Sunday, September 10, 2006

How many Chinese women does it take...

... to punch two holes in an old belt?

Give up?

Four. One woman to punch the holes, and three to giggle at the foreigner taking his belt off in front of them. I suppose they considered it a floor-show. They didn't charge me anything, and when I asked they just grinned from ear to ear and waved their hands. I was tracked all the way to the elevator. I decided it was safest not to look over my shoulder more than once.

It was an alright day. My kids are beginning to get out of hand. I need to learn "Shut the hell up or Confucius will return from the grave and smash you over the skulls with thick tomes" in Chinese. I did, however, receive a gift from my TB 2B class this morning: a little Chinese checkers set (not my picture above, by the way). It was very nice, and they all chorused "Happy Teacher Day!". I didn't even know it was Teachers' Day. Now I have an excuse to learn Chinese chess. I see people playing it all the time, along with this dice-and-cup game. I'd love to just sit in the memorial park and play chess with old men. That'd be an awesome afternoon, in my opinion. It's not like I can't discuss anything: "Zhege shi hao ma?" or "Zhege hao" (demonstrative "that/there" + "good" = endless possibilities).

The word zhege has gotten me through just about every Chinese exchange thus far. If anyone was to ask me "What do I need to know if I'm going to be in China?" I'd say:

- zhege (jay-guh)

... and that's it. Though if you were keen, I'd also say:

- duei (due'eh; Yes)
- bu ('boo'; No/Not; negatory in general)
- nihao (nee'how; You're good [lit.]; Hello)
- xie xie / duo xie (see'ah-see'ah / due'oh see'ah; Thanks / Thank you very much)
- hao / hen hao / bu hao / buhai (Good / Very Good / Not good / Bad)
- meiyo (mayo; I don't have anything ; this is very handy when in the presence of persistant beggars)
- dui bu qi (due'ee bu see; Sorry)
- bu yong qi (boo koe see; No problem; you're welcome)
- Wo bu mingbai (wh boo ming'buy; I don't understand ; also very freakin' handy)
- ma? (just add "ma" to most sentences to turn it into a question)
- ling, yi, er (are), san, si (suh), wu, liu, qi (chee), ba, jiu (jee-ooh), shi (shh'e) [0-10]
- wo (I/me), ni (you, s.), women (woe-men; we), nimen (you, pl.), ta (he/she/it)
- kwai / yuan (kwhy; Chinese RMB; no one says yuan, though)
- Wo yao yi/lienge ping pijou, xie xie (Wh yao yee/li'an'gah ping pi'joo, see'ah shee'ah; I want a/two bottle(s) of beer, thanks.)

Simple phrase beginners: Wo yo (I have); Wo yao (I want); Wo xi huan (I like); Wo shi (I am).

Ex: Wo yao yiga ping shui (I want 1 bottle of water); Wo xi huan ni (I like you); Ni xi huan wo ma? (Do you like me?); Ni xi huan zhege? (Do you like that?); Wo shi Canada ren (I'm from Canada).

They use yiga and lienge instead of yi and er for some things, for some reason. Usually when you are talking about getting something. Oh, and "please" isn't really used. Anyhoo, my vocab is limited but I can roughly do parts of speech with "want", "have" and "like", point madly, and say zhege. No one needs vocab with zhege. I shit thee not; zhege is the key to the entire Chinese language.

And that's my language tutorial (Steve & Nika, take note). That'll be $19.99, please.

One hour and twenty-some minutes until tai ji quan! Woot!

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