Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 6

Lesson 7

Lesson 8

Lesson 9

Lesson 10

Lesson 11

Lesson 12

Lesson 13

Lesson 14

Lesson 15

Lesson 16

Lesson 17

Lesson 18

Lesson 19

Lesson 20

Lesson 21

Lesson 22

Lesson 23

Lesson 24

Lesson 25

In the second lesson we will learn how to make simple questions using the question word 吗? ma?

So how do you make a question? Well, we're glad you asked! All you have to do is add 吗? ma? to the end of the sentence.

In fact, it's much easier than in English, where you have to switch the verb and noun (I am going to the store vs. Are you going to the store?)

In Chinese it is the equivalent of being able to say, "You are going to the store, question?"

We will also learn about countries and nationalities.

2.01 Simple questions

Nǐ shì xuésheng
You are a student.
Nǐ shì xuésheng ma?
Are you a student?
Tā shì shāngrén.
He is a business person.
Tā shì shāngrén ma?
Is he a business person?
Nǐmen shì liúxuéshēnɡ.
You all are foreign students.
Nǐmen shì liúxuéshēnɡ ma?
Are you all foreign students?

2.02 Countries and Nationalities

中国 Zhōngguó China 中国人 Zhōngguórén Chinese people
美国 Měiguó America 美国人 Měiguórén American people
英国 Yīngguó Britain 英国人 Yīngguórén British people
德国 Déguó Germany 德国人 Déguórén German people
印度 Yìndù India 印度人 Yìndùrén Indian people


To make a statement about a person's nationality, simply add the character 人 rén to the name of the country. There is no difference between singular and plural, thus 美国人 could mean an American or Americans.

There is another word for referring to people in the abstract, 人民 rénmín. For instance, the Chinese people would be 中国人民 zhōnɡɡuó rénmín, a phrase you see a lot in political situations.

2.03 Pronouns + Nationality complement in statement and question form

Wǒ shì Měiguórén.  
I am American.
Nǐ shì Měiguórén ma?
Are you American?
Tā shì Zhōngguórén.
He is Chinese.
Tā shì Zhōngguórén ma?
Is he Chinese?
Tā shì Déguórén.
She is German.
Nǐmen shì Yìndùrén ma?
Are you all Indian?
Tāmen shì Yīngguórén.
They are English.

2.04 Nationality - a simple dialogue

A 你是英国人吗?
   Nǐ shì Yīngguórén ma?

B 是,我是英国人。 你是中国人吗?
   Shì,wǒ shì Yīngguórén.  Nǐ shì Zhōngguórén ma? 

A 是,我是中国人。
   Shì,wǒ shì Zhōngguórén.


Wow! Our first dialogue in Chinese - did you understand it all?

Hopefully you did, as it contains vocabulary and sentence structures we have already covered.

In just a short time, you have learned to share information in Chinese in a meaningful way. If you go to China you will have many, many opportunities to practice the above dialogue, in fact you might get quite sick of it. Still, regionalisms are a big thing in China, and talking about where the other person is from can be a great way to develop a real conversation.