What are the most practical sentences or sentence patterns?
Just wondering, from your experience in China, what are some of the most useful sentences and sentence patterns? This of course could go on and on, but at least in my case, I always had a few that I used over and over. For example, 谢谢你的鼓励 (thanks for your encouragement), a modest way of deflecting praise without using 哪里哪里.
pretzellogicFebruary 13, 2012, 04:15 AM
For me, the problem is that there isn't a "most" practical sentence or sentence pattern. It seems that there are around 150-200 sentence patterns, and all of them have critical uses in a couple of circumstances. But because there are 150-200 patterns, no single pattern makes up 90% of the patterns spoken when people speak Chinese. Of course, it depends on how you define a sentence pattern anyway.
But an easy pattern that is always a great starting point is the most basic one:
Subject verb object.
Bob runs fast.
Then it's easier to start building on that.
Bob and Mary run fast...
You get the picture.
Just wondering where you get 150-200 from? I don't suppose you have a magic link to a list of all sentence patterns patterns?
I would love to work through a list like that but I seem to find that sentence patterns are scattered all over the place between books and websites etc.
Good question. Taipei Language Institute (TLI) instruction methods include books that take the grammar approach to Chinese learning. Their structured books start with the basic sentence pattern, then give a dialogue around that pattern. I didn't go through all three of their books on this topic to count, because TLI doesn't really go with one pattern per chapter, but more like one basic pattern, then 2-5 patterns that augment or complement the lesson being taught. This complementary nature of the other patterns is why I have plenty of uncertainty around how many total sentence patterns there are. But TLI's three books with these patterns seems to have around 20 - 40 or 60 separate patterns each book and topics that they want to discuss. I'm putting more uncertainty in my number, since i've never gone through and actually counted each one. (Counting each one would require a clear consistent definition about what constitutes a pattern and what doesn't, and that would take more time than I want to give it.)
Thanks for the information... I will have to have a look for those books when I am next out and about. I had always avoided them because I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that they would be designed to accompany TLI classes / tutor lessons.
I think a book that details all language patterns would sell like hot cakes. I can only assume it must be a much bigger task then I give it credit for since there does not seem to be one around.
unfortunately, TLI's materials do seem geared toward their classes and their instruction methods. The books I am describing don't even have ISBN numbers, so you can't order them and use them standalone. The good news is that if you were to take a month's worth of classes, you could buy all the books, and would understand TLI's methodology and processes for going through them.
A book that does have an ISBN number that is good for sentence patterns is
"Structures of Mandarin Chinese for Speakers of English"
Peking University Press
Authors: Wayne He, Dela Jiao, Chris Livaccari
I haven't worked through much of it yet, but i'm happy that I have it for reference, and i'm happy to recommend it.
well....yes. But if you're talking actual sentences, then that's easy. Stuff like getting in the taxi and telling the driver where I live, i've said that over and over. Also stuff like 右转，一直走，在这儿停车。 That stuff i've said about 8 times a week for the past three years. 有充值卡吗？ And of course, i've heard 你是那人的人？about 2 times a week for the past 3 years. I could come up with more, but I was thinking that you didn't want these kind of sentences/sentence patterns.
usually after I tell the taxi driver where I live, about 1/2 the time I hear; "Shenme difang?" 2/3 of the time I have to give directions to my apartment. So for me, taxi directions are the single most frequently used patterns. If that answers your question, then I'm sorry that I misunderstood earlier.
In fact, I take it that most Cpod subscribers hardly use a taxi. Taxi and directions lessons should be 2nd most commented on lessons on cpod with the exception of those "welcome to cpod" lessons.
Or maybe everyone is like me when I first showed up to China: too chicken to take a taxi by yourself and have to actually use the meager Chinese you know :-)
or heaven forbid, you use the Chinese you know to tell the driver where you want to go, and he says ok. You breathe a sigh of relief, successfully convincing some native that you have a grasp of Chinese, then the native says in Chinese, "you mind if I take 2nd Ring Road?". You stare blankly at him, and he realizes you already used up the 3 Chinese sentences you know, exposing you for the language fraud that you are.
Oh, another high frequency useful pattern is, "我的中文说得不太好“。 Especially when you're fresh off the boat/just off the jet in China. I still say this plenty of times.
zhenlijiangFebruary 15, 2012, 03:10 PM
Hey thanks for 谢谢你的鼓励--that's nice. Polite, and not requiring you to be fake in any way. I can say it without feeling at all self-conscious (which even an expression like 过奖了 makes me).
he2xu4February 17, 2012, 01:40 PM
This from John Pasden's grammar wiki:
Common Chinese Patterns 330 (汉语常用格式330例)