Transcript

lang-zh-Latn
Hi, I'm Fame Ketover of Lenguin.com and this is Mandarin Chinese. You know that song "America the Beautiful"? I think the Chinese may have taken a hint as we will soon find out.
So we're going to talk and ask about people's nationalities in this lesson. We should mention that in Chinese, more often that not, these questions are really asking where you were from originally, or even where your family was from originally. The proper answer for a first generation Chinese-American might well be that he is Chinese.
Listen to the following exchange.
  • Are you an American?
  • Nǐ shi Měiguo rén ma?
  • Nǐ shi Měiguo rén ma?
  • I'm an American.
  • Wǒ shi Měiguo rén.
  • Wǒ shi Měiguo rén.
Here's the word for America, in the sense of the United States of America.
  • Měiguo
  • Měiguo
  • Měiguo
"Měi" was suggested phonetically by the second syllable of America. "Měi" also has a complimentary meaning, "beautiful." "Guó" means "country", so "Měiguo" means "the beautiful country." Notice that "guó" takes the neutral tone in a country name.
Listen to "America."
  • Měiguo
  • Měiguo
  • Měiguo
Here's the word for "person."
  • rén
  • rén
  • rén
The word for an "American", combines "America", Měiguo and "person", rén into "America person."
Listen.
  • Měiguo rén
  • Měiguo rén
  • Měiguo rén
Listen for
  • Měiguo rén,

"an American."
  • Are you an American?
  • Nǐ shi Měiguo rén ma?
  • Nǐ shi Měiguo rén ma?
  • I'm an American.
  • Wǒ shi Měiguo rén.
  • Wǒ shi Měiguo rén.

Here it is live.
  • Nǐ shi Měiguo rén ma?
  • Wǒ shi Měiguo rén.
Here's a similar exchange, listen.
  • Are you Chinese?
  • Nǐ shi Zhōngguo rén ma?
  • Nǐ shi Zhōngguo rén ma?
  • I'm Chinese.
  • Wǒ shi Zhōngguo rén.
  • Wǒ shi Zhōngguo rén.
Here's the word for China.
  • Zhōngguo
  • Zhōngguo
  • Zhōngguo
Zhōng means "middle". Zhōngguo is often translated as "the Middle Kingdom."
Here's the word for Chinese, literally "China person."
  • Zhōngguo rén
  • Zhōngguo rén
  • Zhōngguo rén
Listen for
  • Zhōngguo rén,

"Chinese."
  • Are you Chinese?
  • Nǐ shi Zhōngguo rén ma?
  • Nǐ shi Zhōngguo rén ma?
  • I'm Chinese.
  • Wǒ shi Zhōngguo rén.
  • Wǒ shi Zhōngguo rén.

Here it is live.
  • Nǐ shi Zhōngguo rén ma?
  • Wǒ shi Zhōngguo rén.
Let's see if you can follow this new live exchange.
Listen carefully.
  • Nǐ shi Zhōngguo rén ma?
  • Wǒ bú shi Zhōngguo rén.
  • Shi Měiguo rén.
To check up on your understanding of this exchange, here it is with a pause after each sentence and then the English.
Translate to yourself during the pause.
  • Nǐ shi Zhōngguo rén ma?
  • Are you Chinese?
  • Wǒ bú shi Zhōngguo rén.
  • I'm not Chinese.
  • Shi Měiguo rén.
  • I'm an American.
Notice that we translate "shi Měiguo rén" the same way we would translate "wǒ shi Měiguo rén", "I'm an American", even though the word "wǒ" does not appear. You know from the context that the subject is "I", and you can't really leave it out in English.
Here's a new exchange.
Listen carefully.
  • Mr. Wang, are you English?
  • Wáng Xiānsheng, nǐ shi Yīngguo rén ma?
  • Wáng Xiānsheng, nǐ shi Yīngguo rén ma?
  • I'm not English.
  • Wǒ bú shi Yīngguo rén.
  • Wǒ bú shi Yīngguo rén.
Here's the word for "England".
  • Yīngguo
  • Yīngguo
  • Yīngguo
And here's the word for "Englishman".
  • Yīngguo rén
  • Yīngguo rén
  • Yīngguo rén
Listen for
  • "Yīngguo rén"

in the following conversation.
  • Mr. Wang, are you English?
  • Wáng Xiānsheng, nǐ shi Yīngguo rén ma?
  • Wáng Xiānsheng, nǐ shi Yīngguo rén ma?
  • I'm not English.
  • Wǒ bú shi Yīngguo rén.
  • Wǒ bú shi Yīngguo rén.

Here it is live.
  • Wáng Xiānsheng, nǐ shi Yīngguo rén ma?
  • Wǒ bú shi Yīngguo rén.
It may have struck you that we have been asking what we call yes/no questions without actually answering them with "yes" or "no". This is because there is no single word for "yes" or "no" in Chinese. There are several ways to convey a meaning of "yes" or "no". The closest Chinese equivalent to a "yes" or "no" is an answer stripped down to its essentials, often the verb alone for "yes" or the verb plus the negative for "no".
Listen to this conversation.
  • Are you Chinese?
  • Nǐ shi Zhōngguo rén ma?
  • Nǐ shi Zhōngguo rén ma?
  • No.
  • Bú shi
  • Bú shi
  • Are you an American?
  • Nǐ shi Měiguo rén ma?
  • Nǐ shi Měiguo rén ma?
  • Yes.
  • Shì.
  • Shì.
Literally the answers are "not am" and "am". A better translation would be "I am not" and "I am".
Listen again live.
  • Nǐ shi Zhōngguo rén ma?
  • Bú shi
  • Nǐ shi Měiguo rén ma?
  • Shì.
It's possible to strip a negative reply down to "bù" - "not" - without the verb, but this considered a bit too abrupt for polite usage. However, following "bù" - "not" - with the full sentence changes this. Frequently, a short answer like "shì" or "bú shi" is followed by the full answer.
Listen.
  • Is Miss Ma an American?
  • Mǎ Xiǎojiě shi Měiguo rén ma?
  • Mǎ Xiǎojiě shi Měiguo rén ma?
  • No, she is not American.
  • Bú shi, tā bú shi Měiguo rén.
  • Bú shi, tā bú shi Měiguo rén.
  • Is she Chinese?
  • Tā shi Zhōngguo rén ma?
  • Tā shi Zhōngguo rén ma?
  • Yes, she's Chinese.
  • Shì, tā shi Zhōngguo rén.
  • Shì, tā shi Zhōngguo rén.

Here it is again, live.
  • Mǎ Xiǎojiě shi Měiguo rén ma?
  • Bú shi, tā bú shi Měiguo rén.
  • Tā shi Zhōngguo rén ma?
  • Shì, tā shi Zhōngguo rén.
Now, a professor is going over his class list for next semester with the dean. He has heard that some of his students will be foreign students. Listen to part of the conversation live.
  • Mǎ Xiǎojiě shi Měiguo rén ma?
  • Bú shi. Mǎ Xiǎojie bú shi Měiguo rén. Tā shi Zhōngguo rén.
  • Tā shi Zhōngguo rén. Bái Xiǎojie ne? Tā shi Yīngguo rén ma?
  • Bú shi, tā bú shi Yīngguo rén. Bái Xiǎojie shi Měiguo rén.

Here it is with the English following. Use the pause to translate to yourself.
  • Mǎ Xiǎojiě shi Měiguo rén ma?
  • Is Miss Ma an American?
  • Bú shi. Mǎ Xiǎojie bú shi Měiguo rén.
  • No, Miss Ma is not American.
  • Tā shi Zhōngguo rén.
  • She's Chinese.
  • Tā shi Zhōngguo rén.
  • Oh, she's Chinese.
  • Bái Xiǎojie ne?
  • And Miss Bai?
  • Tā shi Yīngguo rén ma?
  • Is she English?
  • Bú shi, tā bú shi Yīngguo rén.
  • No, she's not English.
  • Tā shi Měiguo rén.
  • She's American.
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, you'll get BONUS stuff. Until next time, stay cool.
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