Sunday, April 7, 2019

Mandarin I ALESN Class Summary and Notes Monday, April 1, 2019

Hi Gang,

Big delay this time, this week. I was all set to get up early today and type this, but there was a huge explosion on my block here in Brooklyn and the entire block without power this morning as Con Ed figures out how to fix the issue. SO, I am at a cafe on my laptop because THAT is how dedicated I am to bringing you guys your weekly update email...ahem...6 days late...ahem...


This past Monday, we covered Lesson 3 Dialogue 2's vocabulary and dialogue. We will pick up tomorrow night with the 2 grammar points for this dialogue and then you will break up into small groups to do the Language Practice exercises.

Of particular note for Lesson 3 Dialogue 2:
  • The placement of time phrases (now, today, tonight, tomorrow night, etc.) in a Mandarin Chinese sentence. These time phrases can ONLY go in 2 possible places: either right before or right after the subject: "You TODAY (very) busy" or "TODAY, you (very) busy" -- BUT NEVER "You very busy TODAY" word order wise (syntax-wise). It is very important that you remember this always for the rest of your time studying and speaking Mandarin Chinese. 1 billion people thank you in advance.
  • We discussed the grammar of HEN3 as A PLACEHOLDER for "Subject [is/are] adjective" statements in Mandarin. Remember that although equivalent English sentences involve some form of the verb TO BE ("He IS fat," "She IS ugly," etc.), the equivalent Chinese grammar dictates use of HEN3 as A PLACEHOLDER between the subject and the adjective, BUT EVEN THOUGH HEN3 TECHNICALLY MEANS "VERY," IN THIS PARTICULAR USAGE, A "SUBJECT [IS] ADJECTIVE" STATEMENT IN CHINESE USING HEN3 DOESN'T NECESSARILY MEAN THAT THE SUBJECT IS ACTUALLY "VERY" THAT ADJECTIVE. Huh?! If you were in class, please remember that I went on and on about this for like 15 or more minutes. If you were not in class, please Google the use of HEN3 in "subject is adjective" type Mandarin statement sentences and you will learn that if you do not use HEN3 as a placeholder in such statements, you will imply a comparison between the subject and some other unspecified person or thing related to that adjective. Don't worry; I will explain again tomorrow night! Feel free to email me with any questions if you don't understand this fundamental Mandarin Chinese grammatical concept. It is very important that you eventually understand what I am talking about here!
  • Memorize WHY and BECAUSE and pay special attention to how we use these new vocabulary words in this lesson and going forward. Asking WHY things are the way they are and explaining to people that things are such and such way BECAUSE of such and such reason is fundamental to your growing ability to communicate with people in basic Mandarin.
  • Notice the way that Bai2 Ying1 Ai4 invites Wang2 Peng2 to dinner -- first inquiring about his schedule and then working around his lack of availability to have dinner that evening. This is good, basic language stuff and should be understood, drilled, and memorized asap.
We will review the vocabulary and dialogue for the first 5 minutes or so of class tomorrow night, then go through the grammar points and break into small groups for the Language Practice. Ideally, I would like to finish this dialogue tomorrow and either preview Lesson 4 Dialogue 1 at the end of class tomorrow night or begin the following class with the next dialogue and its vocabulary.

See everyone tomorrow night.


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