Listen and download Lesson 6 of Basic Spoken Chinese
Literally: “to wait”.
Qǐng shāo děng, wǒ bāng nín kànkan tā zài bù zài.
One moment, I’ll see if he’s here.
Wǒ yào děng duōjiǔ? Wǒ yǐjīng děng le bàntiān le.
How long do I have to wait? I’ve already waited half the day! (ages)
Duìbùqǐ, zhège wèntí wǒ bù tài qīngchǔ, qǐng shāo děng yīxià, wǒ bāng nín wèn yīxià.
Sorry, I’m not too sure about this. Please hold on a second. I’ll ask for you.
等 děng (v.): to wait e.g. 你等谁 nǐ děng shéi (“who are you waiting for”), 我等老师 wǒ děng lǎoshī (“I’m waiting for the teacher”), 我等了很久了 wǒ děng le hěn jiǔ le (“I’ve waited for a long time”), etc.
稍 shāo (adv.): a little; slightly e.g. 请稍等 qǐng shāo děng (“please wait a moment”)
帮 bāng (v.): to help 你帮我翻译一下，好吗 nǐ bāng wǒ fānyì yīxià, hǎo ma (lit. “you help me translate, OK?”, i.e. “could you translate this for me?”), 帮助 bāngzhù (“to help; to assist”),帮忙 bāngmáng (“to do a favour”), etc.
看看 kànkan (v.): 1. to have a look (at) 我明天要去图书馆看看书 wǒ míngtiān yào qù túshūguǎn kànkan shū (“tomorrow I will go to the library to read some books”) 2. to visit (sb) e.g. 我明天要去看看老师 wǒ míngtiān yào qù kànkan lǎoshī (“tomorrow I will go visit my teacher”)
在 zài (v.): at; in; on 你在哪里 nǐ zài nǎlǐ (lit. “you at where”, i.e. “where are you”?), 我在图书馆 wǒ zài túshūguǎn (“I’m at the library”), 你在图书馆做什么 nǐ zài túshūguǎn zuò shénme (“what are you doing at the library?”), 我在图书馆看书 wǒ zài túshūguǎn kànshū (“I’m at the library to read some books”), etc.
不 bù (adv.): not (preceding verbs and adjectives) e.g. 这个不好 zhège bù hǎo (“this is not good”), 他不爱你 tā bù ài nǐ (“he does not love you”), etc.
要 yào (v.): to want; to have to; to need e.g. 我要走 wǒ yào zǒu (“I want to/have to/need to leave”)
多久 duōjiǔ (adv.): how long (in terms of time) e.g. 你在北京多久了？——我在北京一年多了 nǐ zài Běijīng duōjiǔ le – wǒ zài Běijīng yī nián duō le (“how long have you been in Beijing? – I’ve been in Beijing for over one year”)
已经 yǐjīng (adv.): already e.g. 已经两点了 yǐjīng liǎng diǎn le (“it’s already two o’clock”), 我们已经十年不见了 wǒmen yǐjīng shí nián bù jiàn le (“it’s ten years since we last saw each other”), 爷爷已经八十岁了 yéye yǐjīng bāshí suì le (“grandpa is already eighty years old”), etc.
半天 bàntiān (adv.): (lit. “half a day”) for a long time; for quite a while; for a while; forever; ages e.g. 小明表白小玲，小玲考虑了半天才回复一个抱歉 Xiǎomíng biǎobái Xiǎolíng, Xiǎolíng kǎolǜ le bàntiān cái huífù yīgè bàoqiàn (“Xiaoming confessed to Xiaoling that he liked her. Xiaoling thought about it for a long time before she finally replied with ‘Sorry’”)
对不起 duìbùqǐ (interj.): sorry 对不起，我来晚了 duìbùqǐ, wǒ lái wǎn le (“sorry I’m late”), 对不起，是我的错 duìbùqǐ, shì wǒ de cuò (“I’m sorry. It’s my fault”), etc.
问题 wèntí (n.): 1. question e.g. 我能问个问题吗 wǒ néng wèn ge wèntí ma (“may I ask a question?” 2. problem e.g. 这个问题很难解决 Zhège wèntí hěn nán jiějué (“this problem is hard to solve”)
太 tài (adv.): too; really 这本书太好了 zhè běn shū tài hǎo le (“this book is really good”), 我的男朋友太胖了 wǒ de nán péngyou tài pang le (“my boyfriend is too fat”), 中文太难学了 Zhōngwén tài nán xué le (“Chinese is too difficult”), etc.
清楚 qīngchǔ: 1. (adj.) clear; distinct e.g. 他的发音很清楚 tā de fāyīn hěn qīngchǔ (“his pronunciation is very clear”) 2. (v.) to be clear about; to be sure about; to understand e.g. 我不太清楚他的情况 wǒ bù tài qīngchǔ tā de qíngkuàng (“I’m not sure about his situation”)
问 wèn (v.): to ask e.g. 这个问题问得好 zhège wèntí wèn de hǎo (lit. “this question asked well” i.e. “this is a good question”), 不懂就问 bù dǒng jiù wèn (“if you don’t understand, ask”)
一下 yīxià (adv.): (used here to indicate the speaker will give something a try) e.g. 看一下 kàn yīxià (“take a look”), 闻一下 wén yīxià (“try smelling it”), etc.
Did you know?
Mandarin Chinese has four tones e.g. 妈麻马骂 mā má mǎ mà (lit. “mum-hemp-horse-scold”). So which tone is this lesson’s theme character 等 děng? It’s third tone. It is important to remember that when two third tones are pronounced next to each other, the first third tone becomes a second tone. So how would you say, for example, “wait for me”? You would say 等我 děng wǒ – so 3-3 is pronounced as 2-3. How about “please wait for me”? You would say 请等我 qǐng děng wǒ. In this sentence, all three characters are third tone, and so 3-3-3 should be pronounced as 2-2-3. This important pronunciation rule is known as 变调 biàndiào (“tone sandhi”). We will talk more about this in future lessons.