Transcript

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Hi, I'm Fame Ketover of Lenguin.com, and this is Mandarin Chinese. Are you excited to be here? Wait, don't answer yet, because we're about to learn how to ask and answer yes/no questions. You've already learned how to ask questions with "who" ("shéi") and "what" ("shénme"). Here are two live examples.
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  • Nǐ shi shéi?
  • Wǒ shi Hú Měilíng.
  • Nǐ xìng shénme?
  • Wǒ xìng Wáng.
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Now let's look at another kind of question, one that can be answered "yes" or "no".
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Listen to this exchange.
  • Is she Mrs. Wang?
  • Tā shi Wáng Tàitai ma?
  • Tā shi Wáng Tàitai ma?
  • She is Mrs. Wang.
  • Tā shi Wáng Tàitai.
  • Tā shi Wáng Tàitai.
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Notice that the question is exactly the same as the answer except for the syllable "ma" at the end. Any statement may be turned into a yes/no question, that is, a question that can be answered "yes" or "no", by adding "ma" at the end.
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Here's the exchange live.
  • Tā shi Wáng Tàitai ma?
  • Tā shi Wáng Tàitai.
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Here's another example of a yes/no question with "ma".
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  • Are you Mr. Wang?
  • Nǐ shi Wáng Xiānsheng ma?
  • Nǐ shi Wáng Xiānsheng ma?
  • I am Wang Danian.
  • Wǒ shi Wáng Dànián.
  • Wǒ shi Wáng Dànián.
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Notice that Mr. King does not refer to himself as: " Wáng Xiānsheng". One seldom uses the title: "Xiānsheng" or "Xiǎojiě" when referring to oneself. A married woman however will refer to herself by her husband's name with: "Tàitai".
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Here's the exchange live.
  • Nǐ shi Wáng Xiānsheng ma?
  • Wǒ shi Wáng Dànián.
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Now let's see if you understand this live exchange.
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  • Nǐ xìng Wáng ma?
  • Wǒ xìng Wáng.

Here it is again with a pause after each line and then the English. Use the pause to try to translate the line to yourself.
  • Nǐ xìng Wáng ma?
  • Is your surname Wang?
  • Wǒ xìng Wáng.
  • My surname is Wang.
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Here's another live exchange.
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  • Nǐ xíng Hú ma?
  • Wǒ xìng Hú.
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If the answer is no, one way to handle it is simply to give the correct information.
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Listen to this exchange.
  • Are you Mr. Ma?
  • Nǐ shi Mǎ Xiānsheng ma?
  • Nǐ shi Mǎ Xiānsheng ma?
  • I'm Wang Danian.
  • Wǒ shi Wáng Dànián.
  • Wǒ shi Wáng Dànián.

Again live.
  • Nǐ shi Mǎ Xiānsheng ma?
  • Wǒ shi Wáng Dànián.
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And here's another example.
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  • Tā shi Wáng Tàitai ma?
  • Tā shi Mǎ Tàitai.
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Another way to reply if the answer is "no" is with a negative sentence.
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Listen carefully.
  • Are you Mr. Ma?
  • Nǐ shi Mǎ Xiānsheng ma?
  • Nǐ shi Mǎ Xiānsheng ma?
  • I am not Mr. Ma.
  • Wǒ bú shi Mǎ Xiānsheng.
  • Wǒ bú shi Mǎ Xiānsheng.
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The negative of:
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  • "shi"

is:
  • bú shi
  • bú shi
  • bú shi
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Let's compare a statement with its negative.
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Listen.
  • I'm Wang Danian.
  • Wǒ shi Wáng Dànián.
  • Wǒ shi Wáng Dànián.
  • I'm not Wang Danian.
  • Wǒ bú shi Wáng Dànián.
  • Wǒ bú shi Wáng Dànián.

Here it is live.
  • Wǒ shi Wáng Dànián.
  • Wǒ bú shi Wáng Dànián.
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Here's another comparison live.
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  • Wǒ shi Hú Měilíng.
  • Wǒ bú shi Hú Měilíng.
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Here's another live exchange.
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Listen.
  • Nǐ shi Mǎ Xiānsheng ma?
  • Wǒ bú shi Mǎ Xiānsheng.
  • Wǒ xìng Wáng.
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The negative of: "xìng" works the same way as the negative of: "shì"
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Listen.
  • Is your surname Fang?
  • Nǐ xíng Fāng ma?
  • Nǐ xíng Fāng ma?
  • My surname is not Fang.
  • Wǒ bú xìng Fāng.
  • Wǒ bú xìng Fāng.
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Here's the negative of:
  • xìng
  • bú xìng
  • bú xìng
  • bú xìng
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Let's compare a statement with: xìng and its negative with: bú xìng
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  • My surname is Wang.
  • Wǒ xìng Wáng.
  • Wǒ xìng Wáng.
  • My surname isn't Wang.
  • Wǒ bú xìng Wáng.
  • Wǒ bú xìng Wáng.

Here it is live.
  • Wǒ xìng Wáng.
  • Wǒ bú xìng Wáng.
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Here's another comparison live.
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  • Wǒ xìng Hú.
  • Wǒ bú xìng Hú.
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Now listen to this live exchange.
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  • Nǐ xìng Mǎ ma?
  • Bú xìng Mǎ.
  • Xìng Wáng.
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Notice that in the question: Nǐ xìng Mǎ ma? the word: is a surname. While the word: ma is a yes no question marker. Notice also that Mr. Ma doesn't bother to supply the subject for his sentences. It's obvious from the question that the subject, must be "I". Here's a word for word translation using "not" for:
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  • You are surnamed Ma?
  • Nǐ xìng Mǎ ma?
  • Nǐ xìng Mǎ ma?
  • Not am surnamed Ma.
  • Bú xìng Mǎ.
  • Bú xìng Mǎ.
  • Am surnamed Wang.
  • Xìng Wáng.
  • Xìng Wáng.
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Now let's see if you can follow this live conversation.
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Listen carefully.
  • Nǐ shi Fāng Xiǎojiě ma?
  • Wǒ bú xìng Fāng.
  • Xìng Hú.
  • Wǒ shi Hú Měilíng.

Try translating it.
  • Nǐ shi Fāng Xiǎojiě ma?
  • Are you Miss Fang?
  • Wǒ bú xìng Fāng.
  • My surname isn't Fang.
  • Xìng Hú.
  • It's Hu.
  • Wǒ shi Hú Měilíng.
  • I'm Hu Meiling.
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So far you've learned one way to ask someone's surname, Nǐ xìng shénme? This is a straightforward way to ask someone's surname. But it's considered somewhat blunt. Even in an official setting you'll quite likely to be asked your surname in a more respectful way. The way that would be required in a more social situation.
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Listen to this polite exchange.
  • Your surname?
  • Nín guìxìng?
  • Nín guìxìng?
  • My surname's Wang.
  • Wǒ xìng Wáng.
  • Wǒ xìng Wáng.
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Here's the polite word for "you".
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Let's compare the polite word for "you": "Nín" with the plain word for "you": "Nǐ" There are two differences in pronunciation. First the polite word has a final N sound: "Nín" while the plain word doesn't "Nǐ" Second the polite word is in the rising tone: "Nín" While the plain word is in the low tone: "Nǐ"
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Listen to the polite and plain words for "you".
  • "Nín"
  • "Nǐ"
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Here's the polite word for "surname",
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literally "honorable surname".
  • guìxìng
  • guìxìng
  • guìxìng
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You'll recognize the element: "xìng" which you've already had as a verb, "to be surnamed". "guì" by itself means "precious" or "expensive" and hence "honorable". Listen for the polite words: "Nín" and guìxìng in the exchange.
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  • Your surname?
  • Nín guìxìng?
  • Nín guìxìng?
  • My surname's Wang.
  • Wǒ xìng Wáng.
  • Wǒ xìng Wáng.
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Literally then, "Nín guìxìng" is something like "you surname" with both words being special polite forms. Notice by the way that this polite question is answered in just the same way as the plain question: Nǐ xìng shénme? Here's the exchange live.
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  • Nín guìxìng?
  • Wǒ xìng Wáng.
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Like the question: Nǐ xìng shénme? the question: Nǐ shi shéi? is also thought to be straightforward to the point of being blunt. Even if someone wants to know your full name he's only likely to hint at it by asking your surname. If you catch the hint you can supply your full name.
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Listen to this live exchange.
  • Nín guìxìng?
  • Wǒ shi Hú Měilíng.
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In these lessons, when you're asked: Nín guìxìng? take the question in its literal sense and answer with surname alone. That's how we'll confirm it. But you should be aware that it's common and sometimes even more appropriate to answer with the full name. Don't be surprised if you hear the full answer in some of the dialogues. After you've said your surname you might be asked for your given name alone.
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Listen to the following exchange.
  • What's your given name?
  • Nǐ jiào shénme?
  • Nǐ jiào shénme?
  • My given name is Danian.
  • Wǒ jiào Dànián.
  • Wǒ jiào Dànián.
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The verb: "jiào" means to be called. In this context we might say that it means "to be given named". Listen to the verb "to be called" or "to be given named".
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Now listen to the exchange again.
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  • What's your given name?
  • Nǐ jiào shénme?
  • Nǐ jiào shénme?
  • My given name is Danian.
  • Wǒ jiào Dànián.
  • Wǒ jiào Dànián.

Here it is live.
  • Nǐ jiào shénme?
  • Wǒ jiào Dànián.
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You may have noticed the parallel between: "xìng" ("to be surnamed") and: "jiào" ("to be given named"). They function just the same way in the sentence.
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Here's a similar exchange live.
  • Nǐ jiào shénme?
  • Wǒ jiào Měilíng.
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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 helping make these courses possible. We want to keep these courses free, and with your donations we can do that. So be sure to visit our Patreon page, where in exchange for as little as a dollar, we're giving out rewards. Until next time, stay cool.
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