。

小明爸:哎,麦克,你们家有几口人?
麦克:我们家有五口人,奶奶、爸爸、妈妈、姐姐和我。
小明爸:噢。
麦克:小明,你有姐姐吗?
小明:我没有姐姐。
麦克:那你有妹妹吗?
小明:也没有,我家只有一个孩子。

小明、麦克:妈妈、阿姨,我们洗碗吧。
小明父母:好啊。

OK everyone let’s check out what we have lined up for today’s vocabulary.

As usual we’re first going to go over our specific vocabulary words for this show.

  • 家 home, family. jiā
  • 口 mouth, in this context, it’s a measure word for a number of people. kǒu
  • 个 the most common measure word in Chinese. ge
  • 没 not have, or be without. méi
  • 奶奶 grandmother. nǎi nai
  • 姐姐 older sister. jiě jie
  • 妹妹 younger sister. mèi mei
  • 有 have. yǒu

Our radical for today is the beautiful one, if I do say so myself. We are taking it from 奶奶, 姐姐 and 妹妹. And it’s called the 女字旁. Let’s take a look. 女.

That’s the character for woman or female. It’s quite similar to the bamboo radical we talked about last show. Many of the characters that have a 女字旁 either relate directly to women or else they have some kind of female element like 奶奶 or 姐姐 or 妹妹. Also, 妈妈 which is the word for mother, let me write that one for you.

This is the character for mother 妈, 妈妈. Now they’re all female. And appropriately all have the female radical. Now, an example of the character that doesn’t relate to directly to women but has some kind of female element is 娃娃 which means baby, be it*1 a boy or a girl. So, that is the 女字旁 or female radical.

Spotlight

The show before last we discussed the importance of titles, and title usage in China. Now today we’re going to talk about how titles are used when we are referring specifically to your family members.

In English, we have basic titles for family members: mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandmother and grandfather. Right? I think that pretty much covers it. You can get into second cousin, third cousin, second cousin once removed*2, great great aunt, and things like that but I think for the most part we don’t really go there.

In Chinese, the list of vocabulary for family members is at least five times as long as in English. But it’s also a lot clearer. For example someone says grandmother in English, you’re never sure if the person is referring to her father’s mother or her mother’s mother. In Chinese, your father’s mother is 奶奶, and your mother’s mother is 外婆 or 姥姥. Now similarly your father’s father is 爷爷, and your mother’s father is 外公.

Let’s look at the mother’s side. Your mother’s sister is 姨, her younger sister is 小姨 and her older sister is 大姨. Your mother’s brother is 舅舅. Your mother’s younger brother is 小舅, older brother would be 大舅.

Let’s look at the father’s side now. Your father’s sister is 姑姑, his younger sister is 小姑, and his older sister is 大姑. Your father’s younger brother is 叔叔 and your father’s older brother is 大伯. Now some of you may be thinking “wow, that’s really complicated,” and in some ways yes, it is very complicated, my head still get scrambled concerning all the different titles for family members, and I’ve been living in China for over twenty years.

Primer

Titles are always a lot of fun to think about and ponder on. But for now let’s put them aside and get into some of today’s language points.

你们家有几口人? Now we know now that 口 means mouth, and personally, I think it is a great measure word for people. Because everyone has a mouth, right? And mouths are important because we use them to eat. So when talking about a number of people or 人, specifically with regards to a family, the measure word you want to use is 口 or mouth. 我家有四口人. There’re four people in my family.

  • 麦克,你家有几人?/我家……/我知道,他家有五人。/对,奶奶、爸爸、妈妈、姐姐和我。
  • 兰兰,你家有几人?/我家只有三人。

有 we’ve touched on*3 previously, it means to have. Its antonym*4 or opposite as in not have or don’t have is 没有. 我没有哥哥, 弟弟. 只有姐姐. I don’t have any older or younger brothers, just an older sister*5.

  • 兰兰,你明天钢琴课吗?/没有啊。/太好了,咱们去打篮球吧?
  • 兰兰,你英文名字吗?/,我的英文名字叫詹尼。/噢,詹尼,我喜欢这个名字。

Now I’m sure you’ve all come on by now, but just highlight it. Whenever a number comes before a noun in Chinese, you need a measure word. In English we can say three people. In Chinese you have to say three + a measure word + people. And as we’ve all seen, different things require different kinds of measure words.

小明 said today 我们家只有一个孩子. 一个孩子 one child. So 个 is the measure word used here for child. And yes, 个 can also be used for people, just like 口, 三个人 three people.

Now there is one number that changes when it comes before a measure word. And that is the number two. On its own two is 二, right? Well if you want to say two people for example, it’s 两个人.

  • 兰兰,咱们班有多少个学生啊?/嗯,有四十个二十三个男生,十七个女生。
  • 小明,你今天吃了几个苹果了?/五个。/你吃了五个苹果?/对啊,我减肥*6

All right everyone it’s time to wrap up for the day. We covered some pretty important words and structures today. So don’t worry if everything is swimming around in your head, let it settle.

You can always visit our website if you need a refresher, and will certainly be seen more measure words and various uses of everything recovered in future shows. And if you don’t, please write us. 好吗? OK, all right. 加油, 加油加油, see you all again soon, 再见.


Spotlightで触れられていますが、家族を表す中国語は本当に複雑ですね。とはいえ日本語でも父方・母方どちらの祖父母なのかを意味する単語があれば便利なのに、と思うことはあります。

YouTubeで見つけたこちらの動画が面白いです(繁体字)。

*1:be it 〜であれ何であれ

*2:once removed 一世代離れた

*3:touch on 言及する

*4:antonym 反意語

*5:実際にMikaというお姉さんがいるようです

*6:かつて日本でも流行ったリンゴダイエットのことでしょうか?