我 I; me 我们 we
你 you 你们 you (plural)
他 he 他们 they
她 她们 they
我 I; me 我们 we
你 you 你们 you (plural)
他 he 他们 they
她 她们 they
Words & phrases
贵姓 guìxìng What’s your surname?
姓 (V. & N.) xìng surname
贵 guì noble
名字 míngzi name
叫 jiào to call; to be called
When asking someone’s name we say “Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?”(What is your name?) “Nín guì xìng?”(What is your honorable surname?) or “Nín zěnme chēnghu?” (How do I address you?) The last two are more polite expressions.
(verb & noun)
Nín guìxìng? 您贵姓？ What is your surname?
Wǒ xìng Zhèng. 我姓郑。 My surname is Zheng.
B:我姓王。您呢？*used at the end of the question sentence
Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi
我不姓王, 我姓宫。 Wǒ bú xìng Wáng, wǒ xìng Zhèng. S+不+V+O
Common Chinese surnames:
Illustrations courtesy of Chineasy.
我 l／me 我的 my
你 you 你的 your
她 she 她的 her
他 he 他的 his
我们 we 我们的 our
你们 you 你们的 your
他们 they 他们的 their
的 is a combination of 白 (white) and 勹 (to wrap up) with an extra small stroke inside the 勹 . 的 is the most frequently used Chinese character because it has many usages, including ‘of’ or indicate possession, like 我的 (my), 你的 (your) or 媽媽的 (mother’s), for example. Moreover, 的 can even act as a past-tense marker when combining with the character 是.
If you are a more advanced Chinese learner, here is a challenge for you: use 的 to make some phrases using its two main meanings: “of” and “‘s” (possession).
Statement + 吗
你好 Nǐ hǎo
你好吗？Nǐ hǎo ma? (How are you?)
你是老师吗？Nǐ shì lǎoshī ma? (Are you a teacher?)
你是中国人吗？Nǐ shì zhōngguó rén ma? (Are you Chinese?)
他也是中国人吗？ Tā yě shì Zhōngguó rén ma? Is he Chinese too?
你们都说汉语吗？Nǐmen dōu shuō Hànyǔ ma? Do you all speak Chinese?
你爱我吗？Nǐ ài wǒ ma? (Do you love me ?)
B: 不, 我不是中国人。
您是不是中国人？ Nín shì bu shì Zhōngguó rén? Are you Chinese or not?
他是不是中国人？ Tā shì bu shì Zhōngguó rén? Is he Chinese or not?
你们说不说汉语？ Nǐmen shuō bu shuō Hànyǔ? Do you speak Chinese or not?
你爱我吗？ = 你爱不爱我？
你是克罗地亚人吗？ = 你是不是克罗地亚人？ Yes or no; whether or not
Nǐ shì Jiānádà rén háishì Měiguó rén?
Are you Canadian or American?
Nǐ shuō Yīngyǔ háishì (shuō) Fǎyǔ?
Do you speak English ot French?
(1)你是哪国人？ Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén? What’s your nationality?
(2)你姓什么？ Nǐ xìng shénme? What’s your name?
(3)你叫什么名字？ Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi? What’s your name?
meaning “how about/what about…”
(1) A: 您是中国人吗？ Nín shì Zhōngguó rén ma?
B: 我是中国人。 你呢？ Wǒ shì Zhōngguó rén. Nǐ ne?
A：我是加拿大人。 Wǒ shì Jiānádà rén.
(2) A: 你叫什么名字？ Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?
B: 我叫江山。你呢？ Wǒ jiào Jiāng Shān. Nǐ ne?
A：我叫白小红。 Wǒ jiào Bái Xiǎohóng.
(3) A: 你说英语还是法语？ Nǐ shuō Yīngyǔ háishì shuō Fǎyǔ?
B： 我说英语。你呢？ Wǒ shuō Yīngyǔ. Nǐ ne?
C： 我也说英语。 Wǒ yě shuō Yīngyǔ.
Nǐ nǎ guó rén?
Nǐ jiào míngzi?
Complete the sentences with the word given,
shì shuō xìnɡ jiào
是 说 姓 叫
他___哪 国 人 ？
3.tā mínɡ zi
他___什 么 名 字 ？
4.tā bú Hàn yǔ
她 不___汉 语 。
Nǐ shì Jiānádà rén Měiguó rén?
Nǐ shuō Yīngyǔ (shuō) Fǎyǔ?
Pants － 裤子 (kù zi)
Jeans － 牛仔裤 (niú zǎi kù)
Shorts － 短裤 (duǎn kù)
Pajamas － 睡衣 (shuì yī)
Hat / Cap－帽子 (mào zi)
Slippers － 拖鞋 (tuō xié)
Illustrations by huazhongwen.com
This is a moon.
月 as noun: moon, month, moonlight, menses, confinement, moonlike, monthly
月 as adjective: beautiful (to describe women’s beauty or things relating to women), for example: 花容月貌 (hua1rong2yue4mao4, huāróngyuèmào, said of a woman, fair as a flower and beautiful as the moon)
Pinyin: 月 yuè (yue 4)
The character looks like this: 朋, and means “friend”, “friendly”, or “classmate”. I like to remember this phrase by imagining two friendly moons chatting the night away.
朋 as noun: 朋友 (Friend), 女朋友 (Girlfriend)
朋 as verb: 朋比 (Gang Up With)
Pinyin: 朋 péng (you 3)
You can practice this character by using the phrase 你好，朋友們! (ni3 hao3, peng2 you3 men), which means “hello, friends!”. 😀
(Traditional, Simplified and Kanji)
CHALLENGE: How many times can you use the phrase 你好，朋友們! (ni3 hao3, peng2 you3 men) in one day? You must be addressing more than one person, and it has to be a friend, not a family member!
The traditional Chinese calendar is lunisolar (based on the sun and moon), which is very different from the Gregorian calendar that is commonly used in Western countries. However, in modern times, almost everybody (including the Chinese) uses the Gregorian calendar for official business; it’s the unofficial standard for the world!
To write the month in Chinese, we take the number of the month and then add the character 月, which means “moon”.
In the traditional calendar, months are measured by the phases of the moon. One lunar cycle is one month. Even though we are talking about Gregorian months here, you can remember each month as “one moon cycle”, “two moon cycles”, etc…
本月, means ‘this month’. It consists the two characters: 本 and 月. 本 has various meanings, but here it means ‘this’.
You may wonder why we don’t use characters’ main definitions. Well, you can give it a try: ‘foundation moon’ doesn’t really make sense! In such cases, the characters must have alternative definitions.
A good learning strategy for characters like these is to focus on their main definition first e.g., 月’s main definition is ‘moon’. When you review the character again, slowly add in alternative definitions to your practice. Soon, it’ll only take you a second to translate a phrase like 本月.
Every month, more money enters into your bank account!
月入= 月 (Moon, Month) + 入 (To Enter) = [literally] (Monthly Enter); (Monthly Income)
月入 Pinyin yue4ru4
Style: Traditional and Simplified
The phrase 淡月 uses the compound 淡 (tasteless, light, weak) and the character 月 (moon, month) together.
淡 (tasteless, light, weak) +月 (moon, month) = [literally] (Weak Month); (A Slow Month For Business).
A very significant 淡月 in Taiwan and many other areas in China is ‘Ghost Month’–the seventh lunar month. On the first day of the month, the Gates of Hell open to allow ghosts and spirits access to the world of the living. The spirits spend the month visiting their families, feasting and and looking for victims. During the ghost months the sales of houses, cars or wedding services typically plummeted due to the superstitious culture.
Pinyin: 淡Dan (dan4); 月yuè (yue4)
August is 鬼月 (ghost month). In China and Taiwan, people will set out food for the ghosts, burn joss paper (a.k.a. paper money), and pray to their deceased ancestors. All of this will hopefully appease the hungry ghosts and prevent them from causing us any problems.
Pinyin: gui3 yue4
When we combine 月 (moon or month) and 子 (child, son, or as a noun suffix), we get 月子. This phrase refers to a postpartum tradition where mothers rest for about a month after giving birth.
This tradition has been practiced in East Asia, India, and Greece as well. The full Chinese phrase is 坐月子 (zuo4yue4zi, zuòyuèzi). We can translate this to “postpartum period”, “confinement”, and “sitting the month”. The idea is to help a new mother’s body recover from giving birth. In China and Taiwan, the baby’s grandmother will look after both mother and child, and visitors aren’t welcome (besides close family members). There are also some special diets and foods that are designed to help the mother’s body retain body heat that will help the mother’s circulation and promote healing.
You can read more about traditional confinement foods here: http://bit.ly/1dRG0YC
月子 = 月 (Moon, Month) + 子 (Child, Son, A Noun, A Noun Suffix) = [literally] (Month of Child); (The Month After Childbirth), (Postpartum)
If we combine 明 (bright) and 月 (moon), we get… “bright moon”! No surprise there. This phrase is often used as an adjective that means “bright”, “clear”, “explicit”, “wise”, etc.
明 (Bright) + 月 (Moon) = [literally] (Bright Moon)