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Lesson 9 – Elementary – Learning Chinese Conversations about Asking Names

The purpose of learning a certain language is to put it into use in our daily life. Therefore, for those who come to learn Chinese in China, they should learn some basic conversations to communicate to each other. The following are two daily conversations provided for Chinese language learners.

玛丽:我叫玛丽,你姓什么?(mǎ lì:wǒ jiào mǎ lì,nǐ xìnɡ shén me ?)
王兰:我姓王,我叫王兰。(wánɡ lán : wǒ xìnɡ wánɡ , wǒ jiào wánɡ lán 。)
玛丽:认识你,很高兴。(mǎ lì : rèn shí nǐ , hěn ɡāo xìnɡ 。)
王兰:认识你,我也很高兴。(wánɡ lán:rèn shí nǐ,wǒ yě hěn ɡāo xìnɡ 。)

大卫:老师,您贵姓?(dà wèi : lǎo shī , nín ɡuì xìnɡ ?)
张老师:我姓张。你叫什么名字?(zhānɡ lǎo shī:wǒ xìnɡ zhānɡ。nǐ jiào shén me mínɡ zi ?)
大卫:我叫大卫。他姓什么?(dà wèi :wǒ jiào dà wèi 。 tā xìnɡ shén me ?)
张老师:她姓王。(zhānɡ lǎo shī:tā xìnɡ wánɡ 。)
大卫:她是老师吗?(dà wèi:tā shì lǎo shī mɑ ?)
张老师:她不是老师,他是学生。(tā bú shì lǎo shī,tā shì xué shenɡ 。)

The two conversations are often seen and commonly used when foreigners study in China. It is the very basic conversation to start communication. So students should practice more so that they are familiar with it.

After reading the two conversations, let us point some useful expressions for students to practice when they learn Mandarin. The following three sentences are essential for learners to communicate with each other.

The first one should be “您贵姓?”, which means “May I know your name?”. When we use this sentence to ask the name, we ask with a respectful and polite way. However, learners who study Chinese should know that the answer is not “我贵姓…” but “我姓…”.

Another way of asking name students will learn when they go to Chinese language school is “你叫什么名字?”, meaning “what’s your name?”. We can also say “你叫什么?” to express the same meaning. This is mainly used to ask the name of the younger generations or the same generation. Compared with the first sentence, it is not so polite, so we don’t use it to ask the elder’s name or to show respect and politeness.

When we want to know the third person’s name, we often use “她姓什么?”, carrying the meaning of “what’s her name?”. For this asking way, the only thing students should understand when they learn Chinese language is that one shouldn’t say “他贵姓?”.

Grammar is essential for any language. Therefore, during the process of reading comprehension, we often come across some grammatical points. Students learning in Mandarin language courses in China will be taught in details. Let’s take a look some important points in this lesson.

The questions with the character “吗” is frequently seen in Chinese language. Actually, most questions of this type are formed by adding the modal particle “吗” at the end of the declarative sentences. The following examples are often listed in Mandarin leaning courses: “你好吗?”, “你身体好吗?”, “她是老师吗?”.

However, the question with “吗” is not the only way to ask questions. Foreigners who go to school to study Mandarin will learn the questions with interrogative pronouns like “谁”, “什么”, “哪儿” and so on. The word order is the same with that of the declarative sentence.

If we want to form a interrogative sentence, we just need to replace the part being questioned in a declarative sentence with the interrogative pronouns. For examples, “他姓什么?”, “你叫什么名字?”, “谁是大卫?”, “玛丽在哪儿?”.

Last but not least, the sentence with an adjectival predicate is often taught when you choose languageschool to study in China. For this type of sentence, the main element of the predicate should be the adjectival sentence. Here are two sentences to explain. “他很忙”, “他不太高兴”.

After reading these two conversations, students should have learned several useful expressions. As an important part, the relevant grammar is illustrated to gain understanding as a help for Chinese language learners.

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