Archive for the 'Elementary' Category

Going to Church: Elementary

In a land of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam – and now Christianity – a quick sermon on how to identify your own religion might help. In this podcast you will learn how to ask about someone’s religion, and also to talk about going to church, using Mandarin Chinese.

A 你信教吗?
nǐ xìn jiào ma? 
Do you believe in any religion?
B 我不信。你呢?
wǒ bù xìn. nǐ ne? 
No. Do you?
A 我信基督教。
wǒ xìn Jīdūjiào. 
I am a Christian.
B 我的朋友也是。他每个星期天都去教堂。
wǒ de péngyou yě shì. tā měige xīngqītiān dōu qù jiàotáng. 
My friend is too. He goes to church every Sunday.

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Haircuts: Elementary

Few things in life are certain: 1. Life 2. Death 3. A non-English speaking barber might struggle in getting that “feathered” look you’re after So, it’s John and Jenny to the rescue, in the wind-blown form of a lesson on “getting a do”. In this podcast learn how to communicate some essentials to your friendly neighborhood barber cutting right there on the sidewalk in Mandarin Chinese. ChinesePod--not afraid to wear ours up, and away from the face.

A 我想剪头发。多少钱?
wǒ xiǎng jiǎn tóufa. duōshǎo qián? 
I’d like a haircut. How much is it?
B 洗剪吹50元。请问你想剪什么样的?
xǐ jiǎn chuī wǔshí yuán. qǐng wèn nǐ xiǎng jiǎn shénmayàng de? 
It’s 50 yuan for shampoo, cut, and blow dry. What style do you want?
A 前面短一点,后面留长一点。
qiánmian duǎn yīdiǎn, hòumian liú cháng yīdiǎn. 
Shorter in the front, but a bit longer in the back.
B 没问题。你先洗头吧。
méiwèntí. nǐ xiān xǐtóu ba. 
No problem. Please shampoo first.

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People learn Chinese for a number of different reasons. Some for work, some for play, some to finally convey to the nice lady downstairs that the smell of fish cooking at 8:00am isn’t the greatest thing to wake up to. The one thing we all do agree on is that the word “boss” and “is unsatisfied” are biggies, so needless to say, an elementary lesson on just that is the “podcast du jour”.


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What could you use more than some more useful phrases in Mandarin Chinese? Well, even better than that, we’ve got some excellent high-frequency language you will wonder how you ever did without (i.e. Where is the washroom?). Listen in on this podcast, and learn some more important and useful questions and responses in Mandarin Chinese. Alas, who else could you count on to educate you in these sorts of “delicate” matters?

qǐng wèn, xǐshǒujiān zài nǎli? 
Excuse me, where is the bathroom?
máfan nǐ, wèishēngjiān zài nǎli? 
I’m sorry to bother you, where is the bathroom?
wǒ chídào le. bùhǎoyìsi. 
I’m late. Sorry.
wǒ wàngle nǐde míngzi. bùhǎoyìsi. 
I forgot your name. Apologies.
wǒ méiyǒu qián, bùhǎoyìsi. 
I don’t have any money. Sorry.

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Breakup: Elementary

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With this lesson, we did our best to distill the most cliché Chinese breakup lines into one simple dialog. This way, should you ever have the misfortune of needing to understand these words and phrases, you focus on being brokenhearted rather than puzzling over vocabulary and grammar. (You can thank us later.)

A:   李强,我们分手吧。
Lǐ Qiáng, wǒmen fēnshǒu ba.
Li Qiang, let's break up.
B:   为什么?我哪里不好?
wèishénme? wǒ nǎli bù hǎo?
Why? What am I doing wrong?
A:   不是你不好。是我不好。
bùshì nǐ bù hǎo. shì wǒ bù hǎo.
It's not you, it's me.
B:   什么意思?
shénme yìsi?
What does that mean?
A:   跟你在一起,我觉得很累。
gēn nǐ zài yīqǐ, wǒ juéde hěn lèi.
Being with you, I feel so tired.

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Superman: Elementary

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Your wonder-twin powers won't activate and the kryptonite is sapping the Mandarin from your very brain. The frustration is making you feel like kicking some bad-guy booty? Or perhaps you feel like withdrawing to your lair... wrapped up in your cape, crying for mommy. You need the man of steel. Listen to this podcast and let Chinese Superman save the day.

A:   你看,好大的鸟!
nǐ kàn, hǎo dà de niǎo!
Look, a big bird!
B:   不是,是飞机。
bù shì, shì fēijī.
No, it's a plane.
A:   不对,是超人!
bù duì, shì chāorén!
Wrong, it's Superman!
B:   真的是啊。超人实在是太酷了!他飞得真快!
zhēnde shì a. chāorén shízài shì tài kù le! tā fēi de zhēn kuài!
It really is. Superman is just too cool! He flies so fast!
A:   没错。他真是个英雄。
méicuò. tā zhēn shì ge yīngxióng.
That's right. He really is a hero.
B:   而且超级帅!你看,他对我笑了!
érqiě chāojí shuài! nǐ kàn, tā duì wǒ xiào le!
Plus he's super handsome! Look, he smiled at me!

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Mild Swearing: Elementary

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Zen might be of Asian design, but it takes a back-seat when someone cuts in line. In this podcast, Ken and Jenny lower their professional integrity by teaching some mild ways of insulting someone in Mandarin Chinese and the importance of never, ever wearing a green hat…ever.

You're crazy!
nǎozi huài le.
Your brain is busted!
méi zhǎng yǎnjing
You don't have eyes.
nǐ méi zhǎng yǎnjing.
You have no eyes.
dài lǜmàozi
To be cuckolded
nǐ lǎopó gěi nǐ dài lǜmàozi.
Your wife is cheating on you.
nǐ hěn nǎiyóu!
You're very effeminate!
nǎiyóu dàngāo
Cream cake

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Condoms: Elementary

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Drug stores are full of potentially embarrassing items. Embarrassment is exponentially heightened when it involves the acting out of said item to drug store clerk, gesturing to specific body parts and drawing pictures. Thankfully, we at ChinesePod do not shy away from these topics (to wit: lesson on buying tampons), and wouldn't want to see you acting out the word for "condom." Thus, this podcast, where you will learn how to discreetly ask for your contraceptive of choice, in Mandarin Chinese.

A 给我那个。
gěi wǒ nàge.
Give me that one.
B 哪个?
Which one?
A 那个。
That one.
B 噢,避孕套啊。要几盒?
ō, bìyùntào a. yào jǐ hé?
Oh, the condoms. How many boxes do you want?
A 两盒。
liǎng hé.
Two boxes.
B 你买三盒吧,可以打八折。
nǐ mǎi sān hé ba, kěyǐ dǎ bā zhé.
Why don't you buy three boxes -- you can get 20% off

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Surfing Online: Elementary

Think you don’t need to talk about the internet? You’re positive? Okay, tell you what, think very, very carefully about your life sans web…no email, no news, no CHINESEPOD, ye gods! In this podcast, Ken (An Irish Spicoli) and Jenny (Our Little Surfer Girl) teach you how to talk in Mandarin Chinese about surfing the internet. The Chinese love their electronics and you’ve got to fit in! Listen and this lesson will teach you how.

A 我喜欢上网。我花很多时间浏览体育网站。
wǒ xǐhuan shàngwǎng. wǒ huā hěn duō shíjiān liúlǎn tǐyù wǎngzhàn.
I like to surf the Internet. I spend a lot of time browsing sports websites.
B 我也经常上网。但是我看最近的新闻。
wǒ yě jīngcháng shàngwǎng. dànshì wǒ kàn zuìjìnde xīnwén.
I often surf the Internet too, but I read the latest news.
A 你上网聊天吗?
nǐ shàngwǎng liáotiān ma?
Do you ever chat online?
B 我有时用MSN和朋友聊天。
wǒ yǒushí yòng MSN hé péngyou liáotiān.
I do. I sometimes use MSN to chat with my friends.

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In another edition of the Hungry Traveler, we find ourselves in HK. The city full of millionaires, movie stars, fast cars, and... food! It's all about the dim sum baby. When you hear that squeaky cart roll by your table, you have to think fast. Decisions... decisions. What culinary delights will our traveler select?

A 我们吃什么点心?
wǒmen chī shénme diǎnxīn?
What dim sum should we eat?
B 虾饺、烧卖、叉烧包。
xiājiǎo, shāomài , chāshāobāo.
Steamed shrimp dumpling, stuffed pork dumpling, and barbecue pork stuffed buns.
A 啊,又是这些。
ǎ, yòu shì zhèxiē.
Ah! Not those again!
B 那你要吃什么?
nà nǐ yào chī shénme?
So, what do you want to eat then?
A 凤爪。
Chicken feet.
B 呃......

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Cats Are Cool-Elementary

Elementary: We at ChinesePod are vaguely aware that some people like cats better than dogs. While we don't apologize for our various dog-themed lessons, we're happy to throw you cat lovers a (fish)bone. Listen to this lesson to learn how to deal with the irrational cat-haters of this world in Mandarin Chinese.


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