Chinese (Mandarin)/Print version

Chinese (Mandarin)

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Table of contents

Text / 课文

Introduction / 介绍

About Chinese
How to use this textbook
How to study Chinese


Pinyin Pronunciation Basics  
Pronunciation of Initials
Pronunciation of Finals
Possible Initial-Final Combinations
Using Tones

Text / 课文

  1. Hello! - 第一课:你好!  
  2. Are you busy today? - 第二课:今天你忙不忙?  
  3. An introduction to particles - 第三课:助词  
  4. Word order and Verbs - 第四课:词序和动词  
  5. Measure words/Counters - 第五课:量词  
  6. More on interrogatives - 第六课:疑问助词  
  7. What's this? - 第七课:这是什么?  
  8. Who is she? - 第八课:她是谁?  
  9. Where is the railway station? - 第九课:火车站在哪里?  
  10. A telephone conversation - 第十课:电话  
  11. Taiwan
  12. Mandarin is so interesting!
  13. I'm sick
  14. Drinking tea
  15. China
  16. Basic Chinese History

Introduction / 介绍

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

About Chinese

Republic of China
(ROC, Taiwan)
People's Republic of China
(PRC, Mainland China)
People's Republic of China
(Hong Kong)
People's Republic of China
新加坡共和國 (新加坡)
馬來西亞 (大馬)
Republic of Singapore
The Chinese cultural sphere of influence
Areas where (Mandarin) Chinese is spoken natively

The Chinese language (汉语/漢語, 华语/華語 or 中文; Pinyin: Hanyu, Huayu, Zhongwen) is a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. About one-fifth of the world speaks some form of Chinese as its native language, making it the most common natively-spoken language in the world.

There is great internal variety within Chinese, and spoken Chinese languages such as Standard Mandarin (Putonghua), Shanghainese (Wu), and Cantonese, which are not mutually intelligible. Nevertheless, there is a single standardized form of Chinese known as Standard Mandarin, which is based on the dialect of Beijing, which is in turn its own Mandarin dialect, among a large and diverse group of Chinese dialects spoken in Northern and Southwestern China. Standard Mandarin is the official language of Mainland China and Taiwan, one of four official languages of Singapore, and one of six official languages of the United Nations. Standard Mandarin also corresponds to the modern standard written Chinese language used by people speaking all forms of Chinese from all corners of China, including Mandarin, Wu, Cantonese, Hakka, Min-nan, and so forth. This textbook will teach Standard Mandarin, both spoken and written.

Chinese grammar is in many ways simpler than European languages (for example, you will see no tenses, plurals, or subject-verb agreement), but there are also plenty of pitfalls that will trip up the unsuspecting beginner (for example, you will encounter tones, measure words, and discourse particles, which do not feature as strongly in European languages). In addition, the complexity of the writing system often daunts newcomers, as Chinese is one of the few languages in the world that does not use an alphabet or a syllabary; instead, thousands of characters are used, each representing a word or a part of a word. However, most complex Chinese characters are composed of only a few hundred simpler characters and many contain phonetic hints. There is a common Western misconception of Chinese writing as having thousands of distinct and idiomatic symbols each representing a single word. However, Chinese writing is surprisingly mnemonic, granted it is not as simple as the writing of Romance languages. The government of China has developed a system of writing Standard Mandarin pronunciation in the Roman alphabet, known as Hanyu Pinyin, or simply, pinyin (汉语拼音/漢語拼音, "spelling according to sounds"). Hanyu Pinyin is used to write out Chinese words phonetically in an effort to help learners of Chinese with their pronunciation. This wikibook will teach you Hanyu Pinyin first, before any actual sentences. All examples and new vocabulary will always be given together with Hanyu Pinyin.

There are two character sets: Simplified Chinese characters (简体字/簡體字, Pinyin: Jiǎntǐzì) and Traditional Chinese characters (繁体字/繁體字, Pinyin: Fántǐzì). Traditional characters trace their lineage through thousands of years of Chinese history, and continue to be used in Hong Kong, Macau, Republic of China, and among many overseas Chinese. Simplified Chinese characters were the result of reforms carried out in Mainland China to increase literacy rates and is now used in Singapore as well. Many people may think that Simplified Chinese was made by the PRC government, but in fact many characters in Simplified Chinese were assembled from the calligraphy in ancient China. There is no denying however that some characters were made up recently. Two systems share many of the same characters or with systematic, predictable reductions in stroke; however, some changes are not as formulaic. As a result, most native Chinese speakers are able to write in only one of the two systems, though they can usually read both. You are recommended to do the same. It is considered easier for people who learn Traditional to read both sets than people who learn Simplified only, but Simplified characters are less intimidating for beginners. In this wikibook, all examples and vocabulary are given in both systems, and you are encouraged to choose one system and stick with it throughout.

Chinese characters have also been used in the past by other neighbouring Asian countries, and are still being used by some of them today. Some older Koreans still know how to read and write Chinese characters, but although the members of younger generations are taught Chinese characters or hanja, they are rarely used and unnecessary for literacy in Korean, with the native alphabet, hangul. Chinese characters are occasionally used for abbreviations, to clarify technical vocabulary (as Chinese serves roughly the same role in Korean that Latin serves in English), and to write family and many personal names. The Japanese still preserve many Chinese characters or kanji today and use them along with two syllabaries to write the Japanese language.

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order


This textbook will assume that you have no prior knowledge of Chinese, but are willing to take Chinese as a serious subject of study. Each lesson contains a combination of new vocabulary and new grammar in a gradual progression, building on previous lessons.

Each lesson should be appropriate for a week's worth of daily classes, so don't feel overwhelmed by the amount of material per lesson. Learning to write new characters will probably be your limiting factor, so split up the memorization of a lesson's characters over two or three days and use class time mostly for work on grammar and speaking skills.

Lesson Sections

Each lesson consists of five parts:

  1. Dialogue. Here you will see a dialogue carried out by two or more people. All texts are given in 4 versions: Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Hanyu Pinyin, and an English translation.
  2. Grammar. This section breaks down all of the new sentence structures introduced in the dialogue and shows example sentences to reinforce them.
  3. Vocabulary. New vocabulary for the lesson, with translation and pronunciation. Every newly introduced character will be linked to an image or animation showing its stroke order.
  4. Examples. A page of sentences and phrases giving more examples based on the lesson material.
  5. Exercises. Questions and activities to test comprehension of the material. May be used as homework or as review material for lesson exams.

Wikibook Navigation

All the lessons and appendices of this Wikibook are arranged as subpages of the Chinese main page (the Table of Contents). Navigating between lessons is done by clicking the appropriate link in the green mini-Table of Contents box found at the top and bottom of every page. To navigate to less-commonly-accessed pages from a subpage, you must first return to the Chinese main page by clicking on "< Chinese" which appears in the top left corner of all subpages.

Additionally, lesson subpages have subpages branching off of them which contain supporting material for the lesson such as examples, exercises, and animations demonstrating the stroke orders of new characters. You'll also find "Traditional" listed as a subpage, which is a toggle button for accessing the traditional version of the page. Click on it, and "Simplified" replaces it, meaning you can easily switch back and forth between the simplified and traditional character versions of this text.

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Speaking and Pronunciation

  • Learn pinyin. Not only is it used throughout this book to explain proper pronunciation, it is needed to look up words in dictionaries and to type in Chinese.
  • Pay attention to the tones. Since there are so few syllables in Chinese, there are many homonyms, making attention to tones very important. Learning to write the pinyin with correct tones at the same time as you learn the characters will improve your pronunciation and your listening comprehension.
  • Read the text aloud. Speaking (and hearing yourself speak) will help reinforce the text in your memory. Exaggerating the tones can help you remember them. In Chinese, character (something that when writing takes a space unit), word (which may include some characters or a single character), and sentence may be different from English. When speaking Chinese, the pronunciation of each character should be a single unit.
  • Find a language partner. There may be a Chinese language club in a nearby city or university. There are also free websites on the Internet that can help you set up a language exchange using Skype or other VoIP programs. Two examples are The Mixxer and E-Tandem.
  • Use a Text To Speech (TTS) service. In other words, have a computer read the text for you. Free examples include Google Translate and Google Translate can not only read the text (the volume icon, not available for large texts) but also give you the pinyin (the A with the umlaut), and, of course, translate.
  • Consume Chinese media. Immersing yourself in Chinese after learning the basics will make learning easier. To learn pronunciation, make the voices of native speakers your constant companions, and after finishing this book, continue to immerse yourself—you will have learned enough to take on Chinese "in the wild". A wide variety of multimedia options exist for exposing your ears to native Chinese speakers. Two of the best sites for easy listening materials are Popup Chinese and Advanced learners can listen to broadcasts of Xinhua, China's official news network, or visit Youku, a Chinese incarnation of YouTube (YouTube is blocked in China, and Facebook as well, for that matter). Download as much audio as you can from these sites to your MP3 player and start listening. You can listen to Chinese whenever you're in the car, commuting, or doing mechanical tasks. Note that, since Internet Explorer 6 is still a popular browser in China, Chinese websites may seem a bit quirky, and video streaming services may not work at all on modern browsers.

Reading and Writing

  • Practice writing—a lot. When you study, write a character at least ten times, and more if you have trouble remembering it. You can find special grid paper for writing practice with Chinese characters on the Internet; for example, PDF sheets are available on UVM's web site, and a practice sheet generator is available at (or original site, French). The output is set up as a grid, so that a typical printer can print 11 characters with 8 boxes each per page in portrait mode, giving each character one row, or 5 characters with 17 boxes each, and so on. In landscape mode, a printer can print 8 characters with 11 boxes each per page, or 4 characters with 23 boxes each giving each character two lines. Remember to quiz yourself periodically to test your memory and to find which characters you need to practice more. As you write, think of the sound and meaning of the character, or say it out loud. Check out the East Asian Calligraphy wikibook for more help with Chinese writing. Learn the correct stroke order initially and write carefully, looking at the printed character each time before copying. Actually writing is important to establish a 'motor memory' of each character, which will allow your writing to flow more easily.
  • Use a flashcard program. Many people who use flash cards memorize information, but there's often much time wasted reviewing what they already know well, or in relearning what they forgot. The free programs Anki and Mnemosyne, can optimize your review schedule using their algorithms. They can also use audio for pronunciation help and 3-sided cards to study reading, writing, and translation separately. You can download free cardsets, export your own, or write them yourself to fully customize your character selection.
A radical highlighted in 3 characters
  • Look for radicals. Radicals are components of Chinese characters that you will see repeated over and over again. Learning the meaning of radicals will help you to see the connections between similar categories of words. Many characters are comprised of radical-phonetic pairings, where the radical is the "root" that hints at the meaning of the word, while another part of the character hints at the sound of the word. Learning to spot radicals is also useful since they can be used when looking up words when you don't know the pinyin in Chinese dictionaries.
  • Buy a dictionary. They're useful for looking up new words or just browsing. Beginner's dictionaries have larger fonts, usage examples, and Pinyin pronunciation, all of which are sometimes missing in comprehensive dictionaries. CC-CEDICT is a thorough Chinese-English dictionary available under Creative Commons. KTdict C-E is a free iOS app that uses CEDICT. A good physical dictionary that provides many example sentences and phrases is The Starter Oxford Chinese Dictionary (Simplified characters only). A good online dictionary would be nciku. It is searchable by pinyin, characters, and sketches, via a drawing panel. It not only contains definitions, also shows the stroke order of a character, and gives examples of its use.

Suggested Reading Materials

  • Children's story books (the characters are easier, many include pinyin or zhuyin for difficult characters)
  • Xinhua is the official Chinese news network, but again, it is mostly for advanced learners.
  • LWO Flashcard program
  • Pinyin/Pinyin-English News Summary

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order


Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Pinyin Pronunciation

This lesson shows the pronunciation of pinyin, the standard Romanization system used for Mandarin Chinese and the one that will be used throughout the textbook. While many of the letters are the same or very close to the English usage, there are some important differences.

Pronunciation Basics

Pinyin may look strange, but is actually relatively easy for English speakers to pick up. It basically follows the "one letter one sound" principle, with some exceptions easy to notice. Remember that as you proceed through these first lessons on pronunciation!

One very different aspect of Chinese is its use of tones. Because of its limited sound inventory, the pitch, also known as the tone or inflection, is used to help differentiate between words. Words with different tones have entirely different meanings, but may have the same base with different radicals. While some dialects of Chinese have up to nine tones, Mandarin is comparatively easy with only four. It's often difficult for beginners to distinguish the tone of a word, especially when not sure of the context, people who do not speak a tonal language are not used to listening for pitch in conversation. Speaking Chinese is like singing, but even if you have perfect pitch, it may be hard to follow or reproduce what seems like a roller coaster ride of tonal transitions. Don't worry though, you'll improve by listening and practicing. These lessons will describe how to understand and reproduce all the syllables and tones of Mandarin.

Other Chinese phonetic systems and the IPA

If you are familiar with Zhuyin (bopomofo), Tongyong Pinyin or the Wade–Giles system, Wikipedia has an equivalency chart comparing these different systems.

Hanyu Pinyin is the most common Romanization system for Chinese, which will be used for the rest of the text. However, you may find Tongyong Pinyin and Zhuyin helpful in understanding the correct pronunciation, as they treat exceptions to initial-final combinations in syllables differently (see below).

The IPA, or International Phonetic Alphabet, is a standard set of symbols that can be used to write any sound from any human language. The sounds of pinyin will be listed on the next pages in IPA.


a o e i u ü

b p m f d t n l

g k h j q x

zh ch sh r z c s

y w

ai ei ui ao ou iu

ie üe er

an en in un ün

ang eng ing ong

Pinyin syllable

There are three parts to all syllables in Mandarin: initials, finals and tones. They are represented as follows.


The tone is represented by a tone mark placed on top of the syllable. There are four tone marks: ˉ, ˊ, ˇ and ˋ. The two dots on ü (an umlaut like in German) do not have to do with the tone. So if you see ǖ, ǘ, ǚ or ǜ, the symbol above the dots represents the tone.


The initial is:

  • in the beginning of a syllable
  • a consonant (excluding y or w in some cases)
  • usually one letter, except for zh, ch and sh


The final is the letter(s) after a syllable's initial, excluding the tone mark. A final:

  • begins with a vowel
  • ends with a vowel, n, ng or r
  • a syllable can have 1 or 2 finals

For example: in duàn, d is the initial, uan is the final, and ˋ is the tone.


Some syllables have no initial or no final. In Pinyin, this is shown as follows:

  • For syllables with no final:
    • an unpronounced i is added to the end of the syllable, and the tone is marked above the i: chchi.
    • Occurs only with the following initials: zh, ch, sh, r, z, c and s.
  • For syllables with no initial:
    • if the final begins with an i, it is replaced with a y: iaoyao (pronounced like English "yow")
    • if the final begins with an u, it is replaced with a w: uanwan (pronounced like English "won/one")
    • if the final begins with an ü, it is replaced with yu: üanyuan
    • Exceptions:
      • i alone is replaced by yi, in is replaced by yin, ing is replaced by ying;
        • iu is replaced by you.
      • u alone is replaced by wu;
        • ui is replaced by wei, un is replaced by wen, ueng is replaced by weng.

When ü is combined with initials j, q, x and y, the umlaut is removed, like .

If those look intimidating, don't sweat it. The next few pages will give some actual examples of how initials and finals are pronounced and put together, and how to use tones.

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Remember, since hearing is very important for learning to speak, audio samples and the voices of native speakers should be your constant companions.

Pronunciation of initials

Pinyin IPA Explanation Examples
b [p] unaspirated p, as in spit 帮 bāng, to help
包 bāo, (Chinese) bun
p [pʰ] as in English 炮 pào, gun; cannon
m [m] as in English 马 mǎ, horse
f [f] as in English 风 fēng, wind
d [t] unaspirated t, as in stand 大 dà, big
刀 dāo, knife
t [tʰ] as in English 头 tóu, head
n [n] as in English 男 nán, male
l [l] as in English 老 lǎo, old
g [k] unaspirated k, as in skill 格 gé, grid
歌 gē, song
k [kʰ] as in English 看 kàn, to see
h [x] like the English h if followed by "a"; otherwise it is pronounced more roughly (not unlike the Scots ch) 好 hǎo, good
喝 hē, to drink
画 huà, to draw
j [tɕ] like q, but unaspirated. (To get this sound, first take the sound halfway between joke and check, and then slowly pass it backwards along the tongue until it is entirely clear of the tongue tip.) While this exact sound is not used in English, the closest match is the j in ajar, not the s in Asia; this means that "Beijing" is pronounced like "bay-jing", not like "beige-ing". 叫 jiào, to call
家 jiā, home, family
近 jìn, close
尖 jiān, sharp
q [tɕʰ] like j above, but with strong aspiration. Similar to church; pass it backwards along the tongue until it is free of the tongue tip 气 qì, air, gas
桥 qiáo, bridge
x [ɕ] like sh, but take the sound and pass it backwards along the tongue until it is clear of the tongue tip; very similar to the final sound in German ich, Portuguese enxada, luxo, xícara, puxa, and to huge or Hugh in some English dialects 小 xiǎo, little, small
心 xīn, heart
想 xiǎng, to think; to want
zh [tʂ] ch with no aspiration (take the sound halfway between joke and church and curl it upwards); very similar to merger in American English, but not voiced 长 zhǎng, to grow
中 zhōng, center, middle
重 zhòng, heavy
ch [tʂʰ] Like zh above, but with strong aspiration. Similar to chin, but with the tongue curled upwards; very similar to nurture in American English, but strongly aspirated 吃 chī, to eat
茶 chá, tea
sh [ʂ] as in shinbone, but with the tongue curled upwards; very similar to undershirt in American English 沙 shā, sand
手 shǒu, hand
上 shàng, up, on
r [ɻ] similar to the English r in rank, but with the lips spread and with the tongue curled upwards 日 rì, sun
热 rè, hot
z [ts] unaspirated c (halfway between beds and bets), (more common example is suds) 紫 zǐ, purple
c [tsʰ] like ts, aspirated (more common example is cats) 草 cǎo, grass
次 cì, time(s)
s [s] as in sun 送 sòng, to send
y [j], [ɥ] as in English. If followed by a u, pronounce it with rounded lips 月 yuè, moon
音 yīn, tone
w [w] as in English 外 wài, outside

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Pronunciation of finals

Pinyin IPA Final-only form Description
Single finals a [a:] a as in "father"
o [ɔ:] o as in "got"
e [ɤə] e a backward, unrounded vowel: first place the tongue between [ŋ] and [ə] to produce [ɤ], and then lower the tongue to slide to [ə]

a bit like English "duh", but not as "open"

(ê) [e] ê as in "get"
i [i:] yi as in "he"
(-i) [ɻ̩], [ɹ̩] i is a buzzed continuation of the consonant when it appears after these initials: z-, c-, s-, zh-, ch-, sh- and r-
u [u:] wu as in "who"
ü [y:] yu as in German "üben" or French "lune" (to get this sound, say "ee" with rounded lips)
Plural finals ai [ai̯] ai like "eye", but a bit lighter
ei [ei̯] ei as in "say"
ui [uei̯] wei like "way", but a bit lighter
ao [au̯] ao like "cow", the a is much more audible than the o
ou [ou̯] ou as in "so", "dough"
iu [iəu̯] you as in "Leo"
ie [i̯e] ye like "yet"
üe [y̯e] yue as pinyin ü + ê
er [aɚ̯] er as in "bar" in American English (the r is always pronounced) (this final doesn't combine with any initials)
an [an] an as in "stun", "fun"
en [ən] en as in "taken"
in [in] yin as in "in"
un [u̯ən] wen as pinyin u + en
ün [yn] yun as pinyin ü + n
ang [aŋ] ang as in "young", like "song" in American English
eng [əŋ] eng replace the [n] in en with [ŋ]
ing [iŋ] ying as in "thing"
ong [ɔŋ] replace the [n] in "yawn" with [ŋ]

Rolled finals

Rolled finals (儿化音) are a phenomenon in spoken Mandarin. People from northern China like to roll their tongue when saying specific words (usually nouns and verbs) in daily dialogues. On the other hand, people from southern China rarely do that. Foreign Chinese learners are not quite suggested to learn so, as this is sometimes considered as a northern China accent instead of standard Mandarin. This table's purpose is to enable Chinese learners to recognize and understand them when hearing somebody using them.

Pinyin IPA Explanation
e'r [ɤ˞] as e + er (not to be confused with the final er on its own, e'r only exists with an initial character before it)

air, anr

air, anr

[aɚ̯] as ai + er, an + er
aor [au̯˞] as ao + er
our [ou̯˞] as ou + er
angr [ãɚ̯̃] as ang + er
iar, ianr [i̯aɚ̯] as ia + er, ian + er
inr, ir [i̯ɚ] as in + er, i + er
ingr [i̯ɚ̃] as ing + er
ur [u˞] as u + er
uor [u̯o˞] as uo + er
uir [u̯ɚ] as ui + er
ongr [ʊ̃˞] as ong + er
ür [y̯ɚ] as ü + er

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Using Tones

Relative pitch changes of the four tones

Every syllable in Chinese has a clearly defined pitch of voice associated with it to distinguish characters with the same sound from each other. Unfortunately, there is no indication of the tone given when reading a character, so the tones for words must be individually memorized. To help with this, pinyin uses four easily-remembered diacritical marks to tell you what the tones of words are. The diagram to the right shows the pitch changes of the four tones on a five-bar scale going from lowest (1), to highest (5), while the five tone marks are:

  1. First tone (阴平)( ˉ ), high level.
  2. Second tone (阳平)(ˊ), middle rising.
  3. Third tone (上声)( ˇ ), low dipping.
  4. Fourth tone (去声)(ˋ), high falling.
  5. Tone of unstressed syllable (轻声)(without any marks), low level.

Tone marks are always placed over vowels, never consonants. If there is more than one vowel in the syllable, the mark placement is determined by three simple rules.

  1. If there is an a or an e, the tone goes on the a or the e. No pinyin syllable contains both an a and an e.
  2. In the ou combination, the o takes the tone mark.
  3. In all other cases, the final vowel gets the tone mark.

Pronouncing the tones

Each bar of this musical staff represents the relative pitch changes when saying tones 1, 2, 3 and 4

Say the first tone as if you were singing a high note. The second tone is pronounced like a question in English, with your pitch rising at the end of the syllable. Third tones are low and extended, noticeably longer than the other tones because of the dip. The fourth tone is said abruptly and forcefully, like a curt command in English. The neutral tone's pitch depends on the tone that precedes it. It is described more fully below, but in general, they are pronounced quickly and softly. The classic example used to show the difference tones make is:

() () () () (·ma)

(Being "mother", "hemp", "horse", "scold" and a question particle, respectively.)

The shape of the 3rd tone when before 1st, 2nd and 4th tones

In many cases, several characters can have exactly the same syllable and tone. For example, along with 马, the characters 码 and 蚂 are also pronounced exactly the same (mǎ). 马 can be used alone to mean the animal "horse." It can also be combined with other characters for new meanings. 马上mǎshàng-immediately; 马球mǎqiú-polo; 马路mǎlù-street; etc. Other characters with the same pronunciation will be used differently as well. 数码相机shùmǎ xiàngjī-digital camera; 蚂蚁mǎyǐ-ant; etc. Since these characters alone sound exactly the same in conversation, the only way to distinguish them is through context.

Tone changes

The third tone, with its dip-and-rebound, is hard to fit into a continuous sentence. This is why the third-tone changes depending on its environment. There are two rules:

  1. If a third tone comes before another third tone, then it is pronounced as a second tone.
  2. If a third tone comes before any other tone, then it only dips, and doesn't rebound and is called a half-third tone (see image).

Because of these broad rules, the majority of third tones you encounter will be spoken as second tones or half-third tones. Be mindful of this because the written tone marks remain unchanged despite the differences in actual pronunciation.

Neutral Tones

Some syllables don't have a tone and carry no tone mark. They are not stressed, and they take their tone from the syllable before them:

  1. If it follows a first- or second-tone syllable, then the toneless syllable is mid-range.
  2. If it follows a third-tone syllable, then the toneless syllable is high, as if the dip-and-rebound of the third-tone continues right into it.
  3. If it follows a fourth-tone syllable, then the toneless syllable is low, as if the fall of the fourth-tone continues right into it.

Test and Review

Mandarin One: Lesson One

Congratulations! You have completed the pronunciation lessons. Continue to Lesson 1!

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Lessons / 课程

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Lesson 1: 你好!

It is appropriate to start off the introduction to Chinese with the common greeting 你好   ‹nǐ hǎo› (“hello”)。 Below is a dialogue between two people meeting each other for the first time.


Dialogue 1

Simplified Characters Traditional Characters
金妮: 你好。 金妮: 你好。
欧文: 你好。 歐文: 你好。
金妮: 我叫金妮。你叫什么名字? 金妮: 我叫金妮。你叫什麽名字?
欧文: 我叫欧文。 歐文: 我叫歐文。
Pīnyīn English
Jīnní: Nǐ hǎo. Ginny: Hello.
Ōuwén: Nǐ hǎo. Owen: Hello.
Jīnní: jiào Jīnní. jiào shénme míngzi? Ginny: I'm Ginny. What's your name?
Ōuwén: jiào Ōuwén. Owen: I'm Owen.

Dialogue 2

Simplified Characters Traditional Characters
金妮: 他们是谁? 金妮: 他們是誰?
欧文: 她是艾美,她是中国人。他是东尼,他是美国人。 歐文: 她是艾美,她是中國人。他是東尼,他是美國人。
金妮: 你也是美国人吗? 金妮: 你也是美國人嗎?
欧文: 不是,我是英国人。你呢?你是哪国人? 歐文: 不是,我是英國人。你呢?你是哪國人?
金妮: 我是法国人。 金妮: 我是法國人。

Pīnyīn English
Jīnní: Tāmen shì shéi? Ginny: Who are they?
Ōuwén: Tā shì Àiměi, tā shì Zhōngguórén. Tā shì Dōngní, tā shì Měiguórén. Owen: She is Amy. She's Chinese. He's Tony, an American.
Jīnní: Nǐ yě shì Měiguórén ma? Ginny: Are you also American?
Ōuwén: Bú shì. Wǒ shì Yīngguórén. Nǐ ne? Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén? Owen: No, I'm British. How about you? Which nationality are you?
Jīnní: Wǒ shì Fǎguórén. Ginny: I'm French.


Note: Visit this lesson's Stroke Order subpage to see images and animations detailing how to write the following characters. Audio files of the words are linked from the pīnyīn when available. Problems listening? See media help.

Simplified Traditional (if diff.) Pīnyīn Part of speech English [‍m.‍]
1a.     (pro) you (singular, masculine)
1b.         (pro) you (singular, feminine), rarely used in the Mainland
2.     hǎo (adj) good
3.         men (particle) (noun plural marker)
4a. 你们    你們    nǐmen (pro) you all (plural, masculine)
4b. 妳们    妳們    nǐmen (pro) you all (plural, feminine)
5.     (pro) I, me
6. 我们    我們    wǒmen (pro) we, us
7.     (pro) he, him
8.     (pro) she, her
9. 他们    他們    tāmen (pro) they, them (masc.)
10. 她们    她們    tāmen (pro) they, them (fem.)
11.     jiào (v) to be named, (lit.) to call
12. 什么    什麽    shénme (pro) what
13. 名字    míngzi (n) name
14.     shì (v) to be (am/is/are)
15.         shéi OR shuí (pro) who, whom
16.         guó (n) country
17.     rén (n) person [   ‹gè› (   )]
18.     (adv) also
19.         ma (part) (question particle for yes or no questions)
20.     ne (part) (question particle for known context)
21.     OR něi (pro) what, which
22.     (adv) (negates verbs)

Proper Nouns

Simplified Traditional (if diff.) Pīnyīn English
1. 金妮 Jīnní Ginny
2. 欧文 歐文 Ōuwén Owen
3. 艾美 Àiměi Amy
4. 东尼 東尼 Dōngní Tony
5. 中国    中國    Zhōngguó China
6. 美国    美國    Měiguó United States
7. 英国    英國    Yīngguó United Kingdom
8. 法国    法國    Fǎguó France

Forming the nationality is usually as simple as adding on    ‹rén› (“person”) to the country name. 中国   ‹Zhōngguó› (“China”) becomes 中国人   ‹Zhōngguó rén› (“a person of Chinese nationality”), and so forth.


Basic Sentences

The sentence structure of Chinese is very similar to that of English in that they both follow the pattern of Subject-Verb-Object (SVO). Unlike many languages, verbs in Chinese are not conjugated and noun and adjective endings do not change. They are never affected by things such as time or person.

S + V + O

1. 我叫艾美。

Wǒ jiào Àiměi.
I'm called Amy.

Sentences using shì [是]

The equational verb    ‹shì› (“to be”) can be used as the English is or equals.    ‹shì› can only be used to equate combinations of nouns, noun phrases, and pronouns. In Chinese,    ‹shì› (“to be”) is not used with adjectives, as it is in English, as in, "He is cold."

S + 是 + O

1. 我是中国人。

Wǒ shì Zhōngguórén.
I am a Chinese person.

2. 她是金妮。

Tā shì Jīnní.
She is Ginny.

3. 她们是英国人。

Tāmen shì Yīngguórén.
They are English.
   ‹shì› is negated when preceded by    ‹bù› (“not”).    ‹bù› is normally 4th tone, but changes to a 2nd tone when it precedes another 4th tone.

S + 不 + 是 + O

1. 他不是东尼。

Tā bú shì Dōngní.
He is not Tony.

2. 我不是美国人。

Wǒ bú shì Měiguórén.
I am not American.


There are no articles in Chinese grammar. While English noun clauses often begin with "a", "an", or "the", Chinese is less verbose.

An example:

  1. 我是中国人。
    Wǒ shì Zhōngguórén.
    I am [a] Chinese person.

An "a" appears in the English translation, but the singular and indefinite nature of 中国人   ‹Zhōngguórén› (“Chinese person”) is just inferred in Chinese.

The question particle    ‹ma›

Adding the modal particle    ‹ma› to the end of a sentence makes a statement into a question. There is no change in word order unlike in English.

The declarative example sentence in #1 is transformed into an interrogative in #2.

1. 她是金妮。

Tā shì Jīnní.
She is Ginny.

2. 她是金妮吗?

Tā shì Jīnní ma?
She is Ginny ?

The question particle    ‹ne›

Using the ending modal particle    ‹ne› makes a question when the context is already known, similar to saying "How about...?" in English. A common circumstance is when you wish to repeat a question that was just asked for another subject. Simply add    ‹ne› to the end of the noun or pronoun to ask "How about this".

1. 我叫东尼, 你呢?

Wǒ jiào Dōngní, nǐ ne?
I'm called Tony. How about you?

2. 艾美是中国人, 他呢?

Àiměi shì Zhōngguórén, tā ne?
Amy is Chinese. How about him?

Question words

Question words like    ‹nǎ› (“what”) and    ‹shéi› (“who”) also make statements into questions without changing the order of the sentence. In Chinese, each question word appears where its answer would complete the surrounding sentence.

1. 他们是国人?

Tāmen shì guó rén?
What nationality are they? (literally, "They are what country person?")

2. 是美国人?

Shéi shì Měiguórén?
Who is American?

3. 她是

Tā shì shéi?
Who is she? (literally, "She is who?")

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order
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Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Lesson 2: 今天你忙不忙?

Lesson 2 contains a dialogue of two students discussing their classes for the day.


Dialogue 1

Simplified Characters Traditional Characters
东尼: 艾美,早上好(早安)。 東尼: 艾美,早上好(早安)。
艾美: 早。你好吗? 艾美: 早。你好嗎?
东尼: 我很好,谢谢。你呢? 東尼: 我很好,謝謝。你呢?
艾美: 我也很好。你今天忙吗? 艾美: 我也很好。你今天有空嗎?
东尼: 今天我很忙。我有五门课。 東尼: 今天我很忙。我有五門課。
艾美: 五门?太多了!我今天只有一门。 艾美: 五門?太多了!我今天只有一門。
东尼: 一门?太少了! 東尼: 一門?太少了!
Pīnyīn English
Dōngní: Àiměi, zăoshang hǎo (zǎo'ān). Tony: Good morning, Amy.
Àiměi: Zăo. Nǐ hǎo ma? Amy: Good morning. How are you?
Dōngní: hěn hǎo, xièxie. ne? Tony: I'm fine, thanks. And you?
Àiměi: hěn hǎo. jīntiān (máng ma?) (yǒukòng ma?) Amy: I'm also fine. Are you busy today?
Dōngní: Jīntiān hěn máng. yǒu -mén . Tony: I'm very busy today. I have five classes.
Àiměi: -mén? Tài duō le! jīntiān zhĭyǒu -mén. Amy: Five? That's too many! Today I only have one.
Dōngní: -mén? Tài shǎo le! Tony: One? That's too few!

Dialogue 2

Simplified Characters Traditional Characters
东尼: 艾美,下午好。 東尼: 艾美,下午好。
艾美: 下午好。你那五门课上完了吗? 艾美: 下午好。你那五門課上完了嗎?
东尼: 上了三节,你呢? 東尼: 上了三節。你呢?
艾美: 上完了,下午想去公园。 艾美: 上完了,下午想去公園。
东尼: 哦。这个计划不错。 東尼: 哦。這個計劃不錯。
艾美: 谢谢夸奖。那么,明天见! 艾美: 謝謝誇獎。那麼,明天見!
东尼: 明天见。 東尼: 明天見。
Pīnyīn English
Dōngní: Àiměi, xiàwǔ hǎo. Tony: Good afternoon, Amy.
Àiměi: Xiàwǔ hǎo. Nǐ nà wǔ-mén kè shàng-wánle ma? Amy: Good afternoon. Did you finish your five classes?
Dōngní: Shàng-le sān-jié, nǐ ne? Tony: I finished 3 of them. And you?
Àiměi: Shàng-wánle, xiàwǔ xiǎng qù gōngyuán. Amy: I'm free now. I am going to the park.
Dōngní: O. Zhègè jìhuà bùcuò. Tony: Oh. That's a good plan.
Àiměi: Xièxiè kuājiǎng. Nàme, míngtiān jiàn! Amy: Thanks a lot. Hey, see you tomorrow!
Dōngní: Míngtiān jiàn! Tony: See you tomorrow!


Note: Visit this lesson's Stroke Order subpage to see images and animations detailing how to write the following characters. Audio files of the words are linked from the pīnyīn when available. Problems listening? See media help.

Simplified (traditional in parentheses) Pīnyīn Part of speech English [‍m.‍]
1. (adj) one
2. èr (adj) two
3. sān (adj) three
4. (adj) four
5. (adj) five
6. liù (adj) six
7. (adj) seven
8. (adj) eight
9. jiǔ (adj) nine
10. shí (adj) ten
11. zăo (n) morning (often spoken alone as a shortened form to mean "good morning" just like with English)
12. ān (adj) peaceful
13. 早安 zăo'ān (phrase) good morning
14. hěn (adv) very
15. 谢谢 (謝謝) xièxie (v) thanks
16. tiān (n) day/sky
17. 今天 jīntiān (n) today
18. máng (adj) busy
19. yǒu (v) to have, possess
20. () méi (adv) negates yǒu
21. () mén (m) (measure word for school courses)
22. () (n) class [ ‹jié› is the measure word for class]
23. tài (adv) too, extremely
24. le (part) (combines with 太 - see grammar)
25. duō (adj) many
26. shăo (adj) few
27. zhĭ (adv) only, merely
28. dōu (adv) all,both
29. 早上好 zǎoshàng hǎo (phrase) good morning
30. 下午好 xiàwǔhǎo (phrase) good afternoon


The adverb Hěn [很]

Though translated as "very", Hěn [很] has a weaker meaning than it does in English. It is often added before a single-syllable adjective just to enhance the rhythmic flow of the sentence. Hěn is used before the adjective in affirmative sentences, but not in negative sentences or questions. A common mistake of beginners is to insert shì [是] into adjectival sentences, but this usage is incorrect as shì can only be used to equate combinations of nouns, noun phrases and pronouns.

1. 我很忙。

Wǒ hěn máng
I am (very) busy.

Le [了] as emphasizer

The particle le [了] has many different functions in Chinese, but in this case, it serves to add emphasis to the verb or adjective of the sentence. It can be seen paired with tài [太] to express excessiveness.

1. 太多了。

Tài duō le.
(That's) too many.

2. 太少了。

Tài shăo le.
(That's) too few.

Affirmative-negative questions

A sentence can be made into a question by having both affirmative and negative options together. To answer in the affirmative, the verb or adjective is repeated. (An affirmative adjective in this case is usually preceded by hěn [很] to avoid a comparative tone.) Responding in the negative is simply saying "not verb" or "not adjective".

S + V 不 V + O?


Because the in affirmative-negative questions is often said quickly, marking the tone on is not strictly necessary in their case.

Q: 他是不是东尼?

Tā shì bu shì Dōngní?
Is he Tony?
literally, "he is/is not Tony?"

A: 是的。(是,他是/嗯,他是。)or 不是。 (不,他不是。)

The de is not necessary. You can simply answer (shì).
Shì de. (Shì tā shì) or Bú shì (Bù tā bú shì).
Yes (he is). or No (he isn't).

S + adj. 不 adj.? (The second adjective can be omitted.)


Àiměi jīntiān máng bù (máng)?
Is Amy busy today?
literally, "Today, Amy busy/not busy"

A: 她很忙。or 她不忙。

Tā hěn máng. or Tā bù máng.
Yes, she's (very) busy. or No, she's not busy.

Sentences using yǒu [有]

Yǒu [有] means to have and indicates possession.

S + 有 + O


Wǒ yǒu sān mén kè.
I have three classes.
Yǒu is negated when preceded by méi [没].

S + 没 + 有 + O


Jīntiān tāmen méi yǒu kè.
Today, they don't have any classes.
Yǒu is negated when preceded by méi [没].

S + 一 + O + 都没有


The adverb (dōu) is required here in front of 没有 to emphasize the lack of a single one of the object. Also, be sure to remember to place the proper measure word between 一 and the object.


Jīntiān tāmen yì mén kè dōu méi yǒu.
Today, they don't have a single class.

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order
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Lesson 3: 助詞

The Chinese language employs heavy usage of particles to modify the meaning of characters and sentences. Since Chinese has neither inflections nor tense, the mastery of particles is an absolute must if one is to fully comprehend both written and spoken Chinese. Below, you will find some of the most common particles in everyday Chinese.

The De {的} particle

The particle de [的] can be used to indicate possession. It is roughly equivalent to the contraction "X's" in English, where X is the subject.


      她  的   名字   是   金妮。
       Tā de míngzi shì Jīnní.
      Her name is Ginny.
sometimes "的" is suffixed to a word to indicate that it's used as an adjective.

Example 她是一个美丽的姑娘

        Tā shì yīge měilì de gū’niang.
       She is a beautiful girl.

where "美丽" "beautiful" is an adjective, and

Example 研究是一个科学的过程

       Yánjīu shì yígè kēxué dè guòchéng
       Researching is a scientific process. 

and where "科学" is a noun in Chinese and is turned into adjective using "的".

The Le {了} / Liăo {了} particle

Perfective Aspect Particle

The {了} particle is used mainly to indicate a completed action (this overlaps somewhat with the English perfect aspect, i.e. "to have gone", "to have eaten").


      他  走  了。
       Tā zŏu le.
      He has gone. 

※The "le" here is used to modify 走 (zŏu, to go) into an action which has already been completed.

The {了} can also be used as an imperative, that is, a command which is issued by the subject


      別   再   打扰  我  了! 
      別   再   打擾  我  了! 
      Bié zài dărăo wŏ le! 
      Do not bother me again!

※In this instance, le is used in conjunction with bié ("do not") to form an imperative. Note: most imperatives are not formed using this construction.

The {了} , as in Liăo (a homographic variant) can be used to indicate the subject's capability in doing such and such.


      我  实在    吃  不  了   了。
      我  實在    吃  不  了   了。 
       Wŏ shízài chī bù liăo le. 
      I cannot possibly eat any more.

At first glance, this sentence may seem a bit daunting as it includes two instances of the le particle, paired side-by-side. However, the first le is understood to be liăo given its placement (bù + le is a nonsensical pairing). Therefore, liăo serves to indicate the capability of eating any further and le emphasizes this assertion.

The Zhe [着] particle showing continuation

The particle Zhe [着] is used after a verb to show that the action is in progress or that the results from that action are continuing.

1. 他睡着觉时有人敲门。

Tā shuìzhe jiào shí yǒurén qiāomén
While he was sleeping, someone knocked on the door.
For this sentence, you can take out "着" and say "他睡觉时有人敲门。" as "时" means "while" here.

The Zháo [着] particle indicating accomplishment

The particle Zháo [着] is used after a verb to show accomplishment or result.

Note: It is not to be confused with the identically written particle Zhe, which shows continuation (Lesson 3).

1. 我终于把东西买着了!

Wŏ zhōngyú bă dōngxī măi zháo le.
I've finally been able to buy this item!

And another word, dào [到], can be seen as a substitution for 着, in most cases they are interchangeable.

2. 他在行窃时被当场抓到。

Tā zài xíng qìe shí beì dāng chǎng zhuā dào.
He was(is) caught in the act of stealing.

The 把 + N + V + 着(到)了 construction is particularly useful and should be studied.

The De [得] particle indicating degree

The particle de [得] is used in few special constructs to indicate degree of complement (how fast, how early, how expensive, etc.). It has no equivalent in English but must be used to indicate the meanings below.
S + V + 得 + adjective

1. 我说得很好.

Wŏ shuō de hěn hăo.
I speak very well.

This construct often requires a context to gain its full meaning.

If you wish to speak more specifically about an action, the two constructs below demonstrate the use of 得 with a direct object.

S + V + O + V + 得 + adjective

2. 我说中文说得很好.

Wŏ shuō zhōngwén shuō de hěn hăo.
I speak Chinese very well.

Note the dual-use of the verb.

O + S + V + 得 + adjective

3. 中文我说得很好.

Zhōngwén wŏ shuō de hěn hăo.
I speak Chinese very well.

This construct emphasizes the object (here being "Chinese").

S + O + V + 得 + adjective

4. 我中文说得很好.

Wŏ zhōngwén shuō de hěn hăo.
I speak Chinese very well.

This expression is the simplification of the 2nd expression by eliminating the 1st verb. This form is even more frequently used than the 2nd expression above.


Note: Visit this lesson's Stroke Order subpage to see images and animations detailing how to write the following characters. Audio files of the words are linked from the pīnyīn when available. Problems listening? See media help.

Simplified Traditional (if diff.) Pīnyīn Part of speech English [‍m.‍]
1. zǒu (v) to walk, leave
2. 打扰 打擾 dărăo (v) to bother
3. 实在 實在 shízài (adv) emphatically, etc.
4. chī (v) to eat
5. 睡觉 睡覺 shuìjiào (v) to sleep
6. shí (n) (lit.) time. When used in conjunction with a verb, it means "when/as" that action is taking place
7. qiāo (v) to knock
8. mén (n) door, gate
9. 终于 終於 zhōngyú (adv) finally, eventually
10. dōng (adj) east
11. 西 (adj) west
12. 东西 東西 dōngxī (n) a general expression for "thing"
13. wán (n) Only be used to express "play" as in "play the game." It can't be used like "play the piano" or "play video"...etc.
13. (v) drink
Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
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Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Lesson 4: Word order and Verbs

Basic Word Order


The order of most Chinese sentences, like in English, is S-V-O, that is Subject-Verb-Object.

Wǒ kàn zhè běn shū.
I read this book.

Word order in Chinese is more rigid than in English. However, sometimes you may find sentences that seem to defy normal word order. For example, 我住在中国。wǒ zhù zài zhōngguó. The English translation does this too: I live in China. The reason for this is that "in China" is a preposition (prepositions indicate place or time) that is tacked on to the main sentence—"I live." More examples:

Xiàwǔ yīdiǎn bàn, wǒmen zǒu.
At 1:30 in the afternoon, we'll go.
Zài qīngdǎo, wǒ kàn dào le.
In Qingdao, I saw it.

As in English, a preposition can also appear after a subject.

Wǒ zài wǒ jiā kàn zhè běn shū.
I read this book at my house.
Wǒ míngtiān kàn zhè běn shū.
I will read this book tomorrow.

When using both a preposition for time and a preposition for place, put the preposition for time first.

Wǒ míngtiān zài wǒ jiā kàn zhè běn shū.
I will read this book at my house tomorrow.
Míngtiān zài wǒ jiā, wǒ kàn zhè běn shū.
Tomorrow at my house, I will read this book.
Míngtiān, wǒ zài wǒ jiā kàn zhè běn shū.
Tomorrow, I will read this book at my house.

Note the variation in word order. You can also place a preposition for place, but not for time, at the end of a sentence.

Wǒ kàn zhè běn shū zài wǒ jiā.
I read this book at my house.


Another structure for Chinese sentences is topic-comment. That is, the first thing mentioned is the topic of discussion and then the speaker will add a comment following that.

It is used to emphasize a certain part of the sentence. In the following example, the speaker wants to emphasize that he is going to read the particular book being discussed.


Zhè běn shū, wǒ míngtiān zài wǒ jiā kàn.

I will read this book tomorrow.

Comparisons Using [比]

Comparisons can be made using [比]. Adverbs (like 不,也,只,都)and any auxiliary verbs are placed before in the sentence. The amount of the disparity between the two is placed after the adjective.

A 比 B + Adj.

Tā bǐ wǒ máng.
She is busier than I am.

Dōngní yě bǐ wǒ máng hěn duō.
Tony is also a lot busier than I am.


Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order
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Lesson 5: Measure words


Simplified Characters Traditional Characters




Pīnyīn English
Shāncun Yǒnghuái

Yí qù èrsān lǐ
Yāncūn sìwǔjiā
Tíngtái liùqīzuò
Bājiǔshízhī huā

The sigh for a village

【Song】Shao Yong
The distance is two or three miles,
and I can see four or five houses
with smoking chimneys.
There are six or seven pavilions,
and eight, nine or ten flowers.


Simplified (traditional in parentheses) Pīnyīn Part of speech English [‍m.‍] notes
1. (adj) one
2. èr (adj) two
3. sān (adj) three
4. (adj) four
5. (adj) five
6. liù (adj) six
7. (adj) seven
8. (adj) eight
9. jiǔ (adj) nine
10. shí (adj) ten
11. 山村 shāncūn (n) mountain village
12. sòng (n) song It's short for 宋朝(song dynasty,960–1279).
13. 邵雍 shàoyōng (n) A poetic name.
14. (v) be apart (away) from;
be at a distance from
This usage is only used classical Chinese.
15. () mile Mile and 里 are not identical.In song dynasty,1里≈415.8m.Now China,1里=500m.
16. 烟村(煙村) yāncūn (n) The village with smoking chimneys This usage is only literary works.
17. jiā (ms) the measure Words of family
18. tíng (n) pavilions
19. 台(臺) tái (n) platform
20. zuò (ms) the measure Words of building
21. zhī (ms) the measure Words of flower
22. huā (n) flower

Measure Words/量词(liàngcí)

In Chinese, most specified or numbered nouns must be preceded by measure words, also known as classifiers, according to the type of object. Consider the English phrase, "two pairs of pants." Like the word "pair," Chinese measure words are placed between the noun and the preceding number.

1. 这本书里没有一个汉字。

Zhè bĕn shū lǐ méi yŏu yí gè Hànzì.
This book doesn’t contain one Chinese character.

2. 那间宿舍有六十个学生。

Nà jiān sùshè yŏu liùshí ge xuésheng.
That dorm has sixty students.

The phrase 一朵花 (yī duǒ huā) means "one flower," but how would you say "a pile of flowers?" It's simple: just change the classifier. The phrase 一堆花 (yī duī huā) means "a pile of flowers." You could also say 一把花 (yī bǎ huā; a handful of flowers), 一桶花 (yī tǒng huā; a bucket of flowers), or 一种花 (yī zhǒng huā; a kind of flower). You can see that measure words act as adjectives.

In Chinese, like in English, you can omit the noun if it's already known, leaving only the classifier. 你看到那种(花)吗? (Nǐ kàn dào nà zhǒng (huā) ma?) means "Did you see that kind (of flower)?" You can see that measure words also act as nouns.

Measure words are also used with demonstrative pronouns (this, that). For example, 这朵花 means "this flower," and 那朵花 means "that flower."

You might also encounter something like this: 书架上有书本。 (Shūjià shàng yǒu shūběn.) which means "The bookshelf has books on it." Note that the classifier is after the noun. This signifies multiple books where the exact number is not important, here translated "books." The sentence 书架上有书。, means the same as above, but is without the classifier.

Some Common Measure Words

Column key: Trad. is Traditional, Simp. shows changes made for the simplified variant (if any).

Trad. Simp. Pinyin Main uses Example
ge individual things, people — usage of this classifier in conjunction with any noun is generally accepted if the person does not know the proper classifier. 一个书包 yí ge shūbāo, a schoolbag
"handful", "fistful" — objects that can be held or grabbed (knives, scissors, keys; also chairs) 一把刀 yì bă dāo. One knife.

一把盐 yì bă yán. A handful of salt.

bāo "package", "bundle" 一包纸巾 yì bāo zhǐ jīn. A package of paper towels.
bēi "cup" — drinks 一杯水 yì bēi shuǐ. A cup of water.
běn "volume" — any bound print or written matter (books, etc.) 一本书 yì běn shū. A book.
slimmer volumes of books
"time" — opportunities, accidents 两次 liǎng cì. Twice. 三次 sān cì. Three times.
"droplet" — water, blood, and other such fluids 一滴水 yì dī shuǐ. A drop of water.
diǎn ideas, suggestions, can also mean "a bit" 你睡一点。 Nǐ shuì yīdiǎn. Sleep a bit.
duī "pile" — anything in a pile 一堆书 yī duī shū. A pile of books.
duǒ flowers, clouds 一朵花 yì duŏ huā. One flower.
fèn newspapers, jobs 一份报 yì fèn bào. A newspaper
gēn thin, slender objects, lit. "a root of a..." (needles, pillars, grass, vegetable roots etc.) 一根针 yì gēn zhēn. A needle
jiā gathering of people (families, companies, etc.) 一家人 yī jiā rén. A family of people.
jià objects with a "frame" or structure; generally used for machines or mechanical objects (esp. cars, planes, etc.) 一架飞机 yī jià fēijī. One plane.
jiàn matters, clothing, etc. 一件衣服 yí jiàn yī fù. An article of clothing.
jié "a section" — of bamboo, tutorials and classes, etc.
liàng automobiles, bicycles, vehicles, etc. 一辆车 yí liàng chē. One car.
miàn any flat and smooth objects, lit. "a surface of a..." (mirrors, flags, walls, etc.) 一面镜子 yí miàn jìng zi. One mirror
horses and other mounts, or rolls/bolts of cloth 一匹马 yì pǐ mă. One horse.
piàn "slice" — any flat object, like cards, slices of bread, tree leaves, etc. 一片叶子 yì piàn yè zi. One leaf.
píng "bottle" — drinks
shàn objects that open and close (doors, windows) 一扇门 yì shàn mén. One door
sōu ships 一艘船 yì sōu chuán. One ship.
suǒ any buildings, apartment
tái heavy objects (TVs, computers, etc.) and performances (esp. in theatre, etc.) 一台电脑 yī tái diànnǎo. One computer.
tiáo long, narrow, flexible objects (fish, trousers, etc.) 一条鱼 yì tiáo yú. One fish.
tóu "head" — herd animals (pigs, cows, sheep etc., never for fowls or birds), hair 一头牛 yì tóu niú. One head of cattle (Literally translated into English, "头" means head).
wèi polite classifier for people (e.g. gentlemen, professors, customers) 几位?Jǐ wèi? How many (people)?
xiē "some" — anything that's plural 一些书 yī xiē shū. Some books. Never 两些书
zhāng "sheet" — squarish or rectangular flat objects (paper, tables, etc.), faces, bows, paintings, tickets, constellations 一张纸 yì zhāng zhǐ. One piece of paper.
zhī stick-like objects (pens, chopsticks, etc.) 一支笔 yì zhī bǐ. One pen.
zhī one of a pair (e.g. hands, limbs), animals (birds, cats, etc.) 一只狗 yì zhī gŏu. One dog.
zhǒng types or kinds of objects, ideas, etc. 一种书 yì zhǒng shū. One type of book.
dǒng building object 一栋房子 yí dòng fáng zí. One house

See Chinese measure words on Wikipedia for a more complete reference.

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order
Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Lesson 6: What do you want to buy? 你想要買什麼?



Wang Ming: Nǐ hǎo, Lǐ Hóng.

Li Hong: Hài! Wáng Míng. Nǐ qù nǎr?
Wang Ming: Wǒ qù túshūguǎn, nǐ ne?
Li Hong: Huí jiā.
Wang Ming: Zài jiàn.
Li Hong: Zài jiàn.

Wang Ming: Hello, Li Hong.

Li Hong: Hi, Wang Ming. Where are you going?
Wang Ming: I'm going to the library. What about you?
Li Hong: Going home.
Wang Ming: See you.
Li Hong: See you.

NOTE: It's also appropriate with close friends (ones who you would use "你" (nǐ) instead of "您" (nín) with) to greet with "哎" (aì), the closest equivalent in English being "Hey". This can precede or even take place of the traditional "你好" greeting, and partially serves as an attention-getter. However, if the pronunciation of "哎" (aì) is stretched/lengthened, it may sound as if you are complaining about something, which uses the same word.


  • 嗨 / hài = hi
  • 去 / qù = go
  • 哪儿 (哪兒) / nǎr = where
  • 图书馆 (圖書館) / túshūguǎn = library
  • 再见 (再見 / zàijiàn = bye, goodbye (literally: see you again)

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order
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Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

Lesson 7: 这是什么? What's this?

Text 1

You can check out the translations here.



Wáng Míng: Zhè shì shěnme?
Lǐ Hóng: Zhè shì shū.
Wáng Míng: Nà shì shěnme?
Lǐ Hóng: Nà shì gāngbǐ.
Wáng Míng: Nà shì zázhì ma?
Lǐ Hóng: Bù, nà bùshì zázhì. Nà shì zìdiǎn.

Text 2



Wáng Míng shì Zhōngguórén.

Wáng Míng shì xuéshēng.
Shīmìsī shì Měiguórén.
Shīmìsī shì Wángmíng de péngyǒu.
Shīmìsī shì lǜshī.


  • 王明 (Wáng Míng)
  • n. Wang Ming [personal name] [Wang= Family Name, Ming=First name/Personal name]
  • 李红/李紅 (Lǐ Hóng)
  • n. Li Hong [personal name] [Li= Family Name, Hong= First/Personal name]
  • 这/這 (zhè)
  • pron. this
  • 是 (shì)
  • v. to be (is/are)
  • 什么/甚麼 (Mainland shénme
    and Taiwan shěme)
  • pron. what
  • 那 (nà)
  • pron. that
  • 笔 (bǐ)
  • n. pen; a generic term for all pens
  • 钢笔 (gāngbǐ)
  • n. fountain pen
  • 铅笔 (qiānbǐ)
  • n. pencil
  • 原子笔 (yuánzǐbǐ)
  • n. ballpoint pen
  • 毛笔 (máobǐ)
  • n. brush (calligraphy pen)
  • 杂志 (zázhì)
  • n. magazine
  • 报纸 (bàozhī)
  • n. newspaper
  • 书本 (shūběn)
  • n. book
  • 传单 (chuándān)
  • n. pamphlet
  • 吗 (ma)
  • final interrogative particle used
    to form a question sentence
  • 不 (bù)
  • adv. no
  • 字典 (zìdiǎn)
  • n. dictionary
  • 人 (rén)
  • n. person/people
  • 中国人 (Zhōngguórén)
  • n. PRC Chinese (中国:China 人:people)
  • 外国人 (Wàiguórén)
  • n. Foreigners (外:Outside 国:Country 人:people)
  • 日本人 (Rìběnrén)
  • n. Japanese (日本:Japan 人:people)
  • 英国人 (Yīngguórén)
  • n. British (英国:United Kingdom 人:people)
  • 新加坡人 (Xīnjiāpōrén)
  • n. Singaporean (新加坡:Singapore)
  • 美国人 (měiguórén)
  • n. American
  • 学生 (xuéshēng)
  • n. student
  • 老师 (lǎoshī)
  • n. teacher
  • 校长 (xiàozhǎng)
  • n. principal
  • 史密斯 (Shǐmìsī)
  • n. Smith
  • 美国人 (Měiguórén)
  • n. American
  • 朋友 (péngyǒu)
  • n. friend
  • 律师 (lǜshī)
  • n. lawyer
    • 笔记本/筆記本 (bǐjìběn)
    • 铅笔/鉛筆 (qiānbǐ)
    • 英国人/英國人 (Yīngguórén)
    • 法国人/法國人 (Fǎguórén)
    • 报纸/報紙 (bàozhǐ)
    • 老师/老師 (lǎoshī)
    • 作家 (zuòjiā)

    n. notepads
    n. pencil
    n. British people
    n. French people
    n. newspaper
    n. teacher
    n. writer

    Stroke orders


    More stroke orders will be added if it's helpful.


    Chinese Names

    In Chinese names, the family name comes before the given name. Family names are passed down paternally and usually have only one character. Chinese given names are usually two characters long, but may also be one character.

    Hence a man called 王明 (Wáng Míng) is addressed as Mr. Wang, not Mr. Ming. A woman called 李红 (Lǐ Hóng) is addressed as Mrs./Miss Li.

    However, if the person has a western personal name, it is presented in the GIVEN-NAME/FAMILY-NAME format, following the Western convention. Hence if 李红 (Lǐ Hóng) has a western-style personal name of Mary, she is usually introduced as "Mary Li" and not "Li Mary"

    In this lesson, we learn how to say "something is something" in Chinese. The first thing you need to know is that the sentence structure of Chinese is very similar to that of English in that they both follow the pattern of Subject-Verb-Object (SVO). But unlike many Western languages, verbs in Chinese aren't conjugated and noun and adjective endings don't change. They are never affected by things such as time or person.


    This sentence means "What's this/that?":

    1. 这是什么?(What's this?)
    2. 那是什么?(What's that?)

    The sentences, if broken down literally, shows that the ordering of words differs in English and Chinese:

    这/那 什么 ?
    this/that is what ?

    The order of the sentences may seem a little bit tricky, but don't worry about that, we will discuss this later.

    A 是 B

    This sentence means "A is B."

    "是" (shì), the equational verb to be, can be used as the English is or equals. When used in a simple Subject-Verb-Object sentence, the subject defines the object. Since Chinese verbs never change, no other forms for shì exist such as was or am in English. Also, articles like a and the are absent in Chinese. They are not translated.

    For example:

    1. 这是书 (zhè shì shū): this is (a) book.
    2. 那是杂志 (nà shì zázhì): that is (a) magazine.

    A 不是 B

    This sentence means "A is not B." in which shì is negated when preceded by "不" (bu). "不" literally means "no", "not".

    For example:

    • 这不是书 (zhè bú shì shū): this is not (a) book.

    Now, we come back to the "what's this/that?" questions. We already see that the order is a bit tricky comparing to the English question order. But comparing to the latter pattern "A 是 B", we find the similarity: their orders are identically the same. In fact, like particles, question words make statements into questions without changing the order of the sentence. To make one, simply substitute the QW in where the subject would be in the answer.


    1. 这是。(This is (a) book.)
    2. 这是什么?(This is what?)
    1. 那是杂志。(That is (a) magazine.)
    2. 那是什么?(That is what?)

    "吗"(ma) is a final interrogative particle used to form a question sentence. Adding this character at the end of a statement transforms the sentence into a question.

    Example 1:

    • 这是书 (zhè shì shū)。(This is (a) book.)
      • 这是书 (zhè shì shū ma)?(Is this (a) book?)

    Example 2:

    • 这不是杂志 (zhè bú shì zázhì)。(This is not (a) magazine.)
      • 这不是杂志(zhè bú shì zázhì ma)?(Isn't this (a) magazine?)


    "是" (shì) can be used to answer a simple yes/no question. In this case, "是" means yes, whilst "不" (bú) or "不是" (bú shì) means no (literally, not is).

    How to answer yes/no questions correctly in Chinese? Usually, it's the same as in English, but pay attention if the questions are negative, like "Isn't this a book?". In Chinese, you answer to the questions, not the fact. If the question itself is a negative answer, use "不是" or simply "不", vice versa. For example:

    • A: 这不是书吗?zhè bú shì shū ma? (Isn't this (a) book? = This is not a book, right?)
      • B: ,这不是书。shì, zhè bú shì shū. (No, this is not (a) book. = You are right; this is not a book.)
      • B: ,这是书。bù, zhè shì shū. (Yes, this is (a) book. = You're wrong; this is a book.)

    A asks if that's a book in a negative way. If the object is not a book, you should nevertheless approve A's saying first. So we use "是" to acknowledge that A is correct, and then say "this is not (a) book" to emphasis A is right; In the case of that is a book, you should deny A's saying first, using "不" (no) to point out A is wrong, then make a new statement by noting that "这是书" (this is (a) book). One more example:

    • 他今天晚上不来参加宴会了,对吗?(He's not going to the party tonight, is he?)
      • ,他肯定要来。(Yes, he's definitely coming.)
      • 啊,他很忙呢!(No, he's so busy!)

    Character "的" (de) indicates that the previous word has possession of the next one. In English it functions like 's or like the word of but with the position of possessor and possessee switched. For example:

    1. 史密斯(Shǐmìsī)的书(shū: book) <-> Smith's book
    2. 王明的钢笔 <-> Wang Ming's pen
    3. 约翰** (Yuēhàn: John)的朋友** (péngyǒu: friend) <-> John's friend or a friend of John's


    1. Replace the underline words, and practice.
      1. 史密斯是美国人
        • 英国人
        • 法国人
      2. 这不是杂志
        • 笔记本*
        • 铅笔
    2. Replace the underline words, and then answer the questions with both positive answers and negative answers.
      • Example:
      • 史密斯是法国人吗?
        • 是,史密斯是法国人
        • 不,史密斯不是法国人
      1. 那是杂志吗?
        • 钢笔
        • 铅笔
        • 报纸*
      2. 王明是学生吗?
        • 律师
        • 老师*
        • 作家*
    3. Translate the following English into Chinese.
      1. Wang Ming is not a teacher. Wang Ming is a student. Wang Ming is a Chinese. Wang Ming is not an American.
        • Answer(答):Wang Ming不是老師。Wang Ming是學生。Wang Ming是中國人。Wang Ming不是美國人。
      2. Smith is a lawyer. Smith is not a writer. Smith is an American. Smith is not a French.
        • Answer(答):Smith是律師。Smith不是作家。Smith是美國人。Smith不是法國人。
      3. This is Smith's book. That is Wang Ming's pen.
        • Answer(答):這是Smith的書。那是Wang Ming的筆。

    Further reading

    Read the following article, and then answer the questions in Chinese.

    你好(nǐhǎo, hello),我(wǒ, I)是王明。我是学生,我是中国人。这是史密斯。史密斯是我的1 朋友,史密斯是律师。那是史密斯的妻子(qīzi, wife),安娜(Ana)。安娜是我的英语(yīngyǔ, English language)老师。
    1."我 的" means "my", we will discuss this in the next lesson.


    1. Who is "I"?
    2. What does Smith do?
    3. Who is Ana?
    4. What does Ana do?

    Useful phrases

    Greetings. How to greet people in Chinese?
    • 你好!(nǐhǎo): Hello!
    • 嗨!(hài): Hi!
    • 幸會 (xìnghuì) Great to meet you!
    • 你吃过饭了吗?(nǐ chīguofàn le ma?): Have you had your meal? (This is a causal greeting between friends etc. But it doesn't mean you are asked to a dinner! Another derivation of this phrase commonly used in Beijing is "你吃了吗?")
    • 再见。(zàijiàn): Goodbye
    • 拜拜。(bāibāi): Bye-bye
    • 回头见。(huítóujiàn): See you later.

    Translation for the text

    Chinese characters Sentences breakdown English translation
    Text 1


    Text 1

    Wang Ming: This is what?
    Li Hong: This is book.
    Wang Ming: That is what?
    Li Hong: That is pen.
    Wang Ming: That is magazine (final interrogative particle)?
    Li Hong: No, that not is magazine, this is dictionary.

    Text 1

    Wang Ming: What's this?
    Li Hong: This is a book.
    Wang Ming: What's that?
    Li Hong: That's a pen.
    Wang Ming: Is this a magazine?
    Li Hong: No, that's not a magazine. That's a dictionary.

    Text 2

    史密斯是王明 的 朋友。

    Text 2

    Wang Ming is Chinese.
    Wang Ming is student.
    Smith is American.
    Smith is Wang Ming's friend.
    Smith is lawyer.

    Text 2

    Wang Ming is a Chinese.
    Wang Ming is a student.
    Smith is an American.
    Smith is Wang Ming's friend.
    Smith is a lawyer.

    Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
    Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order
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    Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

    Lesson 8



    You can check out the translation here

    Dialogue 1

    Simplified Characters Traditional Characters




    Yáng Xūn: Nǐ jīntiān hǎo ma?
    Hé Míng: Wǒ hěn hǎo.
    Yáng Xūn: Nǐ chīfàn le ma?
    Hé Míng: Hái méi.
    Yáng Xūn: Yào bú yào yīqǐ qù chīfàn?
    Hé Míng: Hǎo ā. Wǒ zuótiān kàndào nǐ gēn yīge nǚshēng qù túshūguǎn, tā shì sheí?
    Yáng Xūn: Tā shì wǒ de nǚpéngyǒu, tā jiào Chén Jié.
    Hé Míng: Yuánlái nǐ yǒu nǚpéngyǒu, zhème lìhài a!
    Yáng Xūn: Nǎli, bùgǎndāng. Wǒmen yào qù nǎli chīfàn?
    Hé Míng: Dōu kěyǐ.

    Dialogue 2

    Simplified Characters Traditional Characters Pinyin



    Wáng míng: Wǒ jiào wáng míng. Nǐ jiào shén me míng zì?
    Li hóng: Wǒ jiào li hóng.
    Wáng míng: Tā de míng zì shì shén me?
    Li hóng: Tā de míng zì shì zhōu zhū lì.
    Wáng míng: Zhōu zhū lì shì yī gè hěn hǎo de míng zì.
    Li hóng: Shì, dàn shì wǒ bǐ jiào xǐ huan nǐ de míng zì.
    Wáng míng: Wèi shé me bǐ jiào xǐ huan wǒ de míng zì?
    Li hóng: Yīn wèi nǐ de míng zì tīng qǐ lái hěn cōng míng.
    Wáng míng: Nǎ lǐ, wǒ bù gǎn dāng.


    Simplified Traditional (if diff.) Pīnyīn Part of speech English [‍m.‍]
    1. 周朱丽 周朱麗 Zhōu Zhūlì (proper noun) Person's Name
    2. 但是 dànshì (conjunction) but, however
    3. 比较 比較 bǐjiào by comparison
    4. 喜欢 喜歡 xǐhuan (verb) to like
    5. 为什么 為什麼 wèishénme (adverb) Why (lit. "because of what?").
    6. 因为 因為 yīnwèi (conjunction) because
    7. 听起来 聽起來 tīng qǐlai (phrase) Sounds like
    8. 聪明 聰明 cōngmíng (adjective) intelligent
    9. 哪里 哪裡 nǎli (noun) lit. Nowhere, can be used as a polite response to a complement.
    10. 不敢当 不敢當 bùgǎndāng (phrase) I don't accept (not at all) / polite response to a compliment
    11. 还没 還沒 háiméi (conjunction) not yet
    12. 图书馆 圖書館 túshūguǎn (noun) library
    13. 名字 míngzi (noun) name
    14. 女朋友 nǚpéngyǒu (noun) girlfriend
    15. 昨天 zuótiān (noun) yesterday


    Translation of the text

    Chinese characters Sentences breakdown English translation
    Text 1

    楊勳: 她是我的女朋友,她叫陳潔。
    何銘: 原來你有女朋友,這麼厲害啊!
    楊勳: 哪裡, 不敢當。我們要去哪裡吃飯?
    何銘: 都可以。

    Text 1 Text 1

    Yang Xun: How are you today?
    He Ming: I'm very good.
    Yang Xun: Have you eaten yet?
    He Ming: Not yet.
    Yang Xun: Would you like to go eat together?
    He Ming: Sure. Yesterday, I saw you going to the library with a girl, who is she?
    Yang Xun: She is my girlfriend, her name is Chen Jie.
    He Ming: All along you have had a girlfriend, it's so good!
    Yang Xun: Thanks, that's flattering. Where do you want to go to eat?
    He Ming: Anywhere is fine.

    Chinese characters Sentences breakdown English translation
    Text 2

    李紅:是, 但是我比較喜歡你的名字。
    王明: 為什麼比較喜歡我的名字?
    李紅: 因為你的名字聽起來很聰明。
    王明: 哪裡, 我不敢當。

    Text 2

    Wang Ming: I called Wang Ming. You called what name?
    Li Hong: I called Li Hong.
    Wang Ming: Her name is what?
    Li Hong: Her name is Zhou Zhuli.
    Wang Ming: Zhou Zhuli is very good name.
    Li Hong: Yes, but I relatively (implied: more) like your name.
    Wang Ming: Why (lit: for what) relatively like my name?
    Li Hong: Because your name sounds (lit: hear-startup, hear-start-come) intelligent.
    Wang Ming: Where, I don't dare to be so.

    Text 2

    Wang Ming: My name is Wang Ming. What is your name?
    Li Hong: My name is Li Hong.
    Wang Ming: What is her name?
    Li Hong: Her name is Zhou Zhuli.
    Wang Ming: Zhou Zhuli is a very good name.
    Li Hong: Yes, but I like your name better.
    Wang Ming: Why do you like my name better?
    Li Hong: Because your name sounds very intelligent.
    Wang Ming: Oh no, I wouldn't say that.

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    Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

    Lesson 9: 請問火車站在哪裡?


    Dialogue 1

    Traditional Chinese

    Simplified Chinese

    (Nóng Nóng: kāichē zhōng, pèngdào lùrén Miào Miào)
    Nóng Nóng: bùhǎoyìsi, qǐngwèn huǒchēzhàn zài nǎlǐ?
    Miào Miào: wǎngqián kāi yùdào hónglǜdēng yòuzhuǎn tā jiù zài nǐde zuǒshǒu bian.
    Nóng Nóng: zhèyàng dàyuē yào huā duōjiǔ shíjiān ne?
    Miào Miào: dàgài yào huā shífēn zhōng.
    Nóng Nóng: suǒyǐ shì wǎngqián kāi, hónglǜdēng yòuzhuǎn, chēzhàn zài wǒde zuǒbian, dàgài shífēn zhōng luo?
    Miào Miào: shì zhèyàng méicuò.
    Nóng Nóng: fēicháng gǎnxiè nǐ.


    Traditional Simplified Pinyin English
    不好意思 不好意思 bùhǎo yìsi phrase - excuse me / sorry / to feel embarrassed
    qǐng verb - please, may (always an honorifics)
    請問 请问 qǐng wèn phrase - may I ask...
    chē noun - a vehicle, usually a car.
    火車 火车 huǒ chē noun - train
    火車站 火车站 huǒchē zhàn noun - train station
    開車 开车 kāi chē phrase - to drive a car
    碰到/遇見 碰到/遇见 pèngdào/yùjiàn verb - encounter
    路人 路人 lùrén noun - passerby
    往前 往前 wǎng qián - to move forwards
    dēng noun - light, lamp, a device for giving light
    紅綠燈/信號燈 红绿灯/信號燈 hónglǜdēng/xìnhàodēng noun - traffic light


    (Nong Nong ran into a walker, Miao Miao, while driving)

    Nong Nong: Excuse me, may I ask you where the train station is?

    Miao Miao: Drive forward, turn right at the traffic light and it will be on your left.

    Nong Nong: How long will it takes?

    Miao Miao: About ten minutes.

    Nong Nong: So drive forward, turn right at the traffic light, the station will be on my left, about ten minutes?

    Miao Miao: That's right, very correct.

    Nong Nong: Thank you very much.


    ……在哪里? / ……在哪裡?

    The sentence means "where is ...?". In Chinese, we can use this phrase to ask something's location.

    If we get to characters, the sentence would be like "... is where?", which is just like “……是什么”(literally ... is what) and “……是谁”(literally ... is who).

    In spoken Chinese, it's also possible to attach an -r sound to the character "哪", therefore it changes to “……在哪儿?”

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    Lesson 10: 打電話

    Dialogue 10

    Simplified Characters Traditional Characters



    Pīnyīn English

    Xiǎo Měi de māma: Wéi?
    Ā Míng: Nín hǎo. Qǐngwèn Xiǎo Měi zàijiā ma?
    Xiǎo Měi de māma: Zài. Qǐng shāo děng.
    Xiǎo Měi: Wéi?
    Ā Míng:. Xiǎo Měi, wǒ shì Ā Míng. Xīngqírì yǒu kòng ma?
    Xiǎo Měi: Xīngqírì wǒ yǒu kòng.
    Ā Míng: Nà yào yīqǐ qù kàn diànyǐng ma?
    Xiǎo Měi:! Hǎo ya! Jǐ diǎn de diànyǐng?
    Ā Míng: Sān diǎn kāiyǎn.
    Xiǎo Měi: Hǎo, zài nǎlǐ jíhé?
    Ā Míng: Dìtiě zhàn qián jiàn hǎo ma?
    Xiǎo Měi: Hǎo, dào shíhou jiàn.

    Xiǎo Měi's mom: Hello?
    Ā Míng: Hello! Is Xiǎo Měi at home?
    Xiǎo Měi's mom: Yes, she is. Wait for a while.
    Xiǎo Měi: Hello?
    Ā Míng: Xiǎo Měi. This is Ā Míng. Are you free on Sunday?
    Xiǎo Měi: Sunday? Yes, I am.
    Ā Míng: Do you want to go to the movies with me?
    Xiǎo Měi: Yes. What time is the movie?
    Ā Míng: It's at three O'clock.
    Xiǎo Měi: Ok. Where should we get together?
    Ā Míng: How about in front of the subway station?
    Xiǎo Měi: Ok. See you then.


    Simplified Traditional (if diff.) Pīnyīn Part of speech English [‍m.‍]
    1. 电话 電話 diànhuà (n) telephone
    2. 妈妈 媽媽 māma (n) mother
    3. 星期日 xīngqīrì (n) Sunday
    4. hǎo (interj) OK
    5. 有空 yǒu kòng (v) have free time
    6. 到时候见 到時候見 dào shíhou jiàn (v) see you then


    1.^ In China (mainland and Honkong) people use 地铁 (dì tiě) for subway, while Taiwanese use 捷運 (jié yùn) instead.
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    Lesson 11: Taiwan / 第十一課:臺灣

    Traditional Characters Simplified Characters



    Pīnyīn English

    Táiwān shì yígè hǎidǎo.
    Táiwān de zhǔyào yǔyán shì zhōngwén (fántǐ zhōngwén).
    Tā yǒu gèzhǒng wénhuà, yǒumíng de tèchǎn.
    Tā chǔyú dàlùjià shàng. Suǒyǐ yǒu hǎixiān.
    Tā yǒu shānmài, suǒyǐ yǒu měilì de fēngjǐng.

    Taiwan is an island.
    Its main language is Chinese (Traditional Chinese).
    It has a variety kinds of culture, famous local products.
    It is on the continental shelf. So there is seafood.
    It has mountains, it has beautiful scenery.


    Trad. Chinese Simp. Chinese Pinyin English
    東海 东海 Dōnghǎi East China Sea
    南海 = Nánhǎi South China Sea
    山脈 山脉 shānmài mountain
    特產 特产 tèchǎn local products
    海鮮 海鲜 hǎixiān seafood
    大陸*棚 大陆*架 dàlùpéng(dàlùjià) continental shelf
    風景 风景 fēngjǐng scenery
    文化 = wénhuà culture
    • = means there are no differences in characters.
    • * means those are different in using words, rather than in characters.

    Chinese Characters


    美麗(的)風景 = beautiful scenery
    Sometimes Chinese people drop the ‘的’ for adjectives to keep it from appearing too many times. They will say ‘美麗風景’ and ‘免費圖書(Free book)’ without the adverb '的'. Chinese (Mandarin)/Lesson 12 Chinese (Mandarin)/Lesson 13 Chinese (Mandarin)/Lesson 14

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    Lesson 15

    Simplified characters Pīnyīn


    Zhōngguó, quánchēng Zhōnghuá rénmín gònghéguó,
    shì yīgè yóu wǔshíliù gè mínzú zǔchéng de guójiā,
    wèiyú dōngyà.
    Tā fēngjǐng xiùlì, lìshǐ yōujiǔ, wénhuà duōyuán,
    zhèlǐ de rén rèqíng hàokè, tāmen yōuměi de yǔyán,
    děngzhe nǐ lái tànsuǒ.


    China, officially called the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in which 56 different peoples inhabit, located in East Asia. It has beautiful views, a long history, and diverse culture. The people living there welcome you and their wonderful language is waiting for your exploration.


    • 共和国 /gòng hé guó/ republic
    • 东亚 /dōng yà/ East Asia
    • 秀丽 /xiù lì/ beautiful, pretty
    • 悠久/ yōu jiǔ/ so long
    • 多元 /duō yuán/ diverse
    • 好客/hào kè/ welcome to
    • 探索/ tàn suǒ/ n. exploration verb. explore


    1 "她" is the feminine third person singular pronoun ("she/her") and is used to represent a female person. Here, it is used as to represent a nation. This “她” could be used to represent nation, natural elements, the planet etc. Chinese (Mandarin)/Lesson 16

    Appendices / 附录

    Chinese languages

    Chinese, Cantonese (Sinitic)

    Note: Cantonese is a tonal language. Pronunciations provided below include numbers indicating tone. Tone 1 is high and level/falling; 2 is medium and rising; 3 is medium and level; 4 is low and falling; 5 is low and rising, 6 is low and level. For more info, see Standard Cantonese. The characters shown are Traditional Chinese characters. Pronunciation is given using Jyutping and IPA. However, non-use of the tones will not hinder comprehension for such simple phrases.

    Translation Phrase Jyutping IPA
    Cantonese: 廣東話 gwong2 dung1 waa2 /kwɔːŋ2 tʊŋ1 wɑː2/
    hello 你好 nei5 hou2 /nei5 hou2/
    good-bye 再見 zoi3 gin3 /tsɔːi3 kiːn3/
    bye-bye 拜拜 baai1 baai3 /pɑːi1 pɑːi3/
    please 唔該 m4 goi1 /m̩4 kɔːi1/
    thank you (for gifts) 多謝 do1 ze3 /tɔː1 tsɛː3/
    thank you (for services rendered) 唔該 m4 goi1 /m̩4 kɔːi1/
    sorry 對唔住 deoi3 m4 zyu6 /dɵy3 m̩4 tsyː6/
    this one 呢個 ni1 go3 or nei1 go3 /niː1 kɔː3/ or /nei1 kɔː3/
    that one 嗰個 go2 go3 /kɔː2 kɔː3/
    how much/many? (ask for quantity) 有幾多個呀 yau5 gei2 do1 go3 aa3 /jɐu5 kei2 tɔː1 kɔː3 ɑː3/
    how much? (ask for amount of money) 幾多錢呀 gei2 do1 cin2 aa3 /kei2 tɔː1 ts̚in2 ɑː3/
    yes hai6 /hɐi6/
    no 唔係 m4 hai6 /m̩4 hɐi6/
    correct/right am1 /a:m1/
    incorrect/wrong 唔啱 m4 am1 /m̩4 a:m1/
    I don’t understand 我唔明 ngo5 m4 ming4 /ŋɔː5 m̩4 mɪŋ4/
    Where's the washroom (toilet, lavatory)? 洗手間喺邊度呀? sai2 sau2 gaan1 hai2 bin1 dou6 aa3 /sɐi2 sɐu2 kɑːn1 hɐi2 piːn1 tou6 ɑː3/
    Do you speak English? 你識唔識講英文呀? nei5 sik1 m4 sik1 gong2 jing1 man2 aa3 /nei5 sɪk1 m̩4 sɪk1 kɔːŋ2 jɪŋ1 mɐn2 ɑː3/

    Note: Cantonese, like most of the other Chinese languages, does not actually have words for

    “yes” and “no”. Translations for “yes” and “no” given above actually mean “it is” and “it

    is not” and can be used for questions asking for confirmation. However, for certain yes/no

    questions, one would normally respond with the verb or the negation of the verb. For

    instance, to respond to a question such as “do you want to go?” one would respond with

    “want” or “not want”.

    Chinese, Mandarin (Sinitic)

    Note || Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language. Tone 1 (e.g. mā) is high and level; 2 (e.g., má) is rising; 3 (e.g., mǎ) is low dipping; 4 (e.g., mà) is falling. Also note that the first set of characters preceding the slashes are in simplified Chinese characters and the ones following the slashes are in traditional characters. If the simplified- and traditional-character versions of a phrase are identical, only one phrase is shown.

    Translation Phrase Pinyin IPA Pronunciation Remarks Literal meaning
    Mandarin Chinese 国语 / 國語or
    普通话 / 普通話

    [kwɔ̌ jỳ]
    [pʰù tʰʊ̋ŋ xwɑ̂] || (gwo yu)
    (poo-toong-hwa) || National

    Common speech

    hello 你好 (ní hǎo) [nǐ xàw] (knee-how) You're good
    good-bye 再见 / 再見 (zàijiàn) [tsâj ʨjɛ̂n] (dzai-jyen) Meet again,

    lit “to the next sighting”

    please 请 / 請 (qǐng) [ʨʰìŋ] (cheeng)
    thank you 谢谢 / 謝謝 (xièxie) [ɕjɛ̂-ɕjɛ̂] (shyeh-shyeh)
    good morning 早安 (zǎo'ān)
    good night 晚安 (wǎn'ān)
    good luck (祝你)好运 / (祝你)好運 ((zhù ) hǎoyùn)
    that one 那个 / 那個 (nèige) [nêj kə] (nay guh) See Usage Note 1
    sorry 对不起 / 對不起 (duìbuqǐ) (dway boo chee)
    no problem 没关系 / 沒關係 (méiguānxì) (may gwan shee)
    how much? 多少 (duōshǎo) [twɔ̋ ʂàw] (dwo shahw) Many few
    English 英文 (Yīngwén) [jɪ̋ŋ wə̌n] (ing wen)
    Can you speak English? 你会说英文吗 / 你會說英文嗎 huì shuō Yīngwén ma?
    yes ('shì) /ʂɻ̂/ (sher as in sherpa) See Usage Note 2

    [It] is

    no () [pû] (boo)
    where's the toilet? 厕所在哪里 / 廁所在哪裏 (cèsuǒ zài nǎli?) [tsʰɤ̂ swɔ̀ tsâj nɑ̌ lì] (tsuh swo dzai nah lee?) Not the politest, but you'll get your point across! Bathroom at/in where
    generic toast 干杯 / 乾杯 (gānbēi) [ka̋n pe̋j] (gahn bay) Dry


    1. The second syllable of “nèige” is actually a generic measure word; it is replaced by the appropriate measure word for the noun it refers to. You may therefore hear a number of different syllables after the initial nèi. In many parts of southern China, nèi is also pronounced .
    2. This actually means “it is” and can only be used in an answer to a question with the verb “to be” (in casual speech, this can be neglected). Languages like Chinese, Irish, Toki Pona, and Welsh do not have words for “yes” or “no”. Instead you repeat the main verb of the question in your answer. Shaking your head in affirmation or negation works as expected, though speakers should ensure they are answering negative questions as literally asked – answering in the negative to “You don’t like him?” would indicate that you do like him.

    Chinese, Shanghainese (Sinitic)

    Note: Chinese characters for Shanghainese are not standardized and are provided for reference only. IPA transcription is for the Middle period of modern Shanghainese (中派上海话), pronunciation of those between 20 and 60 years old.

    translation Northern Wu Lumazi IPA Simplified Chinese
    Shanghainese (language): Zanheghaewo Zanheireiwo [zɑ̃.'he.ɦɛ.ɦʊ] 上海咸话
    Shanghainese (people): Zanhegnin Zanheinin [zɑ̃.'he.ɲɪɲ] 上海人
    I ghoo, gnou wo, ngu [ɦʊ], [ŋu]
    we or I álá aelae [ɐˑ.lɐʔ] 阿拉
    he/she ji yi [ɦi]
    they jila yila [ɦ] 伊拉
    you (sing.) non non [noŋ]
    you (plural) na na [na] 人那
    hello: non ho non ho [noŋ hɔ] 侬好
    good-bye: tsewe tzeiwei [ˈtse.ɦue] 再会
    thank you: ziaja non zhaya non [ʑ̻ia.ja noŋ] 谢谢侬
    sorry: tevéchi teivechi [te.vəˑ.ʨʰi] 对勿起
    but, however: daezu, daezu ne deizi, deizi nei [dɛ.zɿ], [dɛ.zɿ.ne] 但是, 但是呢
    please: tshin chin [ʨʰɪɲ]
    that one: etsá, itsá eitzae, itzae [ˈe.tsɐʔ], [i.tsɐʔ] 哎只, 伊只
    there: etá, itá eitae, itae [ˈe.tɐʔ], [i.tɐʔ] 哎耷, 伊耷
    over there: emitá, imitá eimitae, imitae [ˈe.mi.tɐʔ], [i.mi.tɐʔ] 哎米耷, 伊米耷
    here: gétá getae [gəˑ.tɐʔ] 搿耷
    to have jeuté youte [ɦiɤɯ.təʔ] 有得
    to exist, here, present: láhe laehei [lɐˑ.he] 辣海
    now, current: jieze yizei [ɦi.ze] 现在
    what time is it?: jieze citie tson? yizei citi tzon? [ɦi.ze ʨi.ti 'tsoŋ] 现在几点钟?
    where: ghalitá, sadifan ralitae, sadifan [ɦa.ɺi.tɐʔ], [sa.di.fɑ̃] 何里耷, 啥地方
    what: sa sa [sa]
    who: sagnin sanin [sa.ɲɪɲ] 啥人
    why: wesa weisa [ɦ] 为啥
    when: sazencuan sazenkuan [sa.zəɲ.kuɑ̃] 啥辰光
    how: nanen, nana, nanenca nanen, nana, nanenka [na.nəɲ], [], [na.nəɲ.ka] 哪能, 哪哪, 哪能家
    how much?: cidie a? cidi a? [ʨi.di 'a] 几钿啊?
    yes: eh ei [ˈe]
    no: m, vézu, mmé, vio m, vezi, mme, vio [], [vəˑ.zɿ], [m̩məʔ], [viɔ] 呒、勿是、呒没
    telephone number: diewo ghodeu diwo rodou [di.ɦʊ ɦɔ.dɤɯ] 电话号头
    home: ólihian oelishan [oˑ.ɺi.ɕiã] 屋里向
    Come to our house and play. to álá ólihian le bésian. to aelae oelishan lei beshan. [tɔ ɐˑ.lɐʔ oˑ.ɺi.ɕiɑ̃ le bəˑ.ɕiã] 到阿拉屋里向来孛相(白相)!
    Where's the restroom?: daseucae lélá ghalitá? dasoukei lelae ralitae? [da.sɤɯ.kɛ ɺəˑ.ɺɐʔ ɦa.ɺi.tɐʔ] 汏手间勒勒何里耷?
    Have you eaten dinner?: javae chícoulé va? yavei chiekule va? [ɦia.vɛ ʨʰɪˑ.ku.ləʔ va] 夜饭吃过了伐?
    I don’t know: ghoo véhioté. wo veshote. [ɦʊ vəˑ.ɕiɔ.təʔ] 我勿晓得
    Do you speak English?: non Inven weté can va? non Inven weite kan va? [noŋ ˈɪn.vəɲ ɦue.təʔ kã va] 侬英文会得讲伐?
    I love you: ghoo e non! wo ei non. [ɦʊ e noŋ] 我爱侬!
    I adore you: ghoo emó non. wo eimoe non. [ɦʊ e.moʔ noŋ] 我爱慕侬
    I like you a lot: ghoo lo huoehi non ghé! wo lo hueushi non re. [ɦʊ ɺɔ ˈhuø.ɕi noŋ ɦəʔ] 我老欢喜侬个!
    news sinven shinven [ɕɪɲ.vəɲ] 新闻
    dead sithélé shithele [ɕi.tʰəˑ.ləʔ] 死脱了
    alive wéláhe welaehei [ɦuəˑ.lɐˑ.he] 活辣海

    Unlike Mandarin, Shanghainese actually has the direct “yes” (eh/ei) similar to English.

    Chinese, Min Nan / Taiwanese (Sinitic)

    The Han characters provided below are for reference only. They are not necessarily standard.

    Translation Characters Romanization Remarks
    Min Nan 閩南語 Bân-lâm-gú
    Taiwanese 臺灣話 Tâi-oân-oē
    Hokkien 福建話 Hok-kiàn-oē
    Hello. 食飽未? Chia̍h pá boeh? (literally, Eaten full yet? Note: This greeting

    came about at a time when most of Taiwan was in poverty, so to say that one has had enough

    to eat would be to imply that the person is “doing well”.)

    Goodbye. 平安 Pêng-an. (literally, Peace, can also be used as a greeting;

    primarily Christian usage.)

    Please 拜託 Pài-thok
    Thank you 勞力 Ló·-la̍t 感謝 (Kám-siā) (literally, "be grateful for, praise") or 感恩

    (Kám-ún) is more common in Taiwan.

    That one 彼個 Hit-ê
    how much? 若濟? goā choē?
    not 唔是 m̄-sī (literally, "not is")
    Sorry 失禮 Sit-le
    Embarrassed! 歹勢! Pháiⁿ-sè! (often used in response when offered/given something

    by a host)

    I don't understand. 我聽無. Goá thiaⁿ bô. (literally, "I hear not")
    Where's the bathroom? 便所佇叨? Piān-só· tī toh? (literally "bathroom is where?")
    Cheers! 呼乾啦! Hō· ta lah! (literally, Let it [the cup/glass] be dry [empty]!)
    Do you speak English? 你咁講英語? Lí kám kóng Eng-gú?

    Chinese/Everyday Phrases

    Please add all vocabulary that is used in this book, and any more that should be included in the first year's worth of Chinese lessons. This is not meant to be a full dictionary with thousands of entries (see Wiktionary for that), but a reference for users of this textbook.

    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    actor 演员 yǎnyuán noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    bad 坏 (壞) huài adj.
    bus 公共汽车
    gōnggòngqìchē noun
    busy máng adj. 2


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    car 轿车 (轎車) jiàochē noun
    city 城市 chéngshì noun
    computer 电脑 / 计算机 (電腦) dìannǎo / jìsuànjī (diànnǎo) noun
    countryside 乡下 (鄉下) xiāngxià noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    dangerous 危险 (危險) wēixǐan adj.
    dog gǒu noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    ear 耳朵 ěrduo noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    France 法国 (法國) Fǎguó noun
    fish 鱼 (魚) noun
    frog 青蛙 qīngwā noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    good hǎo adj.


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    ham 火腿 huǒtuǐ noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    iceberg 冰山 bīngshān noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    jaguar 美洲豹 měizhōubào noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    knife dāo noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    land noun
    look kàn verb
    love 爱 (愛) ài verb


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    metre (metric unit) noun
    money qián noun
    mountain shān noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    nation 国家 (國家) guójīa noun
    now 现在 (現在) xìanzaì adverb, noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    owner 主人 zhǔrén noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    please 请 (請) qǐng interjection
    person rén noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    quilt 被子 bèizi noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    rain noun
    rice noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    sand 沙子 shāzi noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    sunny day 晴天 qíngtiān noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    up shàng adverb, preposition


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    volcano 火山 huǒshān noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    water shuǐ noun
    we, us 我们 (我們) wǒmen pronoun 1
    week 星期, 周 xīngqī, zhōu noun
    what 什么 (什麼) shénme pronoun 1
    which, what 哪个 nǎgè pronoun 1
    who, whom 谁 (誰) shéi pronoun 1
    winter 冬天 dōngtiān noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    xylophone 木琴 mùqín noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    yoga 瑜伽 yújiā noun


    English Simp. (Trad.) Pīnyīn Part of speech Lesson Introduced
    zebra 斑马 (斑馬) bānmǎ noun

    Top   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


    Matching Sentences


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    Chinese, like all languages, has its own set of unique greetings which may be seemingly strange to learners of the language (this is particularly true if the two cultures are vastly different). Below, you will find commonly-used Mandarin greetings and farewells, along with corresponding pinyin pronunciations.


    • 你好。 nǐ hǎo; The standard "hello" greeting. Literally means "you good."
    • 您好。 nín hǎo; The same "hello" greeting as above, except that 您 (nín), like in many European languages, is the polite form of "you", used when addressing elders, or teachers etc.
    • 你好吗? 你好嗎? nǐ hǎo ma?; More often used following a greeting than not, however, this can be used as a "How are you?.
    • 您好吗? 您好嗎? nín hǎo ma?; The same as the "nǐ hǎo ma?" above, again, except that this is used as a more polite form.
    • 你怎么样?你怎麼樣? nǐ zěnmeyàng?; "What's up?", "How are you doing?"
    • 幸会 幸會 xìnghuì! "Nice to meet you!" Used for the first meeting.
    • 久仰 jiǔyǎng; An extremely polite greeting that is not commonly used between friends, but rather between professionals meeting for the first time.
    • 久闻大名 久聞大名 jiǔwéndàmíng; This greeting should be reserved for use towards those whom you have extreme respect for, and is used for the first meeting. Literal translation: "Your name is famous" / "I have heard much about you".
    • 久仰大名 jiǔyǎngdàmíng; The same as above one.

    Good morning

    Good afternoon

    • 午安 wǔ'ān; note: seldom used in the Mainland. Mostly used in the Republic of China and the rest of the Chinese speaking world.
    • 下午好 xìawǔ hǎo! Seldom used in the Republic of China and in the Chinese speaking world.

    Good evening / Good night


    • 再见 再見 zàijian; Literally "See you again".
    • 明天见 明天見 míngtian jiàn; Literally "See you tomorrow".
    • 拜拜 bāibāi/báibái; From English "Bye-Bye". Widely used in Hong Kong, Taiwan and most urbanised parts of mainland China. 掰掰 (báibái) is the variant character form that is gaining popularity in ROC.
    • 回头见 回頭見 huítóujiàn: roughly equivalent to "see you soon", used in northern China.
    • 再会 再會 zàihuì: Literally "[we'll] hello again". Usually used in Shanghai or other parts of China, and sometimes used at the end of TV programs.

    Chinese New Year Greetings

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    ^ Chinese ^ | <<Pronunciation of Finals | Possible Initial-Final Combinations | Using Tones>>

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    Table of Possible Combinations of Chinese Initials and Finals

    The table below shows all possible combinations of initials and finals in Pinyin (not including -r modified syllables). It also does not reflect the use of tones. Some combinations may only be valid with the use of one tone, while others may be valid with multiple tones.

    Pinyin table Initials Pinyin table
    (no initial) b p m f d t n l g k h j q x zh ch sh r z c s
    Group a Finals (no final) zhi chi shi ri zi ci si (no final) Group a Finals
    a a ba pa ma fa da ta na la ga ka ha zha cha sha za ca sa a
    o o bo po mo fo o
    e e me de te ne le ge ke he zhe che she re ze ce se e
    ê ê
    ai ai bai pai mai dai tai nai lai gai kai hai zhai chai shai zai cai sai ai
    ei ei bei pei mei fei dei nei lei gei kei hei zhei shei zei ei
    ao ao bao pao mao dao tao nao lao gao kao hao zhao chao shao rao zao cao sao ao
    ou ou pou mou fou dou tou nou lou gou kou hou zhou chou shou rou zou cou sou ou
    an an ban pan man fan dan tan nan lan gan kan han zhan chan shan ran zan can san an
    en en ben pen men fen den nen gen ken hen zhen chen shen ren zen cen sen en
    ang ang bang pang mang fang dang tang nang lang gang kang hang zhang chang shang rang zang cang sang ang
    eng eng beng peng meng feng deng teng neng leng geng keng heng zheng cheng sheng reng zeng ceng seng eng
    er er er
    Group i Finals i yi bi pi mi di ti ni li ji qi xi i Group i Finals
    ia ya lia jia qia xia ia
    io yo io
    ie ye bie pie mie die tie nie lie jie qie xie ie
    iai yai iai
    iao yao biao piao miao diao tiao niao liao jiao qiao xiao iao
    iu you miu diu niu liu jiu qiu xiu iu
    ian yan bian pian mian dian tian nian lian jian qian xian ian
    in yin bin pin min nin lin jin qin xin in
    iang yang niang liang jiang qiang xiang iang
    ing ying bing ping ming ding ting ning ling jing qing xing ing
    Group u Finals u wu bu pu mu fu du tu nu lu gu ku hu zhu chu shu ru zu cu su u Group u Finals
    ua wa gua kua hua zhua chua shua ua
    uo wo duo tuo nuo luo guo kuo huo zhuo chuo shuo ruo zuo cuo suo uo
    uai wai guai kuai huai zhuai chuai shuai uai
    ui wei dui tui gui kui hui zhui chui shui rui zui cui sui ui
    uan wan duan tuan nuan luan guan kuan huan zhuan chuan shuan ruan zuan cuan suan uan
    un wen dun tun lun gun kun hun zhun chun shun run zun cun sun un
    uang wang guang kuang huang zhuang chuang shuang uang
    ong weng dong tong nong long gong kong hong zhong chong rong zong cong song ong
    Group ü Finals ü yu ju qu xu ü Group ü Finals
    üe yue nüe lüe jue que xue üe
    üan yuan lüan juan quan xuan üan
    ün yun lün jun qun xun ün
    iong yong jiong qiong xiong iong
    Pinyin table (no initial) b p m f d t n l g k h j q x zh ch sh r z c s Pinyin table
    Colour Legend:
    "regular" initial or final

    Final is in Group a or is a direct combination of:

    • i+Group a final
    • u+Group a final
    • ü+Group a final
    Final of i, u, ü groups is a modified combination of:
    • i+Group a final
    • u+Group a final
    • ü+Group a final
    syllable is direct combination of initial and final (or follows rules for standalone initials and finals, explained in pronunciation basics)
    syllable is modified combination of initial and final
    Modified i, u, and ü group finals:
    The following finals in the i, u, and ü groups are a modified combination of i, u or ü with a group a final:
    • ie=i+ê
    • iu=i+ou
    • in=i+en
    • ing=i+eng
    • ui=u+ei
    • un=u+en
    • ong=u+eng
    • üe=ü+ê
    • ün=ü+en
    • iong=i+u+eng

    ^ Chinese ^ | <<Pronunciation of Finals | Possible Initial-Final Combinations | Using Tones>>

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    Number System (數字系統)


      Listen to audio

    • 0: 〇 (零): líng
    • 1: 一 (壹) yī
    • 2: 二 (Traditional:貳; simplified:贰) èr
    • 3: 三 (Traditional:參; simplified:参) sān
    • 4: 四 (肆) sì
    • 5: 五 (伍) wǔ
    • 6: 六 (Traditional:陸; simplified:陆) liù
    • 7: 七 (柒) qī
    • 8: 八 (捌) bā
    • 9: 九 (玖) jiǔ
    • 10: 十 (拾) shí
    • 100: 百 (佰) bǎi
    • 1,000: 千 (仟) qiān
    • 10,000: 万 (萬) wàn (1'0000)
    • 100,000: 十万 (拾萬) shíwàn (10'0000)
    • 1,000,000: 一百万 (壹佰萬) yībǎi wàn (100'0000)
    • 100,000,000: 一亿 (壹億) yīyì (1'0000'0000)
    • 1,000,000,000,000: 一兆 yīzhào (1'0000'0000'0000)

    The parenthesized entries are the complex and formal forms, which are used mainly in notarized, official documents, and when writing checks. An exception is zero; the complex form is much more widely used than a casual circle. The complex forms are known in English as banker's anti-fraud numerals, in Chinese as 大寫 (simplified Chinese: 大写; Hanyu Pinyin: dàxiě; which is the same term for "capital letter"). They are necessary because, since normal Chinese characters are so simple, a forger could easily change 三十 to 五千 with just three strokes. See Standard numbers for more information.

    Some Chinese characters used as complex and formal numerals have other uses as well, possible as heteronyms. For example:

    • èr can also mean "to betray".
    • can also mean "to be impudent".
    • can also mean "military" figuratively and be a surname. It can also mean line when said as "队伍"
    • 陸 means six formally when pronounced liù, but "land" or a surname when pronounced .
    • shí can also mean "to pick up".

    個十百千萬 Larger Numbers

    • 十一 shíyī (eleven)
    • 十二 shí'èr (twelve)

    等(děng) etc.

    • 二十一 èrshíyī (twenty-one)
    • 二十二 èrshí'èr (twenty-two)

    等 etc.

    • 一百 yībǎi (one hundred)
    • 一百零一 yībǎi líng yī (one hundred one)
    • 一百五十八 yībǎi wǔshíbā (one hundred fifty eight)
    • 二百三十 èrbǎi sānshí (two hundred thirty)

    等 etc.

    • 一千 yīqiān (one thousand)
    • 七千二百五十三 qīqiān èrbǎi wǔshísān (seven thousand two hundred fifty-three)

    等 etc.

    • 一萬 yīwàn (one myriad or ten thousand)
    • 四萬三千 sìwàn sānqiān (forty-three thousand)

    等 etc.

    更大的數字(億兆) Even Larger Numbers

    • 一億五千萬 yīyì wǔqiān wàn (1'5000'0000) 150,000,000 (one hundred fifty million)
    • 兩億零八十萬 liǎngyì líng bāshí wàn (2'0080'0000) 200,800,000 (two hundred million eight hundred thousand)

    等 etc.

    中文中零的用法 The Use of Zero in Chinese

    If a number ends in zero, there is no need to include the Chinese character for zero. For example,

    • 350: 三百五十
    • 1350: 一千三百五十
    • 1600: 一千六百

    However, if the zero character does not end the number (i.e., it is followed by a non-zero character), it is necessary to include the zero character, while the "tens-place" characters are dropped. For example,

    • 305: 三百零五 (not 三百零五)
    • 1035: 一千零三十五 (not 一千零三十五)

    Note that the "十" in the first example and the "百" in the second example are dropped.

    If a zero digit is followed by one or more zero digits, only one zero character is need. For example,

    • 1006: 一千零六 (not 一千零零六)
    • 300,250: 三十萬零二百五十 (30'0250)
    • 8,000,300: 八百萬零三百 (800'0300)

    數字手勢 Chinese Gestures for Numbers

    Note:hand signs are the same as Western hand signs. Except for six, hold out your thumb and pinky. For seven, make a "peacock head" by putting all of your fingers on your thumb. For eight, hold your thumb and second finger facing up. For nine, make your second finger look like a hook and then hold it out facing up. Source: commons:數字手勢

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    Here's a list of some nations and regions, with their names in Chinese. Note that the country's name can also be used as an adjective. For example, 日本货 (rìběn huò) means "Japanese goods," and is derived from 日本 (rìběn; Japan) and 货 (huò; goods). As an aside, China imports a good number of products from Japan. Between 2001 and 2007, it was the greatest exporter to China, beating the European Union, South Korea, and Taiwan.[1] You could also say 日本椅子 (rìběn yǐzi; Japanese chair), 日本食品 (rìběn shípǐn; Japanese food products), and 日本动画片 (rìběn dònghuà piàn; Japanese cartoons). Terms like these can be shortened, for example, 日货 means the same thing. You can see 日 is an adjective which means "pertaining to Japan," i.e., "Japanese." Another way to describe its function is that it acts like a "root," much like in English. Headlines are often abbreviated this way. For example, 中俄合作 (zhōng é hézuò) can mean "China and Russia cooperate" or "Sino-Russian cooperation." In common conversation, however, excessive abbreviation is undesirable, because it often leads to ambiguity.

    1. Starmass International. "China Imports by Main Countries". Retrieved 22 June 2012.

    Asia 亚洲 / 亞洲 Yàzhōu

    East Asia 东亚 / 東亞 Dōngyà
    China 中国 中國 Zhōngguó
    Hong Kong 香港 Xiānggăng
    Japan 日本 Rìbĕn
    Macao 澳门 澳門 Àomén
    North Korea 朝鲜/北朝鲜/北韩 朝鮮/北朝鮮/北韓 Cháoxǐan/Běicháoxǐan/BěiHán
    South Korea 韩国/南韓 韓國/南韓 Hánguó/Nánhán
    Taiwan 台湾 臺灣/台灣 Táiwan
    Southeast Asia 东南亚 / 東南亞 Dōngnányà
    Brunei 文莱 汶萊 Wénlái
    Cambodia 柬埔寨 柬埔寨 Jiănpŭzhài
    East Timor 东帝汶 東帝汶 Dōngdìwèn
    Indonesia 印度尼西亚(印尼) 印度尼西亞(印尼) Yìndùníxīyă(Yìnní)
    Laos 老挝(寮国) 老撾(寮國) Lǎowō (Liáoguó)
    Malaysia 马来西亚(大马) 馬來西亞(大馬) Măláixīyă(Dàmǎ)
    Myanmar 缅甸 緬甸 Miăndiàn
    Philippines 菲律宾 菲律賓 Fēilǜbīn
    Singapore 新加坡 Xīnjiāpō
    Thailand 泰国 泰國 Tàiguó
    Vietnam 越南 Yuènán
    South Asia 南亚 / 南亞 Nányà
    Bangladesh 孟加拉国 孟加拉國 Mèngjiālāguó
    Bhutan 不丹 Bùdān
    India 印度 Yìndù
    Maldives 马尔代夫 馬爾地夫 Mă'ěrdàifū(Simplified)


    Nepal 尼泊尔 尼泊爾 Níbó'ěr
    Pakistan 巴基斯坦 Bājīsītăn
    Sri Lanka 斯里兰卡 斯里蘭卡 Sīlĭlánkă
    Central Asia 中亚 / 中亞 Zhōngyà
    Afghanistan 阿富汗 Āfùhàn
    Kazakhstan 哈萨克斯坦 哈薩克(哈薩克斯坦) Hāsàkèsītǎn
    Kyrgyzstan 吉尔吉斯坦 吉爾吉斯(吉爾吉斯坦) Jíěrjísīsītǎn
    Mongolia 蒙古 Ménggŭ
    Tajikistan 塔吉克斯坦 塔吉克 Tăjíkèsītǎn
    Turkmenistan 土库曼斯坦 土庫曼(土庫曼斯坦) Tŭkùmànsītǎn
    Uzbekistan 乌兹别克斯坦 烏茲別克(烏茲別克斯坦) Wūzībiékèsītǎn
    Southwest Asia (Middle East) 西南亚(中东)/ 西南亞(中東)Xīnányà (Zhōngdōng)
    Armenia 亚美尼亚 亞美尼亞 Yàmĕiníyà
    Azerbaijan 阿塞拜疆 亞塞拜然 Āsàibàijiāng(Simplified)


    Bahrain 巴林 Bālín
    Cyprus 塞浦路斯 塞浦勒斯 Sàipǔlùsī
    Georgia 格鲁吉亚 喬治亞 Gélǔjíyà(Simplified)


    Iran 伊朗 Yīlăng
    Iraq 伊拉克 Yīlākè
    Israel 以色列 Yǐsèliè
    Jordan 约旦 約旦 Yuēdàn
    Kuwait 科威特 Kēwēitè
    Lebanon 黎巴嫩 Líbānèn
    Oman 阿曼 Āmàn
    Qatar 卡塔尔 卡達 Kǎtǎ'ĕr(Simplified)


    Saudi Arabia 沙特阿拉伯 沙烏地阿拉伯 Shātè'ālābó(Simplified)


    Syria 叙利亚 敘利亞 Xùlìyà
    Turkey 土耳其 Tǔ'ĕrqí
    United Arab Emirates 阿拉伯联合酋长国 阿拉伯聯合大公國 Ālābó Liánhé Qiúzhǎngguó(Simplified)

    Ālābó liánhé dàgōngguó(Traditional)

    Yemen 也门 葉門 Yĕmén(Simplified)


    Oceania 大洋洲 Dàyángzhōu

    Australia 澳大利亚(澳洲) 澳大利亞(澳洲) Àodàlìyà (Aòzhōu)
    Kiribati 基里巴斯 吉里巴斯 Jīlǐbāsī
    Fiji 斐济 斐濟 Fěijì
    Marshall Islands 马绍尔群岛 馬紹爾群島 Mǎshào'ěr Qúndǎo
    Micronesia 密克罗尼西亚 密克羅尼西亞 Mìkèluóníxīyà
    Nauru 瑙鲁 諾魯 Nǎolǔ
    New Zealand 纽西兰(新西兰) 紐西蘭 Niŭxīlán (Xīnxīlán)
    Palau 帕劳 帛琉 Bóliú(Traditional)


    Papua New Guinea 巴布亚新几内亚 巴布亞新幾內亞 Bābùyà Xīnjǐnèiyà
    Samoa 萨摩亚 薩摩亞 Sàmóyà
    Solomon Islands 所罗门群岛 所羅門群島 Suǒluómén Qúndǎo
    Tonga 汤加 東加(湯加) Tāngjiā
    Tuvalu 图瓦卢 吐瓦魯 Tùwǎlú (Túwǎlǔ)
    Vanuatu 瓦努阿图 萬那杜 Wǎnǔ'ātú(Simplified)



    America 美洲 Měizhōu

    North America 北美洲 Běi Měizhōu
    Canada 加拿大 Jiānádà
    Cuba 古巴 Gŭbā
    Mexico 墨西哥 Mòxīgē
    United States 美国 美國 Měiguó
    Central America 中美洲 Zhōngměizhōu
    Belize 伯利兹 貝里斯 Bólìzī/Bèilǐsī
    Costa Rica 哥斯达黎加 哥斯大黎加 Gēsīdálíjīa
    El Salvador 萨尔瓦多 薩爾瓦多 Sà'ěrwǎduō
    Guatemala 危地马拉 瓜地馬拉 Wēidìmālā/Guādìmǎlā
    Honduras 洪都拉斯 宏都拉斯 Hóngdūlāsī
    Nicaragua 尼加拉瓜 Níjiālāguā
    Panama 巴拿马 巴拿馬 Bānámǎ
    Caribbean Islands 加勒比 Jiālèbǐ Qǔndǎo
    Antigua and Barbuda 安提瓜和巴不达 安提瓜和巴布達 Āntíguā hé Bābùdá
    Bahamas 巴哈马 巴哈馬 Bāhāmǎ
    Barbados 巴巴多斯 Bābāduōsī
    Dominica 多米尼加 多明尼加 Duōmǐníjiā
    Dominican Republic 多米尼加共和国 多明尼加共和國 Duōmǐníjiā Gònghéguó
    Grenada 格林纳达 格瑞那達 Gélínnàdá/Géruìnàdá
    Haiti 海地 Hǎidì
    Jamaica 牙买加 牙買加 Yámǎijiā
    Puerto Rico 波多黎各 Bōduōlígè
    St. Kitts and Nevis 圣基茨和尼维斯 聖基茨和尼維斯 Shèngjīcí hé Níwéisī
    St. Lucia 圣卢西亚 聖露西亞 Shèng Lúxīyà /Shèng Lùxīyà
    St. Vincent and the Grenadines 圣文森特和格林纳丁斯 聖文森和格林納丁斯 Shèng Wénsēntè hé Gélínnàdīngsī
    Trinidad and Tobago 特里尼达和多巴哥 千里達 Tèlǐnídá hé Duōbāgē/Qiānlǐdá
    South America 南美洲 Nán Měizhōu
    Argentina 阿根廷 Āgēntíng
    Bolivia 玻利维亚 玻利維亞 Bōlìwéiyà
    Brazil 巴西 Bāxī
    Chile 智利 Zhìlì
    Colombia 哥伦比亚 哥倫比亞 GēLúnBǐYà
    Ecuador 厄瓜多尔 厄瓜多爾 Èguāduō'ěr
    Falkland Islands (UK) 马尔维纳斯群岛 福克蘭群島 Mǎ'ěrwéinàsī Qúndǎo/Fúkèlán Qúndǎo
    French Guiana (France) 法属圭亚那 法屬蓋亞那 Fáshǔ Guīyànà/Fàshǔ Guīyǎnà
    Guyana 圭亚那 蓋亞那(圭亞那) Guīyànà/Guīyǎnà
    Paraguay 巴拉圭 Bālāguī
    Peru 秘鲁 秘魯 BìLŭ (not MìLŭ)
    Suriname 苏里南 蘇里南 Sŭlĭnán
    Uruguay 乌拉圭 烏拉圭 Wūlāguī
    Venezuela 委内瑞拉 Wěinèiruìlā

    Europe 欧洲 / 歐洲 Ōuzhōu

    Albania 阿尔巴尼亚 阿爾巴尼亞 Ā'ěrbāníyà (mainland)
    Ā'ěrbāníya (Taiwan)
    Andorra 安道尔 安道爾 Āndào'ěr
    Austria 奥地利 奧地利 Àodìlì
    Armenia 亚美尼亚 亞美尼亞 Yàměiníyà(mainland)̀
    Yǎměiníyǎ (Taiwan)
    Azerbaijan 阿塞拜疆 阿塞拜疆 Āsàibàijiāng
    Belarus 白俄罗斯 白俄羅斯 Bái'éluósī
    Belgium 比利时 比利時 Bǐlìshí
    Bosnia and Herzegovina 波斯尼亚和黑塞哥维那 波士尼亞赫塞哥維納 Bōsīníyǎ hé hēisāigēwéinà(mainland)
    Bōshìníyǎhèsāigēwéinà (Taiwan)
    Bulgaria 保加利亚 保加利亞 Bǎojiālìyà (mainland)
    Bǎojiālìyǎ (Taiwan)
    Croatia 克罗地亚 克羅埃西亞 Kèluódìyà (mainland)
    Kèluódìyǎ (Taiwan)
    Czech Republic 捷克 Jiékè
    Denmark 丹麦 丹麥 Dānmài
    Estonia 爱沙尼亚 愛沙尼亞 Àishāníyà (mainland)
    Àishāníyǎ (Taiwan)
    France 法国 法國 Fǎguó (mainland)
    Fàguó (Taiwan)
    Finland 芬兰 芬蘭 Fēnlán
    Georgia 格鲁吉亚 佐治亞 Gélǔjíyà (mainland)
    Zuǒzhìyǎ (Taiwan)
    Germany 德国 德國 Déguó
    Greece 希腊 希臘 Xīlà
    Hungary 匈牙利 匈牙利 Xiōngyálì
    Iceland 冰岛 冰島 Bīngdǎo
    Ireland 爱尔兰 愛爾蘭 Ài'ěrlán
    Italy 意大利 Yìdàlì
    Latvia 拉脱维亚 拉脫維亞 Lātuōwéiyà (mainland)
    Lātuōwéiyǎ (Taiwan)
    Liechtenstein 列支敦士登 Lièzhīdūnshìdēng
    Lithuania 立陶宛 Lìtáowăn
    Luxembourg 卢森堡 盧森堡 Lúsēnbǎo
    Macedonia 马其顿 馬其頓 Mǎqídùn
    Malta 马耳他 馬耳他 Mǎ'ěrtā
    Moldova 摩尔多瓦 摩爾多瓦 Mó'ěrduōwā
    Monaco 摩纳哥 摩納哥 Mónàgē
    Netherlands 荷兰 荷蘭 Hélán
    Norway 挪威 Nuówēi
    Poland 波兰 波蘭 Bōlán
    Portugal 葡萄牙 Pútáoyá
    Romania 罗马尼亚 羅馬尼亞 Luómǎnǐyà
    Russia 俄罗斯 俄羅斯 Éluósī
    San Marino 圣马力诺 聖馬力諾 Shèng Mǎlìnuò
    Serbia and Montenegro 塞尔维亚和黑山 塞爾維亞和蒙特內哥羅 Sài'érwéiyà hé HēIshān
    Slovakia 斯洛伐克 Sīluòfákè
    Slovenia 斯洛文尼亚 斯洛維尼亞 Sīluòwénníyà
    Spain 西班牙 Xībānyá
    Switzerland 瑞士 Ruìshì
    Sweden 瑞典 Ruìdiǎn
    Turkey 土耳其 Tǔ'ěrqí
    Ukraine 乌克兰 烏克蘭 Wūkèlán
    United Kingdom 英国 英國 Yīngguó

    Africa 非洲 Fēizhōu

    Algeria 阿尔及利亚 阿爾及利亞 Ā'ěrjílìyà
    Angola 安哥拉 安哥拉 Āngēlā
    Benin 贝宁 貝寧 Bèiníng
    Botswana 博斯瓦纳 波札那 Bósīwǎnà
    Burkina Faso 布基纳法索 布吉納法索 Bùjīnàfǎsuǒ
    Burundi 布隆迪 蒲隆地 Búlóngdí
    Cameroon 喀麦隆 喀麥隆 Kāmàilóng
    Cape Verde 佛得角 維德角 Fódéjiǎo/Wéidéjiǎo
    Central African Republic 中非共和国 中非共和國 Zhōngfēi Gònghéguó
    Chad 乍得 查德 Zhādé/Chádé
    Comoros 科摩罗 Kēmóluó
    Democratic Republic of the Congo 刚果民主共和国 剛果民主共和國 Gāngguǒ Mínzhǔ Gònghéguó
    Republic of the Congo 刚果共和国 剛果共和國 Gāngguǒ Gònghéguó
    Côte d'Ivoire 象牙海岸/科特迪瓦 象牙海岸 Xiàngyá Hǎi'àn/ Kētèdíwǎ
    Djibouti 吉布提 吉布地 Jíbùtí
    Egypt 埃及 埃及 Āijí
    Equatorial Guinea 赤道几内亚 赤道幾內亞 Chìdào Jĭnèiyà
    Eritrea 厄立特里亚 Èlìtèlǐyà
    Ethiopia 埃塞俄比亚 衣索比亞 Āisài'ébǐyà
    Gabon 加蓬 加彭 Jiāpéng
    The Gambia 冈比亚 甘比亞 Gāngbǐyà/Gānbǐyà
    Ghana 加纳 迦魶 Jiānà
    Guinea 几内亚 幾內亞 Jǐnèiyà
    Guinea-Bissau 几内亚比绍 幾內亞比索 Jǐnèiyà-bǐshào
    Kenya 肯尼亚 肯亞 Kěnníyà/Kěnyǎ
    Lesotho 莱索托 賴索托 Láisuǒtuō
    Liberia 利比里亚 賴比瑞亞 Lìbǐlǐyà
    Libya 利比亚 利比亞 Lìbǐyà
    Madagascar 马达加斯加 馬達加斯加 Mǎdájiāsījiā
    Malawi 马拉维 馬拉威 Mǎlāwéi
    Mali 马里 馬利 Mǎlǐ
    Mauritania 毛里塔尼亚 茅利塔尼亞 Máolǐtǎníyà
    Mauritius 毛里求斯 Máolǐqiúsī
    Morocco 摩洛哥 摩洛哥 Móluògē
    Mozambique 莫桑比克 莫三比克 Mòsāngbǐkè
    Namibia 纳米比亚 納米比亞 Nàmǐbǐyà
    Niger 尼日尔 Nírì'ěr
    Nigeria 尼日利亚 奈及利亞 Nírìlìyà
    Rwanda 卢旺达 盧安達 Lúwàngdá
    São Tomé and Príncipe 圣多美与普林西比 聖多美及普林西比 Shèng Duōměi yǔ Pǔlínxībǐ
    Senegal 塞内加尔 塞內加爾 Sàinèijiā'ěr
    Seychelles 塞舌尔 塞席爾 Sàishé'ér
    Sierra Leone 塞拉利昂 獅子山 Sàilālì'áng
    Somalia 索马里 索馬利亞 Suǒmǎlǐ
    South Africa 南非 南非 Nánfēi
    Sudan 苏丹 蘇丹 Sūdān
    Swaziland 斯威士兰 史瓦濟蘭 Sīwēishìlán
    Tanzania 坦桑尼亚 坦尚尼亞 Tǎnsāngníyà
    Togo 多哥 多哥 Duōgē
    Tunisia 突尼斯 突尼西亞 Tūníxīyà
    Uganda 乌干达 烏干達 Wūgāndá
    Zambia 赞比亚 尚比亞 Zànbǐyà
    Zimbabwe 津巴布韦 辛巴威 Jīnbābùwéi

    Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 Search inside this book using Google
    Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order

    The word for radical in Chinese is 部首. This term is often conflated with 偏旁 (piānpáng), or simply 旁 (páng). A radical, or component of a character, usually indicates its meaning. 水 (shuǐ; water) with a 冫 becomes 冰 (bīng, ice). The 冫 hints that the character pertains to ice, like the "glaci-" in glacier. Radicals may also be used to differentiate characters that sound alike. 东 (dōng; east, owner) with a 冫 becomes 冻 (dòng; to freeze, jelly). Radicals, like characters, sometimes suggest their meaning by their appearance, for example, the 亻 in 他 (tā; him) is a compressed 人, and the 氵 in 江 (jiāng; river) looks like three water droplets. Radicals reduce the amount of memorization needed, be it for the language's ancient inventors or for you. In Chinese, the large number of homophones and rhyming words make this scheme possible. A character can have multiple radicals, for example, 捌 (bā; eight, see Numbers). Traditionally, the left part of composite characters was referred to as “piān” and the right side referred to as “páng.” Now, all parts of compound characters are generally referred to as “piānpáng.” For example, the left part of a compound character is referred to as 左偏旁 (zuǒ piānpáng), and the right side as 右偏旁 (yòu piānpáng).

    Names of Radicals 中文偏旁的名称

    The radicals, strokes, and Chinese character components found in Chinese characters often have different names in the different dialects of Chinese. For Standard Mandarin Chinese in Mainland China, one of the most authoritative listings of the names of Chinese character components is found in Specification of Common Modern Chinese Character Components and Component Names (现代汉语常用字部件及部件名称规范). In addition, the appendices of Xiandai Hanyu Cidian (现代汉语词典) and Xiandai Hanyu Guifan Cidian (现代汉语规范词典) include lists of some of the frequently occurring radicals and other components.

    一笔画 One Stroke

    偏旁 Part 名称 Name 拼音 Pinyin 例子 Ex.
    Héng 丁、丝、上
    Shù 中、丰、串
    竖钩 Shù gōu 事、予
    丿 Piě 九、乍、乃
    Zhé 买、予、乜
    竖弯钩 Shù​ wān​ gōu 乜、也、乱
    . Diǎn 以、义、主

    二笔画 Two Strokes

    偏旁 Part 名称 Name 拼音 Pinyin 例子 Ex.
    包字头 bāozìtóu 勺、勾、匀
    两点水 liǎngdiǎnshuǐ 冰、习、净
    卜字旁 Bǔ zì páng 卡、卤、卧
    偏厦 Piān shà 厕、原、厚
    立刀旁 lìdāopáng 刬、刘、判
    三框栏 Sān kuàng lán 匠、匹、区
    Shuāng ěr páng
    Shuāng ěr dāo
    Zuǒ ěr dāo
    Yòu ěr dāo
    单耳旁 dān'ěrpáng 卫、卬、卮
    同字框 tóngzìkuàng 冃、内、冈
    秃宝盖 tūbǎogài 冗、冘、写
    凶字框 xiōngzìkuàng 凶、凹、凸
    单人旁 dānrénpáng 亿、什、仁
    私字 Sī zì 厾、去、厹
    Wénzì tóu
    言/讠 言字旁 yánzìpáng 计、订、讣
    建之旁 jiànzhīpáng 延、廷、廸

    三笔画 Three Strokes

    偏旁 Part 名称 Name 拼音 Pinyin 例子 Ex.
    草字頭/草字头 cǎozìtóu 艺、艻、艾
    出字头 Chū zì tóu 屯、屰
    雙人旁/双人旁 shuāngrénpáng 彴、彷、彸
    三拐 sānguǎi 巠、巢、巤
    zǒuzhī er
    Zǒu zhī dǐ
    弄字底 nòngzìdǐ 开、弁、异
    广 廣字旁/广字旁
    Guǎng zì tóu
    Bǎo gài tóu
    三撇 sānpiě 形、彤、彦
    飠/饣 食字旁 shízìpáng 饥、饧、饨
    Tī shǒu páng
    三点水 Sān diǎn shuǐ 氿、汀、汁
    糹/纟 絞絲旁/绞丝旁、
    Tī tǔ páng
    尤字旁 yóuzìpáng 尤、尥、尨
    折文 zhéwén 处、夆、备
    子字旁 zǐzìpáng 孔、孕、孖
    爿/丬 將字旁/将字旁 jiāngzìpáng 壮、状、将
    Fāng kuāng
    门字旁 Mén zì páng 闩、闪、闫
    横山 héngshān 雪、灵、彗

    四笔画 Four Strokes

    偏旁 Part 名称 Name 拼音 Pinyin 例子 Ex.
    Sì diǎn
    火字旁 huǒzìpáng 灭、灯、灰
    木字旁 mùzìpáng 未、末、本
    Tī niú
    月字旁 Yuè zì páng 明,期

    五笔画 Five Strokes

    偏旁 Part 名称 Name 拼音 Pinyin 例子 Ex.
    𡗗 春字頭/春字头 chūnzìtóu 奉、奏、秦
    目字旁 mùzìpáng 盶,盷,相
    釒/钅 金字旁 jīnzìpáng 钆、钇、针
    禾木旁 hémùpáng 禿、秀、私
    登字頭/登字头 dēngzìtóu 癸、発、登

    六笔画 Six Strokes

    偏旁 Part 名称 Name 拼音 Pinyin 例子 Ex.
    米字旁 mǐzìpáng 籴、娄、籸
    虎字頭/虎字头 hǔzìtóu 虎、虏、虐
    竹字頭/竹字头 zhúzìtóu 竺、笃、竼

    七笔画 Seven Strokes

    偏旁 Part 名称 Name 拼音 Pinyin 例子 Ex.
    足字旁 zúzìpáng 趴、趵、趷

    Mandarin, like any language, has its own slang words and informal meanings for some common words. For example, 同志 (tóngzhì - comrade, a commonly used under Communism) now has a second meaning of "gay person" (because it literally means "same aspirations"—in this case sexual proclivities rather than political interests), and the female equivalent 小姐 (xiǎojiě, often used with service personnel such as waitresses) can also refer to a prostitute. Below is a partial list of common slang terms. The letters "xx" stand for someone or something, lit. gives a literal translation, and equiv. refers to an equivalent English expression.

    Slang List

    简体 繁體 Pinyin Meaning(s), Literal and Figurative
    cool (好酷喔 hǎo kù ō; that's cool!); lit., equiv. cool
    shuài good looking, handsome (of a guy)
    帅呆(了) 帥呆(了) shuàidāi(le) very good looking, a hunk (of a guy); very good, awesome (of a situation)
    shuǎng satisfying, enjoyable, (as in 我昨天去按摩超爽(的)。 "The massage yesterday was very satisfying."
    过瘾 過癮 guòyǐn entertaining; very pleasing; addictive
    不行了 不行了 bùxíngle dying, at the point of death; lit. not OK anymore
    chāo very, extremely, super, ultra- (as in 超冷 "very cold", 超酷 "very cool")
    to annoy, provoke, offend, or get on someone's nerves(as in 你幹嘛老是惹我? "Why do you always get on my nerves?")
    碍眼 礙眼 àiyǎn annoying, get-in-the-way (as in 你在這裡很礙眼, 趕快去做一些有用的事情吧! "You are being a nuisance, go see whether you can make yourself useful somewhere else!); lit. 'hinder the eye'
    胡闹 胡鬧 húnào make trouble, be a nuisance (as in 你現在馬上給我安靜睡覺,不要再胡鬧! "you are going to sleep right now, no more nonsense!"); lit ‘nonsense quarrel’
    感冒 感冒 gǎnmào (catch) a cold; to develop an aversion against someone (as in 我說了那句話之後,她就對我感冒了 "after I said that she got upset with me")
    机车 機車 jīchē (noun) motorcycle; adj: used to describe someone displaying annoying behavior (as in 她很機車 "she's annoying")
    离谱 離譜 lípǔ preposterous, outrageous; lit. leaving the manual or musical score (as in 你這樣作實在是太離譜。 "You are really out of line doing things like that.")
    chě farfetched, unimaginable, defying all logic (as in 很扯! "Unbelievable!", 太扯了吧! "That is ridiculous!", 你扯到哪裡去? "What are you talking about?"); lit. drag, pull; chat
    扯xx(的)后腿 扯xx(的)後腿 chě xx (de) hòutuǐ to be a drag on xx, be a hindrance; lit. to pull xx's hind legs
    zhèng classy, good quality, high class (as in 正妹 "a classy chick", 他的女朋友很正。 "He has a knock out girlfriend.")
    shuǎ cheat, deceive (as in 你想耍我嗎? "You must be kidding.")
    耍嘴皮 耍嘴皮 shuǎzuǐpí to talk slickly, to pay lip service
    耍赖 耍賴 shuǎlài to act shamelessly; to act indifferent
    赖皮 賴皮 làipí to act shameless, brazen, like a rascal; rascal, villain
    hùn to muddle along, to partake in a given activity in a lazy and unserious manner(as in 我這裡已經快混不下去了。 "I'm about to get kicked out of here." (school or company etc), 你還想混多久? "How much longer are you planning to go on like this?")
    摸鱼 摸魚 móyú to be lazy on the job; lit. to rub fish
    鱿鱼 魷魚 yóuyú marching orders; lit. squid
    炒鱿鱼 炒魷魚 chǎoyóuyú to be fired, sacked; lit. to fry squid, equiv. "getting a pink slip"
    làn rotten, crappy
    烂掉 爛掉 làndiào to rot, to go bad
    烂摊子 爛攤子 làntānzi bad situation, mess (as in 我可以收他的爛攤子。 "I can take care of the mess he created.")
    烂醉 爛醉 lànzuì piss drunk, blind drunk, dead drunk
    烂好人 爛好人 lànhǎorén spineless, weak person; lit. rotten good person
    tòu extremely, completely, used as a suffix (as in 爛透了 'extremely crappy'); lit. through
    吓死 嚇死 xiàsǐ terrified; lit., equiv. scared to death
    难搞 難搞 nángǎo hard to deal with, downright
    休想 休想 xiūxiǎng never (interjection), lit., equiv. in your dreams
    吹牛 吹牛 chuīniú to brag, boast
    chuī to brag, boast
    自大 自大 zìdà arrogant, overbearing
    臭屁 臭屁 chòupì arrogant, overbearing; equiv. cocky, lit. stinking fart
    摆架子 擺架子 bǎijiàzi to put on an airs, to act like the master of, to be arrogant; lit. to swing a rack, shelf
    假君子 假君子 jiǎjūnzǐ equiv. a wolf in sheep's clothes, lit. a fake gentleman
    上流社会 上流社會 shàngliú shèhuì lit. high society, the rich and famous; equiv. upper crust
    黑社会 黑社會 hēishèhuì triad, triad society; lit. the underworld, equiv. gangland
    流氓 流氓 liúmáng rogue, gangster, hoodlum; lit. flowing vagrant
    老大 老大 lǎodà the big boss, older, elder
    小弟 小弟 xiǎodì younger members of a gang; lit. little brother
    吵架 吵架 chǎojià to quarrel, to argue
    斗嘴 鬥嘴 dòuzuǐ bicker, squabble (lit. to fight with the mouth)
    打架 打架 dǎjià to fight, scuffle (physically)
    把风 把風 bǎfēng to keep watch, be on the look out (esp. during a heist)
    坏胚子 壞胚子 huài pēizi a bad personal characteristic
    好兄弟 好兄弟 hǎo xiōngdì a ghost; a good friend; lit. good brother
    不干净 不乾淨 bù gānjìng not clean; haunted (by ghosts)
    夜总会 夜總會 yèzǒnghuì nightclub; graveyard
    菜鸟 菜鳥 càiniǎo rookie, beginner, novice, inexperienced person; lit. 'vegetable bird'
    天真 天真 tiānzhēn naive (said mostly of young girls); lit 'heaven real'
    猪头 豬頭 zhūtóu idiot; lit. pig's head
    笨蛋 笨蛋 bèndàn idiot; lit. stupid egg
    坏蛋 壞蛋 huàidàn crook, scoundrel; lit. rotten egg
    王八蛋 王八蛋 wángbādàn son of a bitch; lit. turtle egg
    huò goods, merchandise, stuff; drugs
    白痴 白痴 báichī idiot; stupidity; lit. white fool
    蠢货 蠢貨 chǔnhuò idiot, blockhead, dunce, moron (used infrequently)
    傻瓜 傻瓜 shǎguā fool, simpleton (sometimes used lovingly); lit. stupid melon
    小子 小子 xiǎozi guy, kid; prick, brat
    疯子 瘋子 fēngzi madman, lunatic
    发疯 發瘋 fāfēng to become insane, to go mad
    娘娘腔 娘娘腔 niángniangqiāng sissy, girly, effeminate (esp. of a male)
    傢伙 傢伙 jiāhuo guy, chap (negative); weapon, gun
    毒蟲 毒蟲 dúchóng junky, someone on drugs; lit. poisonous insect
    吸毒 吸毒 xīdú to drug, to take drugs (esp. narcotics); lit. to absorb poison
    上瘾 上癮 shàngyǐn to become addicted; addictive; Used colloquially: 'get hooked to something' (as in 這種啤酒太好喝了,我快要上癮了 "This kind of beer is too tasty, I'm about to get hooked"
    崩溃 崩潰 bēngkuì debacle; to fall apart, to collapse, esp. mental collapse
    欠xx 欠xx qiàn-xx to owe xx (as in, 欠錢 "owe money", 欠情 "owe a favor"); to ask/beg for xx (as in, 欠念 "asking for a verbal dress down", 欠揍 "asking for a beating")
    放xx(的)鸽子 放xx(的)鴿子 fàng xx gēzi to (intentionally) not not come for xx; to miss xx's appointment, equiv. to stand xx up, to be a no-show (as in, 不要放我鴿子喔! "Don't stand me up!"); lit. release xx pigeons
    吃xx(的)豆腐 吃xx(的)豆腐 chī xx (de) dòufu to commit borderline sexual harassment with a woman (as in, 不要吃我的豆腐。 "Don't touch me.", 你想吃我的豆腐嗎? "Would you like to touch me?"); lit. to eat xx's tofu
    没水准 沒水準 méi shuǐzhǔn equiv. to have no class; lit. to have no standards
    没家教 沒家教 méi jiājiào unmannered, not well behaved, impolite; lit. without home teaching, without a good upbringing
    下流 下流 xiàliú nasty; obscene; indecent; a low life; lit. downstream
    with no class, like a buffoon (as in, 你的衣服好土喔! 'your clothes are so low class!'); lit. earth, soil
    飙车 飆車 biāochē drag racing; motorcycle racing; to drive in speedily, a crazed fashion; lit. whirlwind car
    xx族 xx族 xx-zú people that do xx (as in, 上班族 "people that work", 飆車族 "people that drive too fast"); lit. xx tribe/clan/family
    种草莓 種草莓 zhǒngcǎoméi to kiss someone passionately, leaving a reddish mark (equiv. to give someone a hickey); lit. to plant strawberries
    丢脸 丟臉 diūliǎn to embarrass, to disgrace, to humiliate (as in 你在朋友的面前這樣說我真丟臉。 "The way you spoke about me in front of our friends really made me lose face."); equiv., lit. to lose face
    没面子 沒面子 méi miànzi to lose face (as in 你害我沒面子。 "You made me lose face.")
    厚脸皮 厚臉皮 hòu liǎnpí cheeky, brazen; thick skinned; willing to make daring demands (negative)
    嚣张 囂張 xiāozhāng brazen, shameless, arrogant
    酒吧 酒吧 jiǔbā a bar
    酒店 酒店 jiǔdiàn a hotel; restaurant; hostess bar (Taiwan only); wine shop
    夜店 夜店 yèdiàn a nightclub
    夜猫子 夜貓子 yèmāozi someone who sleeps late (equiv. a night owl); someone with a rich nightlife
    黄包车 黃包車 huángbāochē rickshaw / denigrating slang: a Chinese woman abroad (being promiscuous as opposed to conservative at home)
    恐龙妹 恐龍妹 kǒnglóngmèi ugly girl (lit. 'dinosaur girl')
    辣妹 辣妹 làmèi a hot girl (lit. 'spicy girl'); the Spice Girls
    正妹 正妹 zhèngmēi a beautiful girl, pretty girl
    帅哥 帥哥 shuàigē good looking dude, a hunk
    放电 放電 fàngdiàn to create an atmosphere of feminine attraction (of a woman); lit. 'to discharge electricity'
    欲火焚身 慾火焚身 yùhuǒfénshēn to be very horny; lit. 'lust fire incinerate body'
    泡妞 泡妞 pàoniū (try to) hook up with girls, on the prowl for women; lit ‘steep/soak girls’
    把妹 把妹 bǎmèi to hunt for girls
    把马子 把馬子 bǎmǎzi to hunt for girls
    把凯子 把凱子 bǎkǎizi to hunt for rich hunks (of a woman)
    搭讪 搭訕 dāshan (trying to hook up by) starting a conversation (with a stranger)
    乱讲 亂講 luànjiǎng to speak nonsense
    胡烂 胡爛 húlàn give someone a load of nonsense; (as in 男生最利害的就是胡爛 "(said by a woman) Selling crap is what men do best"); lit ‘nonsense crap‘
    放屁 放屁 fàngpì to speak nonsense; lit. 'to fart'
    废话 廢話 fèihuà to speak nonsense, to trashtalk; lit. 'to waste words'
    啰嗦 囉嗦 luōsuo to talk too much (as in 你很囉嗦。 "You talk too much.", 不要囉嗦了! "Stop rambling!")
    哈啦 哈啦 hāla to argue, to incessantly try to convince someone (as in 你不用哈啦這麼多, 就直接認錯吧! "Stop arguing and just admit you're wrong!", 哇,你很會哈啦喔! "Wow, you really know how to argue!")
    闭嘴 閉嘴 bìzuǐ shut up (interjection, often said by parents)
    插嘴 插嘴 chāzuǐ to interrupt someone talking (as in 你不要老是插嘴。 "Stop interrupting me."); lit. to insert a mouth
    顶嘴 頂嘴 dǐngzuǐ to talk back, to be a wiseguy; to answer defiantly (as in 如果你再頂嘴我就修理你! "I am going to take care of you if you talk back to me again.")
    xx个屁 / xx个头 xx個屁 / xx個頭 xx-gèpì / xx-gètóu xx my ass (interjection, as in A: 這電影好浪漫喔。 B: 浪漫個屁阿! A: This movie is so romantic. B: Romantic my ass!)
    小弟弟 小弟弟 xiǎodìdì penis; lit. little brother
    (小)鸡鸡 (小)雞雞 (xiǎo)jījī penis; lit. chicken
    小鸟 小鳥 xiǎoniǎo penis; lit. small bird
    那话儿 那話兒 nàhuàr penis; lit. "that talk"
    dàn testicles, equiv. balls (as in 打架的時候要好好保護你的蛋(蛋)。 "When fighting you have protect your balls."); lit. egg
    奶子 奶子 nǎizi breast(s)
    巨乳 巨乳 jùrǔ huge breast(s)
    波霸 波霸 bōbà (woman with) huge breast(s)
    高潮 高潮 gāocháo orgasm; lit. high tide, climax
    做爱 做愛 zuò'ài to have sex; lit., equiv. to make love
    炒饭 炒飯 chǎofàn to make love; lit. to fry rice
    上床 上床 shàngchuáng to go to bed; to make love
    色狼 色狼 sèláng a man with strong sexual desires, a satyr, a sex addict; lit. appearance wolf
    变态 變態 biàntài a sexual pervert; lit. metamorphosis, abnormal
    (有)外遇 (有)外遇 (yǒu) wàiyù to have an affair
    劈腿 劈腿 pītuǐ to have an affair, to cheat on someone; lit. to split the legs
    一夜情 一夜情 yīyèqíng a one-night stand; lit. love for one night
    分手 分手 fēnshǒu to break up in a relationship; to bid farewell; lit. divide hands
    兵变 兵變 bīngbiàn a mutiny; a relationship that breaks up during military service; lit. military change
    zhuī to try to get a relationship with someone (as in 他還在追那個美妹嗎? "Is he still after that pretty girl?"); to pursue
    狐狸精 狐狸精 húlíjīng a woman that steals another woman's man; lit. a fox spirit
    母老虎 母老虎 mǔlǎohǔ a dominant wife; lit. mother tiger
    哇靠 哇靠 wākào exclamation: WOW! (also the title of a song by 周杰倫 Jay Zhou, a famous Taiwanese singer)
    gàn to make love [vulgar]; used as a vulgar exclamation, equiv. "F**k!"; to do something, as in 幹活 "work"
    干掉 幹掉 gàndiào to get rid of; to kill someone; lit. to do away
    干你娘 幹你娘 gàn nǐ niáng to have sex with your mother, very vulgar (never used in public unless speaker wants to appear boorish)
    干嘛 幹嘛 gànmá exclamation, "What is it now?" or "What do you want now?", indicating irritation; why (impolite) (as in '你幹嘛花這麼多錢買這麼爛的東西? "Why would you spend so much money buying something as crappy as that?")
    (他)妈的 (他)媽的 (tā)made exclamation, "Fuck!", "Shit!", "To hell with it!", "Damn it!"; used to increase vulgarity (as in 你也他媽的夠了吧! "You are really out of line!"); lit. his mom's
    cào to fuck [vulgar] (from 肏 which has the same pronunciation); to exercise, drill (when pronounced cāo)
    操你妈的屄 操你媽的屄 cāo nǐ mā de bī to fuck your mother's cunt [very vulgar] (never use in public, or for that matter, at home)
    diǎo male reproductive organ; expression (mostly among guys) showing admiration or approval (as in 你很屌! "you're awesome!" or 超屌的! "far out!")
    老外 老外 lǎowài foreigner (neutral connotation)
    洋妞 洋妞 yángniū foreign babe, foreign chick
    阿都仔 阿都仔 ādōuzǐ foreigner (Taiwan only)
    同志 同志 tóngzhì gay or lesbian (normally "comrade" in a Communist context)
    小姐 小姐 xiǎojiě girl working in a hostess bar; exclamation, used alone, "Waitress!"; prostitute; young woman
    槟榔西施 檳榔西施 bīnláng Xīshī a young, attractive girl, usually scantily clad, hired to sell betelnuts in street stalls (西施 is a classic beauty from Chinese history/myth); lit. betelnut beauty
    杀价 殺價 shājià to haggle, to bargain (foreigners will always be forced to pay more, though)
    动手 動手 dòngshǒu to begin doing something (e.g. 他开始动手了吗?); to touch, to handle; to hit someone with hands
    动手脚 動手腳 dòngshǒujiǎo to sabotage something; to cheat by modifying something; to tinker with; lit. to move hands and feet
    灌醉 灌醉 guànzuì to fuddle, to confuse with alcohol; to get someone drunk
    海量 海量 hǎiliàng to be capable of holding liquor (a highly valued asset in competitive drinking, a Chinese sport)
    灌水 灌水 guànshuǐ to sell inferior goods that have been tampered with (business), for example, adding water to milk; to lose a game on purpose (sports)
    黑货 黑貨 hēihuò goods that have been tampered with, potentially hazardous to health; smuggled goods; lit. black stuff, majorly used in China but Taiwan
    拍马屁 拍馬屁 páimǎpì to flatter; lit. to align horse farts
    拍拍屁股走 拍拍屁股走 pāipāi pìgu zǒu to run away, to take off without caring for the consequences (while engaged in a relationship or project); lit. to line up the ass and go
    条子 條子 tiáozi a police officer; a strip (esp. of paper), a note
    内鬼 內鬼 nèiguǐ to steal; lit. within ghosts
    饭桶 飯桶 fàntǒng a scallywag, a do-nothing; a guy who lives off his girlfriend; lit. a rice container
    吃软饭 吃軟飯 chīruǎnfàn to live off one's girlfriend; lit. to eat soft rice
    毛毛的 毛毛的 máomáode creepy, suspicious, causing goosebumps (as in 他那樣瞪我, 我都覺得毛毛的。 "The way he stared at me made me feel spooked.")
    人情味 人情味 rénqíngwèi affection, humane, used to describe a friendly, caring atmosphere (as in 中國很有人情味。); lit. the smell of human feelings
    累死了 累死了 lèisǐle exhausted, worn out; lit. tired to the death
    (老)油条 (老)油條 (lǎo)yóutiáo a deceitful, "slick" person (油條, fried wheat cruller, is a long stick of deep fried batter, a staple in China)
    狗仔(队) 狗仔(隊) gǒuzǎi(duì) paparazzi; lit. dog puppy team
    小强 小強 xiǎoqiáng cockroach; lit. little strong one
    过头 過頭 guòtóu in excess (as in 睡过头, to oversleep)
    赖床 賴床 làichuáng to stay in bed (esp. too long), to not get up
    昏昏欲睡 昏昏欲睡 hūnhūnyùshuì drowsy, sleepy
    拖拖拉拉 拖拖拉拉 tuōtuōlālā to be slow (esp. from reluctance); to procrastinate
    湿达达(的) 溼答答(的) shīdádá(de) soaking wet
    A A A to steal (as in A錢, to steal money)
    K書 K書 K-shū study (as in pounding something into one's head)
    SPP SPP SPP having no class (Taiwan only, based on Hoklo dialect)
    A片 A片 A-piàn a porn movie
    咱们 咱們 zánmen we, us (sometimes just 咱).

    External links

    • Chinese Chat Codes - This page contains numeric codes used in chatting or pager messages similar to English acronyms like LOL (Laughing Out Loud) or BRB (Be Right Back).
    • Chinese Slang Dictionary - A dictionary of Chinese slang, colloquialisms, curses, vulgarities, dialects, and street talk that Chinese characters, pinyin romanization, and an English version.

    This history of the Chinese Wikibook highlights milestones along the book's development.






    The Chinese Wikibook was started 2003 December 13. Below is a list of users who have contributed greatly to the authoring of this Wikibook. Please add your username if you have made substantial additions and/or revisions to this textbook. Use *{{user|username}} to add a name.

    M4RC0, Yug and Wikic all made substantial contributions to the Chinese stroke order project on Wikicommons, which are used in our lessons. Peter Isotalo, also of Wikicommons, contributed the first audio samples used in this Wikibook.

    In addition, the authors would like to thank the development team in relation with the Wikimedia Foundation and its affiliates, without whom our text could not be so accessible.

    Ways to Contribute


    Keep the Simplified/Traditional Versions in Sync

    The Chinese Wikibook has two identical versions; Simplified and Traditional. This is done to unclutter the textbook and to meet the needs of people either interested in the characters used in China or used in Taiwan. However, whenever a change is made in one version, it is not automatically carried over, so periodic checks must be made to ensure that the two remain in sync. This sometimes involves translating from one script to the other, but often only involves copying formatting changes.

    Saint Jerome, the patron saint of translators.

    Translate Pages

    Currently, the English version is the most developed of the Chinese Wikibooks. If you know another language, please check if a Chinese book is started in that language and compare it to this one. You can make changes to their content based on ideas gained here, or do a wholesale translation of this textbook into the target language. Since the Chinese can stay the same across languages, a lot of work can be saved in this way. Translation efforts have been started in the following languages:

    Even if a translation has been done at one time, it may have been incomplete or not been updated to reflect recent changes on the English site. Please work to keep them current. If you can only do a partial translation, leave a note to later contributors linking back to your source (a good candidate for using Templates).

    Add InterWiki Links

    If you can't translate pages, but know enough of a language to locate the corresponding Chinese Wikibook, you can make Interwiki links. You can see them on the Wikibooks Sidebar listed under "in other languages" when available. They are typically placed at the very end of a page using a simple format. Here is the list used for the Chinese TOC page:

    [[it:Corso di cinese/Indice]]
    <!-- 在以上的课程里中文是一样的,
    在以下的课程里中文是不同的 -->
    [[fr:Enseignement du chinois]]

    The ones listed above the divider are translations of this book. The ones below are of their own design. In addition to the main page, Lesson pages, Stroke Order pages and anything else can be interwikied as long as the content is the same.

    Stroke Order Images

    Black to red fade
    Gif animations

    There is a project on Wikicommons to upload images and animations of the stroke order for characters. There are directions on how to contribute. It's easy with the use of some free programs and can be done even with only a basic understanding of Chinese. Please contribute so that we'll have a standardized reference for our Wikibook users.

    Have a look at the stroke order pages for each lesson to see what our immediate needs are:

    Lesson 1 — Lesson 2 — Lesson 3

    Sound Samples


    With a microphone and a read through the recording guidelines for the Spoken Wikipedia you can contribute audio examples. Sound samples are particularly important for beginners, especially ones who are studying alone with no teacher or native speaker on hand.

    You can see what has been uploaded so far at Category:Chinese pronunciation. Peter Isotalo started, but a native speaker would be best. Welcome to the main Planning page for the Chinese Wikibook. Unless your comment only pertains to a particular lesson, discuss your ideas here so that the overall planning discussion is not spread across many lesson pages. Initial planning and continued coordination of effort is extremely important to help reduce the need for reworking later. New issues are entered here, with the most recent at the bottom of the page. Please review the Table of Contents to see if your issue has already been raised; also check the archives (see below) in case it was discussed some time ago.


    Please observe the following guidelines:

    1. Place your question at the bottom of the list;
    2. Title the question (by placing the title between equals signs like this: == title ==);
    3. Sign your name and date (by adding four tildes: ~~~~).
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    Chinese Wikibook Purpose and Audience

    This book is intended to be a complete learning resource center for students of Mandarin Chinese. Dialects, such as Cantonese, will be covered by their own Wikibooks and be linked to in the See Also section of the Table of Contents (TOC). It should teach listening comprehension and speaking as well as reading and writing using whatever technologies are most appropriate (includes audio for text and animations for stroke orders).

    The audience is the serious studier of Chinese, either at the high school or college level. Casual learners looking for a few choice phrases or unwilling to spend the time learning characters can be served adequately by the Chinese Phrasebook on Wikivoyage. Younger audiences can have age-appropriate material created for them in WikiJunior. Intermediate- or Advanced-Level modules may be added, but because of the cumulative nature of a language text (explained below), it would probably be best to focus efforts on the Introductory Level first and make continuations of the series later.

    The Need for Planning

    Language Wikibooks faces some unique challenges from a planning perspective. It's harder to produce a quality, integrated work in language instruction than in other subjects, like Biology or Physics. Those you can break into discrete units and still read about it—topics within the subject can be rearranged or meaningfully read even in isolation from the rest of the text.

    Not so with an elementary language text. All the grammar and vocabulary that you learn is cumulative, so everything can only stack one way. Flipping ahead (or falling behind) more than a few chapters and you're lost. Order matters, so we use the a sequential naming scheme (Lesson 1, Lesson 2,...), not a topic-based one (Asking Questions, Giving Directions,...).

    To avoid late-stage reorganizations that would necessarily be painful with lots of work going to waste, we should agree on a 'Lesson Roadmap' beforehand and then flesh it out. I think a Wiki can really work for this, but that the project still needs a common format and approach. A standard outline for lessons would help a lot with that, so, may I suggest that the lessons of this text each include the components outlined below.

    Lesson Roadmap

    1. Lesson 1: Hello! (你好!)  - Basic Sentences and Questions
      • Simple Sentences
        • SVO sentence structure
          • The equational verb shi [是] and its negation with bu [不]
          • Verb 叫
      • Intro to Questions
        • Ma [吗] and ne [呢] particles
        • Question words (for now, only shei [谁] and na/nei [哪])
    2. Lesson 2: Are you busy today? (今天你忙不忙?)   - Measure Words, Possession and Affirmative-Negative Questions
      • Measure Words (the most commonly used, like 个、本、张)
      • The possessive verb you [有] and its negation with mei [没]
      • More Questions! Affirmative-Negative
        • 是不是 Questions
        • 有没有 Questions
    3. Unit 3: 今天星期三 - Numbers, Days, Aux. Verbs, de [的]
      • Numbers (to 100)
      • year, month, day, week etc.
      • Auxiliary Verbs, the de [的] particle
    4. Lesson TBA: Unordered List of Grammar Explanations - Even w/o example sentences grammar can be explained nonetheless
      • Comparisons Using bǐ [比]
      • The le [了] particle
        • indicating a completed action
        • indicating a past event
        • expressing change of state or situation
        • adding emphasis
      • Time
        • when - time of day, hour and minutes, morning/night
        • how long - duration of time
      • Directions/Placement Words (NESW, L/R, li3, li2, zai4, bian1)
      • Pronunciation of yi1 (b/c of tone changes)
      • Complement of degree de
      • ordinal numbers di
      • Complement of direction qu/lai
      • Compliment of result
      • ba
        • the suggestion particle
        • as preposition
      • guo denoting experience of something
      • (some) members of family
      • reduplication
      • emphasis using
      • How to use a Radical Index (for C-E Glossary)
      • Basic rules for writing Chinese characters

    Subjects Areas to Cover


    Getting around (a city)

    • Where is the post office?
    • How far is it to the school?
    • Public transport
    • Conversation in a taxi

    Chapter Three: Buying Things

    • How much is that shirt?
    • Haggling


    • Eating Out
    • At the supermarket
    • The grocer
    • A meal at home
    • Traditional Chinese cooking


    • What do you play?
    • Talking about a match
    • Skiing
    • Mountaineering
    • Yachting
    • Surfing

    Your House

    • Description of house
    • Traditional Chinese furniture
    • Living in a community

    Immediate family and relatives


    • This is my school
    • Afterschool activities
    • School subjects

    Going to the Zoo / Wo men qu dong wu yuan

    Decided Conventions

    1. The Title Page leads to the main TOC, not the Cover Page. The Cover Page can be linked from the TOC and used in Print versions.
    2. Hanyu Pinyin is used as the only Romanization format, though equivalency charts to other systems provided [1]. Tone marks are used instead of tone numbers.
    3. Traditional or Simplified characters appear only in the Lesson Text and in parentheses in the Vocabulary sections—not in titles, example sentences, or exercises.
    4. Traditional pages are linked as parallel subpages of every Simplified page. On every Traditional page, a parentdirectory link links back to the Simplified version, always providing a toggle button between versions.

    Unresolved Issues


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