Model Mandarin: June 2015

0514_Model mandarinBEAR IN MIND

Remember how to speak by saying things you shouldn’t.

In Chinese, when we talk about nouns. They should be preceded by a special measure word. There are tons of them and almost every single noun has its own. In order to avoid misuse by non-Native speakers, practice these samples.

p.s. Use this grammatical structure: number + MW + n.

běn shū
五 本 书
Five books

sān píng píjiǔ
三 瓶 啤酒
Three beers

shí rén
十 个 人
Ten people

liù píngguǒ
六 个 苹果
Six apples

shíyī zhī yang
十一 只 羊
Eleven sheep

A horse

一 条 路
A road

zhuàng lóu
一 幢 楼
A building

fēng xìn
一 封 信
A letter

jiàn shàngyī
一 件 上衣
One coat

tiáo qúnzi
一 条 裙子
One skirt

shí tiáo gǒu
十 条 狗
Ten dogs


A supplement for grammar practice

This month let’s talk about the particle, “le.” It looks like this 了. It may only be a particle, but it can be used in many different ways.

了is used at the end of a sentence, indicating a definite or confirming tone. The negative form: Subj. + 没 + v. + obj.

tā qù túshūguǎn le.
他 去 图书馆 了。
He went to the library.

tā méi qù túshūguǎn.
他 没 去 图书馆。
He didn’t go to the library.

zuótiān xiàxuě le.
昨天 下雪 了。
It snowed yesterday.

zuótiān méi xiàxuě.
昨天 没 下雪。
It didn’t snow yesterday.

了also can be used after a verb situated in the middle of a sentence, which indicates that an action has been completed. Sentence pattern: v. + 了 + No. + obj.

tāmen chī le wǔgè hànbǎo.
他们 吃 了 五个 汉堡。
They have eaten five hamburgers.

māmā mǎi le yìshuāng xié.
妈妈 买 了 一双 鞋。
Mother has bought a pair of shoes.


Mnemonic devices that work

The radical 门, pronounced mén, and derived from the traditional 門, meaning gate, will be used in words related more or less to a door.

wèn 问 – question

Enquiries are often made at the door, the entrance to a house. A mouth, 口, at the door, therefore becomes a fitting ideograph for “ask,” or “enquire.”

nǐ yǒu shénme wèn tí ma?
你 有 什么 问题 吗?
Do you have any questions?

wén 闻 – hear

In this ideograph, ear (耳) becomes hear (闻) when placed at the door (門).
By extension, 闻 also means “news,” for the ear (耳) in the door (門) of knowledge or information. But not all news obtained by the ear is reliable,
as the saying goes: What the ear hears is not equal to what the eye sees.

tā shì yimíng xīnwén jìzhě.
他 是 一名 新闻 记者
He is a news reporter.


Conversation starters for Guangdongers

ok3  kang2 – Studying Chinese, even if you’ve chosen it as your favorite hobby, can be an unacceptable use of spare time at the end of some work weeks. Tell them ok kang if you can’t handle it today. It means hard to eat, tasteless or unacceptable, but it has to be something to eat or do. (Say the ok with an even middle tone, but follow up with kang by rising from very low to very high.)