Lesson 5: Languages

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Languages: I saved this section for after we had gotten to be familiar with different countries of the world and their nationalities in Chinese, as it is a little more complex to form languages. Now don’t go getting discouraged on me, you can do it, it just may take you a little more practice. The reason being, there are multiple ways to form the name of a language in Chinese. Just as we added 人 to 英國 to get 英國人, there are also several building blocks for “converting” a country to a language. The basic pieces are the country(minus the character 國 if present in the country’s name), 文, 語 and 話. But they aren’t one size fits all, unlike 人. For example, I could translate English as 英文 (note that the 國 gets cut off) or 英語, but I couldn’t say 英國話.

To sum it up, the formula is:

country(-國) + 文/語 = language

Or, sometimes…

country + 話 = language

So lets take a look at the languages spoken in each of the countries we’ve learned, and the different ways we can say them. Lets also take this opportunity to practice making sentences with 講 jiǎng, which means to speak.

1. 美國人講英文。
2. 加拿大人講英語。
3. 墨西哥人講西班牙話。
4. 巴西人講葡萄牙文。
5. 英國人講英文。
6. 西班牙人講西班牙話。
7. 法國人講法文。
8. 義大利人講義大利文。
9. 德國人講德國話。
10. 希臘人講希臘話。
11. 俄羅斯人講俄語。
12. 土耳其人講土耳文。
13. 菲律賓人講講菲語。
14. 印度人講印度話。
15. 馬來西亞人講馬來西亞文。
16. 日本人講日語。
17. 泰國人講泰語。
18. 新加坡人講中文。
19. 中國人講中國話。
20. 台(臺)灣人講華語。

Story: Now read along with and listen to the following story. Use the vocabulary along with the grammar you just learned to answer the “homework” questions below.

Last year, William went traveling in China. He met a lot of friendly Chinese people and ate a lot of Chinese food…he even learned how
to use chopsticks! He also met people from many different countries. He made a Japanese friend named Takashi. Takashi couldn’t speak English, so they used Chinese to communicate! William had fun in China, but he’s glad to be back in America with his family.

去年,威廉去中國旅行. 他有認識很多好的中國人和吃了很多中國菜。。。甚至他學會用筷子!他有認識過一位日本的朋友叫Takashi。Takashi不會講英文,所以他們用中文溝通了!威廉在中國的時候過的很快樂,但是他現在很開心回來美國跟他家人在一起。

qù nián wēi lián qù zhōng guó lǚ xíng. tā yŏu rèn shí hĕn duō hăo de zhōng guó rén hé chī le hĕn duō zhōng guó cài…shèn zhì tā xué huì yòng kuài zi!tā yŏu rèn shí guò yī wèi rì bĕn de péng yŏu jiào Takashi. Takashi bù huì jiăng yīng wén suŏ yĭ tā men yòng zhōng wén gōu tōng le!wēi lián zài zhōng guó de shí hòu guò de hĕn kuài lè dàn shì tā xiàn zài hĕn kāi xīn huí lái mĕi guó gēn tā jiā rén zài yī qĭ.

Comprehension Questions:

1. 威廉現在在中國嗎?
wēi lián xiàn zài zài zhōng guó ma?

2. 威廉有吃了很多日本的菜嗎?
wēi lián yŏu chī le hĕn duō rì bĕn de cài ma?

3. Takashi 是德國人嗎?
Takashi shì dé guó rén ma?

4. Takashi 會講英文嗎?
Takashi huì jiăng yīng wén ma?

5. 威廉現在為什麼快樂?
wēi lián xiàn zài wéi shén me kuài lè?

Essential Vocabulary: Here’s a list of some of the most useful phrases that we learned in this lesson. Practice them and record yourself and compare your pronunciation to mine.

1. 去年= last year

2. 旅行= travel

3. 很多= many

4. 認識= meet/know someone

5. 中國菜= Chinese food

6. 甚至= even

7. 學會= learn to do something

8. 朋友= friend

9. 所以= so

10. 用= use

11. 但是= but

12. 也= also

13. 時候= a point in time

14. 回來= return

15. 跟…在一起= be with (someone)

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7 thoughts on “Lesson 5: Languages

  1. loganmurphy1984 Post author

    Thanks for reading! True, but both are okay really and I intentionally try to word things differently so my readers will be exposed to more Chinese. I appreciate your suggestion and see you here next time!

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Lesson 6: Discussing Likes and Dislikes | Life as a Foreigner in Taiwan

  3. London Caller

    Sorry for the delay. I was away last week.
    Do pop over and see my holiday photos tomorrow. 🙂

    》English as 英文 (note that the 國 gets cut off) or 英語, but I couldn’t say 英國話.

    Yes, English language can be 英語 or 英文.
    You know, American English 美式英語 can also be abbreviated as 美語.
    But never 美文!

    Reply
    1. London Caller

      >I have not been to Venice yet though. What did you think of it?

      That’s my second time there. 😉
      It’s still very touristy.

      Have you been to Amsterdam (Holland), Bruges (Belgium) or Tongli (China)?

      Reply

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