In this lesson we will learn to form the possessive in Chinese; we will also address the classifiers.
First, memorize the following Chinese vocabulary:
|1||的||de||(use to indicate possession)|
|4||没||méi||(negative adv. for the verb "to have" 有)|
|5||两||liǎng||(before a classifier) 2 ; two|
|9||笔||bǐ||pen ; pencil ; paint brush|
|7||他们的||tāmende||(for men or mixed groups) their; theirs|
|8||她们的||tāmende||(for women) their; theirs|
|2||本||běn||(classifier for books)|
|3||支||zhī||(classifier for fairly long and not flexible objects. i.e : pencils, candles, guns, etc.)|
|4||张||zhāng||(classifier for flat objects , i.e: sheets, tickets; maps, photos, etc.)|
The structural particle 的 ‹ de › in Chinese is also used after an attribute to mark possession or after a pronoun to form the possessive.
Classifiers, also sometimes called "Measure words" are used to count in Chinese. They are placed between the numerical values and the object. Basically, instead of saying "two horses" for example, the Chinese will say "two horse units", as we would say "a pair of scissors" rather than "a scissor".
We saw in a previous chapter, that "two (2)" in Chinese is written and said "二 ‹ èr ›". However, before a classifier, we use the word 两 ‹ liǎng › instead.
If the negative of most verbs is done with the adverb 不 ‹ bù ›, this is not the case for the verb "to have" 有 ‹ yǒu ›. In fact the negative form of "to have" is formed when adding the adverb 没 ‹ méi › before it.
In Chinese there is no word to say "yes" or "no" like in other languages. Thus, in response to a closed-ended question we answer by directly repeating the verb to mean "yes" and by using its negative form to mean "no."
"一 ‹ yī ›" is usually pronounced in the first tone, however, there are two variations (in spoken only) according to the word before which it is placed.
Placed before a word in 4th tone, 一 ‹ yī › changes to 2nd tone.
Placed before 1st, 2nd and 3rd tones (all the others) 一 ‹ yī › changes to 4th tone.
Start by trying to read and listen to these dialogues several times until you understand them pretty much. If you're still struggling, review again the vocabulary and grammar of this lesson and the previous ones.
- 王丽，这是你的词典吗？‹ Wáng Lì zhè shì nǐ de cídiǎn ma? ›
- 是。 ‹ Shì. ›
- 这是你的书吗？‹ Zhè shì nǐ de shū ma? ›
- 不是。这是大卫的书。 ‹ Bù shì. Zhè shì Dàwèi de shū. ›
- Wang Li, is it your dictionary ?
- Is it your book ?
- No. This is the book of David.
- 大卫，你有本子吗？ ‹ Dàwèi, nǐ yǒu běnzi ma? ›
- 有。‹ Yǒu. ›
- 你有笔吗？‹ Nǐ yǒu bǐ ma? ›
- 没有。 ‹ Méi yǒu. ›
- 王丽有笔吗？ ‹ Wáng Lì yǒu bǐ ma? ›
- 她也没有笔。 ‹ Tā yě méi yǒu bǐ. ›
- David, do you have a notebook?
- Do you have a pen?
- Wang Li, does she have a pen?
- She doesn't have a pen too.
Try to understand the text below and create your own text : How many pencils do you have? Do you have a dictionary? Etc. (We do not put the translation intentionaly)
王丽有一本词典，大卫有三个本子。 他们没有笔。我有一张地图， 王丽也有一张地图。 这不是我的地图，是王丽的地图。
‹ Wáng Lì yǒu yī běn cídiǎn, Dàwèi yǒu sān gè běnzi. Tāmen méi yǒu bǐ. Wǒ yǒu yī zhāng dìtú, Wáng Lì yě yǒu yī zhāng dìtú. Zhè bù shì wǒ de dìtú, shì Wáng Lì dì dìtú. ›