Lesson 1: 你好

  1. I.Pronunciation

  2. 1.Syllable: a syllable usually consists of an initial (consonant) and a final (e.g., "ping", "P" an initial, "ing" a final)

  3. 2.Total of 21 initials and 38 finals in modern Chinese language

  4. 3.Lesson 1 covers 6 initials (b p m n l h), 12 finals (a o e i u ü, ao en ie in ing uo)

  5. 4.m, n, l, h pronounced similarly to the English m, n, l, h

  6. 5.b (unaspirated, voiceless) , p (aspirated, voiceless)

  7. 6.Finals, a [father] o [Italian o, not English "hot"] e [her]  i [see] u ["too"] ü [French "une"] ao [how] en [en] ie [yes] in [pin] ing [sing] uo [w in "what"]

  8. II.Spelling Rules

  9. 1."I" at the beginning becomes "Y" (“ie” to “Ye,” “Ii” to “Yi”)

  10. 2."U" at the beginning becomes "W" (“uo” to “Wo,” “uu” to “Wu”)

  11. 3.ü at the beginning becomes "Y" (ü to Yu)

  12. III.Grammar

  13. 1.Omitting the subject: "Ni ne?"  "Ye hen hao" (Trans: “And you?” “(I’m) fine, too” where “I” is omitted

  14. IV.Placement of Tone Mark

  15. 1.When a syllable contains only a single vowel, the tone mark is placed directly above the vowel letter (e.g., hěn, yě)

  16. 2.The dot over the vowel “i” should be dropped if the tone mark is place above it (nǐ, píng)

  17. 3.When the final of the syllable has more than one vowels, the tone mark should be placed above the vowel pronounced with the mouth widest open (e.g., in order of a, o, e, i, u, ü).  Examples: hǎo, dōu, féi.

  18. V.Characters (Scripts)

  19. 1.Historical Historical background.  Page 10 illustrates the different forms of the Chinese character 马 (“ma” horse) evolved over the centuries.  Here are the major script forms used in Chinese language:

  20. a.Oracle bone inscription (1766-1122 b.c.).  The earliest examples of Chinese writing date to the late Shang period (ca. 1200 BC). The oracle bone inscriptions received their name after their content which is invariably related to divination. The ancient Chinese diviners used these bones as records of their activity, providing us with a detailed description of the topics that interested the Shang kings. Most of these divinations refer to hunting, warfare, weather, selection of auspicious days for ceremonies, etc.

  21. b.Small seal character, Qin dynasty (221-206 b.c.)

  22. c.Official (or clerical script, 206 b.c. – 221 a.d., Han dynasty)

  23. d.Traditional script (the “standard” official script in Imperial China and is still used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and most overseas Chinese communities)

  24. e.Simplified script.  Officially adopted in the 1950s in an effort to eradicate illiteracy. About 2,000 characters have been simplified

  1. VI.Numbers in Chinese

  2. 1.Here are some basic numbers (from 1 to 10) in Chinese: 一 (yī, one),  二 (èr, two),  三 ( sān, three),  四 (sì, four),  五 (wǔ), 六 (lìu, six), 七 (qī, seven), 八 (bā, eight) 九 (jǐu, nine), 十 (shí, ten)