I’m happy to be able to bring you another short beginner’s lesson courtesy of That’s Mandarin.
Today we’ll be using a few key verbs to create some short phrases like 我爱看书；我看书；我爱买书；爱好；看好
That’s Mandarin have kindly provided these beautiful pictures to introduce some really important Chinese characters. Each graphic has a short mnemonic (memory aid) to help you remember how to pronounce the word, which is super useful!
If you like these images make sure you share them with other people you think might find them useful and check out That’s Mandarin for more useful Chinese learning content.
|Our first word is "hǎo”. It sounds similar to the English word “how”. In Mandarin, “hǎo” can mean “good”, “nice” or “kind”.
Ni hao! (你好!) translated word for word means “you good!”. This is one way you can say “hello” in Mandarin. If you want to ask someone,“how are you going?” in Mandarin, you can say “nǐhǎo ma?” (你好吗?) Ma（吗）is a question particle.
To answer the question, you can say “wǒ hěn hǎo 我很好. This means “I am well”.
“Good friend” can be translated as “hǎo péngyou” (好朋友). “Hǎo” (好) is “good” while “péngyou” (朋友) is “friend”.
We can say “hǎo hē” (好喝) to say that a drink is “delicious”. Hǎo hē” literally means “good to taste”. When someone offers you a cup of green tea (lǜ chá), you can say that it is “hǎo hē”!
Can you guess what “hǎo chī” (好吃) means? Yes, that’s correct! “Hǎo chī” means that something delicious (to eat).
Hǎo jiǔ bù jiàn 好久不见 This is a very useful expression literally meaning “long time no see”.
|Next is “shū” (书) meaning “book”. It is pronounced the same way as “shoe” in English. “shū” is also related to words involving documents and writing. |
For example, “shūfǎ” (书法), literally “the way/method of writing”, means calligraphy. Calligraphy, along with lute-playing, chess and painting are the four traditional arts in China.
Calligraphy has an extremely long and interesting history. For example, in ancient times, calligraphy was highly valued. For this reason, the emperor needed to have beautiful calligraphy. Such was the power of calligraphy that during the imperial era, it was used to help select officials to serve in the emperor’s court. Calligraphy is still practiced in China today.
To practice calligraphy, you need a writing brush, paper, an ink stick and an ink slab. These items are known as the “Four Treasures of the Study”.
Do you know the word for “school bag” or “satchel”? It’s “shūbāo”(书包). Here we see the first character represents “book” while the second character represents “bag”.
To call someone a bibliomaniac is to say he/she is a “shū mǐ” (书迷). Translated word for word, “shū” is “book” while “mǐ” is “infatuated with” or “crazy about”.
If you want to describe someone as “young and inexperienced”, you can say he/she is a “bái miàn
xuéshēng”（白面学生）or a pale-faced scholar!
|Today’s word is “mǎi” (买) which means “to buy” or “purchase”. “Mǎi” sounds like the English word “my”.
In China, you can find many things you will want to buy. To say “buying things”, “to go shopping” or “to do one’s shopping” is quite simple: you say “mǎi dōngxi (买东西). To say I love to buy things is “wo ai mai dongxi” (我要买东西).
Nowadays in China it possible to buy almost anything over the internet (wǎng shàng 网上). Have you heard of táo bǎo” (淘宝)? It is one of China’s most popular websites to purchase and sell things. It is said you can buy almost anything on táo bǎo!
“Mǎimài”(买卖) means “business” and “buying and selling”. “Mǎi” means to buy while “mài” means “to sell”.
Mǎidān 买单 means “to pay a restaurant bill”.
Qiān jīn nán mǎi (千金难买) literally means “cannot be bought for one thousand in gold”. This is to say that something cannot be bought with money.
|Next is kàn (看). Kàn sounds similar to the English word “can”. Kàn is one of the most useful words in Mandarin because it can be translated as “to look”, “to watch”, “to read” and “to see”. |
Do you remember the word for book? That’s right, it’s shū(书). Wǒ kàn shū (我看书) literally means “I read book”.
We can translate the sentence as “I am reading a book/books”. The grammar pattern is subject + verb + object. Wǒ（我）is the subject, kàn（看）is the verb and shū (书) is the object.
Diànyǐng (电影) is “film”. Can you guess how to say “I am watching a film”? Yes, that’s right! You use the sentence pattern subject + verb+ object. Therefore “wǒ kàn diànyǐng （我看电影） is correct.
|In Mandarin, “ài” means “to love” and is pronounced like “eye”. For example, “wǒ ài hē chá” means “I love drinking tea”. And “I love reading books”? That’s right! It’s “wǒ ài kàn shū” (我爱看书).
In the past, many marriages in China were arranged by the bride and groom’s parents or by a match-maker. It was common for the bride and groom to meet for the first time at their wedding. After the wedding, the couple were expected to love each other and have children. These days, however, women and men are able to choose whom they want to marry.
A famous Chinese TV show about dating, love and marriage is fēi cháng wù rǎo (非诚勿扰). Twenty four women and several men participate per episode. The aim is for a single man to be paired with a single woman at the end of the episode.
The beginning of each episode follows the same structure. We see that every woman has a light in front of her. The male contestant then walks in and chooses the woman whom appeals to him the most. She is his “heartbeat girl” (心动女生),. Only he and the host know whom he has chosen.
A video is then shown of the man’s life, hobbies and occupation. Friends and colleagues often appear in the video to point out the man’s good qualities. During this time, the women can turn their lights off to signal a lack of interest in the man. If a woman uses the ‘burst light’, she shows she is quite interested in the man and becomes a finalist. If all of the 24 lights have been turned off, the man has ‘lost’ and departs alone. If only one woman has her light on, the man can ask her out on a date or thank her and leave by himself.
If there are more than five contestants remaining (excluding the one who has used the burst light), the man is asked to turn off two lights, thus showing he is not interested in the two women. The finalists are therefore the women whose lights are still on.
At this point, the “heartbeat girl” is then revealed to everyone. The man then poses a question to the finalists from a set list of questions. If one of the women continues to express an interest in the man, he and she can leave together. If the man’s “heartbeat girl” is not a finalist, he can try to win her over. The show ends with an interview of the man by himself or with a contestant if he is “successful”.
In Mandarin, there are a lot of words with “ài”. For example, we have “kě ài” (可爱) for “lovely/cute”, any “ài hǎo”（爱好）for “hobby”.
Here comes the most useful sentence:“wǒ ài nǐ”, which means “I love you”!
Try to use “ài” or even“wǒ ài nǐ” today!