Ini adalah saya
यह मैं हूँ।
This is Me
Đây là tôi
Huu ndio mimi
Dette er meg
Ово сам ја
Das bin ich
Este soy yo
Este sou eu
Some key features of Chinese
For teachers and parents
Important: This page is not for children but is intended to provide some background for adults who are supporting children’s learning.
Chinese, of course, does not use the Latin alphabet of Western countries, but has its own character set.
This has advantages: Every character represents a syllable, and each syllable usually represents a specific meaning. This means that there is no combining of letters to make words so there is no problem with spelling.
It also has disadvantages: There are very many characters, and Chinese children must spend time memorising them.
Traditional and Simplified characters
There are, in fact, two styles of text – traditional Chinese (TC) and simplified Chinese (SC).
Mainland China use simplified characters, and those are used in the This Is Me series.
The representation of Chinese text using the Latin alphabet is called Pinyin.
It’s useful for beginners, but serious learners will sooner or later move on to using characters.
You can use the books to learn some characters.
It’s usually better to learn from sentences than from lists.
However, some adult readers might like a ‘starter’ list, which also introduces some key language patterns*.
你好 nǐ hǎo hello
嗨 hāi hi
我 wǒ I
我的 wǒ de my
我的书 wǒ de shū my book
我喜欢 wǒ xǐ huān I like
我不喜欢 wǒ bù xǐ huān I don’t like
你 nǐ you
她 tā she
他 tā he
它 tā it
这 zhè this
是 shì to be (am, are, is)
是的 shì de yes, true, correct
不 bù no
一、二、三 yī 、 èr 、 sān one, two, three
一本书 yī běn shū one book
两本书 liǎng běn shū two books
三本书 sān běn shū three books
有 yǒu to have
没有 méi yǒu to not have
可以 kě yǐ can, to be able to
能 néng can, to be able to
看 kàn to look
看到 kàndào to see
用 yòng to use
画画 huà huà to draw
朋友 péng yǒu friend
书 shū book
树 shù tree
花 huā flower
房子 fáng zǐ house
家 jiā home
好 hǎo good
怎么? zěn me? how?
* It’s usually better to look out for patterns yourself. That way you will remember them. If we try to tell you ALL the answers you just have more ‘stuff’ that’s easy to forget.
Tones and tone marks
Singular and plural
Nobody speaks in monotones. Many languages use different tones to express different emotions. Chinese is one of the languages that uses tones to express different meaning.
For example, the three letters s, h and i can be combined to formed to give:
shī zi (level tone) lion
shí (rising tone) ten
lì shǐ (falling and rising tone) history
shì (falling tone) to be (am, are, is, etc), also used a confirmation as in ‘yes’
There is also a neutral tone.
Chinese people develop a sensitivity to tones and meaning from an early age. Foreigners, even on the phone, reveal their not-so-competent use of tones.
For developing correct use of tones it’s a good idea to start young, such as with This Is Me books and audio.
The pinyin in the This Is Me books uses standard tone marks. Use the books and the audio (all provided by first-language speakers) together, and listen out for the tones.
Except when talking about people, Chinese doesn’t distinguish between singular and plural. It is usually obvious from the context whether there is one or more than one of anything.
When talking about people, however, ‘men’ (neutral tone) is usually added. (See the next section.)
I, me 我 wǒ my, mine 我的 wǒ de
you (singular) 你 nǐ your, yours 你的 nǐ de
she, her 她 tā her, hers 她的 tā de
he, him 他 tā his, his 他的 tā de
it 它 tā its, its 它的 tā de
we, us 我们 wǒ men our, ours 我们的 wǒ men de
you (plural) 你们 nǐ men your, yours 你的们的 nǐ men de
they, them 他们 tā men their, theirs. 他们的 tā men de
Chinese uses a variety of measure words. The default is 个, gè.
One person 一个人 yī gè rén
Two people 两个人 liǎng gè rén
Three people 三个人 sān gè rén
Note that when using measure words, Chinese uses 两, liǎng, and not 二, èr.
For animals, the measure word is 只, zhǐ
One bird 一只鸟 yi zhǐ niǎo
For books, the measure word is 本, běn
One book 一本书 yī běn shū
Two books 两本书 liǎng běn shū
Three books 三本书 sān běn shū
Asking yes-no questions
Questions with yes or no answers are distinguished by adding 吗, ma (neutral tone), at the end.
她喜欢我。 She likes me.
她喜欢我吗？ Does she like me?
Affirmative and negative sentences
Inserting 不, bù, in front of the verb makes the sentence negative.
她喜欢我。 She likes me.
她不喜欢我。 She doesn’t like me.
Sentence structure and verbs
The default Chinese sentence structure is Subject-Verb-Object, as in:
I like you. 我喜欢你. wǒ xǐ huān nǐ.
There sentences like ‘She is good.’ where there appears to be no verb:
She is good. 她很好. tā hěn hǎo.
很, hěn, is here acting as the verb.
… with love from Smilite
Copyright © Smilite Limited 2022-2023
Back to home page