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  5. "我叫张明。"


Translation:I am Zhang Ming.

November 16, 2017



am i the only one who didn't actually get taught the definitions of these words first?


I think thats the teaching method, to make you learn through mistakes


Put your mouse over the characters and it will give you the definitions of the characters.

我 - Wo - I am/My/Me

叫 - Jiao - Called/Call

张 - Zhang (surname)

明 - Ming (first name)


What if your on mobile?


Just tap on the underlined characters to see the translation on mobile


Woww that wasn't clear at all


on mobile just tap it with your finger


Press the character if your on mobile


Log onto the desktop version and it contains grammatical and verbal explanations.


Hover over or click on the characters to find out the meaning.


You could try reading the 'Tips' that appear above the Lessons icon, it shows characters that will be introduced in the lesson.


So, culturally are surnames always presented before first names?


Chinese natives put the family name before their own personal name. At least this is my understanding in a formal introduction. I am not sure how friends, family, and maybe even co-workers would speak to each other.


We always put family name before personal name. For close friends we may just call the personal name, omitting the family name, but for some people this can be impolite for those who you are not familiar with.


In Chinese and Japanese, the surname comes first. In Japan, if you call someone by their first name it's considered extremely casual and sometimes rude.


Not only in Chinese, but in many other Asian cultures/languages (Including Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese) they place the surname before the given/first name.


It says a lot about the different culture...

In western culture, we focus on the individuals. In Asian culture, they focus on the family, the clan.


Or perhaps they prefer to go from general to specific, like in addresses.


That is not true. Western culture has always taught young people to address adults by their surname. Such as Mr, Mrs, Miss, Madam, Sir etc.


Western culture teaches us to use those titles but in America kids are calling their parents and friends' parents by their first names and it bother me so much.


This is not quite true - the expectation that kids should address adults that way varies greatly depending on location and age throughout the English speaking world. I know in the US it is commonplace to call an adult sir but in the UK for example that is extremely unusual unless that person is your teacher - it varies a lot.


This is pretty weird imo. As a native Chinese speaker if you say "wo jiao zhang ming", you'd expect them to then call you "zhang ming" ;_;


Not in English. Most native English speakers do not call people by their family name. So "我叫张明." tells me as an English native that 张 is his family/sur/last name and translated to English it goes after his first name 明. I would call this person Ming and not Zhang or Zhang Ming.


But what if Zhang Ming was just their first name without their family name? Flipping characters automatically makes no sense.

  • 2940

It depends on the context. Two strangers introducing each other in China would normally introduce with at least their surnames. Only people familiar with each other (close friends, family) would use their first names, so saying their first name without a family name would be unusual in a cultural standpoint.


Not in Chinese;) As a native, I assure you that you can call him either by Zhang or Ming, or 小张 xiao Zhang. But note that 小 contains the meaning of young here, so you can only use this formula 小+surname to address young people.

For elder people, 老+surname. Please be sure the elder you address is at least your acquaitance, not someone you need to pay respect to, then the formula would be surname + title/occupation or more generally 老师 lao shi, literally teacher.

If you are not sure, just call an elder people by the surname+老师. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are your teachers, just to show respect. And they like it when young people does it;)



In France, they use the family name first only when you are in an army. :D When I send my résumés too, I always put my family name, in upper case, and my first name then in lower case. It helps the French administration to know what is name and surname. I don't know in your countries.


Nah, unfortunately you can't capitalize a Chinese charactor, there is no such things.


But sometimes Chinese native writers may write the surname first in English, mostly in Hong Kong, Macau and the southern part of China.


I guess this is Duolingo trying to make us notice how we should reverse our own first names and last names in Chinese.


When you hover your mouse over the character for 'ming' 明,it translates to 'next'. As far as I know, the more common meaning is 'bright" or 'clear' as in 光明 - guang ming or 'to understand' as in 明白 - ming bai. Probably not best to translate it as 'next' so early in a beginner's course. Just my two cents.


What does the 。at the end mean? Is that like using a full stop in English?

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Yes. It's exactly like an English full stop period in modern Chinese script.


They should tell you how to remember the shapes.


Yes, I agree. Character roots, and drawing the characters to answer. None' can learn Chinese without it.


this reply is really late, but the reason they don't tell you how to remember the shapes (or the roots) is because that's not how native chinese speakers learn it anyway. If one was to learn all the radicals of the chinese written language it would be way too difficult, as some characters can have up to 10 roots. The only way to remember these words is to repeatedly write them over and over again, my parents sometimes spent entire breaks as a child just repeatedly copying characters.


Today (17/12/2017) is my third day of learning Chinese. I've been remembering the characters by making up stories about them:

Jiau means "name", and so I tell myself that the name of a piece of paper is A4, which is a little how the character looks.

Wo is pronounced like "war" in English, and if you look carefully, you can see a curly F for "fighting" and then an arrow going to the right, with a basket-like hook under it in case the arrow fails!

I think it would be great if DuoLingo could tell us the order of the strokes used to make up the characters, giving us little numbered arrows alongside the strokes within the characters ... maybe a link to enlarged versions of these characters. (This would help me in the same way as learning violin bowings helps. It is harder to memorise a piece of music if you have to relearn it with your bow moving in a different direction to how it was first learnt.)

Knowing the meaning of a character beforehand would also help me make up better, more memorable stories for the characters.

How do native Chinese speakers learn the characters? What "tricks" do they use? (In English, a young child remembers "b" and "d" by thinking of the word "bed" that makes the shape of a bed.) Thank you.


叫 jiao4 means call, actually. Name is 名,名字.

There are actually sort of origin stories for each word since words evolve as time progresses, from dynasty to dynasty, as writing materials and writing tools became more sophisticated (like the invention of paper, for example). Even native Chinese don't know all these stories as it would take considerable time to learn their histories!

Stroke order is learnt in school, together with meaning, phrase forming, pronunciation(s) i.e. hanyupinyin and 部首 which is used to find the pronunciation and meaning of a character in dictionaries. These are all memorised but there are some similarities so that it becomes easier the more you know (and also since there are only so many words in common usage).

Stroke order helps in proper writing and in producing good Chinese calligraphy.

Some words also have more than one pronunciation, with different meanings for each one(多音多义字)such as 好 which has hao3 (e.g. good) and hao4 (e.g. hobby).

An example of bu4 shou3 would be 口 (mouth) which "forms" such words or phrases as 呼吁 (call, as in a call to action), 吐 (spit, vomit), 哥 (elder brother) and so on.

There aren't tricks, but students have tests for writing out each word or phrase e.g. the teacher gives a spelling test based on new vocabulary learnt in a text by reading out the words, and exercises where the student writes the word over and over again (about 7 times), then forms a sentence from it. One possible "trick" would be to see the 部首 of the word, e.g. 提手旁 which is the left hand side of the word 提,when appearing in a character, would generally mean an action, e.g. 打 (hit), 拍 (smack), 排 (arrange). The 单人旁 which is the left hand side of the word 仁 usually means something related to humans and humanity, e.g. 任 (in 责任, responsibility), 仁慈 (kind, merciful), 们 (in 我们, we). There are also top, top and left, bottom ones and other non-LHS ones, such as the top and left of 病, which generally means sickness, e.g. 病 (sick, illness).


I can't seem to figure out why there isn't a space between any of the characters... Is that just how Chinese script is written?


Yes, that's just how Chinese is written.


Why does it omit "called", in the translation, when its obviously there in the Chinese characters? Hmmm


in most languages, you don't say the equivalent of "my name is _", you say some variant of "i am called" or "they call me". But that isn't very common in English, so i suppose it wouldn't make sense to translate it that way. Then again, it isn't necessarily incorrect in English, so it should probably still be accepted.


wo shi ming zhang is used more, isnt it?


I don't believe so. Since the Chinese says it as "Wǒ shì zhāng míng", Zhāng would be the family/sur/last name and Míng would be the person's name.

English tranlation of "Wǒ shì zhāng míng" would be "I am Ming Zhang."


What's the meaning of the name "Ming" and "Zhang" as words?


“Zhang” is just a surname. No real meanings.

But “Ming(明)” got a lot of meanings, by have with other words to make a phrase, like “明白“ means understand, “明日” or “明天” means tomorrow, “黎明“ means the early morning(around the sunrise). But usually in Cantonese, “明” means understand.


So from the comments, I understood that Chinese doesn't have spaces between words/characters. What about how Chinese is spoken? I found the Duolingo audio of this sentence very fast, like it is being spoken without any pauses between words. Is this how fast Chinese is spoken on average, or is it just Duolingo?


It is average or slower than average, I've heard faster and ones with localised pronunciations (these are almost unintelligible since they're spoken so quickly).


What's the difference when using wo jiao and wo shi?


Look like "i am called zhang ming" is also work


the surname goes before the first name, so it should actually be zhang ming.


Where can I learn Cantonese?


It is not available in Duolingo. Take note that Cantonese is a spoken language, the written form is the same as the one we are learning now.


i wish they had the pinyin too when you hovered over the words, i can speak mandarin pretty well but i can't write at all lmao & itd b super helpful to see that too


Where are the Chinese alphabets?


Each word is an alphabet.


Not quite. An alphabet is the collection of all the letters. It's a bit like each word in Chinese is a letter, but that is not quite true either because there just is no alphabet.


There is no alphabet, unfortunately. The words are not formed using a set of letters, they are all different.


I hear "Zhang" as "tan", is that normal or do I need to have my ears checked?


I don’t know, but, for real, do not trust the audio.


There is a light bulb outside each section, click it and it will show you all the meaning


How to write these words


Is there always no space between the words in a sentence in Chinese?


Yes, even between punctuation. The only spaces are before new paragraphs start.


what's wrong with “i am 张明“?


I think "I am Called Zhang Ming" should be acceped


This language is interesting


영어 어려워요. 한국어로 해 주세요.


My correct first pronunciation lmao


With what? If you are more specific than we can help you out. :)


Mobile just tap it with your finger!


Can you not say I am called Zhang Ming?


Chinese Duolingo Is not ergonomic. With some exercises, you cannot see the result key. With some other we have no translation, how can we know the sentence meaning ?☹️


I like the idea of the duolingo




I can't understanding the Chinese language and names


If you're more specific we can give you some advice.


How could I understand as Wo is used?


我 is meaning I or me or my in this sentence.


I was using my chinese keyboard and I pressed the upper case thingy and it said done, then I got it wrong! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?!?!?!


Can't understand this


I am not understanding these words


我叫张明. 我 = I/me; 叫 = call/name; 张明 = Zhang Ming (a Chinese name). Basically the sentence is I called Zhang Ming or My name is Zhang Ming. I hope this makes sense.

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