Posted by: sea2stars | September 8, 2009

Chinese Lesson 1

Today was my first Chinese lesson and I thought I would share some of the things I learned.

In Taiwan and most of China they speak Mandarin Chinese. This language has 5 tones. 4 tones are illustrated in the diagram below and the 5th tone is actually toneless (which doesn’t really make since to me). For more info Mandarine Chinese Tones. In Taiwan they still use the traditional chinese characters. The advantage is that if I go somewhere and they speak Cantonese I will still be able to read everything, even though I can’t understand them.

We also started to learn Pinyin. Pinyin is the English alphabet translation of the Chinese characters. Basically what it means is that letters don’t sound the same as they do in English. For example the letter i sounds like the letter e. Here are a few more examples and I try to write the english phonetic spelling in parentheses: i (e), x (sh), zh (gee), q (t), c (se), r (gr), ect, ect, ect. Pinyin is confusing to me because I simple want to pronounce everything like we do in the English language. Once we master Pinyin then we will move onto the Chinese characters.

We did learn how to say Hello and How are you? and how to answer back.

Hi  你好 = (ni how)
How are you?  你好馬  = (ni how ma)
Not good  不好 = (boo how)
Ok  海好 = (hi how)
Very good  很好 = (hen how)

We also learn how to count to ten in Chinese. Give it a shot if you feel so inclined. It may be easier to find a youtube video that says them for you.

1 一 (sounds like saying the letter e) -Tone 2 – rising tone – like asking a question
2 二 (er) – Tone 4 – falling tone – like when you say no forcefully
3 三 (san) – Tone 1 – high flat tone
4 四 (si – like saying sit without the t) – Tone 4- falling tone – like when you say no forcefully
5 五  (ooo like saying boo without the b) – Tone 3 – falling rising tone
6 六 (leo) – Tone 4- falling tone – like when you say no forcefully
7 七 (like saying the letter t) – Tone 1- high flat tone
8 八 (ba) – Tone 1- high flat tone
9 九 (joe) – Tone 3- falling rising tone
10 十 (sch) – Tone 2 – rising tone – like asking a question

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