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.
In the beginning of Skype Learn Chinese, Man, the hunter-gatherer, relied on the sun to provide his time. Wherever he traveled in Skype Learn Chinese, it was a common reference. Later, as a farmer, a sundial split each working day into ten equal parts, in the long days of summer and the short days of winter, much easier than a clock would have done. During the long, dark nights of northern winter in Skype Learn Chinese, officials relied on water clocks. The earliest water clock, is dated about 4000BCE (Cowan, 1955). It had problems with freezing, evaporation and pressure instability as weather and water levels changed but some good engineers in Skype Learn Chinese fixed all that and made it accurate, with a drum beat or bell tone on the hour. From then on, the "Drum/Bell Tower" was the center of Skype Learn Chinese chronology for the government and common people in Skype Learn Chinese until 1924, when Western-style clock-work was made official. Students in Skype Learn Chinese will learn more about clock.
What time is it ? 几点了 jǐ diǎn le
jǐ is ‘how many’ for items less than ten. diǎn is a classifier, meaning, ’a little thing that is an important part of a big thing’, and here it refers to a zhōng (bell) that rings a ‘little bong’ every hour of the ‘big’ 24hour revolution of the Earth. Here the ‘zhōng’ is understood, without saying it.
11:34 十一点三十四分 shíyī diǎn sānshísìfēn
(eleven hours thirty four minutes)
Note. yī does not change tone. It's a part of shíyī, a number.
8:45 差一刻九点 chà yíkè jiǔ diǎn
(fail one quarter nine hour)
Note. kè is old: 100 kè in one day.
Actually they were only 14.4 minutes but it made a nice numbering system for a day.
5:15pm 晚上五点一刻 wǎnshàng wǔ diǎn yíkè
(evening 5 hours one quarter)
Note. One quarter is easier to say than 15 minutes. (yí goes to second tone before kè, 4)
2:02pm下午两点零二分 xiàwǔ liǎng diǎn líng èr fēn
(afternoon 2 hours zero two minutes)
Note. Afternoon before ‘hours’, and
two liǎng (for classifier) and two èr (with number).
上午一点钟 shàngwǔ yì diǎnzhōng,
Morning one little bell-ring (hour)
‘am’ comes before ‘one’ (o’clock).
yi is a fourth tone before diǎn, third.
diǎn (classifier) has no de for zhōng bell-ring.
There’s a lot of stuff here. Take a good look
Ten to ten 差十分十点钟 chà shífēn shí diǎnzhōng
(fail ten minutes ten bell-rings of clock)
Note. chà means ’to fall short’ be ’below standard’, and ‘fail to reach’.
6:30 六点半 liù diǎn bàn
(6 ‘hours’ half)
Note. To say 6:30 tonight(今晚 jīnwǎn),
the ‘tonight’ comes before the 6:30.
12:00 十二点shíèr diǎn
Note.12 midnight is 午夜 wǔyè midnight no 12, and 12 noon is 中午 zhōngwǔ no 12.
Come and join us in Skype Learn Chinese, you will know more about clock.