The book I am using is New Practical Chinese Reader 1 by the Beijing Language and Culture University Press. 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 Four - 认识你很高兴
It’s time to introduce ourselves! After greetings and asking who this or that person is, it’s time to name names! How do we do this? We’ll tackle it tomorrow, hahaha. Right now we ask for permission first. What if you want to enter a house? Or a room? Just ask “May I come in?” 可以进来吗？ You are most likely to hear “Please come in!” 请进. If you hear something else, maybe they don’t want you inside their house, lol. After greeting people and saying what your relation to someone is, you get to the name asking part. To ask a question, say 请问 which is what you say before asking a question. Yes, as you might have noticed, 请 seems to mean “please”.
TUESDAY: Lesson Four - 认识你很高兴
Now we ask about names. There are several ways to do it in Mandarin. The polite way is 您贵姓 which somehow translates to “What is your honourable surname?” The answer to this would more likely be in this pattern: 我姓+surname, 叫+first name. This translates to “My surname is + and my name is +.” This is also the answer to a slightly more informal way of asking for names which is 你姓什么? Which is a straight “What is your name?” Most of the time this is followed by asking or saying your nationality which we learned in a previous chapter.
WEDNESDAY: Lesson Four - 认识你很高兴
To say that you are delighted (even if you are not, be civil!) you use the formula “Nice to meet you!” which is 认识你很高兴. Do not confuse the “xing” meaning “surname” and the last syllable of 贵姓, their pronunciation is the same but they have different characters. If you want to be polite, you could replace你 with the politer version 您. To say that you are also delighted, just repeat that expression and add 也 for “also” to make it more natural.
THURSDAY: Lesson Four - 认识你很高兴
The next construction is useful for language institute students! It’s just one sentence which means “I am a language student” and translates to 我是语言学院的学生. This is also where we introduce the particle 的 which is often (emphasis on “often”) used to connect two nouns wherein the first one qualifies the one that follows it, in this case 学院的学生 which connects “institute” and “student” to mean “student of the institute” or simply “institute’s student”. For now maybe you could think of it as “’s”.
FRIDAY: Lesson Four - 认识你很高兴
The verb 学习 means “to study” and by now you might have already figured out that 学 is a common denominator, so think of it every time you want to say something about “studying”. It might have a participation in the sentence you are going to make. Anyway, for the “I am a +” sentences that you are going to make to tell people what you are or what you do, use the linking verb 是 which roughly translates to the English “to be”. If you are not what someone thinks you are, you could negate it by saying 不是.
For next week I will be covering lesson four. We are making progress! The goal is to pass the lowest level of the HSK in September 2012! =)