Chinese For Dummies

Chinese For Dummies by Wendy Abraham

Book: Chinese For Dummies by Wendy Abraham Read Free Book Online
Authors: Wendy Abraham
) is take a peek at your shǒubiǎo 手表 (show-byaow) ( watch ) or look at the zhōng 钟 ( 鐘 ) (joong) ( clock ) on the wall. These days, even your computer or cellphone shows the time. And you can always revert to that beloved luòdìshì dà bǎizhōng 落地式大摆钟 ( 落地式大擺鐘 ) (lwaw-dee-shir dah bye-joong) ( grandfather clock ) in your parents’ living room. You no longer have any excuse to chídào 迟到 ( 遲到 ) (chir-daow) ( be late ), especially if you own a nào zhōng 闹钟 ( 鬧鐘 ) (now-joong) ( alarm clock )!
    Asking and stating the time
    Want to know what time it is? Just walk up to someone and say Xiànzài jǐdiǎn zhōng? 现在几点钟 ? ( 現在幾點鐘 ?) (shyan-dzye jee-dyan joong?). It almost literally translates into Now how many hours are on the clock? In fact, you can even leave off the word clock and still ask for the time: Xiànzài jǐdiǎn? 现在几点 ? ( 現在幾點 ?) (shyan-dzye jee-dyan?). Isn’t that easy?
    To understand the answers to those questions, though, you need to understand how to tell time in Chinese. You can express time in Chinese by using the words diǎn 点 ( 點 ) (dyan) ( hour ) and fēn 分 (fun) ( minute ). Isn’t using fēn  fun? You can even talk about time in miǎo 秒 (meow) ( seconds ) if you like and sound like a cat. Table 5-4 shows you how to pronounce all the hours on the clock.
    You can indicate the hour by saying sān-diǎn or sān-diǎn zhōng. Diǎn 点 ( 點 ) (dyan) means hour, but it’s also a classifier, and zhōng 钟 ( 鐘 ) (joong) means clock. Feel free to use either to say what time it is.
    Table 5-4Telling Time in Chinese
yī diăn zhōng 一点钟 ( 一點鐘 )
ee-dyan joong
liǎng diǎn zhōng 两点钟 ( 兩點鐘 )
lyahng-dyan joong
sān diǎn zhōng 三点钟 ( 三點鐘 )
sahn-dyan joong
sì diăn zhōng 四点钟 ( 四點鐘 )
suh-dyan joong
wǔ diǎn zhōng 五点钟 ( 五點鐘 )
woo-dyan joong
liù diǎn zhōng 六点钟 ( 六點鐘 )
lyo-dyan joong
qī diǎn zhōng 七点钟 ( 七點鐘 )
chee-dyan joong
bā diǎn zhōng 八点钟 ( 八點鐘 )
bah-dyan joong
jiǔ diǎn zhōng 九点钟 ( 九點鐘 )
jyo-dyan joong
shí diăn zhōng 十点钟 ( 十點鐘 )
shir-dyan joong
shíyī diǎn zhōng 十一 点钟 ( 十一點鐘 )
shir-ee-dyan joong
zhōngwǔ 中午
bànyè 半夜
    When mentioning 12:00, be careful! The way to say noon is simply zhōngwǔ 中午 (joong-woo), and the way to say midnight is bànyè 半夜 (bahn-yeh).
    Specifying the time of the day
    The Chinese are very precise when they tell time. You can’t just say sān diǎn zhōng 三点钟 ( 三點鐘 ) (sahn dyan joong) when you want to say 3:00. Do you mean to say qÄ«ngzǎo sān diǎn zhōng 清早三点钟 ( 清早三點鐘 ) (cheeng-dzaow sahn dyan joong) ( 3:00 a.m. ) or xiàwǔ sāndiǎn zhōng 下午三点钟 ( 下午三點鐘 ) (shyah-woo sahn-dyan joong) ( 3:00 p.m. )? Another wrinkle: Noon and midnight aren’t the only dividers the Chinese use to split up the day.
    Here’s a list of the major segments of the day:
    qÄ«ngzǎo 清早 (cheeng-dzaow): the period from midnight to 6:00 a.m.
    zǎoshàng 早上 (dzaow-shahng): the period from 6:00 a.m.

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