Sunday, February 20, 2011

Basic Course: Lesson 6 Vocabulary

Here is the vocabulary list for lesson six of the Basic Course. We’re taking a step out of the classroom, moving on to discussions about buildings and their characteristics.

  1. 嗎 · ma · (final particle for yes/no questions)
  2. 我 · ngoi · I, me
  3. 間 · gan · (classifier for buildings, rooms)
  4. 學校 · hòk-hàu · school
  5. 班房 · ban-fọng* · classroom
  6. 先生 · lhing-sang · teacher, Mr., sir
  7. 學生 · hòk-sang · student
  8. 黑板 · hāk-bān · blackboard
  9. 牆 · tiäng · wall
  10. 窗 · tong · window
  11. 屋 · ūk · house, home
  12. 門 · mön · door
  13. 有 · yiu · to have, there is
  14. 冇 · mo · to have not, there isn’t
  15. 唔該,唔該 · m̈-goi, m̈-goi · thank you, excuse me, pardon me, much obliged
  16. 唔使 · m̈-sōi · to need not, it is unnecessary
  17. 呀 · a · (final particle)

Note that the expression 唔該 m̈-goi “thank you” is the term used in thanks for favors, not presents. You can also use this term to say “excuse me,” if you are trying to get someone’s attention, not as an apology. The term 唔使 m̈-sōi “no need” is not quite an equivalent to “you’re welcome”; it means something more along the lines of “it’s nothing.” But you can also use it to literally say, “it’s not necessary.” I was in a flower shop the other day, and when the owner offered to sprinkle glitter on the flowers, I simply said, “唔使!”

It wasn’t until I reached this lesson that I noticed the problem with Deng Jun’s convention of writing kwọi as 該; this character is the character used for goi, as in m̈-goi “thank you.” Since the Basic Course was handwritten, the author was able to essentially invent a new character by writing a tiny 口 next to 該 to denote kwọi “here/this,” a word that has no written equivalent in Standard Chinese. I’m going to stick with writing kwọi as 該 for now, but please let me know in the comments if you have any better suggestions!

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