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Chinese For Dummies
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1 About This Book 1 Foolish Assumptions 3 Icons Used in This Book 4 Beyond the Book 4 Where to Go from Here 5 Part 1: Getting Started with Chinese 7 Chapter 1: Chinese in a Nutshell: The Spoken Word 9 Grasping Chinese Dialects 10 P?ny?n Spelling: Beijing, Not Peking 11 Sounding Off: Basic Chinese Sounds 12 Starting off with initials 13 Ending with finals 14 Perfect pitch: Presenting . . . the four tones! 15 Adding Idioms and Popular Expressions to Your Repertoire 17 Chapter 2: The Written Word: Checking Out Chinese Characters 21 Perusing Pictographs, Ideographs, and the Six Scripts 22 The Chinese Radical: A Few Clues to a Character's Meaning 24 Following the Rules of Stroke Order 25 Rule 1 25 Rules 2 through 9 25 Up, Down, or Sideways? Deciphering the Direction of Characters 26 Traditional versus Simplified Characters: When to Use Which 28 Using a Chinese Dictionary . . . without an Alphabet! 29 Chapter 3: Warming Up with the Basics: Chinese Grammar 31 The Basics of Chinese Nouns, Articles, and Adjectives 32 Nouns 33 Definite versus indefinite articles 36 Adjectives 38 Getting into Verbs, Adverbs, Negation, and Possession 39 Verbs 39 Adverbs 44 Bu and meiy?u: Total negation 44 Getting possessive with the particle de 47 Asking Questions 47 The question particle ma 47 Yes/no choice questions using bu between repeating verbs 47 Interrogative pronouns 48 Chapter 4: Getting Started with Basic Expressions: N? H?o! 51 Making Introductions 52 Acquainting yourself 52 Introducing your friends and family 52 Asking people for their names 53 Greeting and Chatting 55 Addressing new friends and strangers 55 Conversing around the clock 56 Talking about the weather 59 Finding out where people are from 61 Taking (that is, rejecting) compliments 63 Saying goodbye 63 Chapter 5: Getting Your Numbers, Times, and Measurements Straight 65 Counting in Chinese 66 Numbers from 1 to 10 66 Numbers from 11 to 99 67 Numbers from 100 to 9,999 68 Numbers from 10,000 to 100,000 and beyond 69 How 'bout those halves? 69 Ordinal numbers 70 Asking how many or how much 70 Telling Time 71 Asking and stating the time 71 Specifying the time of the day 71 Save the Date: Using the Calendar and Stating Dates 75 Dealing with days of the week 76 Naming the months 77 Specifying dates 77 Celebrating Chinese holidays 80 Sizing Up Weights and Measures 81 Chapter 6: Speaking Chinese at Home 85 Hanging Out at Home 85 Hunting for an Apartment 86 Decorating Your New Digs 89 Appointing Your Rooms, F?ngshu? Style 89 The bedroom 91 The bathroom 92 The kitchen 92 The living room 93 The basement 94 The attic 95 Part 2: Chinese in Action 97 Chapter 7: Getting to Know You: Making Small Talk 99 Establishing a Connection 99 Posing simple introductory questions 102 Chatting about family 103 Making small talk on the job 105 Talking about where you live 108 Chapter 8: Dining Out and Shopping for Food 111 All about Meals 112 Satisfying your hunger 112 Sitting down to eat and practicing proper table manners 114 Getting to Know Chinese Cuisines 115 Dining Out 116 Understanding what's on the menu 118 Placing an order and chatting with the waitstaff 125 Dipping into some dim sum 127 Finding the restrooms 128 Finishing your meal and paying the bill 129 All the Tea in China 130 Taking Your Chinese to Go 131 Making comparisons 131 How much is that thousand-year-old egg? 132 Chapter 9: Shopping Made Easy 137 Going to Stores 137 Getting What You Want at a Department Store 140 Just browsing 141 Asking for help 141 Shopping for Clothes 143 What's your size? 143 Comparing quality: Good, better, best 145 Comparing two items 146 What are you wearing? Chu?n versus dai 149 Asking about the color and material 150 Shopping for Other Items 151 Hunting for antiques 152 Getting a Good Price and Paying 153 Negotiating prices at the night market 153 Paying for your purchase (or demanding a refund) 154 Chapter 10: Exploring the Town 157 Attending a Performance 157 Exploring different types of music 158 Buying a ticket 160 Asking whether someone has done something 160 Exploring Museums and Galleries 161 Visiting Historical Sites 163 Going to the Movies 165 Hopping Around Bars and Clubs 167 Chapter 11: Taking Care of Telecommunications 169 Getting Familiar with Telephone Terms 169 Going Mobile with a Cellphone 171 Making a Phone Call 172 Calling your friends 173 Ringing hotels and places of business 174 Phoning a client 175 Sorry, I Can't Take Your Call Right Now 177 Listening to messages that people leave you 177 Recording and understanding greeting messages 177 Leaving messages 178 Checking Your Email 180 Going Online 182 The Great Wall Firewall, That Is 183 Chapter 12: Chinese at School and Work 187 Going to School 188 Schools and supplies 188 Teachers and subjects 189 Exams and semesters 190 Degrees and diplomas 191 Settling into Your Office Digs 192 Conducting a Meeting 195 Scheduling and planning a meeting 195 Making the initial greeting 196 Starting the meeting 198 Making a presentation 198 Ending the meeting 199 Discussing Business and Industry 201 Chapter 13: Recreation and Outdoor Activities 207 Naming Your Hobbies 208 Exploring Nature 210 Tapping into Your Artistic Side 213 Striking Up the Band 213 Playing on a Team 215 Part 3: Chinese on the Go 219 Chapter 14: Planning a Trip 221 Talking about When You Want to Travel 221 Celebrating the Chinese Holidays 222 Where To? Deciding on a Destination 223 Passports and Visas: Don't Leave Home without 'Em 227 Packing for Your Trip 228 Enlisting the Help of a Travel Agency 229 Chapter 15: Making Cents of Money 233 Staying Current with Chinese Currency 234 Renminbi (RMB) in the PRC 234 X?n Taibi in the ROC 235 Hong Kong dollars 236 Singapore dollars 236 Exchanging Money 236 Spending Money 239 Using cash 240 Paying with plastic 241 Doing Your Banking 242 Making withdrawals and deposits 243 Accessing an ATM 244 Tips on Tipping 244 Chapter 16: Getting Around 249 Flying Around the Airport 249 Making it past the check-in counter 250 Boarding your flight 253 Going through customs 254 Navigating Around Town 257 Hailing a cab 257 Hopping on the bus 260 Riding the rails 262 Chapter 17: Asking for Directions 267 Avoiding 20 Questions: Just Ask "Where?" 267 Different strokes for different folks: Saying n?r versus saying n?l? 269 Getting direction about directions 270 Understanding the answers to "where" questions 271 Expressing Distances (Time and Space) with Li 274 Using Ordinal Numbers to Clarify Points of Reference 276 Specifying Cardinal Points 276 Chapter 18: Finding a Place to Stay 281 Making a Room Reservation 282 Checking In Before You Hit the Pool 285 Taking Advantage of Hotel Service 287 Counting on convenience 287 Getting problems fixed 288 Checking Out Before Heading Out 292 Chapter 19: Handling Emergencies 297 Calling for Help in Times of Need 297 Receiving Medical Care 298 Deciding whether to see a doctor 299 Describing what ails you 300 Discussing your medical history 305 Making a diagnosis 306 Treating yourself to better health 308 Calling the Police 308 Acquiring Legal Help 309 Part 4: The Part of Tens 311 Chapter 20: Ten Ways to Learn Chinese Quickly 313 Listen to Chinese Being Spoken 313 Check Out a Peking Opera Performance 314 Cook with a Wok 314 Shop for Food in Chinatown 314 Search Online 315 Watch Kung-Fu Flicks 315 Exchange Language Lessons 315 Make Chinese Friends 316 Study Chinese Calligraphy 316 Be Curious and Creative 316 Chapter 21: Ten Things Never to Do in China 317 Never Accept a Compliment Graciously 317 Never Make Someone Lose Face 318 Never Get Angry in Public 318 Never Address People by Their First Names First 318 Never Take Food with the Wrong End of Your Chopsticks 319 Never Drink Alcohol Without First Offering a Toast 319 Never Let Someone Else Pay the Bill Without Fighting for It 319 Never Show Up Empty-Handed 320 Never Accept Food, Drinks, or Gifts Without First Refusing a Few Times 320 Never Take the First "No, Thank You" Literally 320 Part 5: Appendixes 321 Appendix A: Chinese-English Mini-Dictionary 323 Appendix B: Chinese Verbs 355 Appendix C: Fun & Games Answer Key 359 Index 365

About the Author

Dr. Wendy Abraham is an award-winning public speaker who has taught Chinese language, literature, and culture at universities throughout the U.S. Wendy is the creator and director of international academic, cultural, and travel programs, holds a doctorate from Columbia University, and pursued a PhD in Chinese literature at Stanford University. FREE access to conversational audio tracks online

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