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Conversation 10, Speak about family


( Don’t forget the test at the bottom! )

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Conversation 10, Speak about family

(written in pinyin)

A:    ni zai zuo shenme?

B:    wo zhengzai kan wo

        jiaren de zhaopian.  

A:    en. zhe shi shei?

B:    zhe shi wo baba

A:    a, nide fuqin.

B:    meicuo. ni kan, zhe shi wo


A:    jiu shi nide muqin.

B:    dui. tamen shi wode fumu. 

A:    zhege meinv shi shei? 

B:    ta shi wo jiejie. wo shi ta

       meimei. ta hai you ge haizi. 

A:    shi nan hai haishi nv hai?

B:    yige nan hai er. ni kan. 

A:    wasai. zhen ku! 

B:    jiu shi!

A:    ni you gege huozhe didi ma? 

B:    mei you. ni jiu shi wode gege!

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Conversation 10, Speak about family

(written with Chinese characters)

A:    你在做什么?

B:    我正在看我家人的照片。  

A:    嗯。这是谁?

B:    这是我爸爸。

A:    啊,你的父亲。

B:    没错儿。你看,这是我妈妈。 

A:    就是你的母亲。

B:    对。他们是我的父母。 

A:    这个美女是谁? 

B:    她是我姐姐。我是她妹妹。


A:    是男孩还是女孩?

B:    一个男孩儿。你看。 

A:    哇塞。真酷! 

B:    就是!

A:    你有哥哥或者弟弟吗? 

B:    没有。你就是我的哥哥!

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Conversation 10, Speak about family,

Write Chinese characters and meaning,


1. What does the Chinese verb 做 (zuo) mean?

(A) drink

(B) make

(C) do

(D) eat

In many languages, there is one verb that means both “do” and “make”. German: machen, Spanish: hacer, French: faire, Czech: dělat. It’s also the case in Chinese language. 

2. How do you write “do” with a Chinese character, and with pinyin?

(A) 故 / zuo

(B) 做 / cuo 

(C) 故 / cuo 

(D) 做 / zuo

3. The Chinese character for “do” is a combination-character that begins with two little stripes that stand for the character 人 . How do you write 人 with pinyin, and what is the English translation?

(A) ren / person

(B) er / two

(C) nv / woman

(D) qing / please

4. What is the best translation for the following question?

               你 在 做 什么 ?

(A) What have you done?

(B) What are you doing?

(C) What do you do?

(D) What do you want to do?

5. What is the best translation for this sentence?

              我 正在 看 你。

(A) I look at you.

(B) I’m looking at you.

(C) I’m looking at you right now.

(D) You’re looking at me right now.

The verb 吃饭 (chi fan) means “eat”.

Wo chi fan           = I eat (in general)

Wo zai chi fan     = I’m eating

Wo zheng zai chi fan = I’m eating right now 

6. How do you write the Chinese characters “ 家人 ” with pinyin, and what is the English translation? 

(A) cha ren / family-members

(B) jia ran   / foreigner

(C) cha ran / parents

(D) jia ren   / family-members

The first character of question 6, 家,is a combination of the characters  宀 , meaning “roof”, and 猪,meaning “pig”. The combination-character 家 means “house”, which is a visualization of a pig under a roof. Thousand years ago it was common to hold pigs inside the house. 

7. How do you write “picture” or “foto” with Chinese characters and with pinyin?

(A) 照片 / zhaopian

(B) 热片 / zhaupian

(C) 黑片 / zhaopien

(D) 照片 / zhaopien

If you put 的 (de) right after a personal pronoun, it becomes a possessive adjectieve or pronoun.

I       + 的 = my / mine

she  + 的 = her / hers 

we   + 的 = our / ours 

8. How do you write “This is our house” with Chinese characters? 

(A) 那 是 他们 的 家

(B) 这 我们 的 家

(C) 那 是 我们 的 家

(D) 这 是 我们 的 家

When talking about family-members, you can skip 的 if you want.

My father = 我(的)爸爸

9.  How do you write “The pictures of my family-members” ?

(A) Wo zhaopian de jiaren

(B) Wo jiaren de zhaopian 

(C) Wo de jiaren de zhaopian

(D) Wo jiaren zhaopian

10. How do you write “Who is this?” with Chinese characters, and with pinyin, and what is the most literal English translation?

(A) 这 是 谁?/ zhe shi shei ? / That is who ?

(B) 那 是 谁? /   na shi shei ? /  This is who ?

(C) 那 是 谁? /   na shi shei ? / That is who ?

(D) 这 是 谁? /  zhe shi shei? /  This is who ?

You finish a question with 吗 (ma, question mark), UNLESS the question contains a question word. For example, 怎么 (zenme, how).

11. How do you write the following question words with Chinese characters?

“ what / how / who ” 

(A) 怎么  / 什么  / 谁

(B) 什么  / 怎么  / 谁

(C) 什么  / 谁     / 怎么

(D) 谁     / 什么  / 怎么

12. What are the formal words for respectively

爸爸 (baba ) and 妈妈 (mama)?

A) 父亲(muqin)and  母亲(fuqin)
B) 母亲(muqin)and  父亲(fuqin)

C) 父亲(fuqin)and  母亲(muqin)

D) 母亲(fuqin)and  父亲(muqin)

13. What is the most literal translation of this question?

              这个 美女 是 谁?

(A) Who is that pretty girl?

(B) This beautiful woman is who?

(C) Who is that beautiful woman?

(D) That beautiful girl is who?

14. The combination-characters 姐姐 (jiejie, older sister)and 妹妹 (meimei, younger sister)all begin with the character 女 . How do you write that character with pinyin, and what is the English translation?

(A) nv / sister

(B) nu / woman

(C) nu / sister

(D) nv / woman

15. “child” in Chinese is 孩子(hai zi). The first of these two characters is a combination-character. On the left side you can see 子, which is also the second character in 孩子. 

子 means “child”. And “woman”, that was 女 .

Now imagine this combination-character:

              [woman] [child]

What does that combination-character mean, a woman with a child? 

(A) mother

(B) child

(C) sister

(D) good

16. What’s the best way to translate  “ hai ” in the following sentence?

           Ta hai you ge haizi . 

(A) furthermore

(B) not

(C) also

(D) child

17. How do you write “ boy / girl ” with Chinese characters, and with pinyin?

(A) 女孩 nv hai    /   男孩  nan hai

(B) 男孩 nv hai    /   女孩  nan hai

(C) 女孩 nan hai  /  男孩   nv hai

(D) 男孩 nan hai  /  女孩   nv hai

The combination-character 男 (nan, male)is made up of the characters 田(tian, field)and 力(li, force). So the force working on the fields, that was a man. 

18. There are two kinds of  “ or ” in Chinese.

1) A series of possibilities. For example, I’ll go to Beijing tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.

2) A question with options. For example, Do you want to eat fish or meat?

What is that second  “ or ” in Chinese, with characters and with pinyin?

(A) 怎么    zenme

(B) 什么    shenme

(C) 谁       shei

(D) 还是    haishi

19. How would you translate the following expression into English?

            就是! ( jiu shi ! )

(A) You’re wrong!

(B) I fully agree!

(C) So beautiful!

(D) Go away!

20. How do you write “younger brother / older brother” with Chinese characters, and with pinyin ?

(A) 哥哥  didi    /   弟弟   gege

(B) 弟弟  didi    /   哥哥   gege

(C) 弟弟  gege  /  哥哥    didi

(D) 哥哥  gege  /  弟弟    didi

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