Transcript

lang-zh-Latn
Hi, I'm Fame Ketover of Lenguin.com, and this is Mandarin Chinese. How are you? I'm fine, thanks for asking, because we're going to have a look at greetings. Listen to Miss Hu ask Mr. King how he is.
  • How are you?
  • Nǐ hǎo a?
  • Nǐ hǎo a?
  • I'm fine.
  • Wǒ hǎo.
  • Wǒ hǎo.
You already know: nǐ, "you", and: wǒ, "I", but they seem to be in the rising tone instead of the low tone. Here's the exchange live. Listen for the rising tones on: and
  • Nǐ hǎo a?
  • Wǒ hǎo.
This is one of the few exceptions in the system of tones. A low tone changes into a rising tone before another low tone. Listen again and notice that both: and are followed by a low tone.
  • Nǐ hǎo a?
  • Wǒ hǎo.
Here's the word we translated as "I'm fine" in the answer.
  • hǎo
  • hǎo
  • hǎo
Listen for:
  • hǎo,

"I'm fine" in the answer.
  • Nǐ hǎo a?
  • Wǒ hǎo.
Notice that there are three words in the English sentence "I am fine". But only two in the Chinese sentence: "Wǒ hǎo." Since is "I", hǎo is the equivalent to "I'm fine". Although the English sentence contains the verb "to be", the Chinese sentence does not.
Listen to the answer again.
  • Nǐ hǎo a?
  • Wǒ hǎo.
If "Wǒ hǎo" means "I am fine", "Nǐ hǎo" must mean "you are fine". The unstressed syllable: "a" is added as a carrier of a rising tone which signals a question. You might consider the high pitch syllable: "a" as a spoken question mark.
Now listen to the exchange with a word for word translation.
  • You are fine question mark.
  • Nǐ hǎo a?
  • Nǐ hǎo a?
  • I am fine.
  • Wǒ hǎo.
  • Wǒ hǎo.
The best idiomatic equivalent for: "Nǐ hǎo a?", what you'd probably say in English in the same situation is, "How are you?" Although, as you can see, the Chinese is literally something like, "You are fine?" Besides meaning "to be fine" or "to be well" the word: "hǎo" can also mean "to be good" or "to be okay".
Try translating the exchange.
  • Nǐ hǎo a?
  • How are you?
  • Wǒ hǎo.
  • I'm fine.
We mentioned that that the added syllable: "a" could carry a rising intonation to signal a question. A question formed in this way is thought to be somewhat softer than one formed with the yes/no marker: "ma". In our dialogues you'll hear this added syllable: "a" used to carry a variety of different intonation contours which subtly modulate the message in different ways. Now let's complete the exchange of readings.
Listen.
  • How are you?
  • Nǐ hǎo a?
  • Nǐ hǎo a?
  • I'm fine.
  • Wǒ hǎo.
  • Wǒ hǎo.
  • And you?
  • Nǐ ne?
  • Nǐ ne?
  • Fine thank you.
  • Hǎo, xièxie.
  • Hǎo, xièxie.
Instead of repeating the full question "Nǐ hǎo a?", Mr. King just asks "and you?": "Nǐ ne?" Adding the syllable "ne", turns the single word "nǐ" into a question "and you?" "How about you?" Here's a conversation live.
Listen for the marker:
  • "ne".
  • Nǐ hǎo a?
  • Wǒ hǎo.
  • Nǐ ne?
  • Hǎo, xièxie.
Now here's the word for "thank you".
  • xièxie
  • xièxie
  • xièxie
Listen for:
  • xièxie

thank you.
  • Nǐ hǎo a?
  • Wǒ hǎo.
  • Nǐ ne?
  • Hǎo, xièxie.

Now try translating it.
  • Nǐ hǎo a?
  • How are you?
  • Wǒ hǎo.
  • I'm fine.
  • Nǐ ne?
  • And you?
  • Hǎo, xièxie.
  • Fine thank you.
Now let's review. Listen to the following live conversation. Miss Hu and Mr. King have not yet met. She has been sent to his hotel to act as his guide. She approaches the only American in the lobby.
Listen.
  • Nǐ shì Wáng Xiānsheng ma?
  • Shì. Wǒ shì Wáng Dànián.
  • Nín guìxìng?
  • Wǒ xìng Hú, jiào Měilíng.
  • Hú Xiǎojiě, nǐ hǎo a?
  • Hǎo xièxie. Nǐ ne?
  • Wǒ hǎo.

Try translating it line by line.
  • Nǐ shì Wáng Xiānsheng ma?
  • Are you Mr. Wang?
  • Shì. Wǒ shì Wáng Dànián.
  • Yes, I'm Wang Danian.
  • Nín guìxìng?
  • Your surname?
  • Wǒ xìng Hú, jiào Měilíng.
  • My surname's Hu and my given name is Meiling.
  • Hú Xiǎojiě, nǐ hǎo a?
  • Miss Hu, how are you?
  • Hǎo xièxie. Nǐ ne?
  • Fine thank you, and you?
  • Wǒ hǎo.
  • I'm fine.
Later Mr. King calls up Miss Hu. Listen to the start of their conversation live.
  • Shì Hú Měilíng Xiǎojiě ma?
  • Shì a, nǐ shì shéi?
  • Wǒ shì Wáng Dànián.
  • A nǐ shì Huáng Xiānsheng.
  • Bú shì. Wǒ bú xìng Huáng. Xìng Wáng.
  • O Wáng Xiānsheng, nǐ hǎo a?

Try translating it line by line.
  • Shì Hú Měilíng Xiǎojiě ma?
  • Are you Miss Hu Meiling?
  • Shì a, nǐ shì shéi?
  • Yes, who are you?
  • Wǒ shì Wáng Dànián.
  • I'm Wang Danian.
  • A nǐ shì Huáng Xiānsheng.
  • Oh, Mr. Huang?
  • Bú shì. Wǒ bú xìng Huáng. Xìng Wáng.
  • No my surname isn't Huang, it's Wang.
  • O Wáng Xiānsheng, nǐ hǎo a?

Oh, Mr. Wang, how are you?
Now, we'll go over what we just learned, this time using the Chinese characters. You'll also have a chance to produce the words and sentences.
Listen to this live exchange.
  • 你好啊?
  • 我好.
Try repeating the word for "to be fine".

Remember that
  • "wǒ"

("I"), in the low tone becomes
  • "wó",

in the rising tone, before the low tone of
  • "hǎo".

Saying two low tones in a row is always avoided in this way.
Try repeating "I'm fine".
  • 我好
  • 我好
  • 我好
Now try replying to Miss Hu and repeat the answer.
  • 你好啊?
  • 我好.
Let's continue the conversation. Listen.
  • 你好啊?
  • 我好. 你呢?
  • 好,谢谢.
Try repeating "and you?"
  • 你呢
  • 你呢
  • 你呢
Now try replying to Miss Hu. Say "I'm fine and you?"
  • 你好啊?
  • 我好. 你呢?
Now let's go through the same conversation with the roles switched. Try repeating "how are you?"
  • 你好啊
  • 你好啊
  • 你好啊
You'll remember that word for word this is something like, "you are fine question mark".
Try asking "how are you?" and repeat.
  • 你好啊
Try repeating the word for "thank you".
  • 谢谢
  • 谢谢
  • 谢谢
Try saying "fine, thank you".
  • 好,谢谢.
Now try asking Miss Hu "how are you?" and then reply to her question.
  • 你好啊?
  • 我好. 你呢?
  • 好,谢谢.
Well, that's the end of this lesson. Remember to head over to Lenguin.com to do the exercises. That's Lenguin as in Lenguin the Penguin. Thanks for watching! I want to thank all of our supporters for their help in making these courses possible. We want to keep these courses free, and with your help we can do that. So be sure to head over to our Patreon page, where in exchange for as little as a dollar, we're giving away rewards. Until next time, stay cool.
Login
I forgot my password
I forgot my password

Request a password reset. Enter your username and you'll get a mail with instructions:

Back to Login Page
Register
Back to Login Page