Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Fame Ketover of Lenguin.com, and this is Mandarin Chinese. This is the second part on questions and answers about names. In this lesson you'll get practice in producing the sentences learned in the last lesson.

Remember to pay particular attention to identifying and remembering the tone patterns of words. As a speaker of English you're not in the habit of associating contours of pitch with individual words. But you'll need to as a student of Chinese. Remember, there's no such thing as the right word but in the wrong tone.

Here's the first exchange we had in the last lesson.
Ni3 shi shei2.
Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.

Again.
Ni3 shi shei2.
Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.

Here it is with the word for word translation.
Ni3 shi shei2.
You are who?

Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.
I am Wang Danian.

Now you're going to take the part of Daniel King and answer the question. Let's build up to it word by word. First try repeating Mr. King's Chinese name, "Wang Danian", after the speaker.
Wang2 Da4nian2
Wang2 Da4nian2
Wang2 Da4nian2

Getting a sequence of three tones at once can be difficult. Try repeating the rising tone surname alone.
Wang2
Wang2
Wang2

Now try repeating the falling-rising given name.
Da4nian2
Da4nian2
Da4nian2

And now try repeating the full name, rising-falling-rising.
Wang2 Da4nian2
Wang2 Da4nian2
Wang2 Da4nian2

Now try saying the full name by yourself and then repeat after the speaker.
Wang2 Da4nian2

Did you get the tone pattern right? Try saying the full name again, and repeat.
Wang2 Da4nian2

Now try repeating the word for "I".
Wo3
Wo3
Wo3

Be sure to give it the low tone. Repeat "I" again.
Wo3
Wo3
Wo3

Try saying "I' by yourself and repeat.
Wo3

Said by itself the word for "am" ("shi4"), is in the falling tone. Try repeating "am".
shi4
shi4
shi4

The vowel in "shi4" is just a prolonged R sound "rr". Try repeating "am" again.
shi4
shi4
shi4

To make this R sound you have to curl the tip of your tongue back. The SH part of "shi4" is also pronounced with the tip of the tongue curled back in what we call the retroflex position. Try repeating "shi4" again, making sure to keep the tip of your tongue curled back throughout.
shi4
shi4
shi4

Try saying "am" by yourself and repeat.
shi4

We are translating "shi4" as "am" here because we are working on the sentence "I am Wang Danian". But remember that it can also be translated "are" and "is". In other words, "shi4" is the verb "to be". The word "am" also gets partly swallowed up in English so that "I am" is contracted to "I'm" in just the same way "shi4" is often weakened in a Chinese sentence to the point where nothing is left but a toneless SH sound. Listen.
Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.
Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.

But when it is emphasized as in "Yes I am", "shi4" keeps it's long R sound and the falling tone. Listen.
Wo3 shi4 Wang2 Da4nian2.
Wo3 shi4 Wang2 Da4nian2.

Try repeating the second speaker's answer in the exchange.
Ni3 shi shei2.
Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.

Again.
Ni3 shi shei2.
Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.

This time try giving the answer ahead of the second speaker and then repeat.
Ni3 shi shei2.
Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.

Again.
Ni3 shi shei2.
Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.

Here's another live exchange. Listen
Ni3 shi shei2.
Wo3 shi Hu2 Mei3ling2.

Again.
Ni3 shi shei2.
Wo3 shi Hu2 Mei3ling2.

Try repeating Miss Hu Meiling's surname. Hers is the most common of the four surnames spelled HU, the one in the rising tone.
Hu2
Hu2
Hu2

Now try repeating her given name, "Mei3ling2". The tones are low-rising.
Mei3ling2
Mei3ling2
Mei3ling2

Now try repeating her full name.
Hu2 Mei3ling2
Hu2 Mei3ling2
Hu2 Mei3ling2

Try saying the full name yourself and then repeat.
Hu2 Mei3ling2

And now let's see if you can answer a rather unlikely question from Miss Hu ahead of Mr. King. Repeat his answer after him.
Wo3 shi shei2?
Ni3 shi Hu2 Mei3ling2.

Did you say, "You are Hu Meiling". Try it again.
Wo3 shi shei2?
Ni3 shi Hu2 Mei3ling2.

Here's the next exchange you had in the previous lesson. Listen.
Ni3 xing4 shen2me?
Wo3 xing4 Wang2.

Again.
Ni3 xing4 shen2me?
Wo3 xing4 Wang2.

The verb we translate as "to be surnamed" is:
xing4
xing4
xing4

Here's the exchange with the word for word translation.
Ni3 xing4 shen2me?
You are surnamed what?

Wo3 xing4 Wang2.
I am surnamed Wang.

Try repeating to be surnamed.
xing4
xing4
xing4

Notice that it starts with a sound that is neither quite like English's S nor quite like English SH. Listen.
xing4
xing4
xing4

It might help to think of "xing4" as halfway between the first syllables of the English words "single" and "shingle". If it sounds more like "shingle" to you, notice these two differences. "xing4" is pronounced with the tongue farther forward and with the lips spread.

First, try repeating "xing4". Concentrate on keeping your tongue forward in a tight E position.
xing4
xing4
xing4

Now without losing the tongue position concentrate on spreading your lips rather than protruding them.
xing4
xing4
xing4

Let's compare the consonants of "shi4" and "xing4". Try repeating.
shi4
xing4
shi4
xing4
shi4
xing4

Try saying "to be surnamed" and repeat.
xing4

Now try repeating the answer in the exchange.
Ni3 xing4 shen2me?
Wo3 xing4 Wang2.

Again.
Ni3 xing4 shen2me?
Wo3 xing4 Wang2.

This time give the answer ahead of the second speaker and then repeat it after him.
Ni3 xing4 shen2me?
Wo3 xing4 Wang2.

Again.
Ni3 xing4 shen2me?
Wo3 xing4 Wang2.

Now listen carefully to Miss Hu and try to answer her question ahead of Mr. King.
Wo3 shi Hu2 Mei3ling2.
Wo3 xing4 shen2me?
Ni3 xing4 Hu2.

Try it again.
Wo3 shi Hu2 Mei3ling2.
Wo3 xing4 shen2me?
Ni3 xing4 Hu2.

Let's see if you can give the appropriate answers to the two questions "who are you?" and "what's your name?". Taking the part of Wang Danian, answer before the second speaker and then repeat after him.

Ni3 shi shei2?
Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.

Ni3 xing4 shen2me?
Wo3 xing4 Wang2.

Ni3 xing4 shen2me?
Wo3 xing4 Wang2.

Ni3 shi shei2?
Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.

Now try it when some of Miss Hu Meiling's questions are about herself.

Wo3 shi shei2?
Ni3 shi Hu2 Mei3ling2.

Ni3 shi shei2?
Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.

Ni3 xing4 shen2me?
Wo3 xing4 Wang2.

Wo3 xing4 shen2me?
Ni3 xing4 Hu2.

Ni3 shi shei2?
Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.

Wo3 shi shei2?
Ni3 shi Hu2 Mei3ling2.

Ni3 xing4 shen2me?
Wo3 xing4 Wang2.

Wo3 xing4 shen2me?
Ni3 xing4 Hu2.

So far Miss Hu and Mr. King have been discussing themselves using "ni3" and "wo3". Now listen to them discuss a third person, Mr. Ma Mingli.
Ta1 shi shei2?
Ta1 shi Ma3 Ming2li3.

Again.
Ta1 shi shei2?
Ta1 shi Ma3 Ming2li3.

Try repeating Mr. Ma Mingli's surname, be sure to copy the low tone.
Ma3
Ma3
Ma3

Try repeating his given name, "Ming2li3". Notice that the tones are rising - low.
Ming2li3
Ming2li3
Ming2li3

Try repeating the full name.
Ma3 Ming2li3
Ma3 Ming2li3
Ma3 Ming2li3

Now try saying the full name yourself and then repeat.
Ma3 Ming2li3

Try repeating the word for "he", "ta1". Notice the extra explosiveness of the T.
ta1
ta1
ta1

You'll remember that "ta1" can also mean "she". Try "he" or "she" again, making sure to give it the high tone.
ta1
ta1
ta1

Here's the exchange again, repeat Mr. King's reply.
Ta1 shi shei2?
Ta1 shi Ma3 Ming2li3.

Again.
Ta1 shi shei2?
Ta1 shi Ma3 Ming2li3.

Try answering ahead of Mr. King and repeat after him.
Ta1 shi shei2?
Ta1 shi Ma3 Ming2li3.

Again.
Ta1 shi shei2?
Ta1 shi Ma3 Ming2li3.

Now let's see if you can take Mr. King's part and answer Miss Hu's questions.
Wo3 shi shei2?
Ni3 shi Hu2 Mei3ling2.

Ta1 shi shei2?
Ta1 shi Ma3 Ming2li3.

Ni3 xing4 shen2me?
Wo3 xing4 Wang2.

Ta1 xing4 shen2me?
Ta1 xing4 Ma3.

Ni3 shi shei2?
Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.

Wo3 shi shei2?
Ni3 shi Hu2 Mei3ling2.

Ta1 xing4 shen2me?
Ta1 xing4 Ma3.

Ni3 xing4 shen2me?
Wo3 xing4 Wang2.

Ta1 shi shei2?
Ta1 shi Ma3 Ming2li3.

Wo3 xing4 shen2me?
Ni3 xing4 Hu2.

Ni3 shi shei2?
Wo3 shi Wang2 Da4nian2.

Ni3 xing4 shen2me?
Wo3 xing4 Wang2.

As a beginner you're probably less likely to start a conversation. But let's bite the bullet and put in a few minutes of asking questions. Try repeating the word for "who".
shei2
shei2
shei2

You might be hearing "shei2" as beginning with an English SH sound, but there is a slight difference. The tongue is curled back in the retroflex position for the consonant of "shei2". It's the same sound you had in "shi4". Try repeating the word for "who", with this R flavored SH.
shei2
shei2
shei2

Have you been paying attention to the tone? It's the rising tone. Repeat "who" again.
shei2
shei2
shei2

Now try saying the word for "who" by yourself and repeat.
shei2

Try repeating the whole question "who are you?".
Ni3 shi shei2?
Ni3 shi shei2?
Ni3 shi shei2?

Now try asking "who are you?" ahead of the speaker and repeat.
Ni3 shi shei2?

Again, "who are you?".
Ni3 shi shei2?

Now repeat the word for "what".
shen2me
shen2me
shen2me

The initial consonant in "shen2me" is the same as the initial consonant in "shei2". The tip of the tongue is curled back in the retroflex position. Try it again.
shen2me
shen2me
shen2me

In normal speech the tone pattern of "shen2me" sounds rather like a rising tone over both syllables. Try imitating it.
shen2me
shen2me
shen2me

Try repeating the question, "what's your surname?".
Ni3 xing4 shen2me?

Again.
Ni xing shenme?

Now try asking the question ahead of the speaker and then again after him. Ask "What's your surname?".
Ni xing shenme?

Again "What's your surname?".
Ni xing shenme?

At this point you should be able to ask, "who is he?". Try it and repeat after the speaker.
Who is he?
Ta1 shi shei2?

Try asking "what's her surname?"
Ta xing4 shen2me?

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 subscribers and supporters for their gracious help in making these courses possible. In future lessons this is where I'll be giving shout-outs to our Patreon supporters. Be sure to visit our Patreon page to see all the goodies we're offering.

Until next time, stay cool.

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