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 June 10, 2012.
MONDAY: Lesson Ten – 我在这儿买光盘
Let us talk about some useful expressions and tips. In English we could use this and that without a noun attached to them. In Mandarin, you have to attach the appropriate counter for whatever noun you omitted from the sentence. If you omitted the word “picture”, for example, its counter 张 should be left behind, so that instead of saying 这张照片 you could just say 这张 and whatever it is that you want to connect to that.
TUESDAY: Lesson Ten –我在这儿买光盘
Money! This is a bit difficult because they use two sets for written and spoken. For yuan, which also happens to be the name of the currency (renminbi) it is written as such which is 元 but in spoken Mandarin they say 块 which I also prefer because it is easier to memorize, HAHA. They have a special unit for ten cents which is 角 when written and 毛 when spoken. This is a little confusing because in English a centavo is a centavo, period. Here, you have two different counters for centavo and ten centavos. For centavos, it is the same for written and spoken, which is 分. They also use this for minutes, if I remember correctly. I have to admit that I have not mastered this system yet and I am postponing it as much as I could. I guess I would just practice them when I visit China again when shopping.
WEDNESDAY: Lesson Ten –我在这儿买光盘
Since we have already touched the issue of money, we might as well tackle something related to it such as units of measure. These two come hand in hand when you are bargaining with a vendor in some market somewhere in China. They also use kilos but the book says that half a kilo, written as 斤 is more popular. It might be confusing at first but I am thinking that once my mind is set in using half a kilo as standard, then this would all be easy. Just halve every kilo!
THURSDAY: Lesson Ten –我在这儿买光盘
Another important thing for every Chinese learner out there would be how to ask someone how something is said in Mandarin. This is also helpful because you get to learn new words! How do you say this in Mandarin would be 这个汉语怎么说? Or you could drop the first two characters and just point at whatever it is you are referring to. Let’s see if that works.
FRIDAY: Lesson Ten –我在这儿买光盘
Forms of address. A favorite of mine would be 师傅 which translates to master worker. Remember Master Shifu from Kung Fu Panda? Well, I remember this form of address well because of him although this does not seem to be appropriate for him. Lost in translation, perhaps. Whatever. This is used for vendors and workers, as said in the book. The other one, 先生 is used as a general form of address for male adults. The book says that it could also be used for someone who specializes in something.
For next week I will still be covering lesson ten. We are making progress! The goal is to pass the lowest level of the HSK in September 2012! =)