Hi, 你们好. It’s great to see all of you for another episode of Growing up with Chinese 成长汉语. In this show, you all get the chance to learn simple but very useful Chinese through the adventures of Mike, 小明 and their friends.
Now have you all recovered from our discussion of 把 from last show? 你们是不是把它给忘了? Did you take it and forget it? If you did, don’t worry about it. We aren’t going to bring it up again today though, it’s blissfully*1 absent from today’s dialogue. In fact we thought it might be fun to go easy on*2 all of you this time.
Our topic is pets. I love animals. And apparently, so do 兰兰 and her classmates. So, let’s check it out the dialogue for today and I promise what we’re going to be covering will be very easy. Let’s check it out.
Wow that seems to be quite the heated discussion about pets and animals going on today. Now apart from specific vocabulary, I bet you guys were able to follow that without too much trouble. But let’s break it down just a bit and then will go over it again. 好吗?
你养小宠物吗? Do you have any little pets? 宠物 means pet or pets, 小宠物 are little pets. 养 is the verb used when talking about raising a living thing like animals, kids, plants, etc. 你养小宠物吗? Do you have any little pets?
如果我养宠物, 我会养一只“加菲”猫. If I had a pet, I would have a Garfield cat. 如果 means if, so 如果我养宠物, if I had a pet, 我会养一只“加菲”猫. 会 in this context, means “would.” Now we will get more detail on that in just a minute. And we see that the measure word for cats 猫 is 只 just like with turtles.
And just as a side note: 加菲猫 is the actual name for Garfield. So I guess this kid wants Garfield as a pet.
我有一条狗和两只小乌龟. I have a dog and two small turtles. 一条狗. 条 is the measure word used in referring to a dog. 条 can mean a long narrow piece. And a healthy dog anyway is usually long and narrow right? Just like a leg or a snake. And both leg and snake use 条 as the measure word in Chinese. 一条狗. 两只小乌龟. Two small turtles. 只 is the measure word for a turtle. And because the number two comes before a measure word here, it changes from 二 to 两.
是啊, 我养的是哈士奇. 个头儿可大啦! Yeah, I have a husky. It’s huge. 哈士奇 sounds like husky and indeed that’s what it means. 个头儿 is a set expression referring to something size or height.
OK, it’s time to check out today’s vocabulary.
We have a fun radical to talk about today but before we get into it, let’s take a look at some specific vocabulary.
- 可爱 cute. kě ài
- 宠物 pet. chǒng wù
- 养 to raise, as in raise a child, raise a pet. yǎng
- 猫 cat. māo
- 狗 dog. gǒu
- 乌龟 turtle. wū guī
- 和 and. hé
- 如果 if. rú guǒ
Our topic today is all about pets. So the radical we’re going to be looking at is none other than the animal radical. And we see it in two characters today 猫 and 狗. So let’s get them on our screen, and then, we can talk about them. 狗 ... 猫 .... 狗 dog, 猫 cat. OK, let’s break them apart.
The animal radical we see here and here. It’s evolved from this character ... 犬, which is the scientific way to refer to a dog like kind of breeder along those lines*3. Now we get the phonetics for these two characters from 苗 here, and 句, oops, oh just take that away, 句, here. This radical, the 反犬旁, is always on the left side of the character.
Today’s cultural spotlight topic shouldn’t be too hard to guess. That’s right, we are talking about pets.
In America, pets are part of virtually every household. Up until recently in China, pets weren’t so common. People might have fish or birds, but dogs and cats for example didn’t become popular pets until quite recently, maybe around mid nineties. So are the custom of having pets of all kinds, is relatively new. Today it is a phenomenon you see everywhere. Pets in China are not only seen as an addition to one’s household, they are also seen as a healthy life style.
Now naming a pet can be a lot of fun in any language, and Chinese pet names are fabulous. I’ve met dogs with the names steamed bun 馒头, black bean bean 黑豆豆, 五百, yes five hundred because the dog cost five hundred 块, 布丁 pudding, 笨笨 which means stupid stupid, and this one is great, 皮蛋 which is a kind of preserved egg eaten in China, also known as the thousand-year-old egg, huh.
Now some people give their pets names that are auspicious. I know someone who named their dog 大喜 which means big happiness. I’ve met a moneyed dog are named money, an English name, and it was explained to me that when they call the dog to come, it’s “money来,” “money come.” An auspicious dog name, indeed.
I love talking about pets. OK. for now we’ll put our pet topic to rest, and look at some of today’s language points.
Let’s start we’re talking about 和 or and. What a great word. And can go and on, and on, and on, and on, and on. In Chinese 和 is used exactly the way we use and in English. Although its area of use is slightly smaller. We see it today with 我养了一条狗和两只小乌龟. I have a dog and two little turtles. 和 in Chinese can connect words or phrases but it cannot connect sentences or clauses.
养. To raise. When referring to having a pet or a plant or even a child, 养 to raise is the verb to use. In English, we can use the verb “have” pretty lightly when it comes to talking about raising animals or plants or children. You can say 有 to have in Chinese as well, but the most accurate way to say that you’re raising a pet, or children or plants or any living thing really, is to use the verb 养.
- 妈妈，那只小狗太可爱了！ 我能养一只吗？／现在不行，等你长大了再养吧。
- 这几条鱼真漂亮！ 是你养的吗？／噢，不是。这是我爸爸养的。
Here is another language point 如果. 如果 means “if.” 如果我养宠物, 我会养一只加菲猫. If I had a pet, I would have a Garfield cat. Now here we have the example of 如果, and then 我会. If something, I would. Now there are may other words that can be paired with if in Chinese. But we’ll be getting into those in later shows. For now, let’s take a look at some 如果 examples.
OK, that just about wraps up our discussion for the day. Now I don’t know about you guys but talking about animals makes me happy.
I have a dog. 我有一条狗. And she is adorable. 她很可爱. And guess what, she can speak English and Chinese too. 她也会说英文和中文. Well I guess bark is a bark actually. A Chinese dog bark sounds the same as an American dog bark. But I speak to her in English and Chinese and she can understand both languages. OK, enough about my dog.
It’s time to look at a letter sent in by one of you. Travis from Australia. OK, let’s see what your question is about directions, ah huh.
Yes, directions in Chinese are the opposite of what they are in English. For example, we might say “turn right,” right comes after turn. In Chinese, it’s 右转 right turn. Similarly, “turn left” would be 左转, so it’s reversed.
Same goes for north south east and west. We can say the post office is at the north side of the supermarket for example, and in Chinese it would be 超市在邮局的北边. 北边 comes later. OK, so just remember, they are completely reversed.
All right, time to wish you all good luck in your Chinese studies 加油. Don’t forget to check out our website and send in your comments and feedback, I will see you next time. 再见.