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 fourth lesson we will learn about last names in China, and how to ask a person's last name. We will also cover some of the naming culture in China.

4.01 Common last names with social titles.

Lǐ xiānsheng
Mr. Lee
Lǐ xiǎojiě
Ms. Lee

Wng xiānsheng
Mr. Wang
Wng xiǎojiě
Ms. Wang

Zhāng xiānsheng
Mr. Zhang
Zhāng xiǎojiě
Ms. Zhang

Li xiānsheng
Mr. Liu
Li xiǎojiě
Ms. Liu

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


The social title goes after the last name, not before it. So instead of saying "Mr. Zhang" you are actually saying "Zhang Mr."

Li, 张 Zhāng, 王 Wng, and 李 are in the top 10 most popular surnames in China. 李 Lǐ is also in the top five most common surnames in South Korea.

As an added note, it is not common for wives to take their husband's family name when they marry. However, children are usually given their father's last name, although this is a bit more flexible than traditionally it was the West.

Vocabulary point:

xiān means first, so 先生 xiānsheng can be translated directly as "first born". Note that the second character of 先生, 生 shēng, is pronounced as a neutral tone in 先生. 

In other words, please note that the 生 shēng in xiānsheng doesn't have a line over it. That means that you should put more emphasis on the first syllable of the word, 先 xiān.

4.02 Introductions - simple formal 

A 您贵姓?
   Nn gu xng?

B 我姓李。您贵姓?
   Wǒ xng Lǐ. Nn gu xng?

A 我姓张。
   Wǒ xng Zhāng.


您贵姓? Nn gu xng? is a formal and polite way to ask another person's last name. 姓 xng means family name, and 贵 gu is an adjective modifying 姓 xng that literally means "expensive". I姓 xng is analogous to the British English use of "dear" to mean both "expensive" and, well, "dear".

4.03 Full Chinese Names

我姓李, 叫李雪。
Wǒ xng Lǐ, jio Lǐ Xuě.
My name is Li Xue.
我姓王, 叫王军。
Wǒ xng Wng, jio Wng Jūn.
My name is Wang Jun.
她姓张,  张小鱼。
Tā xng Zhāng, jio Zhāng Xiǎoy.
Her name is Zhang Xiaoyu.
他姓刘, 叫刘强国。
Tā xng Li, jio Li Qinggu.
His name is Liu Qiangguo.

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

4.04 Common last names with professional titles.

Lǐ jīnglǐ
Manager Lee
Lǐ lǎoshī
Teacher Lee

Wng jīnglǐ
Manager Wang
Wng lǎoshī
Teacher Wang

Zhāng jīnglǐ
Manager Zhang
Zhāng lǎoshī
Teacher Zhang

Li jīnglǐ
Manager Liu
Li lǎoshī
Teacher Liu

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


It is quite common in Chinese to use professional titles when addressing adults - in English, we really only do this with doctors, politicians, and people in the military. Bear in mind as well that the person's title comes after, not before the family name.

4.05 Hello teacher! - concept and vocabulary review dialogue

马特: 老师, 您好!
Lǎoshī ,nn hǎo!
张老师: 你好!你是留学生吗?
Nǐ hǎo! Nǐ sh lixushēnɡ ma?
马特: 是,我是留学生。
Sh, wǒ sh lixushēnɡ.
张老师: 你叫什么名字?
Nǐ jio shnme mngz?
马特: 我叫马特。
Wǒ jio Mǎt.


A Transcribe the characters below into pinyin

1.) _____________________ 2.) 小姐 ____________________
3.) _____________________ 4.) 老师 ____________________
5.) 经理  __________________ 6.) 留学生 __________________
7.) _____________________ 8.) _______________________

B Match the words with their translation

1.) teacher
2.) 老师

last name (surname)

3.) 经理                  expensive

to be called, to be named



C Fill in the blanks

A  Nn ______ xng?

B  Wǒ __________ Lǐ. ________ gu xng?

A   _______ xng Zhāng.

D  Circle the pinyin for the characters

: shēnɡ     jio     xng     gāo : hǎo     li     xiān     xng
: xiān     xng      shn     hǎo  : hěn     wǒ     xiǎo     mng 
: xng     gāo     mng     ma  : mng     tā     hǎo     shn 

E Write the English meanings next to the words

1.) 高兴 Gāoxng _________________
2.) Jio _________________
3.) Xng _________________
4.) 经理  Jīnglǐ
5.) 名字  Mngz
6.) 商人 Shāngrn

F Write questions for the following answers

1.) _______________________________________________________?

      是,我是英国人。 Sh,wǒ sh Yīnggurn.

2.) _______________________________________________________?

     是,他们是学生。 Sh,tāmen sh xusheng.

3.) _______________________________________________________?

     我叫王军。 Wǒ jio Wng Jūn.