Learn Chinese for Free - Lesson 5

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Today's Chinese characters:

Today, you're going to know what a measure word is and how to use two of them.

Character Knowledge Meter
Today with this lesson your knowledge of Chinese characters will reach 4.09% of all the Chinese language usage! 4.09%

Characters' Essentials

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ge4
Meaning Help
-Measure word used before nouns which do not have special measure words of their own (some nouns can be preceded by either it or other special measure words)
Character Help
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Meaning Help
-Measure word for people, indicating respect

Description and Examples

Measure words are words used as unit of measurement for people, things or verb's actions.

For example, Chinese language has specific measure words for:

  • books;
  • certain animals;
  • stick-like things;
  • things with a handle;
  • indicating the number of times a verb's action repeats...

Yesterday we said that a measure word is generally needed between a numeral and a noun. So, the correct Chinese phrase for "one person" is:

yi2ge4ren2 translation: one person

Suggestion: roll the mouse pointer over each character and read its pinyin.

Change of tones: A few characters change their tone under certain circumstances. yi1, for example, when alone or at the end of a word or a sentence, is pronounced in the first tone; when it precedes a syllable of the first, second or third tone, it is pronounced in the fourth tone; it is pronounced in the second tone when it is followed by a fourth tone. For this reason, the phrase above is pronounced yi2 ge4 ren2.

Other examples, without translation (your first test!):

san1ge4ren2

shi2ge4ren2

jiu3shi2jiu3ge4ren2

Did you notice? The Chinese for "person" is ren2, and the Chinese for its plural "persons" is ren2 as well! So, forget English language rules about plurals!

The other measure word, wei4, is used only with people, indicating respect. The following two phrases have almost the same meaning, the first one denoting respect.

yi2wei4ren2 translation: one person

yi2ge4ren2 translation: one person

When we say that wei4 is used before people, it means that we can also say, indicating respect:

yi2wei4 teacher translation: a teacher

yi2wei4 physician translation: a physician

Chinese words for "teacher" and "physician" are soon to come, but not tomorrow. Tomorrow we'll learn to count from 100 to 99,999,999 and to say in Chinese "two persons". Yes, "two persons", because the following phrase IS WRONG.

WRONG

I heard you. Wrong? Why?!? See you tomorrow.

Exercise

Give a closer look to the different meanings of er4 and guess how to correctly say in Chinese "two persons".


That's all for today. Please feel free to browse the rest of this site.


Characters' Details

Chinese Character 12 of 1000

appearance score: # 12
frequency: 0.6199251%
Character Help
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3
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-Measure word used:
1. before nouns which do not have special measure words of their own (some nouns can be preceded by either it or other special measure words);
2. before a numeral to indicate approximation;
3. between a verb and its object;
4. between a verb and its complement
-Individual, alone
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-Second character of the Chinese word for 'oneself, by oneself': zi4ger3 pinyin: zi4 ger3

This character has two different traditional versions.

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ge4
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(same as simplified one's)
Traditional Help
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ge4
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(same as simplified one's)

Chinese Character 13 of 1000

appearance score: # 182
frequency: 0.1111000%
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7
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-Place; position, status; throne; figure, digit
-A surname
-Measure word for people, indicating respect

There's no difference between the simplified and the traditional version of this character.Help

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