Hi everyone 你们好吗? Thanks for joining us for today’s episode of Growing up with Chinese 成长汉语.
Now today marks the beginning of a series of shows on our fabulous trio preparing for exams. And I have to say, exams in Chinese high school are sometimes more difficult than what you might find at a Chinese university. High school here is really that hard. So I’m sure that all three of them are hard at work reviewing for their upcoming exams. Let’s check in though, and see what they are doing.
小明：哎呀，看来我得加油啦！ 兰兰，这道题怎么做呀？ 你可是我的大救星啊！ 帮帮忙吧！
Well 小明 is very lucky to have 兰兰’s help and that’s all I’ll say on the matter. OK let’s take a look now at some of the key sentences in our dialogue.
这叫音乐相伴有感觉. 要不然, 光写作业, 多乏味. To listen to music at the same time helps me study. Otherwise just doing homework would be too dull. 相伴 means concomitant*1 or accompaniment. So 音乐相伴 in this context is to have musical accompaniment. 乏味 is a set term meaning dull, uninteresting or insipid*2.
我看有点悬. Seems a little iffy*3 to me. Now 悬 is a great word that means precarious*4, dangerous or perilous*5. So this statement was made in response to 小明 asking if he still have enough time to review properly. 我看有点悬. Seems a little iffy to me.
我是百思不得其解. I really don’t have a clue. Now 百思不得其解 is a set saying that literally means fail to understand something after thinking it over one hundred times. 百思不得其解.
All right everyone it’s time to look at today’s vocabulary and will be playing another word game.
But first off, let’s look at our specific vocabulary words.
- 赶紧 lose no time, hasten, gǎn jǐn
- 一直 in today’s context, 一直 means continuously, always, without intermission. yì zhí
- 音乐 music. yīn yuè
- 邻居 neighbor. lín jū
- 复习 review. fù xí
OK, it’s language point time and we’ve got a pattern to begin with 不管 ... 都.
Now this is kind of like saying “no matter what” in English. So today 兰兰 said, 不管你花多少时间, 都得自己做. It doesn’t matter how long you take, you’ve got to do it yourself. So with this pattern in Chinese what comes after 不管 should be either a phrase of questioning like 不管天气怎么样, no matter what the weather is like, or you need a phrase that includes both good and bad like 不管天气好不好. It doesn’t matter if the weather is good or bad.
- 我最近不管吃什么都觉得没胃口。／是吗？ 是不是感冒了？
除了. 除了 means apart from or except, except for. 小明 said to 兰兰, “我除了物理以外, 其他科目的成绩还不错.” Apart from physics, my grades and the rest of my classes are not too bad. The use of 除了 falls under*7 the 除了 ... 都 meaning. For example, 除了小王, 我们都去了. Apart from 小王, we all went or we all went except for 小王.
Now, if you have the 除了 ... 还 pattern or 除了 ... 也 pattern, we get the meaning of “besides.” So 除了小王, 我们也去了. Besides 小王, we all went as well.
难以. 难以 functions as an adverb in Chinese and it’s commonly placed before a verb. It means difficult to, or hard to. So 小明 said, 这么难的题你看一眼就会, 真让人难以想象. It’s really hard to imagine that a problem this difficult, you can take one look at and know how to solve it. You could also say 那里的景色太漂亮了, 让人难以用语言形容. It’s really difficult to put into words just how beautiful the scenery is there.
All right it’s word game time, now for those of you who haven’t played the specific game with us before, here is how it works. You get a jumble*8 of characters or character groupings and you have to put it in the right sentence order. And at our next show I’ll be giving you the proper answer. So, here is an example.
All right we have five characters on our board: 语 跟 我 学 汉. OK. Now, you have to put them in the right sentence order. But, this is what it looks like 跟 我 学 汉 语. 跟我学汉语. Learn Chinese with me. So that’s just an example.
This is what you guys are going to be working on today. All right, we have 好在 and 不 and 今天 and 堵车. Now just you all know the English meaning of what this sentence should be is “We’re lucky, there’s no traffic jam today.” “We’re lucky, there’s no traffic jam today.” So, good luck, and I’ll give you the answer next time.
All right everyone that’s a wrap. Now before we go though, I have a message from John in New Zealand that I want to share with you all. OK so he says,
“Hello to everyone at Growing up with Chinese. I have a question. In Maori tradition we touch noses in greeting. Does China has any kind of comparable traditional greetings?”
Well thank you it’s a great letter and a great question. In ancient times in China, Chinese men would greet each other by making a fist with one hand and putting the other hand over the fist like this or like this. Now women would greet people like this; sort of like a Chinese curtsy*9.
Though not too many people use this kind of greeting any more but in 北京, a common greeting is to ask if the person you just met if they’ve eaten “吃了吗?” Now it’s not necessary to give an actual answer to the question. But if you listen for it, you’ll hear it being asked everywhere 吃了吗?
All right, thanks for writing. And to everyone else, don’t forget that you can send us any questions or comments you might have by visiting our website and leaving a note on our comments page. We love to hear from you. And on that note, good luck with all of your studies including your Chinese studies. 加油, and I shall see you all next time. 我们下次见. Bye everyone.