Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 6

Lesson 7

Lesson 8

Lesson 9

Lesson 10

Lesson 11

Lesson 12

Lesson 13

Lesson 14

Lesson 15

Lesson 16

Lesson 17

Lesson 18

Lesson 19

Lesson 20

Lesson 21

Lesson 22

Lesson 23

Lesson 24

Lesson 25

Lesson 26

Lesson 27

Lesson 28

Lesson 29

Lesson 30

Lesson 31

Lesson 32

Lesson 33

Lesson 34

Lesson 35

Lesson 36

Lesson 37

Lesson 38

Lesson 39

Lesson 40

Lesson 41

Lesson 42

Lesson 43

Lesson 44

Lesson 45

Lesson 46

Lesson 47

Lesson 48

Lesson 49

Lesson 50


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In the second lesson we will learn how to make simple questions using the question word 吗? ma?

So how do you make a question? Well, we're glad you asked! All you have to do is add 吗? ma? to the end of the sentence.

In fact, it's much easier than in English, where you have to switch the verb and noun (I am going to the store vs. Are you going to the store?)

In Chinese it is the equivalent of being able to say, "You are going to the store, question?"

We will also learn about countries and nationalities.

2.01 Simple questions

Nǐ shì xuéshēng.
You are a student.
Nǐ shì xuéshēng ma?
Are you a student?
Tā shì shāngrén.
He is a business person.
Tā shì shāngrén ma?
Is he a business person?
Nǐmen shì liúxuéshēnɡ.
You all are foreign students.
Nǐmen shì liúxuéshēnɡ ma?
Are you all foreign students?

>> Listen to the MP3 (right click to save)


Remember that the word order in Chinese sentences is the same for statements as it is for questions, which is quite different from English, where there is special word order signifying that the sentence is an interrogative one.

Because there is no shift in word order, Chinese speakers indicate to their listeners that the sentence is a question by adding the question marker 吗 ma to the end of the sentence. In essence, 吗 ma is a question mark spoken aloud.

2.02 Countries and Nationalities

中国 Zhōngguó   China       中国人 Zhōngguórén   Chinese people
美国 Měiguó   America 美国人 Měiguórén   American people
英国 Yīngguó   Britain 英国人 Yīngguórén   British people
德国 Déguó   Germany 德国人 Déguórén   German people
印度 Yìndù   India 印度人 Yìndùrén   Indian people

>> Listen to the MP3 (right click to save)


To make a statement about a person's nationality, simply add the character 人 rén to the name of the country. There is no difference between singular and plural, thus 美国人 could mean an American or Americans.

There is another word for referring to people in the abstract, 人民 rénmín. For instance, the Chinese people would be 中国人民 zhōnɡɡuó rénmín, a phrase you see a lot in political situations.

2.03 Pronouns + Nationality complement in statement and question form

Wǒ shì Měiguórén.  
I am American.
Nǐ shì Měiguórén ma?
Are you American?
Tā shì Zhōngguórén.
He is Chinese.
Tā shì Zhōngguórén ma?
Is he Chinese?
Tā shì Déguórén.
She is German.
Nǐmen shì Yìndùrén ma?
Are you all Indian?
Tāmen shì Yīngguórén.
They are English.

>> Listen to the MP3 (right click to save)

2.04 Nationality - a simple dialogue

A 你是英国人吗?
   Nǐ shì Yīngguórén ma?

B 是,我是英国人。 你是中国人吗?
   Shì,wǒ shì Yīngguórén.  Nǐ shì Zhōngguórén ma? 

A 是,我是中国人。
   Shì,wǒ shì Zhōngguórén.


Wow! Our first dialogue in Chinese - did you understand it all?

Hopefully you did, as it contains vocabulary and sentence structures we have already covered.

In just a short time, you have learned to share information in Chinese in a meaningful way. If you go to China you will have many, many opportunities to practice the above dialogue, in fact you might get quite sick of it. Still, regionalisms are a big thing in China, and talking about where the other person is from can be a great way to develop a real conversation.


A Transcribe the characters below into pinyin

1.) 美国 _________________ 2.) 中国 __________________
3.) 德国 _________________ 4.) 印度 _________________
5.) 英国 _________________  

B Translate the pinyin into English

1.) Déguó __________________ 2.) Zhōngguó ______________
3.) Yīngguó _________________ 4.) Měiguó ________________

C Transcribe the characters into pinyin and then translate into English

1.) 中国人  _____________    ______________
2.) 英国人  _____________    ______________
3.) 德国人  _____________    ______________
4.) 美国人  _____________    ______________
4.) 印度人  _____________    ______________

D Fill in the blanks for this dialogue

A Nǐ shì _____________ ma?
B Shì,wǒ shì Yīngguórén.  Nǐ shì ______________ ma? 
A Shì,wǒ ______ Zhōngguórén.

E Match the character to its pinyin

1.) lǎo


3.) 中                          






F Transcribe the following sentences into pinyin

1.) 她是德国人。


2.) 你们是留学生吗?


3.) 他是中国人吗?


4.) 他是商人吗?