Translation:I am Zhang Ming, what is your name?
叫 jiao1 is a verb meaning "to call"名字 ming2zi means name, but more specifically refers to the given name which is often two characters long. In PRC the phrase refers to the full name, but I have heard that some Chinese overseas still use 名 ming2 to refer to their family generational name (first character in given name) and 字 zi4 to refer to their own personal name (the last chacter in the given name). These days, in PRC, this isn't mentioned that I noticed, and some people have one character given names or multi-character given or surnames sometimes if they are from a minority ethnic group. 姓 xing2 refers to the surname/last name specifically. The normal order of the Chinese name is 姓 姓名 xing2ming2zi.
Don't even bother dissecting compound words when starting out. Many individual chars have their own meaning, but words rarely consist of only one character in Chinese. 玻璃 meaning "glass" is made up of what amounts to basically two nonsense characters that only mean glass when used together, but this means that sloppy dictionaries and such will still list either char as glass, regardless of the fact that they are barely ever used on their own.
什么 is fixed. As is the case with every language, there are plenty of synonyms such as 啥 or 何, but they require a certain context or register and shenme is much more ubiquitous in modern Putonghua.
I highly recommend you download the zhongwen pop-up extension for your browser, it features plenty of grammar notes, properly segments words and allows you to quickly look up characters without switching tabs.
Classical Chinese was largely monosyllabic. Modern Chinese is largely disyllabic. You will need two characters and two syllables to form most words nowadays. Even "what" in English is formed of two parts, the "wha" part that is the same as what we see in "who" and "why", and then a "t" neuter suffix.
Although in one sense it is correct to say that the English "what" is formed of two parts, it is not in the same sense as the Chinese polysyllabic word. Rather, the modern "what" derived from the Old English "hwaet" which was the neuter form of the masc./fem. "hwa". Modern English has no real sense of this left. We have lost our declensions almost accross the board and also our differentiation in grammatical gender to the extent that it is practically non-existant. A more accurate comparison would be compund words, such as "hearsay" or "jackpot". These are compound words where we tend to think of them as one word today. We can see that they came from two free morphemes, but the meaning is not obviously drawn from those morphemes, say in the way "houseboat" is. In Chinese it is much the same, except most words in Chinese have become compounds. This is in great part due, no doubt, to the extraordinary amount of homophones that have arisen during the long development of the Chinese language. I believe that a better Chinese comparison to our "hwaet/what" and "hwa/who" would be 什(what/miscellany)(shen2/shi2) and 谁(who)(shei2/shui2). The connection between these can be better seen in the characters 什(shen2/shi2) and 雜(za2)(miscellaneous/mixed), which at one time were likely synonyms, seen in the alternate use and pronunciation of 什 (shi2), Hokkien use of 什 and also in the Cantonese pronunciation and uses of 什 (zaap6) and 雜 (zaap6). Interestingly, this discussion uses the same words (who and what), and in both languages the long history of the languages change has obscured the etymology of the spoken words, but our writing in both cases has retained that history.
It would be wonderful to have a progress bar underneath audio playbacks that function similar to YouTube videos: you could change the playback to 0.5x; and use the slider/pause to replay only parts of the sentence, back it up, and listen to just that section again (the accents of "什么名字" is throwing me off, but I have to play the whole thing just to listen to the middle section)
Yes, it might be easier to remember the characters if we knew what they meant when they were first being introduced. With this structure, you have to learn the character knowing nothing but the sound, and then try to associate that with a meaning in one or two questions in the last part of the lesson.
I find that it works best to just follow the course as it is. In my very short experience the course seems perfectly planned and repetitive enough to allow us to discover the subtle meaning of the different combinations and syntax involved... After all Chinese is not a language one can easily compare to Spanish, French, Italian, Catalan, Romanian, Portuguese or English, or to German. It is a different system and it requires a different approach both to teach it and to learn it.
I was frustrated at first, too. I started to write the Chinese characters as they were introduced. By the time, the meanings were given, the characters were familiar to my mind.
It might be helpful if they were fewer, yet for the Chinese word we simetimes must use more than one character. We do not have the advantage of a phonetic alphabet such Korean, Spanish or the Japanese katakana.
I don't understand why the tone of certain words, when given separately as a word recognition test, sound wrong. eg xing is written 4th tone, but sounds (to me) as definitely 1st tone. Yet when it's given in a sentence it does sound 4th tone. shi (written2nd tone) sounds to me as 4th tone. There seems to me - in certain words - a discrepancy between the tone in isolated words and in sentences. Also the consonant in shi in isolation also sounds like zhi. I realize consonants can be difficult to get right, though it does sound like 'sh' in the context of sentences, but it's the differences that are confusing, particularly in some tones. I know tones can change in a sentence (eg 'bu') but I thought words in isolation should be presented in their dictionary tone.
Some of it is what you have to listen carefully and learn to recognised, but others are examples of when they differ from what you call their dictionary tone, e.g. 一 and 不 which can, depending on what follows, be tones 1, 2, 3 and 1, 2 respectively. There are also word with many tones or pronunciations or both with different meanings for each one. These are known as 多音多义字, e.g. 好 (hao3 or hao4) and 长 (chang2 or zhang3). Duolingo gives the dictionary tone and is generally pretty accurate to me, though I sometimes mute it as, for example, it is grating to hear the typical dictionary pronunciation when it is really something else.
I appreciate that, and thanks for your response. I do know that there are different reasons for modified tones. eg 爱好 (ai hao) where hao seems to change to 4th tone from 3rd, as you mention. But that I can assume is context, where hao adapts to help create the new meaning of 'hobby'. But I have listened carefully to the ones I referred to. I'm getting the answers right, but xing, shi, ren do sound wrong without any context to explain to me why they should be modified. Of course, my hearing might not be properly attuned yet to pick out the tones correctly.
That is correct. I would suggest looking it up in a dictionary e.g. an online English-Chinese one, which should have the probable pronunciations and meanings for any character. A quick google search of the word or phrase followed by 读音 i.e. pronunciation, without a space in between, will generally yield the same result. It is not the most accurate but is pretty easy to find and use, and I find more than enough for duolingo.
You can choose, technically, although there is usually a convention, especially for "common" foreign (to Chinese) names, e.g. 大卫 for David, 艾玛 for Emma, and so on. If you do the Chinese to English course, which is likely best after you finish this one, there are examples of these in the exercises. As it is, I'm not sure what yours could be, will update here if I find out.
If you want to retain the actual sound of your given name it is probaby best to just say and write "Devin". First, you won't be able to produce the same phonetics in Mandarin using Chinese characters and secondly, any other Chinese dialect or people using the same characters in their language (Japanese...) will pronounce those characters differently. In that case your name will not sound at all the way you intended. Keep in mind that your legal name is the same, but you can go by various names at various times and occasions. This is very well understood in China. You may be given a name there "officially" using characters that might try to reproduce or capture part of the sound of your name, but you might decide you want a more natural sounding name (or your friends/ colleagues may gift you a name or nicknames). There are several web pages that can help you learn more about finding a suitable Chinese name if you wish. Here are two:
The audio says: My name is Zhang Ming", but the correct accepted answer is "My name is Ming Zhang," So I'm supposed to write down something different than what I hear? I understand surnames come first before given names but am I to believe it's written opposite of what is said? (as in this example)
Zhang is a surname, Ming is a given name. In Chinese, (native) surnames are written first and given names last; in English, given names are first and surnames are last—at least usually. When mentioning Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Hungarian names in English, the name order is flipped.
Like with any translation, I guess the idea is to keep the content of the message intact, but still to express it the way it would naturally be said in the target language. Otherwise, "Traduttore, tradittore!"
How about you is not specific to identity or name. How is more about feeling or state of mind. Your sentence might happen also when you do not know the person next to you. Maybe you want to know how they like or dislike something you both saw, like a movie or performance.
This sequence is once translated as "What is your name?", and yet in another instance as w"What is your full name?" ...
The clues do write "everything" under one of the characters, so I think that "What is your name?" or "What is your full name?" should both be accepted in both instances. Is there a reason why they shouldn't that I do not see? Thasnks moderators. DUOLINGO is great.
1 character=字，2 characters=词，3 or more characters (can be) 短语，4 fixed characters=成语，more than four fixed characters (variable, can be) 谚语、歇后语、俗语、名句 or even 名言、佳句……
Fixed characters often (always?) have "origin stories" or are taken from famous works of famous writers and authors e.g. poems and each 朝代 (era, dynasty) has its own form e.g. 唐诗、宋词、散文、小说 that was developed and perfected in that period of time.
A short (and not at all comprehensive) note on Chinese "words, phrases, idioms, sayings".
Edit: There are different ways of calling them, e.g. 三字成语、四字成语、五字成语、六字、七字、八字、九字，but this is not the most important.
This is interesting history and the different types of Chinese idioms are fun, but it is a complete aside from this thread. Also, 成语 do occasionally have five fixed characters I believe. Any way, at this point in the program most people are struggling with individual character recognition and word formation from those characters. Recognizing set idioms and word plays is a mysterious manor atop a far off misty mountain.
That's right, and there are 三字、六七八九字成语 as well. However, I would call those by another name and this is confusing at this stage, and not really important overall. I am sorry you find it irrelevant, perhaps posting this elsewhere would be better. This post is for those who are interested.
These two characters are homophones; they sound alike but their spelling is different and their meaning is different. In pinyin these are spelled the same because pinyin is a phonetic rendering of sound, but the actual spelling of the word is the character, which shows the words meaning. Both are ming2, but 明 has a basic meaning of bright or clear and 名 has a basic meaning of name. Chinese has numerous homophones. In English we have several, such as pair and pare and pear, also there, their and they're.
You are correct about what the contraction means, but when you use the contraction form "what's" do not also use "is" or you will be repeating the verb (what is is your name), which is not grammatical. If it were written out without the contraction it might be taken as a typo, but "what's is" is unlikely to be taken as a typo.
The fisrt part of your translation is fine. It is the second part that is making it wrong. "What's yours" in Chinese would be 你呢。In the sentence above, 你叫什么名字, should be translated as "What is your name?" Technically, the sentence would be "I am called Zhang Ming; By what name are you called?", but this is wordy in English and not what we would say. It would be nice if Duo always accepted both the literal translation when it carries the proper meaning, and the dynanmic equivalent, which in this case is "My name is Zhang Ming; what is your name?"
我叫张明，你叫什么名字？ Wo3 jiao4 Zhang1 Ming2 , ni3 jiao4 shen2me0 ming2zi0 ? I (am) called Zhang Ming , you (are) called what name?
This can be translated several ways into English, for example:
I am Zhang Ming; what is your name? My name is Zhang Ming; what's your name? I am called Zhang Ming; by what name are you called?
If you give an anwer and it is not accepted you can submit your answer for review by clicking on the "Report" button on the bottom of the page. When you are typing characters, be sure to not add spaces between the characters; this is often cause for the program to not accept the answer.
你叫什么名字 and 你叫什么 are used, but I have never heard 你叫名字什么. I don't think that is grammatical. You can, however, say 你的名字叫什么. Actually, where the question word belongs in the sentence depends on what the question is concerning . A helpful page for understanding sentence structure can be found here: https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Chinese_word_order The nice thing is that we do not need to learn different structures for statements and questions .
Sometimes the tests don't give me the words I need to complete a sentence for the translations. For example, in some sections it asks for me to basically translate "Hello, my name is 'blank', what's yours?" but doesnt offer any words to complete the sentence in any sort of grammatical format. It's not an app breaker... Just slightly annoying is all.
Sorry if I double posted but it gave me an error before. In the original post, I stated that the app would not display certain words I needed to complete a sentence for translations. For example, one I must translate is,"Hello my name is 'blank' and you are?" But it does not give me options to fit any grammatical format of "and you are/What is your name?" Is this a potential bug?
Chinese has numerous homophones, which is one reason why characters are so helpful as opposed to just using pinyin ( the phonetic alphabet). In your example, ming the name (second tone) 明 means "bright"; it is a surname and is also the name of the late 14th century through mid 17th century dynasty. The other character you mentioned is pronounced the same, ming2, written 名 it means "name". There are quite a number of other homophones of ming, both in second tone as well as the other tones; they all have their own characters. The character differentiates the meaning of the sound even without having to have the word in a context, similar to the way in English we can differentiate between bear, bare, Baer and Behr.
I would suggest, first, if you haven't read the tips for the lesson to do that before you start the lesson and before each new time through the lesson until you are very comfortable with the content. That being said, the tips are not very complete, they don't give the translation of all of the words in a lesson and often they do not give literal translations of sentences or phrases. That makes things a bit more difficult. You can read the discussions here. Before you hit "Continue", read the discussions. Not all comments in the discussion are very helpful, but there are quite often very useful nuggets of information to be found. Keep asking questions in the discusions. The more clear your question is, the more clear the answer you receive is likely to be. You can do a quick search online for a basic definition of a character (or the pinyin) if you cannot figure it out. A good site for this is yellowbridge. Yabla is also good. Wiktionary is full of interesting information, but not as useful for learning the language. yellowbridge also has animations of the characters being written. It is very helpful to learn how to write the characters and to practice writing out words, phrases and sentences as you learn them. It will stick much better in your memory, and learning the character will help you to differentiate between the many homophones (like ming2 名 and ming2 明). （ I like to use both pinyin and the character until I get the character and its pinyin down. After that I would use the character whenever I write. I use numbers for the tones unless I am writing by hand, as it is much easier to type numbers than the marks over the vowels.) Occasionally, supply your own answers orally before you translate for Duo. For example, you can say to yourself, in answer to wo3 jiao4 zhang1ming, ni3 jiao4 shen2me5? 我叫张明，你叫什么名字？, something like, ni3 jiao4 zhang1 ming2. 你叫张明。wo3 jiao4 TJYd7y. 我叫 TJYd7y。 ni3 jiao4 zhang1ming2.你叫张明。 ni3 jiao4 li3ming2.你叫李明。 ni3 jiao4 li3hua2. 你叫梨花。wo3 jiao4 Yao Ming. 我叫 Yao Ming (姚明）。Just practice with any names until you get used to the phrases. As you discover Chinese names in the lessons, write them down in a list of names. You are doing well! Good job.
In order to change a statement to a question in Chinese, you keep the same structure and replace the "answer" with a question word (there are also other forms/types of questions.) So we ask , 你叫什么名字？The subject 你 corresponds to the subject 我 , the verb 叫 (to call, am/is called, literally), the question word and general predicate noun 什么名字 corresponds to the predicate noun/specific Name 张明 （person‘s name in this lesson). Other examples of this grammatical form are: "Where are you?" ni3 zai4 na3li3? 你在哪里？ "I am at home." wo3 zai4 jia1 我在家。; "Who is that?" na4 shi4 shei2? 那是谁？ ”That is my teacher.“ na4 shi4 wo3de lao3shi1. 那是我的老师。The basic sentence order is Subject Verb Object, but placement of added information (time, place, manner, duration...) follows specific rules within that framework; the question still stays true to that form, whatever it may be. For example, we say "I see her every Friday." wo3 mei3ge4 xing1qi1wu5 hui4jian4 ta1. 我每个星期五会见她。 "When do you see her?" ni3 shen2me shi2hou kan4jian4 ta1? 你什么时候看见她？A good place for studying Chinese grammar is AllStart Learning's Chinese Grammar Wiki.
I am a native speaker and technically it would be correct. But in this case, a lot of questions that Duolingo gives are very sensitive. But if I were you I would consider myself to be correct. What you wrote is completely correct. Just maybe not what Duo was expecting to get! You must be extremely exact
I hope this helps and please drop a Lingot if it does!! : )
I think if you want to address DUOLINGO themselves you have to use the "report" option or else find the means to write to them directly. It has worked for me in the past.