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Current Location: Homepage » Spoken Chinese » Dialogue » Main Body

Lesson 001 the Features of Chinese Language

Time:2016-01-28Source:Internet
Profile:Lesson 001 the Features of Chinese Language
(单词翻译:双击或拖选)
S: Brand new series, starting from scratch. Mostly myself, Stuart, and …

M: Me, ML.

S: Yes. First, a bit about learning a foreign language. Practice every day. Active listening and speaking - imagine what's happening. Eg, Angry!

No complicated grammatical explanations: learn good grammar by hearing and imitating good Chinese.

M: And try to record the programs, so you can listen to them at will. And write them down in pinyin. Pinyin is how we represent Chinese words using the English alphabet. You can also hear the lessons on CRI's website.

S: Now for a basic introduction to the features of Chinese. First, it's a tonal language. Standard Chinese, or Putonghua, has four tones - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.

M: For example, the sound ma , very easy pinyin, it's simply a MA. Now "ma" in the four tones: mā má mǎ mà. Now everyone say it, including you, Stuart. mā, má, mǎ, mà.

M: And we must point out that: different tone, different meaning. For example, 妈, first tone, ma1 means "mother", while 马, third tone, mǎ means horse. You don't want to call your mum a horse, so tones are quite important.

S: Actually another way to help you remember which tone is which is by listening to this: 1 2 3 4. It's not Chinese, but you try it ML.

M: 1234. Hmmm, never tried that before, but it should help beginners. Now everyone try it, including you guys at home.

S: 1234. Hear the difference? Starting with the first, they are flat, rising, down and up, and down.

M: Good. That's enough on tones for now. We'll practice them quite a lot.

M: Another feature of Putonghua is that we use a lot of compound words.

S: Right. What is one word in English, might be two, or even three or four words in Chinese. For example, fire vehicle, huoche, is a train. Guess what a fire mountain, huoshan is? Right, volcano. Here's one I really like - fire chicken huoji is a turkey. A couple more: steam vehicle chiche is motor car; electric vehicle dianche is trolleybus. Get the idea?

M: Another feature is that Chinese nouns have classifiers in front of them. Similar to head of cattle in English, wher head is the classifier. But Chinese has many more of them. The commonest is "ge". We don't say ‘one person', we say ‘one ge person', or ‘two ge people'. Another is Tiao, used as the classifier of long thin things. So we say ‘one tiao snake, 2 tiao snakes, or one tiao road, or avenue'.

S: By the way, the classifier for cattle is the same as it is in English. Tou, meaning head. So we say, for example, ‘three tou cattle'. Well, that almost bring us to the end of our first lesson. We'll see you next time.

M: 再见!

S: 再见!
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