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  5. "你好!我姓李。"


Translation:Hello! My last name is Li.

November 19, 2017



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.


I agree with you both. In English you say: My name is Li. You don't say My surname is Li. So 'My name is Li' ought to be accepted as the English translation.


People get introduced by first names in america, however in China they say last then first name.


Its the Surname so the correct English would be "My name is Mr Li" or "I am Mr Li." We would never say my surname is Li in a conversation except when trying to explain your name to a non english speaker.


It wouldn't be acceptable because in english people would assume that their first name is Li but their last name is Li


Not necessarily because the word “xing” which is before it refers to one’s LAST name


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.


In China this is appropriate and normal.


@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.


I agree with you. However, this is the way in Duolingo in all the different languages. You just have to remember the Duolingo-translation even when you think it is rather stupid to write an English sentence that does not make sense.


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.


What immersive ones do you mean?


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.


I agree with you concerning the translation of the Chinese sentence. However, I have a question: Is it correct English to say '' when you speak in Chinese.'' I would say: ''When you speak Chinese.''


Either way is OK. I would say it like you do. I dont know which is correct but both are commonly used.


Isnt the spelling of Li and Lee interchangeable?


I thought "my" had to have "de" as in "wo de"?


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.


Hello! My last name is Li.


Can you say "Wô de xíng shí Lí"? As in "my last name is..."


It's actually comin in asia to state your last name before your first.


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).


Isn't Hi like the same thing as Hello?


Its the last/family name


I believe surname in Chinese people is similar as Last Name.


Is it inferred that the last name is the only name given unless stated otherwise?


Should an acceptable translation for this not be "I am Li"?


How can they expect me to be able to know that


It would be more appropriate to say ''Hello I'm Li''


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)


I said it correct but i forgot to capitalize the L in li and got it wrong


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.

Dennis Lee


I got it but the just told me its wrong

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