Saturday, February 16, 2008

Starting with Mandarin

This post is of no use for anybody except me. As I am "taking" a lightning Chinese course, I just want to have all phrases (very basic ones) in one place so I can take a look at them before the next seven weeks end.
But even I can see some patterns here.

你 好 (hǎo): Hi!
谢 (xièxie): Thanks
妈妈 (māma): mum

爸爸 (bàba): dad
(wǒ shì Zhōngguórén): I am Chinese

(Zhōngguó): China
(Měiguó): U. S. A.
(Yīngguó): Britain
墨西哥 (mò xī gē): Mexico, 墨西哥 (mò xī gē rén): Mexican person
(Fǎguó): France, 法国 (Fǎguórén): French person
(Déguó): Germany, 德国 (Déguórén): German person
日本 (Rīběn): Japan, 日本 (Rīběnrén): Japanese person

他 (tā): he, 她 (tā): she
(wǒmen): we, 你 (nǐmen): you (plural)

All the lovely strokes were taken from this site.
OMG! Of course nobody is expecting ME to learn how to WRITE that down! It is an art!

An interesting thing I noticed while searching for the images is the different meanings of some of the words.
美, one of the "components" for "US.A." also means "beautiful". And 英, the starter for "Britain" also means "brave".
It is also interesting to notice the words for "he" and "she". They are spelled
他 and 她, respectively. But they are pronounced the same. 牠 and 它 are third person singular too. They correspond to the animate and inanimate "it", respectively. And they are also pronounced !
Originally, Chinese had no distinction for gender in the second and third person pronouns, and no distinction for animacy in the third person either. In fact, in the spoken language, they remain undifferentiated. These characters were created in response to contact with the West and its gender and animacy indicating pronouns.

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