Tuesday, January 24, 2012

中文 - Week 13 (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 May 5, 2012.

MONDAY: Lesson Seven – 你认识不认识他?
For our first set expression of the week we encounter 一下 which is added to a suggestion to make it sound less formal, a bit of softening the tone. Hence, when someone says 我来介绍一下 it would mean Let’s introduce ourselves first. Something like that. Okay, that translation sucks. Anyway I think you get the idea or the nuisance at least for that particular expression. I myself am confused as to what it really means. What I do know now is when to use it. Introductions!

TUESDAY: Lesson Seven – 你认识不认识他?
For the second grammar point the lesson talks about plural markers in marking possessions that are... uhm, common? It says that this happens when mentioning the place where one works or studies or where one is from. So instead of saying 我国家 for my country or 我学院 for my institute, the book says that it is better to just say 我们国家and 我们学院which also happens in Tagalog sometimes, so there really is no issue from my end.

WEDNESDAY: Lesson Seven – 你认识不认识他?
How to ask for someone’s name? According to the book, the most common was is 你叫什么名字 This literally translates to you called what name or something to that effect. Useful expression for first time meetings!

THURSDAY: Lesson Seven – 你认识不认识他?
And now to that part that really puzzles me, possessives! Or in this case let us include nouns that behave like adjectives! The book says you can just juxtapose noun-adjectives with nouns. Okay, that was confusing. For example, Chinese name is 中文名字 which literally translates to Chinese (written) name. Ok, that seems easy actually, just like English! Okay, about possessives, let’s leave that for tomorrow! HAHAHA.

FRIDAY: Lesson Seven – 你认识不认识他?
For possessives you add after the adjective or pronoun, which means my picture would be 我的照片. As mentioned before, this character acts as the equivalent of the English ‘s, but is almost always present even when it shouldn’t be, at least if viewed from an Anglophone’s point of view. In that example, for example, it would seem like you are saying I’s picture, which in English has a separate form, the possessive “my”. Well, the Chinese don’t have that! They just have the generic for almost everything. That’s good news! At least you do not have to memorize different possessive pronouns anymore! Word of caution though, this is usually omitted for family members, which means my mother would simply be 我妈妈 and not 我的妈妈.

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

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