読者です 読者をやめる 読者になる 読者になる


英語と中国語を同時に学ぶ! CCTV Growing up with Chinese

Introduction | Episodes |

15 Buying fruits 买水果

大家好, 欢迎收看成长汉语. Hi everyone, it’s time for another episode of Growing up with Chinese.

Now I was seven when I started learning Chinese so there was a lot about the process that I don’t remember very well. But one thing I do remember is setting up a little food shop at home for Chinese class one day, at the vocabulary for buying things. My sister and I took turns running the shop buying and selling bananas and apples all kinds of fruits. It was a lot of fun. And all this buying and selling vocabulary and phrases are very useful to know. After all, China is a shopper’s paradise.

Now I bring this up now because today we are following Mike and 小明 to the neighborhood fruit vendor. Now if you all remember, 小明’s mom last time told 小明 to buy some fruits while he was out. So, let’s take a look and see how buying and selling is done in Chinese.


小明:桔子呢? 多少钱一斤?


Watching the clip today brought back some memories for me.

OK, there is a lot of back and forth in today’s clip wasn’t there. Now depending on where you shop in China, sometimes you need to bargain for what you are buying. And 小明 did just that today. Let’s take a look.

麦克, 前面有一个水果摊, 我们买点儿水果吧. Mike, the fruits stand is just ahead, let’s buy some fruit OK? Now a fruit is sold in supermarkets here. But there are also many vendors that sell fresh produce kind of like a farmer’s market in the West. And the fruit you buy from the vendor is usually a lot fresher than what you might find in a supermarket.


请问. Now if you break this saying apart 请 means please, and 问 means to ask. It’s what is used to alert someone if you’re about to ask them a question, kind of like excuse me in English. You don’t necessarily need 请问 to ask a question, just like you don’t always have to use “excuse me” before asking a question in English. But if you do use it 请问, it’s considered very polite.

请问, 苹果多少钱一斤? Excuse me, how much are the apples per five hundred grams? 多少钱 or how much money is the phrase used in Chinese when you are asking for the price or something. 一斤 or one 斤 is a unit of a weight equals to half a kilogram or five hundred grams. Now China uses the metric system. So for those of you unfamiliar with it, five hundred grams is a little bit more than one pound.

小明:桔子呢? 多少钱一斤?

太贵了. 这桔子很新鲜, 八块钱一斤不贵. 能便宜一点儿吗? That’s too expensive. These oranges are very fresh, eight 块 per 斤 isn’t expensive. Can it be a little bit cheaper? Hmm, I do love bargaining. 能便宜一点儿吗? is a common phrase used in China when you are bargaining.


一共多少钱? how much for everything? 一共 means all together or in total. So, 一共多少钱? is all together how much money or how much money for everything.


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

All right, let’s take a word at some specific vocabulary.

  • 买 to buy. mǎi
  • 多少 how much. duō shǎo
  • 钱 money. qián
  • 贵 expensive. guì
  • 便宜 cheap or cheaper. piǎn yi
  • 新鲜 fresh as in fresh fruit. xīn xiān
  • 水果 fruit. shuǐ guǒ
  • 香蕉 banana. xiāng jiāo
  • 苹果 apple. píng guǒ
  • 桔子 orange. jú zi

Seen as a lot of the dialogue in today’s show revolves around money. I thought it might be fun to focus on the medal or gold radical. And yes, we do find it in the character for money 钱. So, let’s bring up 钱, take a look at it, and then break it apart … OK. So here we have 钱 or the character for money. Let’s take a look at the radical.

It kind of resembles this character, doesn’t it. Doesn’t see similar, resemblance there? Well, this is the actual character for a gold 金.

Now, when it turns into a radical, this is what it becomes. Now really if you look at it, you’ve got two gold nuggets here, right? So when it becomes a radical, it loses its gold nuggets. But, you can still see the resemblance everything else looks pretty similar.

Now, in ancient China, gold, silver, bronze and copper were all used as currency. So, it’s quite fitting that the character for money would have a metal or gold radical, isn’t it? Now some other characters with the metal radical are 针 needle, 钟 clock, 锅 a pot for cooking. So the metal radical is our radical of the day.


We’ve got a fun topic lined up for our cultural spotlight today. What not to give as gifts in China. Funny isn’t it. That we should be discussing what not to give as opposed to what is good to give. Now as far as a gift goes, anything is nice to receive, right?

Me the same is true in China although as with any culture certain things have certain meanings and sometimes they aren’t always good. In China, it’s always good when giving more than one or something to give in even number. For example, if you give someone flowers, it’s best that you give two, six, eight, ten and so on. Now this is because Chinese has a saying, “good things come in pairs” so you want an even number. That’s easy to follow. Did you notice I left the number four out of my number list just then.

Now we all know the number four is pronounced sì fourth tone right. Well, the word for death or to die is pronounced sǐ third tone, too close for comfort. So the number four in China is avoided at all costs. This includes having fours in your telephone number, license plate number, room number, and even floor number. Many buildings in China do not have listed fourth floor. Much like how many Western buildings in Western countries don’t have a floor thirteen. So avoid four, avoid four.

There is another custom in China that dictates. No one is allowed to give a clock or watch to someone who is old. 送 is the character used to give a gift it’s a verb 送. zhōng is the word for a clock. So, 送钟 means to give a clock. If you switch the character for a clock to the character for the end which just so happens to also be pronounced zhōng. You could understand the phrase to mean giving someone the end. Not good.


I love playing with words especially in Chinese it’s always a lot of fun. But it’s time to put playing with words aside and let’s take a look at some of today’s specific language points.

太贵了. That’s too expensive. We’ve got a pattern here. 太 + adjective + 了 is used to express an excess of something. Kind of like the word too t-o-o in English. 太贵了 too expensive. 太热了 too hot. 太大了 too big.

  • 小明,你看! 那条小狗太可爱了。/是啊,我真想抱抱它。

一点儿 a little bit. You can also say 一点 and leave off the 儿 if you want. This is used after an adjective or verb to express a slight change in degree or number. 便宜一点儿 slightly cheaper. You could also say 便宜点儿 the 一 one doesn’t always have to be there. So, 大一点儿 slightly bigger. 多一点儿 slightly more. 好一点儿 slightly better. You can also add another 点 for emphasis. 便宜一点点, 大一点点. Ah, the nuances of language.

  • 爸爸,我写作业呢。你能把电视声音关小一点儿吗?/噢,对不起,对不起。
  • 小明,我怎么总也投不进去啊!/兰兰,你的手再用一点儿力,就能投中了。

一共 all together, in total. It’s pretty straightforward. But let’s take a look at some ways in which can be used.

  • 小明,你们班有多少个学生啊?/嗯,我们班一共有三十个学生。十四个男同学,十六个女同学。
  • 小明,看你这一身汗,又去打篮球了吧?/是啊。我今天一共打了两场比赛呢。

I’m counting on all of you to work on your purchasing vocabulary. So that when you get the change to visit China you all be top buyers and even top bargainers. And on that note*1 it’s time to wrap up for the day.

Don’t forget to check out our website, from time to time and please keep your letters coming our way, we love to hear from you. And speaking of letters, does anyone know any good jokes. If you send me some of them into the show, perhaps we can even translate them into Chinese if they aren’t too complicated. OK, that’s it for today I will see you all next time. 谢谢你们的收看, 加油, 再见.

*1:on that note というわけで