Posts tagged: Basic Chinese Words

Jan 01 2010

Months of the Year & Days of the Week

Here is another simple way to demonstrate how Chinese is easy.

If you can count to 12 in chinese and also say the word for “month” and “week” (i.e. a total of 14 words) not only are you able to say those 14 words, but you can also say all of the months of the year and the days of the week from Monday to Saturday without learning any extra words.

That’s because the months of the year in Mandarin Chinese are simply expressed as :

1 Month = January = yi1yue4

2 Month = February = er4yue4

3 Month = March = san1yue4

4 Month = April = si4yue4

5 Month = May = wu3yue4

6 Month = June = liu4yue4

7 Month = July = qi1yue4

8 Month = August = ba1yue4

9 Month = September = jiu3yue4

10 Month = October = shi2yue4

11 Month = November = shi2yi1yue4

12 Month = December = shi2er4yue4

So think of how much harder for a speaker of Mandarin to learn English.  Being able to count to 12 offers them no advantage in being able to say the months of the year.  They simply must memorize those 12 new words, but for us we just remember to say the month number and then the chinese word for month and there you have it.  So easy.

Days of the week are the same principle :

Week 1 = Monday = xing1qi1yi1

Week 2 = Tuesday = xing1qi1er4

Week 3 = Wednesday = xing1qi1san1

Week 4 = Thursday = xing1qi1si4

Week 5 = Friday = xing1qi1wu3

Week 6 = Saturday = xing1qi1liu4

The only exception to this rule is Sunday.  It is NOT expressed by saying “Week 7” as you would expect but instead it can be expressed by saying “week” and then the word for “sun” as in “xing1qi1ri4”, or by saying “week” and then the word for “day” or “sky” which is “tian1”, as in “xing1qi1tian1”.

Dec 06 2009

Basic Chinese Pronouns

When learning a language we all need to start somewhere, and perhaps the best place is the pronouns.

I = Wo3

We = Wo3 men

You = Ni3

You PLURAL = Ni3 men

He/She/It = Ta1

They = Ta1 men

Notice in Mandarin you can simply add the word “men” to pluralize pronoun. “I” becomes “WE” simply by adding “men”.   So you only need to learn 4 words :

wo3, ni3, ta1, & men

With those 4 words you are able to say :

I, We, Me, Us, He, She, It, Him, Her, They, Them

Notice in English we have “I” and “ME”.  Because we would never say “please give it to I”.  We must change “I” to “ME” but in mandarin this phenomenon doesn’t exist, again making it that much easier to learn this language

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