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Mandarin Made Easy

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Sammy, THANK YOU for that lesson!

And I'm doubly thankful, because today for the first time I am able to decipher your Chinese characters. They come through beautifully here now. I wonder if it's because I'm using a different computer this time, with a different browser, or perhaps it's because of some new trick up your sleeve! Anyway, I love those Mandarin expressions.

A few days ago I was in a restaurant sitting next to a table of about seven young Chinese women. They were all talking excitedly. My friend who was with me had learned some Mandarin while in the Army, years ago, and he deciphered a few of the words. But my decision was that they were PURPOSELY talking fast so no foreigners COULD understand!

Thank you for taking all this time to teach us. I for one look forward to the next installment.

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Sammy Lee


Congratulations Jeannie!

Here is some more to add to your vocabulary:

These list of words and phrases which I divide into four parts, will help you survive if you plan to visit China. It is even an excellent foundation for you if you think of studying this most ancient and fascinating language! In brackets [ ] are pronunciation guide for English speaking people.


119, fire , read as "yāo-yāo-jiǔ"[eaow-eaow-chew]

110, police , read as "yāo-yāo-líng"[eaow-eaow-ling]

120, ambulance, read as "yāo- èr- líng"[eaow-earl-ling]

114, finding telephone numbers, read as "yāo-yāo-sì"[eaow-eaow-sir]


一 = yi [yee]– one

二 = er [earl]– two

三 = san [sun]– three

四 = si [sir]– four

五 = wu [woo]– five

六 = liu [lew]– six

七 = qi [chee]– seven

八 = ba [bar]– eight

九 = jiu [chew]– nine

十 = shi [shir]- ten

O =ling [ling]-zero

shí[shir] =10

bǎi [bye] =100

qiān [chyen]=1,000

wàn [one] =10,000

wǔ [woo]= noon

shang wu [shung woo]= morning [literally,

going up towards noon]

xia wu[sharh woo]= afternoon [going down from midday/noon]

rì [ruh]= day

xīngqī[singchee] =weekday

xingqi yi [sing chee yee]= Monday/the first day after xingqi ri [sing chee ruh]

(day of the sun)or libai ri [lee bye ruh]

(day of prayer)

xingqi er [sing chee earl]= Tuesday/second day after praying day

xingqi san [sing chee san]= Wednesday

xingqi si[sing chee sir]= Thursday

xingqi wu[sing chee woo]= Friday

xingqi liu[sing chee lew]= Saturday

xingqi ri/libai ri[sing chee ruh/

lee bye ruh= Sunday/day of the sun/ day of prayer

yuè [yway]=month

The names of the month? Very easy:

Just put the number in front:

Yi yue [yee yway] =January

Er yue [earl yway] =February

San yue [sun yway] =March

Si yue [sir yway] =April

Wu yue [woo yway] =May

Liu yue [lew yway] =June

Qi yue [chee yway] =July

Ba yue [bar yway] =August

Jiu yue [chew yway]=September

Shi yue [shir yway] =October

Shi yi yue [shir yee yway]=November

Shi er yue [shir earl yway]=December

nián [nyen]=year

běi [bay]=north

dōng [doong]=east

nán [nun]=south

xī [see]= west

zhōng [chong]=centre/middle

Until next time.


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Jeannie--they may have been talking fast to keep anyone from understanding, but even having lived in China and studied the language, I still have to make people talk slowly so that I can make out the individual words. If there is someone I know well and have talked with for a while, I can understand them at a faster speed, or if the speak very clearly like on a newscast, but generally it is hard to catch more than a few words when you're out of practice (as I am, still!).


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If you find some value to this community, please help out with a few dollars per month.