“Lesson 1” is a Good Place to Start Learning Chinese

It’s 8 o-clock in the morning. I’ve just finished studying lesson 1 from the Chinese textbook I bought yesterday.

I learned how to say ‘good morning’… what was that again? *Checking the textbook*

2016_07_12_14.18.16

From the Chinese textbook

Nǐ zǎo! 你早!

Since the book is in Japanese, but this blog is in English, I had to look up Japanese terms to find out how to say some terms in English, like 声調 (tone in Chinese phonetics), 四声(the 4 tones in Chinese), and 軽声 (neutral tone in Chinese). But my dictionary app is Chinese – Korean so it gives me word definitions in Korean. I thought I was only learning Chinese but I was learning 4 languages at the same time. Which was fun. I’m not complaining.

Talking about complaining, I do have one complain: why is Google Pinyin Input not translated to English? It’s hard to use it because I don’t understand Chinese. When I accidentally changed something, it’s hard to return it back to original setting again. Like when I accidentally clicked ‘Shift’, the input changed to English, and I didn’t know what I did wrong. 😣

I mean, Google Japanese Input is in English. Sure they can make Google Pinyin Input in English, too?

Windows has its own Chinese keyboard, which is in English, right? Maybe it’s better if I use it instead of Google Pinyin Input? I’ll try later.

Because I want to blog about what I learn every day, I need to be able to type vocal sounds with those little mark for tones, like: ā á ǎ à. It was hard for me to find out how to do that with Google Pinyin Input because it’s completely in Chinese.

how to type chinese mark for tones

Typing tone mark

This is how I type tone marks:
Right-click the keyboard mark, select 拼音符号 (no. 9 from the top). A soft keyboard will appear. Click the one you need.
To return the keyboard to original keyboard layout again, right-click the keyboard mark again, select the one on the top. Click the keyboard mark to make it disappear.

But this takes too long, there should be a better way.

Anyway…

Three things I learned from lesson 1

1. There are 4 tones in Chinese (should I say 普通话?).
Different tones give different meanings for the same syllable. Example:

mā 妈 → ma with tone no. 1 means: mother

má 麻 → ma with tone no. 2 means: hemp, or go numb

mǎ 马 → ma with tone no. 3 means: horse

mà 骂 → ma with tone no. 4 means: to curse and swear

2. Other than those 4 tones, there is also neutral tone, which is short, and written without any tone mark. Example:

妈妈 māma : mother

爸爸 bàba : father

3. ’Tone no. 3 + tone no. 3’ is pronounced as ’tone no. 2 + tone no. 3’. But the tone mark doesn’t change so remember it. Example:

你好 nǐ hǎo → ní hǎo

There’s a little listening test at the end of the lesson. Like… listen to this Chinese word, and decide which tone is it.

It was very hard for me to differentiate all the 4 tones… as expected. I can tell if it’s only for 1 syllable. But when when the tones are combined into a word… I give up. I can hardly tell for a word for ‘tone no. 1 + tone no. 2’. 😣

There are 3 Chinese speakers teaching the lesson, and I feel like they all speak in different ways? How do I remember Chinese words with their tones? Do I remember them like a song? 😣

I’ll listen to the lesson again during the day, hoping that my brain will slowly internalize all these new sounds. ###

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11 thoughts on ““Lesson 1” is a Good Place to Start Learning Chinese

  1. I think 你早 is not common to use (actually I doubt this is a wrong expression, it’s wired even on 普通話 or 廣東話). We use 你好 or 早晨 in Hong Kong. 早安 is speak of 普通話 and 早晨 is speak of 廣東話.

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