Monday, October 28, 2013

Chinese practice, a beginning

Inspired by my recent trip to China, I've been spending some time learning Chinese. Here are some errors I've made while practicing. Also, to any better Chinese speakers out there, please correct me if I've made any mistakes explaining things below! I'll post some some additional updates as my Chinese gets better (or maybe it doesn't).

Listening practice:

Characters (simplified): 我叫了一份三明治 (wǒ jiàole yī fèn sānmíngzhì)
What I thought I heard: I am called the one minute sandwich.
Actual: I ordered a sandwich.
Comments: I mistook  (fèn) to be 'minute' -- minute is actually 分 (fēn). 份 (fèn) is a measure word for certain portions of things (e.g., sandwiches). Also, I mistook 叫 (jiào) as 'to call' which is correct in some contexts -- in this context, it actually means 'to order.'

Characters (simplified)请给我一杯酒 (qǐng gěi wǒ yī bēi jiǔ)
What I thought I heard: Please give me 109.
Actual: Please give me a glass of wine.
Comments: I misheard 杯 (bēi) for 百 (bǎi). 杯 (bēi) is a measure word for cups and glasses.

Conversation practice:

What I wanted to say: I attended my friend's wedding in San Francisco last week.
What I came up with: 星期前我在旧金山出席我的朋友的婚礼了 (xīngqí qián wǒ zài jiùjīnshān chūxí wǒ de péngyǒu de hūnlǐle)
A better sentence: 上星期我在旧金山参加了我的朋友的婚礼 (shàng xīngqí wǒ zài jiùjīnshān cānjiāle wǒ de péngyǒu de hūnlǐ)
Comments: 星期前 (xīngqí qián) is incorrect; it should be 一个星期前 (yīgè xīngqí qián) or, equivalently, 上星期 (shàng xīngqí) for 'last week.' 出席 (chūxí) is considered too formal in this context; 参加 (cānjiā) is more appropriate.

What I wanted to say: We went to the same college, but we didn't know each other there.

What I came up with: 我们是同学可是在大学我不认识他 (wǒmen shì tóngxué kěshì zài dàxué wǒ bù rènshi tā)
A better sentence: 他是我的校友但是我以前不认识他 (tā shì wǒ de xiàoyǒu dànshì wǒ yǐqián bù rènshi tā)
Comments: 同学 (tóngxué) isn't the best word to use as it seems to be used to describe a student who is in one of your classes; 校友 (xiàoyǒu) is more appropriate as it conveys he was an alumni at your school. There's a few other things that seem to be wrong with the sentence I came up with, but I don't think my Chinese is good enough to understand why it's wrong.

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