Conversation – Acquaintance I

Conversation 1
jiào xìng shén me
Mary : I’m Mary. What’s your surname?
wáng lán xìng wáng jiào wáng lán
WangLan : My family name is Wang. My name is Wang Lan.
rèn shi hěn gāo xìng
Mary : Nice to meet you.
wáng lán rèn shi hěn gāo xìng
WangLan : Nice to meet you too. (me too.)
Conversation 2
wèi lǎo shī , nín guì xìng
David : Could I have your surname, teacher?
lǎo shī xìng zhāng jiào shén me míng
Teacher : My surname is Zhang. What’s your name?
wèi jiào wèi xìng shén me
David : My name is David. What’s her surname?
lǎo shī xìng wáng
Teacher : Her family name is Wang.
wèi shì lǎo shī ma
David : Is she a teacher?
lǎo shī shì lǎo shī shì xué shēng
Teacher : No, she is not a teacher. She is a student.
  1. 贵姓?”, which means “May I know your name?”. This is a respectful and polite way of asking the name of a person. The answer is not “我贵姓…”, but “我姓…”
  2. “你叫什么名字?”, which means “What’s your name?”. It is used by elders when they want to know the names of young people or between young people. One shouldn’t use it, therefore, when one wants to know an elder’s name or when one needs to show respect and politeness to the other party.
  3. “他(她)叫什么名字?”, which means “What’s his(her) name?”. It is used for asking another person’s name. One shouldn’t say “他(她)贵姓?”
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Please post in the comment if you have any words that you do not understand. Happy learning !

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41 thoughts on “Conversation – Acquaintance I”

  1. I suggest to remove the background music during converstaion in Benny’s lesson. This will enable us to hear the pronunciation much clearer (like in Sophie’s lesson).

  2. Hi Min Min
    Your efforts are praiseworthy for helping foreigners learn chinese. Could you please suggest me some way of practising my spoken chinese (conversation) on internet . As after 2 years of chinese learning i still cant understand the native accent. Please help. thanks.

    1. Hi parul siddhu,
      Have you learnt Pinyin, especially the 4 tones? You should get your pronunciation and tones correct so that you can understand the native accent. Try to look for a native Chinese language learning partner so that you can communicate with him/her through Skype or other messengers in Chinese language.

      Besides, try to build your vocabulary. To understand 90% of the Chinese content, you have to know around 11,000 Chinese phrases/words.

      I hope my website will help you in learning Chinese. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

      1. 谢谢 min min。我每天都下列你的网站。它很帮我高我的词汇。 现在我知道四‘五千生词。 每天我跟中文人聊。我希望然顷说汉语很好.

  3. Hey Min Min,

    I am just wondering if you could help me to write my chinese name in chinese? I have a chinese name but it is written in English: Wei Shing but I am not sure how to write this in chinese? I am wondering if you could show me the stroke for this? Would appreciate it! Thanks!

    1. Hi Mervin,
      Since you are a Chinese, you should always ask your parents what your Chinese name is.
      It is a bit difficult to guess your Chinese name based on your English name. There are a few characters with the same pronunciation for “wei” and “shing”.
      But I can make a wild guess here.
      For male name,
      “Wei” is normally 伟, and
      “Shing”, which is not quite common, may be 胜,盛,星 or 兴。

      1. Thank you for your reply! I did ask my parents and surprisingly, they also do not know how to write my name in chinese! That is why I thought you could provide some assistance. what about my surname? Wo xing Lee? Lee is a popular chinese surname is it not? Thanks!

  4. Dear Mervin,

    To find your Chinese name in Chinese Characters is a little bit difficult since your name
    Whei Shing has no tone marks and is also I think Cantonese spelling.

    I found two candidates:

    wèizhēng 敏敏 A famous Chinese sage living from 580 to 645
    wéishēng 巍生 Gretness is born

    I am sure 敏敏 will be able to tell you more


  5. Dear Min Min,
    I went to China town with my kids last week to eat dim sum. I want to order 3 orders of seaweed roll. One order contains 3 seaweed rolls. Waiter could not understand that I am ordering 3 orders or 9 seaweed roll. I talked to waiter partly in English and parly in Chinese. I asked, 我要三个seaweed roll. How do you make clear, 3 orders.

    1. Dear Lary,

      That is a though one. you could of cours order 9 seaweed rolls. But maybe you could
      also say:

      wǒ yào diǎn (cài) sān cān zǐ cài bāo fàn
      我 要 点( 菜) 三 餐 紫 菜 包 饭
      I want order three meals seeweadroll


      1. Thanks, Roland.
        I am wondering if I can say, 我 要点 三 盘 紫菜卷 after knowing seaweed roll in chinese is 紫菜卷.

    2. Hi larry,
      I think it is about the measure word for the seaweed rolls.
      If each plate contains 3 seaweed rolls and you want to order 3 plates of seaweed rolls (total of 9 seaweed rolls),
      you can say : 我要三盘紫菜卷。

      or you can also use “份” to mean set/portion for food:

      “餐” is not the correct measure word to be used in this context.

      If someone says:
      I have seaweed rolls for my 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner).

  6. Dear Min Min,
    I saw this sentence, 带有星号(*)的项目为必填项 in one of chinese web site sign in page.
    Why is the word 为 there? Is there any difference in meaning if 为 is left out from the sentence, 带有星号(*)的项目必填项? Thanks for your help.

    1. Dear Larry.

      I have looked at your question, and I too was somewhat bewildered of the function of
      wei 为 in this sentence. Then it occurred to me that many words in modern Chinese exist out of two characters, like 必需 have to, but only one part is written in this case 必. If you read 成为 to become, then the whole sentence 带有星号(*)的项目为必填项
      becomes 带有星号(*)的项目成为必需填项 which would translate as Fields carrying an asterisk become obligatory to be filed in.

      Wei 为 has the following meanings and usages
      preposition for object
      preposition for cause
      preposition for purpose
      formal stand for, support.

      I hope 敏敏 can shed more light on this




  7. Dear Larry.

    I have looked at your question, and I too was somewhat bewildered of the function of
    wei 为 in this sentence. Then it occurred to me that many words in modern Chinese exist out of two characters, like 必需 have to, but only one part is written in this case 必. If you read 成为 to become, then the whole sentence 带有星号(*)的项目为必填项
    becomes 带有星号(*)的项目成为必需填项 which would translate as Fields carrying an asterisk become obligatory to be filed in.

    Wei 为 has the following meanings and usages
    preposition for object
    preposition for cause
    preposition for purpose
    formal stand for, support.

    I hope 敏敏 can shed more light on this




    1. Dear Larrry,

      That was a typo a Chines typo I meand 告诉 gàosù to teel inform. Sorry for the mistake


      Your comment

  8. Thanks, Roland for your willingness to help other chinese learners like me. I am wondering if I write 带有星号(*)的项目为必填项 目 or 带有星号(*)的项目 是必需填, is it still the same meaning?
    Also,I am learning from your chinese sentence,希望敏敏可以高尚我们为的意思和它的使用.
    高尚 is totally new for me. I look up in chinese dictionary web site. It did not come up with the meaning of explain. I don’t know what context you are using in your sentence. I would like to rewrite your sentence like this, 希望敏敏能 解释我们为的意思和它的用法。
    Please don’t get offended for my modifying your sentence. You are always welcome to correct me.

    1. Hi larry,
      Sorry for the late reply.

      I am not a linguist, but I will try my best to answer your question.
      There are a few meaning for 为。

      In this sentence:

      带有星号(*)的项目 – noun clause
      必填项目 – noun clause
      为 – is.

      And 为 in this sentence should not mean 成为. It should be by it own to mean “is”.
      So we can also say:
      有星号(*)的项目是必填项目。 But literally, we use 为 instead of 是 in formal writing like formal letter, official form etc.

      In your another sentence:
      This is an incomplete sentence.
      You should rewrite it as:
      带有星号(*)的项目是必需填写的项目。 (spoken)
      带有星号(*)的项目是必需填写的。(spoken, not that correct but Chinese people will still understand it.)

      1. Dear Min Min,
        Thanks for your explanation about 为。Without your help, I have no way to understand that particular usage of 为。
        我很佩服你(I admire you).
        Thanks to Lu Lan ke too for trying to answer my question.

  9. Dear Min Min,
    What a great timing for me! I was having trouble understanding 为。Now, you showed us different usage of 为。I really appreciate your teaching. In item 4, I think, there is typo in pinyin. 售 出。shou chu is typed as chu shou.

    With a great appreciation of your teaching,

  10. Dear Min Min,
    I saw this sentence,你 想好去哪儿了吗?
    Is there any difference in meaning if I say, 你想去哪儿吗?Why 好去 and 了are used in the sentence? Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. Hi Larry,
      “你想好去哪儿了吗?” has different meaning with “你想去哪儿吗?”

      “你想去哪儿吗?” means where do you want to go?
      “你想好去哪儿了吗?” means have you decided where you want to go?

      好 in this context is used after verbs to indicate finishing or finishing satisfactorily
      “想好” means “finished thinking”
      了 – (particle) used after an action that has taken place.

      The sentence should not be broken with the “好去”.
      你 | 想好 | 去 | 哪儿 | 了 | 吗 |?

  11. Dear Min Min,
    Thank you so much for your clear explanation. I tried to understand by visiting different web sites. But, finally, I gave up and asked you. Your explanation not only save the time but also make me understand. I feel good after understanding the sentence with your help. You have been educating me by replying my questions. I truly believe, you are a great teacher.
    I feel indebted to you for your teaching.

    1. Hi Larry,
      You are welcome.
      I try to make my explanation clear and simple. I hope you can understand.
      I am not from linguistics background. So I can’t really explain in technical terms and in very detail, and sometimes I even make mistake.
      But I always try my best to tell what I know.

      Thanks for using my website to learn Chinese.

  12. Dear Min Min,
    Chinese new year is coming up. In chinese, it means, 过年。 right? If someone asks, 你怎么过新年, I am going to say, 我和我爸爸,妈妈一起过新年。But, I don’t know how to say, I am going to New York with my children to spend new year with my parents.
    我跟我孩子将去 New York, 和我爸爸,妈妈 一起过新年。Can you correct me if I am not right?
    You mentioned that you are not a linguist. I do not believe that linguists are the best teachers in teaching languages. I also think that learning eastern languages like Chinese, using English grammatical terms could be very confusing.
    I am not criticizing you for using english grammar to teach Chinese. I completely understand that we have to use english grammar as our common language is English.
    For example, in the lesson of 得 , you used the term, “complement” of english grammar. Complement in English grammar is always noun. But, it is not the case for chinese. It seems to me that complement can be verb in Chinese. For example, 我听不懂。懂 is not a noun. I just want to share my thoughts about the problems, I see when using English grammar to learn another foreign languages. I understand, we have to use English grammatical terms very loosely in learning another foreign languages. As far as I am concerned, you are doing a great good deeds, sharing your knowledge of Chinese language with all of us.
    May God bless you.

    1. Hi larry,
      This sentence is correct:
      我跟我孩子将去 New York, 和我爸爸妈妈 ( 和我父母 ) 一起过新年。

      Unlike English, while we learned Chinese during primary school, we never studied grammar. When learning Chinese, I think Chinese grammar is not as important as English. But when you speak or write Chinese, just need to make sure the word order and sentence structure are correct with appropriate vocabulary.

      1. Dear Min Min,
        Many thanks for reading and correcting my chinese sentence. 我住在chicago,
        下次,你来美国,请给我,发电子邮件。我很想 请你和你的丈夫吃饭。

  13. Hi Min Min,
    I saw this sentence, 足底按摩听上去不错. Why 去 is there? Is there any difference in meaning without 去? 足底按摩听上不错.
    对不起。麻烦你。I have been asking you too many questions. I hope, I am not annoying you by asking too many questions.

    1. Dear Larry,

      听上去 is a very common structure in Chinese 上去 or 去 is used as a complement by
      the verb 听, 下去 means litterally to go down, descend or continue but here it means something like I have heart …..
      I can look it up in my grammarbook at home and giive you the exact explenation, if that is ok whith you and 敏敏.



    2. Hi Larry,
      There are a few meanings for “上去”. One of the very common meanings is “go up”.
      However, in this sentence, “上去” act as a complement (补语) to the verb.
      听 (v) + 上去 (complement)

      Here is another sentence that uses “上去” as complement, after “看” (look):
      她看上去非常疲惫。(She looked very tired)
      or you can say:
      她看起来非常疲惫。 ( use “起来” instead” of “上去” )

      你的这个设计听上去很合理。(Your design sounds reasonable.)
      or you can say:

      I check one of the dictionary:
      which means : used after verb to bring the meaning “feel or estimate”.

      她看上去非常疲惫。(She looked very tired) = I “feel” that she is tired.
      你的这个设计听上去很合理。(Your design sounds reasonable.) = I “feel” that your design is reasonable.

      I think there is no such structure in English. And I do not know how to explain it to you. Maybe you have to treat it as a “verb phrase” as in English.


      Let wait for 陆蓝克 ‘s explanation.

      1. Hi Min Min,
        Thanks for explaining about 听上去,看上去 and 闻上去。Your explanation is good enough for me to grasp the usage of 上去。
        Thanks to luLanKe too for trying to answer my question. I am wondering if there is any Chinese grammar or usage book written in English language to address the questions, I raised. Min Min has been a great teacher for me to help me learn Chinese language. But, I believe that learning any languages should be self-reliant. Language teachers can only give us some guidances. Learners need to read the right materials and read more. I have a long way to go.
        Thanks again, Min Min. 你是很好的老师

  14. Hello Larry,

    Actually there is:


    By Li Dejin Cheng Meizhen

    First Edition 1988

    ISBN 7-80052-067-6
    ISBN 0-8351-1917-3

    Copyright 1988 by Sinolingua
    Published by Sinolingua

    24 Baiwanzhuang Road, Bejing, China

    Distrubuted by China International Book Trading
    Corporation (Guoji Shudian)
    P.O. Box 399, Bejing, China

    A very elabourated study book with lots of examples and explenations.
    Hope you can still get it.



    1. Hi Roland,
      Thanks for your recommended book. Does the book explain about 听上去?I have Schaum’s Outline of Chinese Grammar. It is a simple grammar book. It does not explain about 听上去。I will definitely buy your recommended book if I am sure, 听上去 is explained although Min Min already explained it to me. I just want to support the author for recognizing the usage problems, non chinese speaking learners can face when learning Chinese languages.

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