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In the third lesson we will study how to ask someone's first names, as well as some basic phrases for introductions.
3.01 Asking for a first name
The sentence pattern for asking for a first name is:
Pronoun + call (叫) + what (什么) + name (名字)?
什么 shénme what is an interrogative pronoun, and the first of the big six question words we will encounter (who, what, when, where, why and how)
Note as well that 叫 jiào does not change form according to the noun.
3.02 Hello! - a simple dialogue
In Chinese as well as English there are two main ways to state your name, the first being 我叫... Wǒ jiào My name is... and the second being 我是 Wǒ shì I'm... 你好! Nǐ hǎo! Hello! is the most common greeting in China, a direct translation would be "You good!" 好 hǎo means good, which in English is an adjective. However, in Chinese, 好 hǎo can also sometimes be a verb (as in "to get better"), and it can also be something called a "predicate adjective" which basically means a verb that acts like an adjective. This is why there is no verb to be 是 shì in the sentence 你好! Nǐ hǎo! We will cover predicate adjectives more fully in lesson 21. The point to remember here is that we should say 你好! Nǐ hǎo! not 你是好! Nǐ shì hǎo!
3.03 Nice to meet you! - everyday expressions
It is also possible to state 认识你很高兴 Rènshi nǐ hěn gāoxìng. This version does not follow the English pattern, instead it places the emotional state at the end rather than the beginning of the sentence. Literally it means something like "To know you is very pleasing". Both are equally valid ways of stating the same thing.
认识 rènshi is a verb that means to know, to recognize, to be familiar with
高兴 gāoxìng is an adjective that means happy, elated, the literal meaning of the first character of the word, 高 gāo means high and the second character 兴 xìng means interest
很 hěn very is an adverb and is one of the most used words in the Chinese language.
3.04 Hello! - the extended dialogue
Notes: 也 yě is an adverb that means also.
我也是美国人。 Wǒ yě shì Měiguórén. I am also an American.
她也是学生。 Tā yě shì xuéshēng. She is also a student.
Please take note here that the position of 也 yě is firmly fixed before the verb and after the subject. For instance, you cannot start a sentence with 也 yě, as you can in English (Also, I am a doctor).
马特 Mǎté and 莎拉 Shālā are phoneticizations of the English names Matt and Sarah.
3.05 What's his name? - concept and vocabulary review dialogue
Notes: Remember that in Chinese there is no direct correspondent to the English word yes. Instead, in many Chinese sentences they will reuse the verb from the question, e.g.
他是...? Tā shì...? Is he...?
- 是, 他是 Shì, tā shì... Yes, he is...
In spoken Chinese, people will often answer with the verb alone, indicating affirmation.
A Transcribe the characters below into pinyin
B Translate the following sentences
C Rearrange the words into complete sentences
D Fill in the blanks with the appropriate word
E Circle the character that matches the pinyin
F Match the words with the translation