This book is written for English-speaking students who are taking Skype Learn Chinese courses. A basic level vocabulary and understanding of Chinese grammar and culture is presented in this Skype Learn Chinese series. It is an effort to introduce the Skype Learn Chinese students to the language by explaining its basic principles in simple steps. The purpose is to prepare the student with a foundation on which to build, with confidence, its ensuing complexities.
Things to Remember
In Skype Learn Chinese, 日rì sun (a day) is a measure word but 月yuè moon (a month) is not. Both were objects in the sky for the early Skype Learn Chinese (5000BCE), but by 3000BCE or later, astronomers had determined that the Earth revolved on its axis and that accounted for the apparent movement of the sun in Skype Learn Chinese. This period of revolution was produced by the Earth and the sun simply ’measured’ it with its daylight, from a stationary position. So, 日rì sun (a day) is a measure word. In your Skype Learn Chinese class, we will help you to acquire standard Chinese--mandarin. The moon, however, was an object, not a measure. It revolved around the Earth, once a month (29 1/4 days). Tiān is another measure word for a ’day’. Probably it was introduced by astronomer-scribes to replace the ’unreasonable’ belief that the sun rotated around the Earth, but farmers still measured their working hours by the ’movement’ of the sun. It was ‘Natural’. Nián, year, is a measure word, also,in Skype Learn Chinese, for the same reason, (the Earth rotating round the ‘stationary’ sun)
All this happened about 5000 years ago and illustrates the intelligence of the ‘primitive’ Chinese. It is only ’knowledge’ that has increased in the interim, not intelligence. (Maybe we already mentioned that.) Our Skype Learn Chinese class with professional tutors will help to know the history of Chinese characters.
Now, however, let’s look at the farmers and ordinary people in Skype Learn Chinese who didn’t get an education. The sun, for example, measured the days in Skype Learn Chinese but it could be called bright and hot, etc., as a noun. These are adjectives and adjectives, in Skype Learn Chinese, are marked by a ’de’ word, but measure words, even when they work as nouns, don’t get a ’de’. Here is a reason. Farmers, in Skype Learn Chinese, when they are talking about work-time, don’t stop to think whether the sun is acting as a noun or a measure word. Once a measure word, ALWAYS a measure word in Skype Learn Chinese.
And now for something completely different in Skype Learn Chinese. Grammar books are written by scholars, in the same way that, in the old world, astronomer-scribes conveyed their intelligence to the uneducated. 半bàn half, is explained in Skype Learn Chinese, grammatically as, “Sometimes it comes before a measure word/classifier in Skype Learn Chinese and sometimes after it”. “When half is a number it comes before and when it is added to a number it comes after it”. This is a simple rule, but it is one more of the thousands that the Skype Learn Chinese books provide.
And in Skype Learn Chinese, here is the point. As ‘Natural’ speakers of English, we don’t dissect our words grammatically and so, every ‘rule’ explained (with examples, in detail) in a grammar book is something to be MEMORIZED. This, particular, ’new’ rule, however, is common in English (surprise, surprise). We say, “Half a glass” (where ‘glass’ is a measure word) and “One glass and a half” without much mental effort. There is a difference, worth noting in Skype Learn Chinese, however. The English ‘two (or more) and a half’ glasses, changes the general ‘rule’, (that ‘half is said after one or more glasses’) but Chinese follows the more systematic, one glass and a half, two glasses and a half, three glasses and a half, etc. of the rule, (with any number, the half follows the measure word).
So, all languages have idiosyncrasies, but English is in no position to judge others as comparatively inferior and, so, needing a Latin grammar, and English dictionary definitions, etc. to understand them. The student in Skype Learn Chinese may be pleased to find more ‘helpful’ consistencies for the ’new’ language in this book. So, let’s get on with it from Skype Learn Chinese. (But don’t forget to remember, no adjectival ’de’ for measure words and classifiers; the Sun, rì, day, and tiān, day and nián, year, are measure words because the sun just measures the Earth’s rotations but the moon is a noun; and a half, in Skype Learn Chinese, always follows the measure word for one glass or more.)