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Lesson 13

Lesson 14

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In lesson 13 we will cover the cardinal directions north, east, west, and south as well as central or middle.

We will also learn how to ask where in a country someone is from.

13.01 The major cardinal directions

northern part

southern part

western part

eastern part

central part

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Vocabulary point:

The cardinal directions are all used in place names that we have already covered or that should be familiar to us.

běi, meaning north is used in the city name 北京 Běijīng, meaning literally "North Capital". Likewise, 南 nn meaning south is used in the city name 南京 Nnjīng, meaning "South Capital".

The capital of Japan, 东京 Dōngjīng contains the character 东 dōng meaning East*, so likewise Tokyo literally translated means "Eastern Capital".

西 means west and is used in the city name 西安 Xī'ān the famous home of the terracotta warriors.

Finally, 中国 Zhōnggu China itself contains the character 中 Zhōng meaning middle.

*The Kanji for Tokyo uses the traditional character 東 for east, so in Japan "Tokyo" is written 東京.

13.02  North or south, east or west...or the middle? - example sentences

Dwi liz Yīnggu běib.
David is from the North of England.
Ānn liz Yīnggu nnb.
Anna is from the South of England.
Mǎt liz Měigu zhōngb.
Matt is from the American Midwest.
Slā liz Měigu dōngb。
Sarah is from the Eastern part of the USA.

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The pattern is (nation) (cardinal direction)+(area), with the nation acting as a modifier of the area. In English we use a somewhat similar pattern when talking about the American Midwest, but usually the pattern is the opposite, with the nation acting as the headword.

13.03 What part of the country are you from?

Nǐ cng...
  You .... from..?
Nǐ cng Měigu...
  You ... from .....of the United States?
Nǐ cng Měigu shnme...
  You ... from what.....of the United States?
Nǐ cng Měigu shnme dfang...
  You ... from what part of the United States?
Nǐ cng Měigu shnme dfang li?
  You come from what part of the United States?

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你从什么地方来? Nǐ cng shnme dfang li? has two meanings, based on context. If it is the first time people meet each other, than it has roughly the same meaning as 你来自什么地方? Nǐ liz shnme dfāng? This sentence asks for the place, so the answer should be the name of place, as in 我从美国华盛顿来。Wǒ cng Měigu Hushngdn li.

However, if you are already know the other person, then 你从什么地方来? Nǐ cng shnme dfang li? has the meaning, Where did you come from (just now)? For instance, if you just visited some place and your friend wants to know where you visited, they can ask 你从什么地方来? Nǐ cng shnme dfang li? to get the answer.

In English, this question lacks ambiguity due to the differences in verb tense used present simple connotes a question about your permanent identity, whereas the simple past connotes an inquiry into your recent activities.

13.04 What part of England are you from? - Dialogue practice

A: 你是哪国人?
Nǐ sh nǎ gurn?
大卫: 我是英国人。
Wǒ sh Yīnggurn.
A: 你从英国什么地方来?
Nǐ cng Yīnggu shnme dfang li?
大卫: 我来自英国北部。
Wǒ liz Yīnggu dōngb.

13.05 What you are a person from what part of the country?

Nǐ sh...
  You are...?
Nǐ sh Měigu...
  You are... of the United States?
Nǐ sh Měigu shnme...
  You are... from what.....of the United States?
Nǐ sh Měigu shnme dfang ...
  You ... from what part of the United States?
Nǐ sh Měigu shnme dfang rn?
  You are a person from what part of the United States?

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你是美国什么地方人?Nǐ sh Měigu shnme dfang rn? From point of view of grammar, this is a predicate adjective sentence. The emphasis in the sentence is on the person, with the place modifying the individual's identity. Since this sentence asks about a person, so the answer should add 人 rn, as in 我是美国华盛顿人。 Wǒ sh Měigu Hushngdn rn. But normally people just answer with the place, like 华盛顿 Hushngdn.

13.06 Northerner or Southerner? - vocabulary introduction

北方 Běifāng North (of China)     北方人 Běifāngrn Northerner
南方 Nnfāng South (of China) 南方人 Nnfāngrn Southerner

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Normally people just use the 长江 Chngjiāng or Yangtze river to separate South and North, but strictly speaking the 秦岭 Qnlǐng Qinling Mountains and the 淮河 Hui H Huai River are the dividing line.

13.07 Northerner or Southerner? - example sentences

Lǐ Xuě sh Nnfāngrn. Tā liz Zhōnggu Nnfāng.
Li Xue is a Southerner. She is from the South of China.
Wng Jūn sh Běifāngrn. Tā liz Zhōnggu Běifāng.
Wang Jun is a Northerner. He is from the North of China.

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

13.08 Are you from the North or the South? - Concept review dialogue

莎拉: 李雪,你是北方人吗?
Lǐ Xuě, nǐ sh Běifāngrn ma?
李雪: 不是,我是南方人。我来自南京。
B sh, wǒ sh Nnfāngrn. Wǒ liz Nnjīng .
莎拉: 王军也是南方人吗?
Wng Jūn yě sh Nnfāngrn ma?
李雪: 不是,他是北方人。他来自北京。
B sh, tā sh Běifāngrn. Tā liz Běijīng.

A Transcribe the characters below into pinyin

1.) 南方 _____________________ 2.) 东部 ____________________
3.) 来自_____________________ 4.) 地方 ____________________
5.) 西 __________________ 6.) 北方人 ___________________
7.)  __________________ 8.)  __________________

B Translate the pinyin into English

1.) Běifāng __________________ 2.) Dfang ______________
3.) Nnb _________________ 4.) Nnfāng ________________
5.) Zhōngb _________________ 6.) Běib ________________

C Transcribe the following sentences into pinyin

1.) 你是北方人吗?


2.) 她来自中国南方。


3.) 你是美国什么地方人?


4.) 我来自英国北部。


D Translate the following sentences

1.) Nǐ sh Nnfāngrn ma?


2.) Nǐ cng Yīnggu shnme dfang li?


3.) Ānn liz Yīnggu nnb.


E Circle the pinyin for the character

: fāng     jio     jin     gāo : li     gāo     mng     běi 
: xiān     fāng      shn     li  : hěn     běi     z     fāng 
: wǒ     li      shn     b  : nǎ     b     fāng     mng 
: xng     fāng     nǎ     dōng  西 : xī     xng     hǎo     shn 

F Fill in the blanks

莎拉: Lǐ Xuě, nǐ sh ______________ ma?
李雪: B ____, wǒ sh Nnfāngrn. Wǒ _________ Nnjīng .
莎拉: Wng Jūn yě sh __________ ma?
李雪: B sh, tā sh _________ . ____ liz Běijīng.

G Arrange the words into sentences

1.) liz       Měigu       Tā        nnb


2.) nǎli       Nǐ      li      cng ?


3.) Měigu       liz        xīb       Wǒ


4.) Shnghǎirn        lǎoshī        Zhāng        sh       ma ?


H Write questions for the following answers

1.) _______________________________________________________?

      不是,他是南方人。 B sh, tā sh Nnfāngrn.

2.) _______________________________________________________?

      我来自英国北部。 Wǒ liz Yīnggu dōngb.

3.) _______________________________________________________?

    马特来自美国中部。 Mǎt liz Měigu zhōngb.

4.) _______________________________________________________?

    不是,我是北方人。 B sh, sh Běifāngrn.