… lined up for all of you, but before we watch today’s dialogue clip, I’ve got some news. Now we’ve managed to cover most of the common radicals in Chinese so beginning today, we are going to be switching gears and focusing in on pinyin, sound good?
OK, let’s take a look at our fabulous trio and what they’re up to today.
集合啦. 大家都排好队. 我们马上就要进去参观啦. Come together everyone, line up, we’re about to go in and look around. Now 集合 means come together or gather around. 排队 means to line up. So, 排好队 is another way of saying line up but do so properly. 马上就要 means about to, or in just a moment. 马上就要进去 about to go inside. Now 参观 is to visit or look around.
难道我记错啦? 明明是百科书上说的嘛. You mean I’m misremembering? Clearly, it was in the encyclopedia. Having 难道 at the beginning of 小明’s sentence implies “surely it doesn’t mean that,” “I’m misremembering.” Now 明明 means clearly or obviously and 百科书 is how you say a general encyclopedia in Chinese 百科书. So it seems like 小明 might be trying to convince himself that he is right.
知之为知之, 不知为不知. This isn’t a tongue twister; it is a famous classical saying in Chinese. That essentially means you know what you know, and you don’t know what you don’t know. In other words, don’t try to pretend you know something you don’t know. Actually, the full saying goes like this. 知之为知之, 不知为不知, 是知也. True wisdom is admitting what you know and what you don’t know.
All right everyone it’s time to go over today’s vocabulary and take a look at our pinyin highlight.
And first off let’s take a look at our specific vocabulary words.
- 博物馆 museum. bó wù guǎn
- 照片 photograph. zhào piàn
- 恐龙 dinosaur. kǒng lóng
- 体型 bodily form, build. tǐ xíng
- 合影 group photo. hé yǐng
- 马上 right away, immediately. mǎ shàng
- 解释 to explain, explanation. jiě shì
- 笑话 joke, lough at. xiào hua
- 标本 specimen, sample. biāo běn
OK so like I said at the beginning of today’s show we’re going to be focusing on pinyin from here on out*1. So today let’s take a look at the pinyin for 笑话 or joke. All right, let’s first get it up on the board 笑, x-i-a-o xiao xiao. And 话, h-u-a, xiao hua.
Now, we can’t forget our tones. 笑 is fourth tone and because we have an a in xiao, our a takes the tone marker so xiào. 话 on its own is fourth tone but in the case of 笑话, 话 is neutral. So, it doesn’t get a tone. There we are, xiào hua.
Sightseeing can be a lot of fun whether it’s indoors or outdoors or whether you are looking at something modern like the Museum of Natural History or something ancient like the Temple of Heaven. Now, seeing is their natural history museums all over the world, I’m not going to spotlight 北京’s. Instead we are going to go back to the Temple of Heaven right now. And talk about some of the buildings there.
Now from the name the Temple of Heaven, it might be hard to guess that the temple complex is actually comprised of many temple buildings and altars*2. It’s not too common a sight to see circular buildings in ancient Chinese architecture. But Temple of Heaven has many. There is a beautiful reason of course. The circle represents heaven, and the square represents earth.
Now the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests was where the emperor would pray for, you got it, good harvests. Now the thing I love most about this building is that there isn’t a single metal nail in it anywhere. It’s constructed entirely out of wood.
The Imperial Vault of Heaven is just to the south of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. They look quite similar but this one slightly smaller.
Now, the fun things about this area of the temple complex is the circular Echo Wall. Now apparently, if two people were distant far part from each other, and one was to whisper something, the other person would be able to hear it. I’ve been, and tried. But the problem is that there’re always so many people giving it a try, you can’t hear anything. Still though it’s a lot of fun.
Now I think I have said this before, but the Temple of Heaven is one of my most favorite sightseeing attractions in 北京. It’s simply gorgeous and very somber*3 and peaceful. Even when tourism season is at its peak. So I highly recommend paying in a visit when you’re in 北京, it’s very worth it.
OK, it’s time to check out today’s language points and to begin with let’s take a look at 往往.
往往 is an adverb and means often, frequently or more often than not*4. So today the museum guide said 食草的恐龙往往体型高大. Herbivores*5 are often tall and large, this is in the context of dinosaurs. Now in this example 常常 could also be used as it means often, as well. 食草的恐龙常常体型高大.
Now when you are talking about something that will take place in the future, however please note, 往往 and 常常 are not interchangeable. Only 常常 works for future tense. 请你常常来. Please come often. You couldn’t say 请你往往来.
老. OK we know 老 can mean old, but when it’s used as an adverb, it means always or constantly. So 小明 said today 我老搞不明白. I always can get it or I’ve never understood. You could also say 他老不说话. He never speaks. OK let’s look at some more examples of 老 as an adverb.
And last but not least we’ve got a pattern. 既不是 … 也不是. Now it’s very similar to the English “neither this … nor that.” So in today’s dialogue Mike said, 它既不是霸王龙也不是食肉恐龙. That dinosaur is neither a tyrannosaurus rex nor is a carnivore*6. Now you could say 他既不是我的哥哥, 也不是我的男朋友. He is neither my older brother, nor is he my boyfriend.
OK that just about wraps everything up for today but before we go, I’d like to respond to an email that we received from Adam who’s living in 广州, China. Now, he wrote to us and said:
“What are the specific rules for tone placement when writing pinyin?”
Well Adam it’s a fabulous question and it has a relatively straightforward answer. Your tone always goes above the a or e in your word. Always, no matter what. If you have the combination o-u, then the tone marker always goes above the o. In any other circumstance, your tone mark always appears above the final vowel. And that’s it. So it’s not too complicated once you get it all sorted*7. Thank you for writing us.
And on that note everyone else, don’t forget to write us or leave us any comments on our website’s comments page. Good luck with your Chinese studies everybody. 大家, 加油, I’ll see you all next time. 我们不见不散.