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In this first lesson we will learn the pronouns, the verb "to be", and the occupations "student", "teacher", and "businessperson".
After all, aren't we a little bit of all three?
The simple sentence pattern of pronoun + be + complement is a a quick and easy way to convey information about people - "He is an American", "They are students", "She is my coworker" etc.
Once you get in the basic form, it's simply a matter of plugging in additional vocabulary (which we will do in later lessons).
Notes: He and she have the same pronunciation in Mandarin, tā; in the written language they are differentiated by their characters, 他 for he and 她 for she. To make the plural of any pronoun just add 们 men to the singular form of the pronoun. Please note that the distinction between plural and singular is not quite as important in Chinese, often the plural will simply be implied by the context.1.02 Pronouns and the verb "to be"
Notes: The verb to be 是 shì does not decline, that is to say that its form stays the same no matter who is performing the action. Compared to the English "I am", "You are", "He is", it is actually much easier, right? Also, please be aware that there are no spaces between the words in a Chinese sentence!1.03 Pronouns, the verb "to be", and the noun complement "student"
Vocabulary point:1.04 Pronouns, the verb "to be", and the noun complement "teacher" and "business person".
学 xué is, on its own, a verb that means to study. Paired with the character 生 shēn it creates a new noun, student 学生 xuésheng.
Vocabulary point:1.04 Pronouns, the verb "to be", and the noun complements "man" and "woman"
老 lǎo means old, but that is not an exact translation, For starters, it is only used in referrence to people, never things. Secondly, it is often combined with other characters to make positions and titles of respect, such as 老师 lǎoshī teacher.
People often point out that 老 lǎo carries positive connotations that old does not carry in the West, but that too is a bit misleading. Since 老 lǎo refers only to people and never to things, we could translate it as senior, an English word that has both the meaning of "aged" as well as "having more authority".
Notes: You will often see Woman 女 nǚ and man 男 nán used on their own as abbreviations on restrooms, forms, etc.
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