Lesson 1 Greetings Part II

Goal : The goal of this lesson is to master beginner sentences and questions in Mandarin. 

What you need to know : Before starting this lesson, you should understand the Introductions on the previous page.

Explanation : In Chinese, it is common to see articles that come at the end of sentences to indicate a question. These articles are known as interrogative particles. This lesson focuses on interrogative particles and forming elementary questions and sentences.

Click on the following link. Scroll to the title that says Transcript, vocabulary, and notes and click on the triangle.


Read through the vocabulary several times, paying careful attention to tones and the meanings of words. Practice saying the words and then listen to the speaker saying the words.

Structure of Questions

When asking questions in Chinese, one of the common methods used is interrogative particles. The interrogative particles used in this chapter are 吗 and 呢. When asking a question using 吗, use the structure of a simple sentence and simply place a 吗 at the end. 呢 is typically used after someone has asked you a question and you want to ask the same question in return.

Another way to ask questions is by using 请问. By placing 请问 at the beginning of a question, it means "can I ask you ..." Look at the examples below to understand question structure. 

你好吗?                               你是学生吗?                               你是美国人吗?                       你呢?                     请问您贵姓?

Read through the dialogue and identify the questions and their meaning. 

Exercise 1 : Look at the questions and sentences below and put them in chronological order.

1. 你好。你是中国人吗?

2. 我是学生。

3. 我也是美国人。

4. 不是,我是美国人。你呢?

5. 你好。

6. 你是学生吗?

Once you have an understanding of the new vocabulary and question structure, watch the video for the lesson once through and try and pick out the questions in the dialogue. Watch the video a second time and try to identify the sentences in the dialogue. Watch the video for the third time and pick out the vocabulary words you can recognize. Watch the video for a fourth time and try to follow the conversation.

Write a summary of the dialogue to confirm that you understand the translation. 

Exercise 2 : Fill in the blanks in the conversation below based on what you have learned this lesson.




不是, 我_美国人。




Skyping with your Language Partner

Now that you know greetings and basic questions in Chinese, you are ready to have your first conversation with a language partner. For the portion in Chinese, it's probably best if your questions have definitive answers using the vocabulary you've just learned, since your vocabulary is very limited at this point. 

Meet with your language partner.  Ask your partner the questions you've prepared, then ask them to ask you the same questions.  Review your vocabulary with them to improve your listening, and ask any grammar or cultural questions.  Remember to give them equal time to practice their English and ask any questions they have as well.

    1. Where are you from?     
    2. What is your name?
    3. What is your surname?
    4. Are you a student?
    5. Are you a teacher?
    6. Are you Chinese?
    7.  Are you an American?

Writing Assessment


After skyping with your language partner, write a short dialogue between two people meeting each other for the first time. Post to your blog. 


Answers to Exercise 1: 5, 1, 4, 3, 6, 2. 

Answers to Exercise 2: 你, 吗, 是, 学,