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Introduction | Episodes |

11 Getting out of bed 起床


大家好, 欢迎收看今天的成长汉语. Welcome to today’s episode of Growing up with Chinese.

今天星期几? Yes, I just asked to you what day of the week it is. Although I bet your answers are all different because depending on where you live in the world, it could be yesterday, today or tomorrow. So, a better question would be 现在几点? What time is it? And of course, it’s time for us to begin.

Now today’s content is quite relaxing because it follows under the topic of leisure time. And it’s so nice when you have time to do things that you might not normally get to do. Like read a book, play video games, sleeping or whatever else might relax you. Now today 小明 and Mike are looking at a nice chunk of leisure time. But what will they do with it? Let’s check it out.

小明:妈,麦克怎么还睡呢! 该起床了吧?
小明:啊?! 还睡! 您看,都快十点了。


Hmm, Mike never appeared today. And 小明 looked a little antsy*1. Well, I guess the two of them just have different preferences for what they do during their free time. Let’s take a look at today’s dialogue shall we? And see exactly what’s going on.

麦克怎么还睡呢. How is Mike still sleeping, or Mike still sleeping? The key to this sentence is in the 怎么 and 还. We will expand on these two in just a few minutes. Now the second part of 小明’s exclamation is 很晚了, 该起床了. It’s very late, he ought to be up.

小明:妈,麦克怎么还睡呢! 该起床了吧?

And 小明’s mom replies by saying 让他多睡一会儿吧. Let him sleep a little bit longer. Notice the 吧 here at the end of the sentence. She is suggesting they let Mike sleep a little bit longer. 他还有时差. He is still jet lagged. 时差 is the term for jet lag or time difference. If someone has 时差 or 有时差, it’s referring to jet lag.

小明:啊?! 还睡! 您看,都快十点了。


OK, it’s time to check out today’s vocabulary.

As always let’s first check out our specific vocabulary words.

  • 怎么 used to enquire about nature, condition, cause, etc. zěn me
  • 该 ought to, should. gāi
  • 还 still, yet, nevertheless. hái
  • 让 let. ràng
  • 别 don’t, do not. bié
  • 起床 get up, specifically with regards to bed. qǐ chuáng
  • 睡、睡觉 sleep, to sleep. shuì, shuì jiào
  • 周末 weekend. zhoū mò
  • 时差 time difference. shí chā
  • 早饭 breakfast. zǎo fàn

All right everyone, today’s radical is the great one. And we can see it in the character 睡 sleep or to sleep. So first let’s get 睡 upon our screen, and then we’ll break it down and that its radical … all right. So there we have a character 睡.

All right let’s take a look at the radical. It’s right here. That is the character for 目 and it means eyes. So, let’s draw on an eye shall we? We’ve got an eye here, give its eye lashes, it a kind of looks like an eye doesn’t it. OK, well it means eye.

Now the right side of the character, this component here, is the character 垂 and just you know 垂 means droop or let fall. So, when you put an eye with droop, you’ve got drooping eyes or falling eyes right? So we get the character for sleep 睡.

And just I pointed out, notice that the final for both 睡 and 垂 is the same. It’s the u-i final. OK, so this is an example of the character that has a hint to its pronunciation and its components and it takes its meaning from its radical or the 木字旁. Now the eye radical is often times used in characters that have something to do with the eyes or seeing like 看 to watch or to see, 眉 this means eyebrow, 盯 this means to stare at. Cool now?


Time for a break. Last time we covered the Chinese agricultural calendar and some of the holidays that are associated with it. Now continuing on that train*2 of thought, we thought it would be fun to talk about some more special days that appear in the agricultural calendar.

The beginning of spring is one. In Chinese it’s called 立春. And the agricultural calendar’s beginning of spring is different from the Gregorian calendar’s first day of spring. 立春 typically occurs in January or February.

Now there is a special food that should be eaten on the day of 立春 and that is the spring pancake or 春饼. It’s a kind of like a moo shu wrapper*3 if you any of you have ever had them in a Chinese restaurant. Basically, you have a very very thin pancake like a crape. And you fill it with all kinds of fresh vegetable dishes, roll it up and eat it away.

The tradition of eating 春饼 on 立春 is also called 咬春 which literally means to bite spring. You’re consuming spring’s first crop of fresh vegetables so it’s like you’re eating spring, but in the form of the pancake.


Holidays really are fun aren’t they in any culture. OK before we end for the day, let’s take a look at some of today’s language points.

And we’ll start with talking about 怎么 in today’s context. 怎么 can be used in Chinese to ask for a reason or reasons kind of like “why?” 怎么还睡? Another example of the use of 怎么 is 你怎么不说话. 说话 is to speak so this phrase is asking why don’t you speak? Why don’t you say anything.

还. This pops up a few times in today’s dialogue. It has a couple of meanings so let’s look at them one by one. 怎么还睡? In this context, 还 is used to create a rhetorical question*4. It represents it should be this way but it’s not. 小明 thinks Mike should be awake but clearly he is still asleep. 怎么还睡.

The other way we see 还 used in today’s dialogue is in this phrase: 他还有时差. He still has jet lag, he is still jet lagged. So 还 in this context, represents a state or action that isn’t changing. In other words “still.” 他还有时差. He still has jet lag. Let’s take a look at some examples.

  • 喂,是小明吗? 都九点半了,你怎么不来?/啊,兰兰,对不起,对不起。我起晚了。
  • 小明,我都教你好几遍了。你怎么不会唱啊?/你别着急嘛。

OK, back to the second part of 小明’s first sentence. 很晚了, 该起床了. 很晚了. It’s late. 该起床了. He should get up. The pattern 该……了 implies the time for something has arrived. It has arrived so 了 needs to be present to make the pattern work. 该起床了. The time to get out of bed has arrived or Mike should get up. 你该睡了. You should go to sleep, it’s time for you to sleep. 我该走了. I should leave or the time for me to leave has arrived. Let’s check out some examples.

  • 小明,你该吃药了。/好的,谢谢。
  • 老师还没来,该上课了。/是啊,都八点十分了。

让. In today’s context, 让 is used like the English word “let.” 让他多睡一会儿吧. Let him sleep a little bit longer. The pattern looks like this: 让 let + someone + do something. So, 让他多睡一会儿. Remember our discussion about how adding 儿 to certain things makes them smaller?

  • 兰兰,这道题太难了,我不会做。你会吗?/嗯,稍等,我再想想。

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 and little delicacies 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 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.

なぜか最後がepisode 7 “Time”の最後と同じです。

*1:antsy そわそわして

*2:train 脈絡

*3:moo shu wrapper 木須肉を小麦の薄皮で包んだアメリカ式中華料理らしい

*4:rhetorical question 修辞疑問文