Having lived here for four years before starting the Chinese Made Easier curriculum, I managed to get through book one and then just barely start book two last year during the school year – most of the words were words I already knew or could really use right away, and pretty much none of the grammar was new. Over the summer I studied daily for four weeks and got through three or so lessons (books 1 and 2 have ten lessons each). This school year, I’ve been going a LOT slower through the remaining lessons in book two, because (a) I don’t know the majority of the words anymore and fewer of them are things I’ll use in my infrequent interaction with people whose English is worse than my Chinese, (b) the grammar is mostly new to me (though not too hard), and (c) honestly, I usually don’t study between classes; once I finish lesson plans and grading, I don’t want to think hard about things! As I was reviewing lesson 16 during my wonderful day off today, and making a list of the vocabulary words I still don’t know from this lesson AND last lesson, I thought, hey, why not blog about them and then at least I’ll have used them two more times. Maybe they’ll stick!
So, here’s the list, with example sentences. For the record, I could say most of these sentences totally in Chinese, but I didn’t because (a) my laptop would run out of battery long before I finished, and (b) I hope some people actually read this, and many people I know don’t speak Chinese, so it’s probably more fun for you to actually understand the sentences if you read it! (the few characters I’ve put in are ones I know or am hoping to learn to recognize – they go with the pinyin letters right after them.)
kè 文wén: the contents/text of a lesson I need to learn the ke wen for lessons 15 and 16!
zhǔn bèi: to prepare/get ready (for) Unfortunately, I don’t often zhun bei (for) class.
语yǔ法fǎ: grammar The yu fa is generally OK.
句jù子zi: sentence/phrase 一话句yī huà jù It helps if I use it many ju zi.
fā yīn: pronunciation I think my fa yin is OK, but my tones aren’t so strong.
fān yì: tranlate/translation Would you like me to fan yi a ju zi for you?
tú shū guǎn: library I read many books from the to shu guan. (This isn’t actually a word from my list, but I need to learn it so I can talk to my teacher fluently in Chinese! She often has to remind me how to fan yi the word library.)
花huā: to spend If I would hua more time on this… Ooh, yu fa application moment! I need to duo hua shi hou – more spend time – on this. You put “more” before instead of after the verb.
kǎo (shì): to take an exam/an exam yī cì kǎo shì Tomorrow I will kao zhong wen (take a Chinese exam – substitute the subject for the word “shi” if you want to specify.)
cuò le: wrong I hope my teacher doesn’t mark many ju zi cuo le!
又yòu: again (past), yòu (verb) le
再zài: again (future)
liú lì: fluent I would like my Chinese to be more liu li.
jìn bù: to improve/progress; improvement But if I don’t study, I won’t see much jin bu.
tuì bù: to regress Some weeks I even feel like I tui bu le.
高gāo: tall/high The first tone is gao.
dī: low ǎi: short My mother is ai; the fourth tone goes from gao to di.
jī huì: opportunity I am grateful for the ji hui to study Chinese.
给gèi…jiè shào: introduce May I gei you jie shao my Chinese teacher?
biāo zhǔn: standard If you speak Henan Hua, your fa yin isn’t very biao zhun.
lí 开kāi: to leave When I li kai, I say “zai jian” to my teacher.
píng shí: normally, usually :also píng cháng, tong chang I ping shi speak English all day.
cháng cháng: often, frequently I am chang chang sleepy in class, because it is right after school on Wednesdays and right after lunch on Fridays.
xiàng: resemble My brother xiang my father.
hǎo xiàng: it seems… Hao xiang they are related.
lì hai: clever, astute; fierce Speaking Chinese in the US makes me feel li hai.
congming: intelligent But speaking it here sometimes leave me feeling less congming.
quán jiá: whole family I wish my quan jia could visit me!