Monday, November 7, 2011

中文 - Week 5 (New Practical Chinese Reader 1)

The book I am using is New Practical Chinese Reader 1 by the Beijing Language and Culture University Press. Let’s start! But before we do please watch the video after or while reading, it’s meant to complement the content of this blog article. If you watch just the video and not read, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. Volume 1 of the book has 14 lessons. I only study Monday to Friday, two weeks for each lesson, which means it will take us 140 days or 28 weeks to finish the whole book. Target end date is April 13, 2012.

MONDAY: Lesson Three - 他是哪国人?
We’ve reached lesson three. Could you believe it? Words would start to accumulate in the next lessons, so if you have a copy of the book I am using, better be diligent from now on! How do you ask about people and their identities? Nationalities? We only have five sentences in the first dialogue. For today let’s concentrate on asking who someone is. 那是谁? This means “Who is that?” Literally it would translate as: “That is who?” Of course you could also ask “Who is this?” which we would tackle in our third day this week. For now, just remember that question, and the answer: 那是我哥哥! “That is my older brother!”

TUESDAY: Lesson Three - 他是哪国人?
Now it’s time to ask about the nationality. This might be confusing because the word for “which” is very similar because we just studied it yesterday! The difference is that this one has an extra “mouth” character to the left and the tone dips before rising again, as opposed to the dropping tone of the one yesterday. “What is his nationality” is 他是哪国人? Which literally translates to “He is which country person?” Get the drift? Chinese word order is actually simple and might baffle English speakers but once you get used to it, I think it becomes a game of instincts. “My father is Chinese” is 我爸爸是中国人. Well, not really, although he looks Chinese in some angles.

WEDNESDAY: Lesson Three - 他是哪国人?
What if the person is near you, in that you have to say “This (person) is my --” You could say 这是我--. Surprise! Unlike Japanese and Korean, they only have two words for pointing out location! Either you are “here or there” or something is “this or that”. Remember this formula because this is useful when introducing people for the first time.

THURSDAY: Lesson Three - 他是哪国人?
Do you recognize something weird with our set phrase for greeting? This is supposedly the preferred form of the second person singular in Beijing. 您好! Only the first character differs in that you add the “heart” character under the two which we learned eons ago. As for pronunciation, it now ends with an “n” sound. Oops, the tone! No more rollercoaster tone for this one, it just goes up and that’s about it. This is a more polite way of greeting so you might want to reserve it for the oldies, but if you find the rollercoaster tone a bit difficult to pronounce (I know I do!) you might want to stick to this and pretend that you are just uber polite, haha.

FRIDAY: Lesson Three - 他是哪国人?
Imagine how surprised I was to find out that there is no grammar section for this chapter. I even checked the page numbers to see if they just printed my copy of the book wrong. There really is none! Oh, happy day! This means we can rest. Oh, joy! HAHAHA. Tip? If you plan to marry a Chinese you better prepare to learn vocabulary words for a lot of in laws. The terms are different if they are coming from the mother side or the father side. I did not really memorize anything since I don’t plan to talk about my in-laws (I’m single, yahoo). I will just catch up on the terms once I have them, haha.

See you next weekend! For next week I will still be covering lesson three, Chinese Characters. We are making progress! The goal is to pass the lowest level of the HSK in September 2012! =)

2 creature(s) gave a damn:

Anonymous said...

you are very talented in language learning!! Very accurate Chinese pronunciation!!

ihcahieh said...

@anonymous - Thanks! I'm hoping to get better with Mandarin courses I'm going to take. :)

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