User Comments - lostinasia
Posted on: Yu Gong Festival 愚公节July 29, 2015, 03:53 AM
I can't get the Traditional text version of the dialogue to appear; additionally, the Traditional PDF is missing the English for a few items in the vocabulary section.
I'm using Safari on a Mac, with preferences set to traditional characters, if that matters.
Posted on: Las VegasApril 09, 2010, 02:59 AM
The audio review file sound quality has problems in this one: with every Chinese bit of sound, there's a noise almost like a tape machine being paused and rewound. (Or is that typical and I just haven't listened to a new Audio Review for a while?)
mikenotinjubei asked "In this sentence from the dialogue 你知道吴刚最近在忙什么吗？ Why is 吗？needed ? Isn't 什么 sufficient for this to be understood as aquestion?"
Hey, I think I can answer this! If I've got this right, it's pretty similar to English: the key distinction is between "What's he busy with? / Work." and "Do you know what he's busy with? / Yes."
- I know what he's busy with. In this sentence, the "what" isn't actually a question word; the root meaning is "I know something."
- Do you know what he's busy with? Similarly, in this sentence the "what" doesn't make it a question--it's the reversal and question mark that makes it a question.
- So in the Chinese here, the 什麼 isn't a question, but rather a, oh, let's call it a variable. I think the question could equally well be 你知道吴刚最近在忙學中文吗？, "Do you know that he's recently been busy studying Chinese?" (I'm not sure about the grammar in that example, but I'm fairly sure about the principle.)
- I believe "吴刚最近在忙什么？" would count as a question but the addition of 你知道 makes a 嗎 necessary at the end.
Posted on: Lesson Preview, New Team MemberSeptember 28, 2008, 03:39 AM
On pinyin in Taiwan: it looks like things are finally going to become more consistent here. One article in the Taipei Times talks about the impending change; an editorial in the same newspaper supports it.
I wouldn't hold my breath, though, since these things seem to change every couple of years. Here in Taipei things are pretty consistently hanyu pinyin now, although I wish they'd add tone marks. I used to live in Tainan, where there was no system whatsoever.
(As far as I know, this is purely for street signs and names in passports; children will still use bopomofo.)
Posted on: Fat CampAugust 18, 2008, 02:17 PM
把/ bǎ: it's a grammatical word that doesn't have an equivalent in English. I can't believe there isn't a Qing Wen about this yet, but I can't find one. Nor can I find it in the Grammar Guide - what part of speech would 把 even fall into?! (Note to ChinesePod: searching with 把 pulls up only Advanced and Media lessons, which is NOT useful for those first encountering the word.)
Basically and not-necessarily-correctly: it lets us reverse the verb and object in the sentence, usually with action/ movement verbs.
I picked up the book. = I 把 the book picked up.
Somewhere John gives a good description of how to use 把, and how substituting the word "take", while not technically correct, is a useful way to think about it. It's in one of the intermediate lessons from a long time ago. Somewhere else I believe he talks about how the verb following 把 must be two characters--關上 in "把門關上", not just 關 for example.
In some ways 把 is similar to the passive voice in English ("Dickens wrote the book" / "The book was written by Dickens"), in that it provides an alternate way to say the same thing but often isn't necessary. For me 把 is one of those things I comprehend when I encounter it, but never seem to integrate into my own speaking. (Note that it's NOT passive - that's 被 - but the analogy helps me out, anyway.)
把 is, confusingly, also a measure word, typically for things with handles: scissors, umbrellas, chairs (?!), knives. But that's not the case for the two sentences here.
Some other examples from lessons:
你把這張表格填好。 / Take this form and fill it out.
你把太多的筆墨用在個人情感上了。 / You used too much ink on personal emotion.
Accusative II results in a change of state in the object, and implies a stronger sense in which something is done to the object, and is marked with the prefix 把 bǎ and by a movement of the verb phrase to the end of the clause.
- 我(wǒ)打(dǎ)破(pò)了(le)盘(pán)子(zi)。 [我打破了盤子。]
I broke the plate. (Accusative I), versus
I (acc.)-plate broke (and it is no longer intact). (Accusative II)
- 我(wǒ)打(dǎ)了(le)一(yí)个(gè)电(diàn)话(huà)。 [我打了一個電話。]
I hit a telephone (I made a phone call). (Accusative I), versus
- 我(wǒ)把(bǎ)他(tā)打(dǎ)了(le)一(yí)顿(dùn)。 [我把他打了一頓。]
I him beat (up). (Accusative II)