Tuesday, January 3, 2012

中文 - Week 11 (New Practical Chinese Reader 1)

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. Target end date is April 13, 2012.

MONDAY: Lesson Six – 我们去游泳,好吗
Let’s concentrate for today on the usage of the expression 怎么样 which the book says is the general way of asking opinion about something. Just plug it at the end of the sentence and that’s about it. And of course the weather would be a good starting point. 昨天的天气怎么样? How was yesterday’s weather? Notice how the third particle acts as some sort of proxy for “’s” in English? It’s like saying, “Today’s weather how?” The first two characters there mean “yesterday” and so let’s also supply the words for today 今天 and tomorrow 明天. There you go.

TUESDAY: Lesson Six –我们去游泳,好吗
Today let’s talk about giving a suggestion, the equivalent of the English “let’s”. How do you do it? Say the activity you’d like to do, then add 好吗 at the end. That’s about it. Let’s study Chinese! 我们去学习汉语好吗? Oops, I forgot to say that in the book they always use the verb for “go” which is .

WEDNESDAY: Lesson Six – 我们去游泳,好吗
How do you agree to a suggestion? Use the expression 太好了! That’s a great idea! What if you can’t? It’s time to make excuses. Start it off with “I’m sorry” which in this case would be 很抱歉. State your excuse. And then say, “I’m afraid I can’t” which is 恐怕不行. This is a very useful set phrase, specially if you are not that outgoing, hahaha.

THURSDAY: Lesson Six – 我们去游泳,好吗
Last stop, what if you did not hear or understand what was just said and you want the person to repeat it? This set phrase would be very helpful: 请再说一遍.

FRIDAY: Lesson Six – 我们去游泳,好吗
The grammar point for this week is so simple. It just explains how word order is almost always the same in Mandarin. Just like in English, you have the subject followed by the predicate. It is the predicate that could get a bit complicated at times because aside from the verb you also have the object and at times, adverbs. Just remember to put the adverb before the verb and the object after the verb. It works most of the time. And then you have particles like those for questions, tag questions, and stuff. They always go at the end. I find Mandarin’s tones too difficult to deal with that I’ve almost forgotten how easy its grammar is. I guess there will always be a trade off somewhere.

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

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