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Expressly for the use of those

who

desire to acquire a rapid

and sound colloquial knowledge


of the Chinese language

N.

J,

WHYMANT

LIBRARY
UNIVERSITY OF
CALIFORNIA

SAN DIEGO

L
UN
C

CHINESE
(NORTHERN)

By
A.

NEVILLE

J.

WHYMANT

Lecturer in Chinese and Japanese, School of Oriental Studies,


Sometime Sir John Francis Davis
University of London
Author of Chinese
Chinese Scholar, University of Oxford
Coolie Songs, etc., etc.
;

LONDON
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO., LTD.,
NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON & CO.
:

1922

Uniform with

this

Volume

COLLOQUIAL FRENCH
COLLOQUIAL GERMAN
COLLOQUIAL' SPANISH

COLLOQUIAL JAPANESE

London
Kegan

Paul, Trench, Trubner

&

Co., Ltd.

NOTE TO THE READER


The following pages form really a sort of note-book of
the Chinese language. There is no pretension to erudition.
Simply has the writer found during some years of teaching
experience in the two most difficult languages in the world
that the student must from the start rely upon himself.
he would make real and sensible progress, he must make
own exercises from the raw material provided in the
notes on construction and the vocabulary. For this reason
exercises herein will be few and will serve as models for
those of the student's own making.
Should the learner feel that he stands in need of further
practice with regard to exercises, he can make his choice
from many excellent manuals easily procurable. The
object in view throughout has been rather to eliminate
matter than to assemble between two covers all that is
If

his

known

of the tongue.

PREFACE
There is an idea generally prevalent that only the genius
with a lifetime of leisure can afford to devote himself to
the study of the Chinese language. It is, however, a
matter of experience that while the Written Style is undoubtedly the most difficult study in the world so difficult,
indeed, that no European has so far succeeded in producing
a composition therein which could earn the approbation
of a native yet the Colloquial Style may be learned by
any one with ordinary acumen and perseverance in the
same period that one devotes to the study of the elementary
Latin, Greek, or French Classics.
Naturally, the genius of this tongue being totally different
from that of English, many students invest their task with
exaggerated difficulties and with bogies of all descriptions.
At the outset the peculiar script used scares the would-be
sinologue. The seemingly-endless lists of characters with
the same sound and tone the utter dissimilarity of
Chinese, by virtue of which it stands in a class by itself
from among all other languages, the peculiar rhythmic
stress of each sentence as it slips from the tongue of a
Celestial, the absolute precision of utterance demanded in
order that one should be understood, all seem to be insurmountable obstacles in the path of the beginner. Let him,
that many men of
however, take comfort from this fact
ordinary ability who found it impossible to acquire even
the slightest knowledge of the written tongue have been
;

fluent speakers of the colloquial.


The object of this work is to crystallise the writer's
teaching experience toward the end that the acquisition
of Chinese Colloquial may lose many of its terrors. .In its
preparation, use has been made of the following works
:

Tzu Erh Chi. Sir T. Wade.


Gramm. d. I. Langue Chin. Paul
Perny (Tome premier, Langue
Orale).

The Chinese Language and How


Sir W. Hillier.
to Learn It.
Eng.-Chin. Diet, of Peking
Colloquial.

Sir

Chin.-Eng. Diet.

W.

Hillier.

Prof.

H. A.

Student's

W.

Four

Thousand Tzu.

E. Sooth ill.

Mandarin Lessons. Mateer.


Sy sterna Phonet. Script. Sin.

La Lingua

Cinese Parlata.

Magnasco.
Chinesische Grammatik.
Notitia Ling. Sinicae.

Premare.

Giles.
iv

Gallery.

F.

Seidel.

Le Pere

PREFACE
Guide

d.

1.

Angl.-Chin.

Conversa.

Franc.-

Le Pere Couv-

Syntaxe

Nouv.

Chinoise.

d.

I.

Langue

Stanislas Julien.

reur, S.J.
Colloquial Japanese.
Pocket Chin.-Eng. Die. C. Goodrich. M. McGovern.

Dr.

W.

The written character is understood throughout the


eighteen provinces and in other parts of the Chinese Empire
beyond such well-defined limits. There are, however,
colloquial variations, differing so widely from each
it is no exaggeration to proclaim them distinct
Northener, attempting to make himself
languages.
understood purely by means of the Colloquial among

many

other that

Southern Chinese, would encounter the same difficulty


as a Briton, knowing nothing but his mother-tongue,
in the heart of Russia.
This fact notwithstanding,
Pekingese, or rather the tongue erroneously but generally
known as Mandarin, is the lingua franca of the whole of
the Northern provinces, and with but slight variations,
"
of those of Mid-China.
K " for
The substitution of
"
"
"
initial
and
for
initial
are
indications
CH,"
CH,"
TS,"
of the change which takes place.
It is for this reason that
the dialect of the North is that generally taught, as its
sphere of utility is much larger than that of any other
of the Indo-Chinese languages.
I have to express my gratitude to my colleague, Dr. W.
Montgomery McGovern, for permission to use some of the
vocabularies in his Colloquial Japanese as a framework
for several similar word-lists in the following pages, and
very best thanks are due to the Director of the School
of Oriental Studies, Sir E. Denison Ross, for valued suggestions made during the preparation of the work. Very
specially have I to thank the Rev. Hopkyn Rees, D.D.,
Reader in Chinese in the University of London, for the

my

very valuable and expert help he has given me. On the


eve of my departure for China, I had the load of proofreading lifted from my shoulders by reason of his generosity.
He has helped in other directions also, these latter too
numerous to mention.
A.
School of Oriental Studies,

NEVILLE

(London Institution),
University of London.

J.

WHYMANT.

CONTENTS
PREFACE

THE HISTORY AND MORPHOLOGY OF THE CHINESE


LANGUAGE

2.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

3.

VARIETIES OF CHINESE

12

4.

EXAMINATION OF STYLES OF WRITING

13

1.

SOUND TABLE
LESSON

14

THE SIMPLE SENTENCE

33

,,

2:

POSITION OF NEGATIVES

40

3:

NUMERALS AND ADJECTIVES

51

4:

PRONOUNS AND EXERCISES

58

ENGLISH AND CHINESE VOCABULARY

61

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE
1.

THE HISTORY AND MORPHOLOGY OF THE CHINESE


LANGUAGE.

There has been current for a long time past a widespread


same relation to Japanese
No doubt
as does English to French or English to German.
this idea was born and fostered by the propinquity of the
belief that Chinese stands in the

nations.
Radically, however, the two
as
far
as
the Poles. Japanese came
are
apart
languages
from the South, a language colloquially expressive and with

two Far-Eastern

a strongly developed agglutinative tendency, but innocent


of any script.
The Chinese, however, had not only an
artistic system of writing, but also a comprehensive litera-

The newly-arrived tenants of the Land of the Rising


Sun immediately borrowed the ideographic scheme of their
Western neighbours and began the laborious task of fitting
ture.

it

to their

own

polysyllabic speech.
of the most peculiar of popular delusions

Thus arose one

for Chinese is essentially monosyllabic.


By the invention
and frequent use of written equivalents of the colloquial

however, the Japanese overcame what must have


seemed at first a supreme difficulty.
So far as can be gathered from the materials at our disposal, it appears that though the essentials of Chinese have

particles,

varied but

little in

the course of millenia of progress, yet

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

2
in

some few respects the

colloquial of the present

day

differs

sufficiently from that of the time of Confucius some twentyfive centuries ago, for it to be definitely assumed that

scholars of that period would encounter the same difficulty


to-day as would Demosthenes were he to return to modern

Athens.

In regard to Mandarin, the chief change

loss of the finals, k,

p and

which are

is

the

preserved in
reason
the
that
modern
language
of the South bears a s '.ronger resemblance to the old classical
tongue than does Mandarin.
Cantonese.

t,

still

It is for this

Dr. Edkins, in his paper (printed in the Transactions of


the Peking Oriental Society), on the Development of the
Chinese Language, examines, from a physiological standpoint, the production of sounds

among primitive people.


Starting with the production by a newly-born child, of the
simple sound "A," short or long-drawn-out, he proceeds
to show that the paucity of different sounds in Chinese is a
natural companion of the early efforts of a primitive people
towards enunciation. Hence the origin of speech among
the Chinese must belong to a date more ancient than any

we can

conceive, or of which our histories can give even an

idea.
It

may be asked

But why have not the Chinese

in their

long history simplified and enlarged the scope of their


tongue ? Surely a matter of four hundred or so vocables is

a poor stock-in-trade for a language of the richness and


precision of Chinese ? The answer to such questions is
Chinese is naturally
found in the Chinese temperament.

and the more highly-educated he becomes


the more pronounced is his conservatism. The aspirant
to honours in a Chinese University to-day must be throoughly well- versed in the Chinese Classics, and also must
show in his essays the same style of construction as was in
conservative,

HISTORY AND MORPHOLOGY

vogue three thousand years ago. Is it not conceivable that


the vehicle of speech which has served them so well for
every occasion over such a long period of time should be
retained in practically an unchanged form, as a treasure inherited from high antiquity ? And even so it is. There is
no race under the sun in which pride in the mother-tongue

The Chinese glories in his native


is so deeply rooted.
speech and venerates the written character. All foreign
tongues are little better than gibberish Chinese is a graceand polished exemplar of linguistic perfection.
The outstanding features of Chinese are as follows
Even a word
(a) It is purely monosyllabic.

ful

like

Chiang, which appears to us to be a disyllabic, is to a


Chinese ear merely a monosyllable, being pronounced
almost Jyang.

In place of the abecedaire of


(b) It has no alphabet.
Western tongues, it has a Radical Index of 214 Radicals,
two or more of which enter into the composition of every
compound Chinese character. More will be said of the
Radicals in a later chapter.
In its written form Chinese runs in parallel columns
(c)
from top to bottom and from right to left of the page.
(d)

is

Grammar,

as

it is

absent from Chinese.

understood in other languages,


There are no articles
nouns
;

have no gender (saving the natural divisions), nor declension, verbs are not conjugated, and pronouns or preA word may
positions are used as sparingly as possible.
be
as
used
a
a
an
noun,
verb,
indifferently
adjective or
adverb, without undergoing any greater change than
removal to another part of the sentence. In fact,
Position in the sentence is the one law governing Chinese
construction, or, as
"

Marshman

it

has been expressed by the pioneer


of Chinese grammar depends

The whole

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE.
upon position." Often the context alone is the means
whereby a correct translation can be made of a given
passage. To those wearied by the complex grammatical
systems of Sanskrit, Russian, Classical Arabic or Japanese,
this absence of grammar may seem to be welcome, but
unless the rules of position are properly learned and
applied, the student will not only fail to speak Chinese
fluently, but will speak English-Chinese (which would
merely be sinicised pidgin-English), instead of Chinese-

Chinese, and will

fall

most ludicrous and em-

into the

barrassing errors.
(e)

Although Chinese syntax

as in English

is

practically the

same

the construction of even the commonest

phrases differs widely from the expressions which the


same set of circumstances would call forth from a

More than ever in

Westerner.

this

tongue

is it

necessary

to acquire the native point of view.


For example in
a
would
Pu yao shuosilence
Chinese
demanding
say
"
:

hua,

not want speech," rather than use the im-

lit.

"
Be quiet."
construction,
perative positive
Chinese stylist is enamoured of the negative mood.

The

Chinese, like Malay, Burmese, Annamese and


(/)
Siamese, encourages the terse, pithy sentence, almost
ejaculatory in its force in preference to the long, vague

and loose-flowing sentences


Oriental

tongues.

of Japanese

Frequently

characters), merely paints

and some other

sentence

an idea on

(like

the

the consciousness,

leaving the intelligence free to supply its own verbiage.


Enough has been said to show the broad distinctions

that exist between this anomaly

speech and linguistics generally.


distinctions will be elaborated.

be introduced

among systems

of

human

Later the more detailed

No unnecessary rules will


should
therefore note that
the student

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

such as appear herein should be thoroughly learned and


practised.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES.

2.

"

we may take

as a definition of the expression


general
principles," those underlying essentials upon which the
fabric of a language is built, then this section may naturally
If

fall

into the following divisions


(a) Mode of Study.
(b)

Use

of

Words.

(d)

Translations from the Language.


Translation into the Language.

(e)

Varieties of Sentence.

(c)

(/)

Differences of Style.

(g)

Notes on Prosody.

Mode of Study. It must be realised


outset
that
to study Chinese in the same way as one
from the
would attempt to master any other tongue would be but to
First, as to

(a).

court failure.

It is

no

less

than the truth to state in the

place that a psychological analysis of the Chinese mind


would reduce the labour of learning by one half, and in the

first

second place that a good mimic and one

who

is

not bored

by incessant repetition of the same thing, will achieve far


more than the student who overstocks his mind with monoand blunders along in the futile hope that he may
be able the sooner to express himself easily and before
thoroughly understanding the rules he is supposed to have

syllables

learned.
If

the assistance of a native can be procured

it is,

of

course, eminently desirable to practise with him every word


and sentence as it is learned. Native teachers are extra-

ordinarily patient, and they naturally appreciate the difficulties of their own tongue as experienced by themselves,

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

and, moreover, being of more than usual adaptability, they


are quick to detect the pitfalls in the path of the foreigner.

But for those to whom the above plan


few words of advice here may be of help
Study well the Sound-Table.

is

impossible, a

Speak slowly until you are sure of the correct sounds.


Emphasise the all-important aspirate.
Be sure of your tones.
While learning Chinese, forget your own nationality,
your own tongue, and copy closely.
Generally speaking, thorough memorisation and application of the Phonology Section is the most important of all.
Use of Words. It cannot be too strongly impressed
(b).

upon the beginner that the Chinese regard oral language


purely as a means of communication and not as a subject
for philological speculation.
Hence, one should certainly
not attempt to force colloquial Chinese into that mould so
beloved by the grammarian. This strangest of speeches

has served well the everyday purposes of countless myriads


of Celestials,

and

is

yet independent of those adventitious

aids to language study and comprehension to which we have


so long been accustomed.
"
"
To a Chinese, what is meant by word in English may

be the sound of one character or the connected sounds of


"
"
word
for
understand
characters.
Briefly,
"
idea." Supposing a native were to wish to convey to our
"
"
in the written style he would
minds the idea, a book
several

simply write the character whose sound is


"
spoken language he would need to say i
reason for this

"

shu

pn

"

shu."

in the

The

that there are so many characters bearing


"
"
the simple sound shu
that in speech auxiliary words are
needed to indicate which of these characters is intended.

More

is

details of these peculiarities will be

discussion of auxiliaries.

found in the

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

Whereas some simple Chinese sentence may appear to us


an undoubted fact that, on the whole, our
speech is more verbose. In Mandarin, omit as frequently
prolix, it is

as possible personal pronouns, verbal particles, relative


Terseness is not
clauses, and, above all, circumlocution.

only highly esteemed, it is most frequently the royal road


to understanding. Make sure of your words, perfect your
idiom from English into Chinese, deduct fifty per cent of

then speak.

your verbiage

The only way

in which to appreciate this point of view is


to study carefully some colloquial phrases, dissect them,
make sure that you see the reason for the presence of every

word or compound therein, and then repeat them until


they become to you as real as are their counterparts in
your mother-tongue. This method will not only give
your mind some material with which to work, but will
indeed prepare your memory for the reception and retenA firm base having
tion of others cast in the same mould.
been established,
structure

is

it is

surprising

how

rapidly the super-

reared.

Translation from the Language.


(c).
Undoubtedly the
thorn in the side of the student of Colloquial is that while

he

may make

himself understood

by the native he

(the

former), cannot understand what the latter is saying to


him. The reason for this is twofold. The Chinese, under-

standing you, assumes that you have some practical


acquaintance with his language, and promptly proceeds to
give his answer to your utterance. He is not to know how
He may
not understand, hence the impasse.

much you do

use compounds of which you

know

nothing.

There

is,

naturally, nothing for this but practice, but rapidly one


will acquire all the idioms and colloquialisms in daily use,

and

later those

needed

for special occasions.

True, there

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

8
is

the great dictionary by MacGillivray, in which one may


up a word or phrase in its romanised alphabetical

look

order, but

it is preferable to ask your Chinese to express


himself in another way. As a general rule, he will then

use a simpler

mode

of speech or

by

gesture or other

means

convey his meaning. The worst thing of all is to allow


the best to take note of all
oneself to become discouraged
such occasions as that outlined above.
Translation into the Language. As has been before
(d).
;

remarked, the paramount necessity is to disabuse one's


mind of preconceived notions as these merely lead to con-

Speak clearly and simply,


rather
than your actual words.
translating your thoughts
Your first efforts at independent sentence-construction may
fusion

and misunderstanding.

be clumsy and forced, but remember that the Chinese is a


kind critic not given to undue mirth at the expense of the
unfortunate foreigner.
Varieties of Sentence.
It has been said that
(e).
Chinese colloquial is easy to learn on account of the fact
that there is but one standard to which it is necessary to

adhere.

This

is

not strictly true.

While

it

is

conceded

that once having fallen into the style generally in use, one
may proceed to model all future constructions thereon, yet
the Chinese are not so lacking in love of variety that they

themselves find no need for alternative forms of expression.


It may be found advisable indeed in a long conversation to
introduce sentences varying from that of four or five
vocables to that of forty or more. Usually, the Chinese
prefer short phrases to actual sentences, as suggesting the
idea to be conveyed

is

generally enough for ordinary com-

prehension.

The
that

is,

for all practical purposes, is Elimination


not only of the obviously unnecessary, but also of

rule,

GENERAL PRINCIPLES
what seems

to us to be essential.

Never use a verb

if

your

meaning
perfectly clear without it. On the other hand,
when occasion arises for emphasis, the native is tempted to
is

overdo

it.

Thus the student must be prepared

for all kinds

of anomalies in this language, since whatever rules do exist


seem to be present for the sole purpose of demonstration

which they may be broken


It has been stated above that
Differences of Style.
(/).
the Kuan Hua or, as it is generally known, Mandarin, is the
as to the myriad

ways

in

medium of intercourse throughout the north of China.


The term is difficult to define owing to its wide application.
"
The native term printed above signifies Official Speech,"
but even this is not sufficient to
ground covered by the phrase.
into use they designated that
ployed by the educated classes
State.

give an adequate idea of the


At the time the words came

form of the colloquial ememployed by the


"
"
As by degrees these officials toned down some
of officials

of the elegancies of this dialect, so did the classes inter-

mediate between the Officers of State and the coolie attempt


to reach the

same

level of speech as that

employed by

their

Various sections of the population developed


superiors.
each their own conception of what the standard tongue

should be.

The result

following styles

"

is

seen to-day in the existence of the

COOLIE TALK."

This

is

the

Kuan Hua, mangled and

battered by the careless tongues of coolies. As coolies were


for many years the main instrument of communication

between the various parts of the great Empire, it is readily


conceived that each would bring from his own particular
"
"
and slang to add to the
district some item of
patois
Thus
even
to
the
general pool.
present day coolies from
of
different
the
widely
country will be able to underparts
stand each other where more highly educated persons would

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

10

be at a

loss.

In addition, the coolies are given to twisting

and slurring the simplest sounds even as they are prone to


do with the more difficult ones. In spite of this, but little
practice

among

the natives

is

necessary to enable a good

Mandarin to speak and understand


development of the national speech.

speaker of

The KUAN HUA

is

the ordinary educated

this peculiar

means

of inter-

course.

The LOWER WEN-LI

is

frequently used as a spoken style


by students and aspirants for

as well as a written form

positions residing in the vicinity of the great UniIt is merely a modification of the
versity at Peking.

official

HIGHER WEN-LI i.e., the Easy Written Style. Considerations of wide distinctions existing between the two countries
forbid the comparison with anything of a similar nature
us.
Finally, one may say that to speak the WEN-LI
considered a sign of rather superior specialised learning.
Notes on Prosody. At first sight it may appear
(g).

among
is

strange to see any mention of the art of Poesy in a work on


Colloquial Chinese. The Chinese are of complex psychoWere the dreams of the average Chinese translated
logy.

Empire would be at once the most


most powerful, the most envied, and the most
And as the day winds its sultry way
brilliant in the world.
along, the native, humble or of dignified estate, beguiles the

into reality, the Celestial


beautiful, the

sunlit hours with snatches of song or with excerpts

from

the world-old Classic of Poetry. Practical and matter-offact as he is in matters of business, at heart John Chinaman
is

a dreamer of dreams, a metaphysician and philosopher


He is fond of speaking in riddles and

of a high order.

parables, and the surest way to his heart is to memorise a


store of his proverbial dicta and bring them into the
conversation at every possible juncture. Although until

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

11

recently quite neglected (Dr. Taylor Headland's work being


purely concerned with nursery-rhymes), the song of the
coolie is a

mine whence

may

be extracted the gems of

understanding of the nature of this wonderful people.


Labourers in the fields, coolies carrying heavy loads,

men lazing while awaiting a fare, in fact, men


of every type in China, express their thoughts through the
medium of verse.

jinrickshaw

Chinese poetry has many rules but, generally speaking,


they are simple and easy of comprehension. The metres
are many also, but those mostly used are

Four syllables to the line.


Seven syllables to the line.
"
"
That classic example, the San Tzu Ching," or ThreeCharacter Poem," which is the first book to be learned by
Chinese schoolboys, has three syllables only to the line, but
such is not a common example. Rhyme is very much
(a)

(b)

from our conception of it, as it is merely necessary


that the main vowel sound and the tone should be the same

different

two rhyming syllables for the poem to be perfect. Thus,


to quote from the above-mentioned work, there is no flaw
in the following excerpt
in

a child does not learn.


not as it should be.
Yu* pu hsiieh If he does not learn when young.
Lao 8 ho* wei*, What will he do when he is old ?
Tzti*

pu

Fei 1 so*

hsiieh

t*,

This

If

is

Here the

last

word of the second

native ears a correct


line

line

rhyme with the

(pronounced EE), is to
word of the fourth

last

(pronounced WAY).

good example of the four-syllable metre

is

found in

"

another Chinese school-book, the


Ch'ien tzu Wn," or
"
Thousand-Character Classic." This remarakble compilation consists of one
united as to compose a

thousand different characters, so


outlining data of the mos;

poem

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

12

essential type on all the elementary subjects taught to


Chinese youth. It thus serve c the double purpose of storing
the mind with a thousand different characters of primary

importance and of impregnating the young native with


of the essentials of knowledge.
But as this
properly belongs to the department of the written language,
we will leave it to be re-discovered by the student at a later

some idea

stage of his labours.


Poems in the seven-syllable metre abound and metres of
eight, ten, eleven, and even higher numbers of syllables are
The metre of the street-song or coolie-ballad
to be found.
is variable,

I Srh* san 1

but

is chiefly

of the following type

wu*, One, two, three, four, five.


shih* Srh* shih z wu 3 Five times five are twenty-five.
2
a
1
task.
Chung* chung* wo ti /ao
heavy is
Man* man* wo 3 ti 1 fan*,
long the time to dinner !

Wu 3

shih 2

ssti*

wu 3

How
How

my

There

is

in this

example of a

coolie song another peculi-

the second line being susceptible (by tone-change) of


But these would lose their value by being trans-

arity

puns.
lated and, in any case, the student could at this stage
hardly benefit by understanding them. In conclusion, it

may

be stated that by studying and examining these


many valuable colloquialisms may be added to one's

verses

vocabulary.
3.

VARIETIES OF CHINESE.

The student must be prepared

to encounter

many

varie-

other than those of style in this most difficult of tongues.


It is no exaggeration to say that there are of Kuan Hua

ties

than five subdivisions, each requiring as much


study as a separate language. These may be summariesd thus

no

less

definite

1.

Wln-li.

Used by Scholars.

VARIETIES OF CHINESE
2.

3.

Kuan Hua

Proper. spoken by the general welleducated public and by officials.


Kuan Hua Patois. Spoken by the lower class generally

4.

13

No. 2 interspersed with localisms and

is

replete with slang and slurred pronunciations.


The Classical Written Style. As extant in the days of

Confucius, and

still

the sine qua non for University

aspirants.
5.

The Epistolary

Style.

Used

solely in writing letters,

etc.

No. 4

is

the most difficult of

all,

but the

first

three alone

concern us in the present work. More will be found later


on these matters, but for general purposes No. 2 is the
essential to be attacked.

EXAMINATION OF STYLES OF WRITING.


4.
The question of the antiquity of Chinese writing is a very
vexed one. Long verbal and calamic wars have been
waged as to whether it sprang from, or gave birth to, other
very ancient national

scripts,

such as the Egyptian Hiero-

glyphs, the Assyrian Cuneiform or Wedge-writing, etc.


Some sinologues have placed the historic notice of the

Chinese written language at about B.C. 2000, while admitting at the same time that many centuries must have
been needed before the first crude symbols could have

developed into such form as was at that time in vogue.


Much native information must unfortunately be discredited
the mythological element being too strong. There is,

That
however, one undeniable fact to be faced, namely
the Chinese written language was a very slow gradual process from primitive beginnings.
It is recorded that the
:

Chinese in the

first

instance used notched sticks

and

(as did the Incas of Peru in their primitive


and
that
their first efforts in writing were confined to,
state),

knotted cords

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE.

14

and

later

modelled on, their copies or drawings of these

ele-

mentary systems of recording passing events. Some of the


characters to the present day remind one of pictures of
notched

sticks.

power to leave a mark, however


some circumstance easily recalled
on later seeing such mark again, the Chinese began to copy
the forms of visible objects such as sun, moon, tree, bird,
man, etc., exercising no little ingenuity in cases where
ambiguity might occur. But all too soon they discovered
that they had exploited this source to the full without
having written counterparts for more than a very slight
fraction of their colloquial vocabulary. Then followed a
long period of enforced idleness in which little was done
towards the development of this monumental script.

Having discovered

their

primitive, to represent

SOUND TABLE.
Vowels and Dipthongs.
" "
"
pronounced as a in father."

A.

is

When

"

chuan,"
"

e.g.,

"

its

an of canny."
" "
"
"
"
"
is pronounced as
e
in
and as
pen
ay in
"
" "
May." It has the first sound when between i
"
"
"
"
and n," e.g., chien," mien
the second sound
sound

"

in the final syllable


an,"
"
is shortened almost to the

when followed by " h,"

as in
"
"

"

"

chieh,"

mieh,"
"

etc.

pronounced always as u in fun e.g., fen "is


sounded exactly as "fun" in English. There is a
"
"
tendency in such words as erh to make the sound
"
"
"
ur
of the English word
slur," but
equal to the
it will be seen that this is merely a modification of the
true open sound. In addition it is frequently found
" "
"
that a word ending in n precedes this final
erh."
is

VOWELS AND DIPTHONGS


In such cases the

"

'

16

'

is

elided and all the other letters

"

run together e.g., pan-erh" is pronounced


"
men-erh is pronounced
merh," and so on.
I

"

mint

' '

and as in

park,"
' '

machine.
first of these sounds is employed before a nasal
"
"
"
ming,"
ting," etc., the second when the
"
"
as in

is pronounced

the final letter of the word

"

"

e.g.,

chi,"

"

"

The
e.g.,

"

is

li," etc.

"

aw
in
awful."
pronounced as
"
Thus the word wo," the pronoun of the first person
"
in Chinese, is pronounced like our word
war,"
" "
r
without the final
sound. Care must be taken
is

invariably

not to pronounce it otherwise or great confusion will


result, as will be seen when we consider the diphthongs.

is

pronounced as

"

"

in

ception to this rule, viz.:

"
pull."

the verb

There is one ex" "


to be
yu,"

"

which

is always pronounced as the first syllable of


our word "yokel."
"
"
"
u in lune," or the
is pronounced as the French

German

"

"

"

u in suss."
"
"
"
AI is the sound of the ai in the word aisle," but the
sound is more closed.
AO is the same sound as that of "ow" in English
"
how ? ", but the sound is not so open.
El is a very rare diphthong, but where it does occur it
"
"
"
in
has the sound of ay
May."
OU has precisely the sound of the English word " owe."
"
IU approximates to the sound of "ew" in new," but
is more open or lengthened.
UA is " oo-ah," but spoken more rapidly. It is almost
"
the sound of the
w " in " want."

UI

nearly as in

CA

The sounds

"
fluid,"

but more open.

of the individual letters run quickly

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

16

together will produce this sound. It


"
"
ew-a
in Kew-and-Richmond.
the

is

to

from a native.

pronounce

this correctly until learnt

almost like

It is difficult

One exception not mentioned above should receive


"
"
attention here. The word
wang," meaning
king," or
"
"
prince,' has always the sound
wong." In some systems
of

Romanization

the

"

"

of the

it is

always spelt with an

Wade

"

"

in place of

system.

Consonants^

Chinese

is

poorer in consonants than

is

English, while

some

of the double consonants appear at first sight very


strange to the eye of one versed in the Latin tongues. Such

combinations of consonations, however, have been chosen


as the nearest means of representing those sounds which

most alien and difficult. Such are,


and the aspirated ch, p, tz, which need

are to an English ear the


for example, hs,

tz,

special care owing to the fact that there is nothing analo"


word about the aspirate"
gous in our Western tongues.

is

here essential.

Some
Chinese

Sinologues have affirmed that the aspirate in


of greater importance than the tones.
This is a

is

very vexed question, but there can be no doubt that both


are of as vital importance as the vocabulary itself. The
Chinese having such a paucity of different vocables it

became necessary

to devise

some means

utility of the existing collection

So

of increasing the

this difficulty was over-

come by the emission of a strong breath immediately after


the preliminary consonant or consonants. The nearest
approach to this in the English language is the strong Irish
breathing given to some words by natives of the Emerald
"
"
Isle.
The effect of this aspirate is produced by the
"
h," together with the
rapid pronunciation of the letter

CONSONANTS
sound of the word.
system of romanisation

17

Thus a word

initial

spelt in the

Wade

pronounced as though spelt


"
"
ch-h-ee
a word spelt in this work ch'ien will be enunciated ch-h-ee-en, though of course spoken rapidly in order
to conform to the monosyllabic nature of the language.
It must be continually borne in mind that the aspirate is
is

of

paramount importance

in the enunciation of Chinese.

be omitted in the pronunciation of a single word where


properly lies, it will have the effect either of making the

If it
it

sentence utterly unintelligible, or of changing the meaning


Some of the most disastrous as well as some of
entirely.
the most amusing mistakes have arisen from this cause.
CH is a sound midway between the "ch" of "church"
" "
"
and the j of jam." The Chinese do not allow a slight

emission of breath to follow their consonants as

The pronunciation
than with

CH'

is

of consonants

do.

us.

the sound of

"

ch

"

in

"

church

"

but

much more

Pronounce aspirated consonants as

strongly aspirated.

though they were actually followed by another


"

we

must be much cleaner

"

"

e.g.,

chhurch."

F is sounded

as in English.

K. This letter has a sound intermediate between the


"
"
"
"
"
"
of
k
of
and the
g
gun." See remarks
king
"
under CH. Pronounce it almost as a hard g."
"

K'.

"kh"

of "ink-

Keeping the

lips well

much compressed, pronounce a

p," at

This letter should be sounded as the

horn."
L.

As

M.
N.

As
As

P.

This

in English.

in English.
in English.
is

almost a

closed, but not too

"

"

sound.

"

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

18

the same time taking care that no emission of breath follows


the consonant on to the vowel.
is a strongly aspirated "p."
but
more readily.
Uphill,"

This

P'.

"

As

S.

in

in English.

As

SH.

Pronounce as

in English.

a sharp hissing sound, and in the mouth of some


Chinese almost resembles a whistle. It will be sufficient

SS

is

for the student to


in

French or

pronounce

it

with the same sharpness as

Italian.

"

"

sound. Remembering again what


was said under CH, place the tip of the tongue at the top
"
of the palate near the upper row of teeth and articulate
t."
T'

"

almost a

is

is

the

"
"

th

"

of the Irishman's

"

thea."

The word

a good memoria technica.


TS is almost like the " dz " of " adze."
"
"
"
TS' is the
ts
in the expression
bits-of-wood."
TZ is like TS, and is only followed by " u." Tzu
"
"
"
sound similar to the zz of buzz."

outhouse

TZ'

W.
Y.

is

is

is

the preceding sound followed closely by an aspirate.

As in English.
As in English.

In addition to the foregoing, there are also a few combinations of vowels which may be called Tripthongs.
Although of comparatively rare occurrence, it will be
necessary for the student to be familiar with their sounds.
"
"
IAI is pronounced as y-i," in the expression
really"
"
"
I
ee-I
i.e., its sound is that of
rapidly uttered.
"
"
IAO. This is pronounced as the yow in the slang
"
"
word,
yowl
meaning to howl mournfully, to make a
plaintive noise.

CONSONANTS

19

UAI. Pronounce this as many careless speakers of


"
"
English enunciate the interrogative
Why ? " i.e., with"
"
out the aspirate, or as the wi in the word wide."

Remember

that the most difficult of

all

the sounds in the

Chinese language are the following, and endeavour at the


outset to master them properly as faulty enunciation in
is very difficult to conquer at a later stage.
"
"
"
"
occurs only after
ch,"
ch'," and
sh," and
j."
Its sound is at times scarcely perceptible so rapid is
"
the pronunciation of all the words in final
h." This
"
"
final
h is the relic in romanisation of a tone now practi-

these instances

IH

cally lost to the Pekingese.

There

is

a tendency

among

Europeans and, indeed, among foreigners generally to stress


" "
"
this syllable far too heavily.
i
If we take the
of
impossible," spoken

by a

emphasising a little
"
the Chinese
ih."

its

gentleman in a fit of temper,


brevity, we shall have the sound of

choleric

This syllable again is much too heavily stressed


In the mouth of a native it very frequently
resembles a sotto voce whistle. For all practical purposes,

SSU.

by

foreigners.

a near enough approximation to pronounce it as one


"
first syllable of our word
surrender," minus, of
" "
r
sound. Note that in this and in the next
course, the
"
"
u stands for a nondescript sound and does not
case, the
in any way indicate the vowel sound intended to follow
it is

would the

the double consonant. A similar sound is found in the


" "
"
"
a of Hindustani, or the initial and final a
"
of the word
America."

unaccented

TZU and TZ'U. As these two syllables differ only in the


matter of the aspirate, our remarks as to the former will
"
sound necessarily
apply to the latter except for the "h
combined

in

the latter.

We

have remarked that the

20
English equivalent is the "dz" of the word "adze." Here
it will be plainly seen that no vowel sound is required after
the consonants.

As

it is

presumed that the student

will

from time to time

consult other works on Chinese, it is deemed advisable to


give here a warning that many useful books are to be

obtained in which a system of Romanisation, differing from


that of Sir Thomas Wade, is employed. These systems are

very puzzling to one accustomed to the Wade orthography,


and we propose giving at length a comparative sound-table
showing the relative values of Chinese vocables according
to the styles invented by the various Sinologues named.

WADE
A

BALLER

MATEER

WILLIAMS

SOUND TABLE

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

WADE

SOUND TABLE.
WADE

23

24

SOUND TABLE
WADE

25

26

SOUND TABLE
WADE

27

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

WADE

SOUND TABLE
WADE

29

30

SOUND TABLE
WADE

31

32

THE SIMPLE SENTENCE

33

Although none of the above systems are perfect for the


purpose of transliterating the Chinese characters, yet, as
has been remarked before, the Wade style has been adjudged
the nearest approach to the actual sounds as pronounced
by a native. By means of this table, the student can for
himself transfer into the latter words and phrases found
the very useful works by the originators of the other

schemes of Romanisation.

It will

be found useful also for

the purpose of comparison as to the real value of the various


sounds of the Chinese language. A very good and profitable plan would be to go through the entire table with a
native or a Western scholar of Chinese.

LESSON

The student

is strongly advised to cover up the English


translations of the Chinese Exercises until he has made an
independent effort to arrive at the meaning of the sentences

Then he should

himself.

try to

put the English again into

idiomatic Chinese, this time covering his own translation ;


then comparison should be made and errors corrected.

THE SIMPLE SENTENCE.


1.

As has been before remarked the construction

Chinese sentence
desires

and

of the

so far as the ordinary


necessities of conversation are concerned.
is

simplicity itself

We

now proceed

to give examples of the simplest kind, viz.:


the tri-verbal sentence.

Wo 3 yao* mai*
Wo 3 yao*mai 3
Wo 3 pu yao*

Ni* pu l yao*

T'a 1

pu yao*

wish to

wish to buy
do not want

You do

He

sell

not want

does not want

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

34
1

T'a laiHiao
T'a 1 mei z

Kao*

Ni

lai 2
t'a

Tell

lai

You come

su*

kuo*

Chi 3 shih 2
Chi 3 shih*
1

T'a lao

Ch'a 1

pu

The

He has come
He has not come

over here

At what time do you go ?


At what time will you come

ch'ti*

lai 2

He

la 1

him

very old
There is not much difference.

to 1

is

rationale of such sentences

is

easily seen

when the

meanings of each word are put together in English. In the


case of the last two sentences the words mean literally
:

'

He

great," or
"
difference not
old

and
As

"He

has reached a great age

"

too much."

be seen from the above examples, the tri-verbal


sentence generally takes the form of noun or pronoun
or noun or pronoun negative and verb.
verb and object
This is as far as it is wise to take the grammatical analogy
with which we are so familiar, since these parts of speech as
such do not exist in Chinese.
"I wish to go but he wants to stay,"
In the sentence
will

we

two simple sentences in


or
without
a
with
conjunction. The Chinese
juxtaposition
"
"
"
for
but
is
tan*," although this is by no
equivalent
means used as much as in English. Thus our sentence will
"
read
Wo 3 yao* ch'ii*, t'a 1 pu 1 yao* " literally, " I want
This would be much more common than
go, he not want."
find the Chinese to consist of

would the sentence with tan* as the fourth word


the

in place of

comma.

Taking now a small vocabulary, we can proceed, knowing


the primary meanings and explaining the use of the various
particles as they appear, to simple exercises, wherein the
structure of the language will appear more clearly than

THE SIMPLE SENTENCE

35

would be the case by attempting to force grammatical


analysis upon such a language as Chinese.
wo 8 I (myself).
wo a -mSn*, we

ni 3 -ti, your.

yao*, to want.
ni a you.
ni a -mn*, you (plural).

mai 3 to buy.

wo*-ti,

mai*, to sell.
shen 2 -mo, what

tung -hsi

l
,

a thing.

kuan*, to change (generally


peated.

re-)

t'a -ti, his, hers, its.

H 3 -wu*, a

present.

k'uai*, quick.
ch'u*, to go.

meanings.
sung*, to give, as a present, etc.
him, her, it.
yu s to have.
t'a 1 , he,

pa

1
,

an emphatic

final particle

a sign of imperative mood.

jen*,

che^-ko, this.

liao* final particle, finished,


past, full stop.
na*-ko, that.
3
ftei
to give, and many other

/a,

mine, my.

a man.

From

Notes.

2.

the above

it

will

be seen that the

particle ti is a mark of the genitive or possessive case, save


in the case of adjectives in which event the addition of ti

transforms the adjective into an adverb, e.g.


k'uai (adj.] quick

k'uai-ti (adv.)

m$n added

Also that

quickly

makes

but only to pronouns

plural of singular.

Ko*

3.

is

what

is

known

as an auxiliary numeral
after the cardinal

is, it is

placed immediately
the ordinals are formed by means of

speech, thus

it

and

ti,

that

numbers and
in the coolie

CARDINALS.

(1)

P-ko

(2)

Hang

-ko

(3)

san l -ko

(4) ssu^-ko.

ORDINALS.
ko-ti

(1st) i-^ko-ti

(4th) ssifi-ko-ti, etc.

(2nd) liang*-ko-ti

1(3rd) san

(More will be found in Lesson

3.)

4.

"

What

to give,"

examples.

meant by saying that kei 3 has the meaning


and many others can best be illustrated by
It frequently translates some of our preposiis

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

36

common example

tions, as seen in the

Hsieh 3 hsin*

kei*

to write a letter to (some one or other).


3
3
(b) Wo yao* huan*-huan chS*-ko-kei na*-ko*.

want to change this for that. Literally


want change change this, give that.
Kei 3 sometimes has the force of " at ", and in the vulgar
I

"

speech
5.

with."

Sung*
"

literally,

is

to escort," as

give," and means,


though the present were escorted

by the thoughts and wishes


Pa*

"

a more polite word lor

of the giver.

the sign of the Imperative, and in many cases


carries with it a derogatory sense, so that it should only be
"
"
used to inferiors.
is a frequent expression
Ch'u*-pa
"
" "
for
Clear out
Be off with you " In the polite
6.

is

and

language, etiquette comes


ever, necessary to employ the Imperative
done by suggestion rather than order.
to the aid,

7.

Liao 3 or
,

la*,

as

it is

it is

scarcely,

if

everything being

more commonly pronounced,

is,

on the other hand, a universally-used terminal particle.


It rounds off a phrase or a sentence
(b) shows the comof
an
action
under
discussion
pletion
(c) shows that the
theme of the conversation is closed. It may be called the
"
spoken period." As will be seen later, the Chinese have
similar words to express colloquially, the mark of interroga;

tion,

mark

of exclamation, etc.

EXERCISE

IA.

(a)

Wo 3 yao*

(b)

Ni 3 -men 2 yao* mai 3 sMn z -mo

ch'u*.

(c)

Wo s

(d)

Ni 3 mai*

(e)

T'a 1 sung* wo 3

(/)

Ni yao* mai
3

sung*

t'a 1

che*-ko.

na*-ko.
3

U 3 -wu.
shen z -mo ?

l
tung -hsi ?

NEGATIVES AND THEIR USE


(g)

Ni 3

(h)

T'a mai*-la chS*-ko.

(i)

(j)

k'uai* ch'u* pa.


/at 2 , k'uai* lai 2

K'uai*

Lai^-liao.

EXERCISE
(a)

want

(b)

What

(c)

(d)
(e)

(/)

(g)

am

IB.

to go (away).

do you wish to buy

(thing)

sending him this (or

You sell that.


He sent me a present.
What do you want to buy
You get out quick

send him

this).

(h)

He

(t)

Hurry up

sold this.

(The Chinese almost invariably repeat

this phrase and, as a rule, repeat

"

times.)
(j)

37

(I)

Literally,

Come

most ejaculations several

quickly."

have come.
\

NEGATIVES AND THEIR USE.

Pu l
Met 2

not,

fei

mo
a,

va

(final

or before interrogative).

no, not, none of

not, no, without, wanting (an initial word)


out, to spring from

wu*
ch'u 1

no

not, not right, false, is not


suffixed to a sentence containing a query.
This is the spoken mark of interrogation.
suffixed to a sentence containing startling
news or intelligence. This is the spoken

mark

of exclamation.

It is also arbi-

used on any occasion, as, e.g.,


when calling a person. If a person had
trarily

the

name Ming,

often be Ming-a

the call would most


!

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

38
na?-i l ko*

- which

ch*-li*

- here
- there
- where

na*-li

na 3 -li
8.

The

shuo 1 -

to speak
words, speech
shuo l -hua converse, conversation

hua*

tsai*

at, near, by, in

correct use of the negatives in Chinese

lutely essential to comprehensible speaking.

abso-

is

a few

By

it is hoped that the student will appreciate the


underlying principle and will not find this so great a

examples

difficulty.

Pu 1 is used in the sense of refusal or disinclination towards


a positive

act,

while met 2 indicates rather that there has not

happened what might have been expected or there


of what one hoped to find.

EXAMPLE
T' a 1

1.

pii*-

lai 2

lai 2

He won't come
He has not come

He
He

ch'u 1 lai 2

T'a 1 met ^ch'u 1


9.

none

T'a 1 mei 2

EXAMPLE 2.
T'a 1 pu 1

is

lai 2

Remember, however,

Never, in Mandarin, use

pu

won't

come out

has not come out

this
l

very important rule.


with the verb yu 3 to have.

z
1
2
3
1
2
3
Always use mei as wo met yu I have not, t'a met yu
1
s
he has not, etc. The use of pu with yu is one of the
,

gravest offences in speaking Northern Chinese.

(N.B.

In

Yunnan, however, met 2 seems to be unknown, and there one


hears on every hand the expression pu^-yu 3 which to the
,

Northerner
10.

is

unpardonable.)
a classical word than one of colloquial
frequently used in the written modern style,

Wu 2 is more

usage and is
but as it is often to be met in quotations from the classics
in every-day speech,

it

is

necessary to describe
"
"
"

it.

Its

"

meaning is best described as without or not having


and its position is at the beginning of a sentence or phrase.

NEGATIVES AND THEIR USE


EXAMPLE

Wu

shan* jen

"

39

without- virtue

"

man

a vicious

man

Wu

"

"

chin 1 tai*

without-knowledge

dynasty

an ignorant generation.
Fei 1

also a written language negative, and what


wu 2 may be repeated here. Fei 1 is a nega"
He who is not " or " is
tive in the sense of contrariety
11.

is

has been said of

"

"

that which is not," etc.


There are more negatives than those mentioned above,
but they will suffice for the student of colloquial. The

not right,"

that which

is

false,"

reason for the large number of negative expressions in


Chinese is to be found in the fact that in this language the
negative construction

is

Reduced to a

positive.

almost always preferred to the


literal example from a native

expression A Chinese much prefers to say that a thing


"
"
"is not without it
than to say
it has it."
But the
student will have opportunity of getting exercise in the

Chinese negatives ere long.

EXERCISE
3

(a)

wo mei

(b)

t'a 1

(c)

wo 3 pu l
1

t'a

(d)

Ii

t'a

(/)

lai

g) t'a

t'a 1 tsai*

(i)

ch'ii*.

(k)
3

mei sung* ni na*-ko


kei 3
2

wo 3

mei ch'u
2

(/)

shud-hua

ch'u*.

mei k'uai*

kei 3

(n)

Iai -la.

(o)

yao*

pu

t'a

na^-P-ko jen 2
?

chP-li lai 2

1
yao*k'uai*'-shuo -h'ua.

shSn z-mo jen 2 ch'u 1 lai 2 - (p) shen 2 -mo jen


la ?
ni ?

(h)

na 3-i-ko jen 2 Iai 2 -la ?


t'a 1 Iai 2 -liao mei lai 2 ni

3
(m) ni
1

na 3 -li ni

(j) tsai* che*-li.

lai*

pu

2A.

-wu.

t'a 1

(e)

pu

shuo 1 -hua

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

40

EXERCISE
(a)
(b)
(c)

(d)

have not come.

He

will

(k)

not come.

speaking

present.
(e)

(/)
(g)

(h)
(i)

(j)

2B.

(Which man) Who has


come ?
I will not go.
he come or not ?
(/) Has
He has not sent you that (m) To whom were you
I

He will not give me.


He has not gone out.
He did not come quickly,
What man has come out ?
Where

is

(He

here

is)

he

?
(lit.

(n)

want him

(I)

to

come

here.

do not want (you) to


speak quickly.

(o)

(I)

(p)

Who i^ the man speaking?

at here).

LESSON

2.

EXERCISES ON THE POSITION OF NEGATIVES.


12.

As has already been

"
stated,

"
position

is

all-

Chinese construction, and, above all, the


important
of
the
negative needs close and particular attention.
position
in

In this lesson the force of the transference of the negative


will be displayed

from one part of the sentence to the other


fully.

In the sentences t'a 1


"

we have

literally

pu

he not

mei* ch'u 1 lai 2


"
he not
not come," and

ch'u 1 lai*
(will)

and

t'a

(has) out come," and in order to convey the meaning of the


"
He won't (i.e., refuses to) come out "
English expressions,
"
"
and he has not come out the Chinese expressions above
If, however, we move the negative word
nearer the end of the sentence, we change the meaning of
the first in a very great degree, and the second to a lesser,

are invariable.

but

still important, alteration, thus


T'a 1 ch'u 1 pu 1 lai 2 He cannot (i.e., is unable to) come out,
or He cannot get out.
:

POSITION OF NEGATIVES
1

41

lai
He has not come out as yet or
he has not come out.
z

T'a mei ch'u

Even

in this

so far

primary example, the importnace, idiomatinegative correctly can be seen. There

cally, of placing the

many more

however,

are,

idioms formed purely by the

position of the negative particle.


"

we take

the word chih 1 meaning to know," with


"
tao*
a way (as in the example t'ieh 3 tao*, lit. iron road,"
"
1i.e.,
railway "), we have the colloquial compound chih
"
for
which
is
the
to
know."
commonest
tao,
expression
Now with the word shih* meaning " to be," we can make a
If

13.

"

"

negative sentence as follows

Wo

pu

From

14.

know
know
this

what we should

that

is

These compound verbs

tsou -tung*, to walk.


k'an*-shu l to read.

though not

shifr-pai*, to

all

fail.

chung^-chieh to end.
ch'i 3-lai 2 to begin.
1
to answer.
tal-ying

nien*-shu l to read, study.


,

w6n*, to ask.

take the sentence


t'a

ni 3

1
;

hsiao 3

PU

asked him you didn't (quite) know

as opposed to the following

Pu 1

hsiao 3-t*, to know.

Wo 3

is

be seen that frequently one uses


compound verbs. This is, of course,

k'an*-chien*, to see.

thing

it

will

it

call

are frequently split by the negative


verbs can be so used.

wo 3 wen*

what

what thing

natural in a monosyllabic language.

Now

shen'2 -mo tung l -hsi l

chih -tao* na*-ko* shih*

do not
do not

I
I

wen*

t'a

asked

him

U.
(or cannot),

ni3

pu

you

don't

chih l -tao*.
(or didn't)

know.

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

42

15.
Although there is actually not a shade of difference
"
between the two compounds used for to know," as they

are interchangeable, yet the meaning is different owing to


the negative being placed between the component parts of

the verb.
1

chih

and

It is

not the custom to insert

1
pu between

tao*.

3
Similarly with the verb tsou -tung. Although one
definite
of
an
act in both forms, yet
negation
may
3
l
1
t'a pu tsou -tung* means he will not (refuses to) walk, while
"
l
3
1
t'a tsou pu tung* means "he cannot walk,"
he is unable
"
he can hardly walk." One must
to walk," or, possibly,

16.

assume a

on the context

rely
ta*,

pu

3
,

small,

nng 2

tuan 3 short

little.

good, love.

-hao, bad,
,

3
tung -t, understand, com-

no good.

prehend.

hui*, can, able.

ch'ang

Wo
I

(in length).

man*, slow.

can, able.

meaning.

at 3 , short (in height).

great, big, large.

hsiao 3

hao

for the finer shades of

ming

-pai,

understand.

long.

k'an*-chien ta*

ti

k'an*

(can) see the large (ones)

Ni 3 ming 2 -pai 2 mo
Wo 3 tung 3 pu 1 te 2
.

Do

?
I

pu

chien* hsiao 3

ti.

cannot see the small (ones).


you understand ?
(I)

do not

(quite) understand.

T'a 1 shuo 1 k'uai liao-yao man*-man*-ti shuo 1 hua*.


He spoke quickly. (I) want slower speech.
2
8 "
to
Remembering that mei is the negative for_yw
be
note
here
as
another
made
follows
have,"
may
Mei 2 need not be followed invariably by yu 3 in point of
"
2
notfact, by constant usage met has come to be almost a
"
have negative so that frequently it is met in front of a

17.

POSITION OF NEGATIVES

43

main -verb without auxiliary yu 3 to have as witness the


following examples
:

T'a 1 mei z

T'a 1 mei z

lai z for

T'a 1 mei 1

k' an*-chien* la,

Wo 3

mei* ming z -pai z

yu

He

la, I

Chet-ko shih* ch'ang 2

(b)

Na*-ko shih*

(c)

T'a 1

(d)
(e)

ta*>,

He

have not understood.


BA.

na*-ko shih* tuan 3

che*-ko shih* hsiao 3


z

has not come.

has not seen.

EXERCISE
(a)

lai z ,

ch'u pu
pu ch'u lai
Ni 3 -m^n t ming z -pai z mo ?
Ni s chihl-tao* pu chih l -tao* ?

lai z liao

mo

(h)

Man*-man-ti shuo 1 k l uai*-k'uai*-ti shuo pu 1 hao 3


Kei 3 wo 3 k'an*-chien.
Na*-ko skik* ch'ang z shih* tuan s wo 5 pu 1 chih 1 - tao*.

(a)

This

is

(6)

That

is big, this is small.

(c)

Will he not

(/)

(g)

EXERCISE

(d)
(e)

long, that

Do you
Do you

(plural)

it is

Speak slowly,

(g)

Let

(h)

(Whether) that

18.

understand

(singular)

see

Example

SB.

short.

come out or can he not

(/)

me

is

(lit.

(g)

know

or not

bad to speak quickly.

give
is

get out

me

look

see).

long or short, I do not know.

in the preceding exercise

would be

3
3
better expressed colloquially by kei wo k'an*-k'an (lit.,
give me look-look), as this is the phrase generally heard
amongst the natives. The one in the exercise may stand,

however, as being perfectly correct and also occasionally


heard.

Example (h) shows a favourite location in Chinese.


"
Where we say Whether it is so or not, long or short, large

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

44

or small," the Chinese puts the two adjectives in juxta-

any introductory conjunction or

position, independent of
relative, e.g.

T'a 1 hao 3 pu l hao 3 wo 3 pu 1 chifr-tao* (Whether) he


or bad I do not know.
,

19.

"

It

does not matter

"

is

good

is

translated colloquially

by

pu* yao* chin so we may make a longer sentence thus


Na*-ko ch'ang 2 tuan 3 che*-ko ta* hsiao 3 t'a 1 hao 3 pu 1 hao 3
That long short, this great small, he good not good.
3

Ni 3 ming*-pai pu 1 ming z -pai, pu 1 yao* chin 3


You understand not understand (it) does not

"

matter (whether) that

It doesn't

matter.

is

long (or) short,


(whether) he is good (or)
bad, (whether) you understand (or) not."
(whether) this

20.

is

great

(or) small,

hui*.
Nng 2 and
"

These two words are in everyday


"

"

able to do." Nng


can,"
ability,"
meaning
implies more proficiency than hui* and there are again other
distinctions as to their use
Suppose two men were speaking
very rapidly in Chinese, slurring their words and not
enunciating their sentences clearly. Then one (an outsider)
use,

understanding Chinese might say


T'a l -men man^-man-ti shuo^-hua, wo 3 ming z -pai, or better,
T' oil-men jo* man^-man-ti shuo^-hua, wo 3 neng 2 ming z -pai
:

If

they spoke slowly

common word

could understand, jo* being the

for "if."

Supposing, however, one of the onlookers wished to


know if his neighbour understood Chinese, he would not
use neng 2 for

"

can

question,
Ni* hui*

or able," in his question,


Chinese is chung l -kuo* hua*,

"

China

"

and the
Can you speak Chinese would run thus

chung^kou* and
"

"

shuo 1

speak China-speech

chung
?

kuo*

hua*

mo

You

able

45

Reduced to a

one might say that what with us are

rule,

regarded as accomplishments

e.g., speaking foreign lanmusical


instruments,
etc., need the word
guages, playing
hui*, whereas in cases where degrees of proficiency or

adaptability are concerned

Fa*kuo 2

NSng

is

the word indicated.

3
2
France,
Japan, Jih*-pe*n -kuo
0*-kuo 2 Germany, Te 2 -kuo 2 Austria, Ao*-kuo z
;

Russia,

England

l
2
Ying -kuo
21.
Another negative which is frequently used, especi1
l
2
ally with shuo hua, is pieh which is almost equal topu yao*,
"
"
l
2
Pieh
as
shuo -hua,
Be quiet," lit., not want speech."
"
Also pieh 2 ch'ang*,
don't sing." Pieh 2 kuan 1 mSn z lit.,
"
"
not want shut door."
Don't shut the door." The
student is warned that he will find this word pronounced as
"
though spelt bay," and the first phrase will sound to him
"
"
like
bay shwah
(for bee-ay shwaw-hwah) but this is a
which
his
to
ear will become accustomed only by
slurring
.

practice.

When

the two negatives wu 2 zndfei 1 come together


in a sentence (a construction beloved of the native speaker)
the result is a strong positive. This form is used often
22.

where emphasis or insistence is required, e.g.


Ni^-mSn wu 2 fei 1 ch&* mo k'uai*-ti shuo l -hua mo ?
:

You (plural) always


Do you always speak

this quickly-quickly

as rapidly as this

speak

Che* is here short for che*-ko. The ko is very frequently


dropped when che^-ko and na*-ko precede words with which

they are constantly associated.

Ni*-mn* wu*

You

(plural)

fei

Asm 4 ntei* lai 2 liao.


know answer not has come

chiW-tao* hui*

not have is-not

finish.

You

are certain that no answer has

come

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

46

Mo is a negative used with a verb in the Imperative

23.

"

"

Mood, and means not," do not."


which are important idiomatically,
Mo* ta 3 wo*, Do not beat me.

Mo*
"

Do

k'uai*-ti tsou 3 -tung*,

it," etc., as in

e.g.

not walk rapidly.

With an adjective mo has a meaning


nothing like

has also other uses

It

"

"

of

incomparable

Mo* hsiao a yii 2

ch*-ko, Nothing so small as this.


"
"
"
at," and is dealt with in a
with,"
by,"

(Yii means
later chapter.)

Mo*

ta* yii* na-ko,

Nothing so large as

that.

With the word jo* the negative mo has the sense of "it
would be better." This is the colloquia equivalent of the
written language expression pu l ju 2 having the same
meaning and

also the sense

"

not so good as."

chiao* t'a 1 o*-kuo z

Mo* jo* (orju )


to teach him Russian.
2

hua 2

It

e.g.

would be better
"

not yet,
the negative wei*, meaning
never," is only used with verbs in the past tense, e.g.
Wo 3 wei* ts'e'ng* ch'u* I have not as yet gone.
24.

Finally,

Tal-m^n* wei*

The
verbs,

and

They have not yet come.

ts'fag* lai*-la,

"
attached to
tense-particle
will be found explained in the chapter on verbs.

Ts'fag* here used

is

"

VOCABULARY OF
pit-yao, ought, must.
kao'su, tell, inform.
yang*, kind, sort, fashion.

NEW WORDS.

hsi*, fine, small,

shui*.

same

who

minute.
pronoun),

(relative
z

as shen -mo

j&ri*.

3
few, a small number.
i^-yang^-ti, the same, that sort, shao
chin^-t'ien 1 to-day.
that style, that fashion.
1
to-morrow.
hsien^-tsai*, now, at present, at the ming^-t'ien
,

moment.

sa -huang

shang*-li -pai*

last

week.

shan 1 a mountain.
,

to l -shao 3 ,

how many

few ").
shu 3 a number.
,

hsn l

>

deep, very.

"
(lit.

to tell

lies,

to speak

falsely.

to see, observe, also to


think, consider.
1
kai^-tang ought, should, same as
pi^-yao.
shang*, to go to, move towards.
k'an*,

many,

VOCABULARY OF NEW WORDS


hsiieh*, to learn, to

study.

cooked

rice (the staple

Chinese food except among the


poorer classes where coarser
grains and millet take the
place of rice).
kuo^-shih 1 fault, error, transgres,

sion.

a Chinese character, a word


or sign in native script.
many, a large number.
t'ien 1
Heaven, the commonly-

txu*,

li*-ch'ien, profit, gain.


l
i
-tien 3 a little, a fraction.

mi'-fan*,

47

to 1 ,

used word for day.


tso*-t'ien l

yesterday.
every.
"
(lit.
ground-details "),
details, munite data.
hai*-teu a a small boy, a child,
,

tott 1 , all,

ti

-hsi*

one, a single, unity


young person.
wan*-tuan* all things, everything, k'ai 1 to open, start, begin.
2
k'ai 1
the universe.
open the door.
k'ai 1 men* shu 1 start to study.
tan*, but, still, yet, only.
hsiieh^-hsiao*, a school.
pul-t'ung't-i*, to differ.
z
1
1
i
I cannot see
kungi-fu leisure, holiday.
fSn -pu -ch'u-lai
"
division i 1 -tien 3 -Srh, a morsel, a soupfon.
any difference (lit.
or difference not out comes "). hao 3 hsieh^ko*, a good number, a
chiu 9 wine.
large number, many, numerous.
shang*-pien, above, the upper mei* hsieh^-ko*, not many, few,
a small number.
side, on top.
shih 2 tsai*, truly, indeed.
hsia*-pien, below, the underside,
3
at bottom.
fa*-tzu method, plan, remedy.
a
3
hsien 1 former, before, formerly.
p'Sng -yu a friend, comrade.
shen"-mo yang, what kind ? what hao 3 -ti (adv. from the adj. hao 3
sort of ?
good), well, excellently.
tso*-, last, past, as in
ch'iian*, all, complete, every.
"
l
3
to divide, differ (also
t-;u*-chi
a
oneself, self, used after f6n
minute ").
personal pronouns.
t'a 1 teu*-chi 3 he himself, etc.
to
eat.
ch'ih^fan*,
too 4 to reach, up to, as far as.
ho 1 to drink.
shui 3 water.
chia 3 -hsia*, at base, at foot of.
H 3 -tou 2 inside.
/*, a Chinese mile (approx. a
third of English mile).
wai*-t'ou*, outside.
l
a
8
s
a house, a
i ck'u*
k'ti
bitter, affliction, used as au
fang -tz&
dwelling.
emphatic, very.
shih 2 -hou'rk 4 time, period, age.
kao 1 high, lofty, exalted.
i

-ko*,

mn

EXERCISE
(a)

Wo

4A.
l

mei yu* na*-ko* tung -hsi l


Ni -men 2 pi*-yao* kao*-su *w
Ni 3 yu s shen 2 -mo yang* tung 1 -hsi ?
T'a^men 2 hsien*-tsai* na 3-li 3 ch'ii*
.

(b)
(c)

(d)

kuo

(e)

Wo 3 yao
?

Shang* chung

ch'ii*.

Ni 3 -men 2

tso*

sh6n z-mo yang* tung^hsi 1 ni ?

1-

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

48

Shang*-li -pai* wo
Ni 3 pu 1 chih l -tao,

(f)

(g)

k'o

(h)

mei* k'an* chien*

t'a

pu

t'a 1 liao.

wo 3 pu 1 chiW-tao

chih -tao,
3

wen* shSn -mo j6n*-yao kao*-su wo wcn

Ni 3 -men mei 2

k'an*-chien

wo 3

la,

tzu-chi k'an*

pu

chien* la, tsen* yang* ning chihl-tao ni ?

Na*-ko tung l -hsi PU hao, pieh 2 kei 3 wo 3 na* yang*-ti.


Ta 3 chP-Wtao* na* shan 1 chiao s -hsia* pu 1 chih l -tao yu*
(j)
3
3
li
shu 3
to l -shao
(i)

1
3
pu hao

l
1
(k) T'a^-ti tung -hsi tau
(1)

(m)
(n)

T'a 1 met*

To 1

yu

t'ien 1 t'a 1

Na* shan 1

she"n z -mo tung^-hsi.

mei* lai z

shih z tsai*

liao.
1

pu shSn kao
l
pu i-yang* ts'ung 2
.

(o) Hsien*-tsai* chung-kuo


shih^-hou'rh.

(p)

shih*

Yu 3-ti
wo

shuo 1 mei*
1

shuo

ti

(r)

Wo 3 pu 1

(t)

Ni

shuo

mei z -ti shuo 1 yu 3 -ti, na* pu 1

-ti,

chih l -tao
1

jn

ti -hsi*.

1
l
jen* tou pi*-yao chih -tao.

chP hua* shuo 1 na*

hua*,

wo 3

tzu*-chi

fn

pu-ch'u-lai
(u)
(v)

Wo 3 k'an* pu 1 chien 4 na* tung^-hsi.


Wo 3 wen* t'a 1 tan* t'a 1 mei 2 tal-ying
Wo 3 k'an* pu chien* hsiao 3 -tzu*.
Wo 3 pu chiW-tao shih* shui 2

('hui fu).

(w)

(x)

(y)

Mei

(z)

Wo 3

shen 2-mo

li*-hsi.

mei 2 kung l-fu* k'an* shu 1

EXERCISE
(a)

T'a

yu hao

5A.

ma 3

-hsieh?-ko*

(c)

T'a 1 mei 2 shen 2 mo, tan yu 3 i-tien 3 -rh mi 3-fan*.


T'a 1 mei 2 yu 3 hsiefc-ko* kuo^shih 1

(d)

Shih 2-tsai'* mei 2 fa*-tzu 3

(b)

Pieh* sa l huang 3

Che* shih*

t^

(q)

(s)

yu

ch'ien z

l-

EXERCISES
(e)

Ni

(f)

Kao*-su wo s ni 3

Ni

(h)

pu

(i)

k'an* ch*ko- hao*

Wo 3

(g)

jo*

pu hao

tso 2 -t'ien tso*

shSn z-mo.

kei ni s k'an* ni 3 k'o 3 pieh 2 kao*-su

ming -pai,
jo* pu
chih l -tao chiu* wSn* wo 3

men ming 2-pai mo

T'a 1

49
3

wSn*

t'a

t'a^m^n 2

-mn,

t'a

-men

Ni mei 2 i l -ko peng 2-yu 3


Wan* wu* Iso* ti hao 3 liao,
3

(j)

(k)

ch'iian 2

tan* mei 2

jn 2

chiW-tao

ti*

k'an* ch* hai -tzu kai -tang nien*-shu mo ?


'hat 2 mei 2 nien* shu 1 hsia*-U 3-pai* t'a 1
Hsien*-tsai*
(m)
2
-hsiao*
hsueh
ch'ii*.
shang*
(1)

Ni 3 pu 1

Wo 3-men

()
tzu 3

shuo 1 che* hua* shuo 1 na* hua* tan 1 mei z fa*~

(o)

T'a tsai hsiieh 2 -hsiao* nien* shu 1

(P)

Ni 3

kao*-su t'a 1 k'uai* ch'u*-pa.

(q)

Wo 3

hsien*-tsai*

(r)

Na*

1
yao* ken

ch' u* fang -tzu Ii -t'ou


2

(s)
(t)

Wai*-t'ou mei jen

Ni 3

Wo

(u)

t'a

yu

la.

shuo l -hua.
hao^hsiefc-ko* jen 2

2
.

mei 2-yu 3 ?
-men ch'iW-fan*, t'a^mln ho 1 chiu 3

ch'ih 1 la-fan*
3

1
shih 2 -hou'rh.
(v) Hsien*-tsai* shih* ch'ih-fan* ti
1
1
1
3
(w] Kei t'a shui ; t'a yao ho
1
1
2
(x) San-t'ien to ; t'a mei ch'ifc-fan* liao.
.

(y)
(z)

Ni 3 jo*

k'uai* lai 2

Kao*-su

t'a

wo

-ti

wo 3 kao*-su ni 3

(c)

EXERCISE 4B.
have not that thing.
You (plural) must tell us.
What sort of thing have you ?

(d)

Where

(a)
(6)

hua*.

are they going

now

I want to know.
(They are going) to

China.
(e)

What

is

that thing you have done

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

60
(/) I

did not see

him throughout

You do not know.

(g)

He

You (plural) have not


how then can one know ?

(h)

(i)

week.
I

do not

Whom then shall we ask to tell us ?

know.
it,

last

does not know.

That thing

(j) From here


know how many

seen

it,

myself cannot see

bad ; do not give me any like it.


to the foot of that mountain, I do not

is

miles

it is.

(k) All his things are bad.

He has not anything.


(m) He has not come for many

(/)

(w)
(o)

days.

That mountain certainly is not very high.


China nowadays is (certainly) not like it was

in

earlier times.

am not

the one to deny what


to affirm what is not (or is false).
(p) I

(q)

Do

(r)

not

"
is (or

is

right ")

and

tell lies.

do not know the

details.

something that all men should know.


You may talk this way, you may talk that way, for
(/)
myself I do not see any difference.
(s)

This

is

cannot (quite) see that thing.


asked him, but he has not answered.
(w) I cannot see very small characters.
(x) I do not know who it is.
(M) I
(v)

(y)

There is not any profit.


have no leisure for reading.

(z) I

EXERCISE
(a)
(b)
(c)

SB.

He has a great number of horses.


He has nothing but cooked rice.
He has not many faults.
is no help for it (no
think this good or bad ?

(d)

Truly there

(e)

Do you

way

out).

EXERCISES
me what you

(/)

Tell

(g)

(If) I let

51

did yesterday.
tell them.

you see don't

if they do not
(h) If you do not understand, ask them
know, ask me.
or not ?
(*) Do they understand it
(j) You have not a single friend.
(k) Everything (in the universe) was well made, but
;

there

is

not a

man who knows

(of)

everything.

Do you

not think that this boy should study ?


At
next week
present he has not begun to study
(m)

(I)

(however) he will go to school.


(n)
(o)

We may
He

say this or that, but there

He

studies at the school, or,

is
is

no help

for

it.

at the school

studying.
(/>)

You

tell

want

him

away quickly.
him now.
house there is a great number

(q)
(r)

In that

(s)

Outside there

(t)

Have you
(This

is

(u)
(v)

(w)
(x)

We

are

is

common greeting amongst

takes the place of


"

you

of men.

no one.

yet eaten your rice

a very

It actually

How

to go

to speak to

amongst

the Chinese.

Good-morning

"
!

or

us.)

are eating
they are drinking wine.
Now it is meal-time.
;

Give him water


he wants to drink.
For more than three days he has not eaten food.
;

you come quickly I


him what I say.

(y)

If

(z)

Tell

will tell you.

LESSON

3.

NUMERALS AND ADJECTIVES.


is a very simple matter.
One
has merely to learn the numerals from one to ten and four

25.

Chinese enumeration

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

52

remembering that the Chinese use the decimal

others, and,

system, the rest


cardinals

is

The following

easy.

is

list

of the

one,

six, liu*.

1
seven, ch'i

Srh*.

two,

1
three, saw

eight, pa
3
nine, chiu
.

four, ssu*
five,

wu 3

z
ten, shih

One hundred is pai 3


One thousand is ch'ien 1
Ten thousand is wan*.
One million is i l pai 3 wan*(i.e., one hundred ten thousands.)
.

Such

the material required for simple enumeraThere is, however, an alternative number
" two "
for the cardinal
i.e., that while in counting from
" one " to " ten " erh* is
used, when speaking of two of
3
anything one employs the word Hang which also means
26.

is all

tion in Chinese.

" two

",

"
"a
pair,"
duality," etc.

27.
Generally, however, the numbers are recited with
"
as follows
the suffix " -ko 4
:

P-ko*, one (of anything).

liu*-ko*, six (of anything).

ch'i l -ko*,

Iiang -ko*, two


san l -ko*, three

,,

pa^-ko*, eight

ssu^-ko*, four

,,

chiu 3-ko*, nine

,,

wifi-ko*, five

,,

shih*-ko*, ten

,,

seven

,,

"
"
the procedure is quite simple,
ten
arriving at
"
the order of the Chinese words being
ten-one, ten-two,"
"
"
"
and so on to twenty whence one goes on
twenty-one,

On

28.

twenty-two,"

etc.,

thus

shih -erh*-ko* twelve.

rh*-shih z-ii -ko'1 , twenty-one.


erh*-shih 2 -erh*-ko*, twenty-two.

shih z -san l -ko*, thirteen.

Srh*-skih 2 -san l -ko, twenty-three.

shih

-i -ko'

eleven.

NUMERALS AND ADJECTIVES

53

shih*-ssu*-ko*, fourteen.

^rh*-shih z-ssu*-ko*, twenty-four.

shih z -wu 3 -ko*, fifteen.

erh*-shih 2 -wu z -ko*, twenty-five.


rh*-shih z-liu*-ko*, twenty-six.

shih?-liu*-ko*, sixteen.

shih z -ch' i l -ho* seventeen. erA 4 -sAt'A 2 -cA'V 1 -^o 4 ,twenty-seven.


,

shih z -pa l -ko*, eighteen.


shih z -chiu s-ko* nineteen.

erh*-shih 2 -pa l -ko*, twenty-eight.


rh*-shih 2 -chiu s -ko*, twenty-nine.

erh*-shih z -ko*, twenty.

san l -shih z -ko*, thirty.

This process

29.

"

is

regular up to one hundred and


be chiu z -shih z -chiu z -ko* followed

ninety-nine" will therefore


il

One hundred and one is P-pafi-fi-ko*, and so


on through the hundreds to ch'ieri1 thence again to wan*
and on to the completion of the million i 1 pai 3 wan*.

by

pai

The

30.

ordinals are formed in

two ways and are as

simple as the cardinal numbers. The word ti*


to the simple numeral thus
4 1
ft' -*
the first.
ti*-chiu 3 the ninth.

is

prefixed

ti*erh*,

ti*-shih 2 ,

the second.

the tenth.

ti*-shih 2 -wu s ,

ti^-san 1 the third.


,

the fifteenth, etc.

In the common speech one will often hear the numeral


with ko* prefixed to ti 1 the genitive particle thus
l
1
i l -ko*-ti
the first
etc., but
lian^-ko^-ti the second
:

this

is

31.

vulgar and not to be recommended.

AUXILIARY NUMERALS or NUMERATIVES.

As

in

Assyrian and several other languages, the Chinese interpose


between the actual number and the name of the article
described a sort of descriptive word which is called an
"
"
Pidginauxiliary numeral." Those acquainted with
"
"
will recall such expressions as
English
one-piecey"
man," one piecey-boat," etc. This is in general a translation of the auxiliary numeral which, owing to the large
number of homophones in the Chinese language helps out
the Colloquial by particularising the sound to convey the

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

64

meaning intended. In Egyptian hieroglyphs one finds


"
determinatives," that is, signs used to
symbols used as
fix in the mind the class into which the word immediately
preceding falls. The Chinese have many words of a similar
"
"
determine
the class of the word
nature, intended to
immediately following.

The word

ko*,

already familiar to the student, is the


But it may be used only

auxiliary of primary importance.


with words of a certain class. It

chiefly confined to the

is

"

a man," although it will


numerals and to the word jn 2
be met with elsewhere. The following is a list of those the
,

student should certainly know and recognise


Chih 1 (" standing alone ") before boats, fowls, gems,
1
1
2
a boat.
e.g.-i chih ch'uan
:

etc.,

chih 1 chi 1 a fowl.

Feng

(" to seal ") before letters, parcels, packets, etc.

t1 fSng 1 hsin 4 one letter.


(" a room, an apartment "), before houses, build,

Chien

rooms,

ings, yards, gardens,

etc.

chien 1 fang 2 -tzu, a house.


san 1 chien hua l -yuan 2 -tzu, three gardens.
Chien* (" to divide ") for articles of clothing, wearing
1

apparel, etc.:
4
2
i 1 chien ^shang
an article of clothing.
,

Ko*

("
("

one piece
one thing

")

for

human

beings, animals coins,

") J boxes, fruit,

watches, etc.

liu^-ko* hsiang l -tzu, six foxes,


3

jen

erh*-pai

K'o 1

mark

(a
i
i

Kuan 3
any

2
,

but

two hundred men.

or order) before trees.

shu 4 a

k'o 1

k'o 1 hsiao 3 shu*, a small tree, a shrub.

tree,

a single

tree.

before pens, pencils, flutes,


tube-like
articles.
small, round,
(a reed, pipe, tube)

and

NUMERALS AND ADJECTIVES


K'uai* (a piece
ch'i

Pa 3

(to

55

before dollars, bricks, stones, etc.


k'uai* shih 2 seven stones.

of)

hold in the hand) before table cutlery, forks,

spoons, knives, etc.


i

Pen 3

pa

taol-tzu,

l'

P'i 3

one knife.

(a root, origin before books, etc.


3
1
1
pSn shu a book.
(to

pair) before mules, camels, donkeys, horses, etc.


a 4 p'i 3 ma 3 that horse.
,

T'ou* (the head), before domestic animals


wu 3 t'ou 2 niu z , five cows.

This word is also used to supplement many nouns,


and not merely as a numeral adjunct,
shih z -t'ou 2 stone, rock, boulder.

e.g.,

mu*-t'ou 2 wood, etc.


,

3
Ting (summit, top), before hats, sedan-chairs.umbrellas,

etc.
i

chiaol-tzu, a sedan-chair.

mao*-tzu, a hat, a cap.

ting
1

ting

Wei* (those upright,


cannon, heavy

erect, gentlemanly,

etc.),

before

artillery, persons of rank, etc.

rh* wei*

kuan 1 two
,

ssu* wei* ta*

officials.

ao*, four

heavy guns.

DISTRIBUTIVE NUMERALS. Repetition is a constant


factor in Chinese Colloquial, and the student can rarely go
wrong if he repeats a noun in order to mark the distributive.
32.

notable example

is t'ien 1 t'ien

"

lit.,

every day, daily.


Che* shih z -hou'rh wo 3 kao*-su ni 3
fco

day-day, "meaning
t'ien 1 t'ien 1

chS^yang*

4
.,

lit.,

This tune
this.)

I will tell

you

every day do

it

this

way

(or like

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

56

Distributions may be generally formed, however, by


3
using the word ko* or the word mei both of which mean
"
each, every." The latter is the more usual in e very-day
conversation
,

Mei 3 jen z yu 3 hao 3 -hsieh l -ko*, Each man had a

large

number.

Ko* yu 3 shu 3

ch'ien 1

ADVERBIAL

33.

z
,

Each had several thousand men.

NUMERALS.

These

are

formed

by

1
2
simple numeral. Thus i ts&
4
2
ssw tse fourthly.
Once, twice, etc., are formed by
firstly
1
z
adding the words tz'u*, pien or hui to the cardinal as
1
3
1
1
2
j
tz'u* once
Hang pien twice san hut thrice etc.

adding

tse 2 ("

jn

then

") to the

FRACTIONS. These are headed by i 1 pan 4 meaning


Other fractions are formed by an ingenious use
"
of the word fen 1 which originally means
to divide," hence
"
a division, a part." Every whole is considered as having
10 parts, each part being called Pf&n 1
Thus -f would be
called liu^fen 1 i.e., T%. A quarter would be expressed by
34.

"

a half."

the locution ssu*-fen l chih 1 i 1


language word for the colloquial

This chih

case,

and

is

ti

1
,

is

the written

the sign of the genitive

used in circumstances where

ti

is

by customary

usage either inadmissible or clumsy. This would read


"
four part's one," that is, one of four parts, hence
literally
a quarter. Thus f would be sstf-feri1 chih1 san. 1 This

word
"

for

"

(meaning

is not used in saying a


which the special word k'o*

quarter," however,
"

quarter of

an hour

fifteen

for

minutes) exists.

35.
ADJECTIVES. In Chinese adjectives undergo no
change for number, gender or case. It may be said that an
adjective does not exist per se as is the case with any other
It is merely by position that a word is
part of speech.

described as adjective, noun or verb.

But

in the simple

NUMERALS AND ADJECTIVES


sentence the adjective invariably precedes

its

57

noun

as

jen A good man.


3
2
Ch'ang kuan A long tube.
Ta* ho 2 A great river, etc.

Hao

When

the noun

is

one of quality, the Chinese adjective

acquires a predicative force by the addition of a particle


very similar to a relative. This office is filled by the
versatile particle

ChP-ko fang

ti
2

usually not

It is

as

shih* ts'u l -ti, This sugar

is

coarse.

the adjective in a
nearly the same as in
"

difficult to identify

Chinese sentence, as the idiom is


English. As we do, the Chinese speak of

ill-fated,"

"

long-headed," and similar locutions are daily to be heard.


It may seem strange to many that precisely the same

method

of adjective-formation is in use in China as amongst


"
Many of our adjectives end in able," and

ourselves.

these in Chinese are formed by an ordinary word with the


"
"
3
s
able,"
can," etc., k'o is, in effect,
prefix k'o meaning
2
the equivalent or a synonym of neng
Thus k'cP-ksiao*
"
"
can
is
also
hao*-hsiao* (lit.
(lit.
laugh ")
laughable,"
"
" can-hate
a
love laugh) is
k'o
-wu*
laughable,"
(lit.
") is
,

"

hateful, detestable."

An

idiom of frequent occurrence

is

the juxtaposition of

two adjectives of the same or closely similar meaning to


3
express one idea e.g., Ian -to* (lit. lazy and slothful),
"
meaning lazy, idle." Another is the putting together of
adjectives signifying opposites to make an abstract noun,
"
as kao 1 ai 3 which may mean
tall and short," or as in the
"
3
1
l
1
sentence wo pu chih -tao to ti 1 kao 1 ai 3
I do not know his
,

height."
36.

COMPARISON OF ADJECTIVES.

difficulty to the student.

Comparison

This presents no
is

formed by the

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE.

58

use of the word pi 3 (to compare). Another way is to add a


"
"
word signifying more such as kSng 1 tsai 4 etc.
3
ChP-ko pi na*-ko
hao 3
1 This is better than
,

This compared with that

T'a 1

t'ien l -t'ien l

kng

(is) good.
Ian 3-to*.

He day

(by) day most lazy.


Na*-ko ta\ che*-ko kSng 1 to*.

That

(is)

great, this

(is)

that.

He

gets lazier every

day.

\That

more great.

is

is

big (but) this

bigger.

The superlative degree is expressed by

(a) prefixing to the


3
3
chih*, meaning
adjective an intensive such as ting ,
"
very, exceedingly, utmost, furthest," etc. ; (b) by pre"
"
1
lit.
ten parts (out of ten)
completely,
fixing shiW-fSn
3
shfag*,
altgoether
(c) by suffixing such intrusives as hen

hn

etc.

Tsai* chung l -kuo 2

chiu 3 lung 2 shan 1 shih* ting 3 kao l -ti l


in China.

The Chiulung mountains are the highest


Hai*

2
lu* chih* hsien 3 (this hsien 3 stands for wei hsien*.

"

"

The sea-road
danger "). (Literally,
extremest danger "). The sea passage is most perilous.

common word

for

Che* shih* shih z -fen l hao 3 (this


absolutely the best.

LESSON

is

ten parts good), This

is

4.

PRONOUNS AND EXERCISES.


37.

We have already used in the exercises preceding the

pronouns

in

common

use.

There

are,

however, one or two

The pronouns are


special observations yet to be made.
as simple as the numerals are, and are used as follows
:

PERSONAL PRONOUNS.
1st pers. sing.

2nd

wo 3
3

pers. sing.

ni

3rd pers. sing.

t'a

1st pers. plur.

wo 3mn 2

2nd

pers. plur.

ni 3 -mn 2

3rd pers. plur.

t'a^men 2

PRONOUNS AND EXERCISES.


These are unchanged in

pronoun

You

Wo 3

tzu*-chi 3

yourselves,

common

the reflexive

reflexive

is in

reality

I myself,

In

which

a postposition

The

all their uses.

in all cases is tzu 4 -chi 3 oneself,

59

Ni 3-mn 2

tzu*-chi 3 ,

and so on.

with what has been said before as to

is

often used

itself

by

i.e.,

sonal pronoun in which case the latter is


the context and the reflexive is still

ellipsis,

without the perunderstood from


actually a post

position.

38.

polite

form of the 2nd


"

pronoun

pers.

is

nin z or

nin -na, which is equivalent to


You, sir." Ju although
sometimes used in polite phraseology is more a written
language form.
,

Ch'i 2 as a polite form of the 3rd pers. pronoun is


again a written language term and is very unusual save in
the mouths of scholars.
39.

The personal pronouns are without gender,

40.

he, she or

t'a

is

it.

41.
The possessive pronouns are formed from the personal pronouns by the addition of ti to both singular and
plural, thus

T'a l -ti

3
his, ni -men-ti

yours

(plural),

wo amen-tzu*-chi 3-ti l

our very own.

The

42.

shewn

Demonstrative

are

pronouns

Che^-ko

[or

this

these

and na*-ko

There are others used by graduates and


but they are not in use
43.

as

already

The

among

the people.

interrogative pronouns are

that or
those.
classical scholars

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE.

60
Shui*, or

"

more commonly, shen z -mo* jln* "who"?, or


"

what person ? (with


"
whose ? ").
terrogative

ti

suffixed

these

make

the in-

na 3 -ko*, which ?
shen*-mo*, what ?
There are pronominal forms widely used in Chinese
which are not exactly pronouns, but honorific and deprecatory particles. Those will be dealt with in a later section.
44.

45.

There

is

no

relative

pronoun

in

Chinese.

The

achieved either by dual sentences in


or
a
circumlocution.
by
juxtaposition

effect of the relative is

AN
ENGLISH AND CHINESE VOCABULARY
IN

THE

PEKINGESE AND CANTONESE LANGUAGES.

FOREWORD.
THERE

is

a widespread belief that Pekingese and Cantonese

are but "dialects" of the Chinese language, but this


For this reason this vocabulary
altogether erroneous.

is

is

prepared in the two languages, so that whether north or


south be the destination of the traveller, he may be able
to

make

his

way.

number (though

No system

of

marking the tones by

the case of the northern speech),


will be effective in the language of the south as there the
efficient in

tones are greater in variety and more minutely distinguished.


Hence no tone-marks have been given in the Cantonese

The enunciation and pitch must be learned from


a native or a good foreign speaker of Cantonese. The fact
of the two columns differing widely in the expression of an
English term will emphasise the fundamental difference
between the two forms of speech.
column.

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

62

ENGLISH.

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

64

ENGLISH.
Ass
Assist

Astronomy
Auction

Author
Avail

Average

Awake

Away
Axe

Back
Bad

Bag
Baggage

Bake
Balance
Bale
Ball

Bamboo
Banish
Barbarian

Barbarous
Barber
Bargain

Bark
,,

(v.)

(of trees)

Barley
Barrel

Barter

PEKINGESE.

VOCABULARY
ENGLISH

65

66

ENGLISH

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

VOCABULARY
ENGLISH
Bowels

Box

Boy
Bracelet

Braces

Brain

Branch
Brass

Bread
Break
Breakfast
Breast

Breeches

Breath
Breeze
Bribe
Brick

Bridge
Bridle

Bring

Broad
Broker

Broom
Brother

Brush
Bucket
Build

Bullock

Bundle
Burn

Bury

68

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

VOCABULARY
ENGLISH
Carpenter
Carriage
Carrot

Carry
Cartridge

Cash
Cask
Cat
Catch
Cause

(ball)

Cautious

Cave
Cellar

Certain

Chain
Chair
Chalk

Change
Charcoal

Chase

Cheap
Cheat
Cheese

Cheek
Chess
Chest

Chew
Chicken
Child

Chin
China
Chocolate

70

ENGLISH

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

VOCABULARY
ENGLISH
Compliment
Conceal
Confess
Confine

Conjurer

Consent
Consult

Constable
Contest

Contract
Contradict

Conversation

Cook
Coolie

Copper

Copy
Cord
Cork
Corner
Corpse
Correct

Cotton

Cough
Count
Country
Cover
Covet

Cow
Coward
Crab
Crackers

72

ENGLISH

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

74

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

ENGLISH

PEKINGESE

Different

Ch'a 1

Difficult

Nan 2

1m toong
Nan

Dig
Digest

P'ao 2
Hsiao l -hua

Sew-shik

Diligent

Ch'in 2

Kan

Dinner

Wan* fan*
Ni 2
l
Ang -tsang

Man

Dirt

Dirty

Discharge
Discount

Dish
Dislike

CANTONESE

pu* t'ung

Kwat

tsan

Che^-k'ou

Net
koan tseng
Tzse huy
Kaw taw gun

P'an 2 -tzu
Hsien 2 -hsi

M oy

Tz'u 2

Oon

Dismount

Hsia*

Ha

Dissatisfied

Pu 1 man 3 tsu z

Mow

Dissipated
Dissolve

Lang* fei*

Distant

Yuan 3

Fong
San
Une

Distinguish
Distribute

Fen^-pieh

Ditch

7 1 tao* kou 1

Teen tsun

Dive

Cha 1 meng^-tzu

Me

Do

Tso*

Tsow

Doctor

P-sheng
2
shu 1

Man

Document
Dollar

Hsiao*

Fen 1

ko 2

eem tsuk
sze

Fun peet
Fun pai

p'ei*

shuy

E-shang
shu

Wn

Can

Don't

Yang ch'ien
Pu* tso*

Door

Men 2

Double

Liang pei*

Sheong kay

Doubt

I 2 -huo

Sze ee

Down

Hsia*

Dragon
Drain

Moon
3

(7

tao*)

oo

Fong ha

t'iao 2 )

(I

tseen

Mok

hmg

kou 1

Yat tew lung


Hang kuy

76

ENGLISH

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

VOCABULARY
ENGLISH
False

Family

Famous
Fan
Fat
Father
Fault

Favour
Fear
Feast

Fee
Feed
Female
Fetch
Fever

Few
Field

Fig
Fight
Fill

Fine

(n.)

Finger
Finish
Fire
First

Fish
Fist

Fit (proper)

Fix
Flag
Flatter

Flee

78

ENGLISH

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

VOCABULARY

79

ENGLISH

PEKINGESE

CANTONESE

Funeral

Fa 1

Sung

li

Furniture

Gain
Gale

Gamble
Garden
Gate
Gather

Gem
Get
Ghost

Giddy
Ginger
Girl

Give
Glad
Glass

Gloves

Go
God
Gold

Good
Goose
Gradually
Grain

Grape
Grass
Gratitude

Grave

sang-tsang*
3

tsong

80

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

82

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

VOCABULARY
ENGLISH

Jaw
Jest

Joint

Journey
Judge
Juggler
Juice

Jump
Just
Justice

Key
Kick
Kidneys
Kill

Kindred

King
Kiss

Kitchen
Kite

Knee
Kneel
Knife

Knot

Know
Knuckles

Labour
Lace

Lady
Ladder
Lake

84

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

86

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

88

ENGLISH

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

90

ENGLISH

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE
PEKINGESE

o
Oak
Oar
Oath

Obey
Oblong
Obstacle

Obstinate

Ocean
Octagon
Oculist

Odd
Offend
Office

Often
Oil

Ointment
Old
Olive

Once
One
Only
Open
Opinion

Opium
Opportunity
Opposite

Or
Orange
Order

CANTONESE

VOCABULARY,
ENGLISH
Ore
Origin

Orphan
Other
Otherwise

Ought
Out, go
Outside

Oven
Overturn

Owl

Own
Oyster

Pack

(v.)

Padlock

Pagoda
Pain
Painter
Pair

Palace

Pan
Paper
Pardon
Parrot
Parsley
Part

Partner
Partridge
Pass

Paste

92

ENGLISH

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

VOCABULARY
ENGLISH
Plaintiff

Plate

Play
Pleasure

Pluck

Plum
Plunder
Pocket

Poem
Point

Poison
Pole
Polish
Polite

Poor

Poppy
Pork
Postage

Postman
Pot
Potatoes

Pour
Power
Practice

Praise

Pray
Prepare
Present

(v.)

Preserve
Price
Priest

Print

(v.)

94

ENGLISH

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

95

ENGLISH

R
Rabbit
Radish

Rag
Rain

Rainbow
Raise
Raisin

Rash
Rat
Razor
Read

Ready
Reason
Rebellion

Receipt
Receive

Reckon

Recommend
Red
Redeem
Reed
Reflect

Refuse
Regulation
Reject
Relation
Religion

Remember
Remove
Repay

)6

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

VOCABULARY
ENGLISH

Row

(a boat)

Rub
Run
Rust

Sacrifice

Saddle

(n.)

Sail (n.)

Sailor

Salt

Same
Sand
Sandal

Sash
Satisfied

Save

Saw
Say
School
Scissors

Scrape (v.)
Scratch (v.)

Screw
Scroll

Scrub
Sea
Seal

Second
Secret

Secure
See

)8

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

VOCABULARY
ENGLISH
Shoulder

Shove
Shut
Sick
Side
Silk

Silver

Sing
Sink

(v.)

Sister
Sit (v.)

Skin

Sky
Slave
Sleep
Sleeve
Slip

Slow
Small
Smell

Smoke
Smooth
Snail

Snake
Snatch
Sneeze

Snow
Snore

Soap
Soft
Soldier

Solemn

100

ENGLISH

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

VOCABULARY
ENGLISH
Storm
Straight

Straw
Street

Strike

(v.)

String

Strong

Suck

(v.)

Suddenly
Sugar

Summer
Sun
Supper
Support
Surround
Swear (v.)

Sweep
Sword

(v.)

Syrup

Table
Tail

Tailor

Take

(v.)

Tall

Taste

Tax
Tea
Teach
Teacup
Teapot

102

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

104

ENGLISH
Verandah
Very
Victory
Village

Vinegar
Virtue
Visit (v.)

Voice

Vomit

(v.)

Voyage
Vulgar

Wages
Waistcoat

Wait

Wake
Walk
Wall

Want
War

(v.)

Warm
Wash
Watch

(n.)

Water

Way
Wax
Weak
Weary
Weather

Weep

PEKINGESE

VOCABULARY
ENGLISH

105

COLLOQUIAL CHINESE

106

ENGLISH

PEKINGESE

CANTONESE.

Wrap

Paol-ch'i-lai

Chat chu

Shou 3 wan*-tzu

Ak

Hsieh 3

Say

(v.)

Wrist
Write

(v.)

Yaw

Wrong

Ts'o*-lo

Year
Yellow
Yes

Nien 2

Yesterday
Yet

Tso z -t'ien

Jan

Young

Nien 2

Your

Ni

tso

Y
Huang

Neen
2

Wong

ShiW-ti

-Srh

-ti

ch'ing

shik

Hei
Tsok yat
Tsang
Shew neen
Ne-te

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