Translation:Hello! My last name is Li.
My name is Li should be an acceptable answer, given the person will be addressed as Li.
Also, there is inconsistency in the course about when to use last name (surname) versus just name. It needs to be made consistent and clear.
People get introduced by first names in america, however in China they say last then first name.
It wouldn't be acceptable because in english people would assume that their first name is Li but their last name is Li
Is this a legitimate introduction? Saying your last name? Or would this only work at a family reunion?
This is an actual introduction. In China, unless they were a close friend or a family member, one would call you by your last name. It’s a formal introduction that’s less common outside of asian countries.
@HenriVickers @adurkin88 @Ellis930361 @ Alex171705
Since 姓 means surname or family name or last name, the answer must be "My surname is Li" "My name is..." is not correct.
Yes, it is traditional for Chinese to ask for each others surname, as in "你貴姓？“ - ni gui xing? meaning "What is your surname?". And the answer would be (in this case) "我姓李".
"I am Mr. Li" would be a comparable statement in English, at keast with my limited Mandarin experience. Is this not the case?
Yes and/or no, depending on whether you are from the "translate the meaning" school of thought or the "translate as literally as possible" school of thought.
If you are from the former then, "I am Mr. Li" is fine and if the latter then, probably "I am surnamed Li" will suit you better. Duolingo should have both in the answers list so that everyone is happy.
We English speakers who are learning Mandarin in this case. The question is trying to verify that you understand what the sentence means in English so the English version should be something that is normally spoken in English not some literal translation of the Chinese words. Only non native english speakers talk like that.
I've found it's actually a helpful way to learn language, being able to translate word for word as well as into the nearest colloquial English phrase, because the literal translation shows an insight into the culture itself. The way it does here in Mandarin, with the different order of family versus given names.
Exactly! I am learning Hebrew alongside Greek and German and I'll just give two examples from Hebrew to illustrate your point.
"Shalom" is translated as "hello" but knowing that the word literally means "peace" gives us an invaluable insight into the mindset of the Hebrew people.
Similarly, "Welcome!" (when someone appears at your door) is "Baruch Habah" but just knowing that the four syllables of seemingly random sounds mean "Welcome" is most unsatisfying. To know that they literally mean "Blessings (baruch) on the one (ha) who comes (bah) (to my house)" is so enriching.
Dennis385858 - From my limited store of these languages, "shalom" for Hebrew equals "salaam" for Arabic, right? Same meaning, similar pronunciation, usage, and irony?
There's a saying in Visayan (which fingers crossed I've translated correctly) - "ang sabaw (the soup) nga init (that is hot) sa tiyan (at the stomach) manggunit (does hold)" sounds better as "hot soup sticks to your ribs."
In your example of "blessings" used to welcome a visitor, it's more difficult for me to find a link - I'm guessing it's the hospitality idea of offering the best to a guest, but that feels like a stretch.
Straying from the point of this thread here, but situations like these are why I enjoy looking at the colloquial and literal translations from one language to another - it's a clearer look at the different priorities around a common idea.
Don't know why DLDesktop hasn't got a Reply option on your comment, so I'm using the one on mine.
@GhappynowappT Since I cannot reply to your latest reply, I will do it here.
You can google translate the phrase word by word (just copy and paste from here. ברוך means "blessed". בא means "comes". In Hebrew the definite article "the" is actually a prefix so ה is prefixed to the word for "comes".
Literally it means "Blessed be the one who comes",
The literal meanings for "Welcome" and "Hello" are given by other users like us on the discussion forum and not in the notes. But they are a great help to learning and especially remembering the new language we are learning.
And yes from what I know "Shalom" is similar to the Arabic "Saalam" which I think means "peace" too.
@DennisStev18 It looks like you're from the "translate the meaning" school of thought which is fine by me. But let's live and let live. See my reply to GhappynowappT below.
Just to let you know, Mr. Li would technically be 李先生 (Li xiansheng) which literally translates to Mr. Li.
Its the same in English. If I am in a formal situation and I ask someone "who is this" they would introduce him as Mr "XXX". They would never introduce him by saying this mans surname is "XXX". Translating languages word for word is not the correct solution. In English we use Mr or Mrs or MIss to denote that it is the surname, not the word surname.
Do the chinese greet themselves by their last names? Is this common or just for the purpose of the lesson?
Chinese greet by last then first name. For example: I have a classmate who is chinese, and i'll put this in pinyin his name is Qiao Cheng but Qiao is his last name.
It would be nice to have English and Chinese paired together in the exercises so we know what we're saying. I feel like I'm just guessing. And most of my guesses are wrong. I don't feel confident in knowing what the Chinese words mean. Especially in the sentences.
This is the teaching method that Duolingo uses. Don't worry about wrong answers, just keep trying.
I prefer the immersive ones, but a little of everything goes a long way.
Hello, My last name is Li is normal English. It may be the way Chinese people speak english but it is not how English people speak. I would say Hello. I am Dennis, or I am Dennis Stevens or I am Mr Stevens. I would never say my surname is Stevens. Only when filling in a form where it asks for Surname and Family name is that expression used. We understand it is required when you speak in Chinese but when you translate it back to english it is not spoken that way. When we say Mr. Li that implies that it is his Surname. If we say just Li that would imply it is his first name.
Yes you are right. So, the English translation for 我姓李。should be "I am surnamed Li".
I was answering the comparison between "My name is ..." and "My surname is ..." above and did not notice that. Good catch.
It depends on how closely something is related to or how many "的"s are there. For example, "我的车" (wode che/my car) vs "我爸爸" (wo baba/my father). From what i can remember,it's completely acceptable to drop the "的" since something more closely tied to you. Probably a poor explanation,but it's along those lines i believe.
I am native chinese, this is a very normal conversation in China. We are normally formal when we first meet, we would ask and give our family names（姓）. I guess this sentence would be a response t哦someone asking your surname（姓）.
emm sometimes just cant figure out what the algorithm of duolingo looks like... it should been right as well if just say my name is Li.. （im chinese btw）
Depends on whether you're in China or the Diaspora. In China it is "Li". Where I'm from it's "Lee" which happens to be my own surname... But the Chinese character is the same.
Is stupid because none one says:Hello my last name is li !We say Hello my name is li Haun!!! Ok this is a Little problem...but...fix it!!!!
Hi Joanna, it is not a matter of it being stupid or not. It's just a different way of addressing another person. Different cultures do it differently and since we are learning Chinese this is good to know if you happen to visit Chinese speaking countries in the future.
Here are some useful information about names in Chinese culture. The Chinese are very formal, to a fault. It is considered rude to address another person by their first or personal name especially if they are older than we are. Even among friends we call each other by our surname/last /family name.
Among family members we never address older relatives by names at all but by designation only. For example, we would address our oldest brother as "Eldest brother", an aunt as "Third maternal aunt", an uncle as "Fifth paternal uncle", etc. and never by their names. You would get a hard knock on your head!
When I was a student in North America it was a culture shock to hear students call their teachers/professors by their personal name.
So, when addressing another person it is usually by surname/last /family name usually with a designation Mr/Mrs/Ms etc. As I mention in another reply it is also common to ask for surnames in introductions. Eg "What's your surname?" "I am surnamed Li. And yours?"etc.
I believe there are some similar cultural rules in Greek as well as I was told when meeting friends we can say "Γεια σου!" or "Τι Κανείς?" but if the person being addressed is older than we are we should say "Γεια σας!" or "Τι κανέτε?" in the plural form which is formal.
OK but the problem here is not introducing to others in a Chinese cultural context, it is the translation into English. In this context the most suitable translation should be "My name is Li" or "I am Li". Saying "My last name is Li" is a literal translation, that would be palatable only in a trans-cultural meeting in which one would have to be that explicit. Thus counting "My name is Li" as wrong is at least awkward. Reported.
OK I know that Chinese people use their last name when introducing to others. But in this context the most suitable translation into English should be "My name is Li". Saying "My last name is Li" is a literal translation, sounding unnatural.