Countries Spoken – China and ?; Continent – Asia
With very grateful thanks to Laura who took an enormous amount of trouble over these.
Mandarin is a very literal language and a lot of what you say is explained simply by context and by little ‘add-on’ sounds within sentences that mean it is a question or is referring to something that has already happened etc.For example we would say, “It’s a hot day isn’t it?” The Mandarin would say “Day hot + sound to show it wasn’t hot before + sound to show this was a question”
Mandarin is a tonal language so you have to adjust how you say a word to mean something completely different; For example take the word “qing”
If you say “qing” in a high, level voice it can mean “clean, clear and pure”.
If you say “qing” with your voice rising like a question it can mean “feelings and affection”.
If you say “qing” dropping your voice low and then flicking it up slightly at the end it can mean, “to ask”.
If you say “qing” with your voice falling sharply like giving a dog a bossy command to sit, then it can mean, “to celebrate”
These are the four main tones and then there is a neutral tone, which is as it sounds. When you are learning Mandarin then you write a symbol for the tone over the top of the word so you know how to say it – just be aware if anyone is practising some of these words they may not be saying exactly what they think they are!
The number rule for 21-29, 31-39 etc is as follows…
Rule for twenty and above: number of tens + number
eg. 47 is Si (4) Shi (10) Qi (7) Si Shi Qi
Where N/A is put in, no equivalent to the English exists in this language. The sounds are phonetic.
*Except after these Zh, Sh, Z, C, S, R when it is short as is jig
**(except after ‘y’, ‘yu’ is pronounced like “see you jimmy”, when spoken with a strong Glaswegian accent)
Other end sounds are either a combination of the above or as they would be in English but often with a real nasal twang
eg. ‘Tang’ would be a longer nasal sound ‘tahng’
Sounds to practice because they are so similar:
She and Shi
Ji and Qi
Chong and Zhong
Chang and Zhang
|Days and Months
In the case of Sunday, Ri does mean Sun rather than being a number.
Please is Quig Ni
Thank you is Xie Xie
The old ways of greeting people which go back to when many people did not have enough to eat or clothes to keep out the cold were
Have you eaten yet? Ni Chi Le Mei You
Are You Cold? Leng Bu Leng
Flag of China
The word for colour is Se
|Size and Shape
I have included these but with Lauras rider that they do not translate well, due to changing with situations.
Some China associations and names
– to be expanded!
China Zhong Guo ( means the central kingdom)
Chinese Han Yu ( as in Chinese language)
Chopsticks – Kuai Zi
Panda – Xiong Mao
Rice – Mi Fan