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Beginner Lesson 3.1 – Countries & Nationalities

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COUNTRIES AND NATIONALITIES IN CHINESE

  • Countries and Nationalities in Chinese
  • Verb: 是
  • Sentence: 是字句 "The 是 Sentence Structure"

VOCABULARY


HSK CHINESE PINYIN P.O.S ENGLISH Audio
1 zhōng n. middle; center
1 guó n. country; nation
1 中国 Zhōngguó pn. China
1 rén n. people; person
1 中国人 Zhōngguórén pn. Chinese (people)
1 shì v. to be

GRAMMAR


Grammar 1: Countries and Nationalities in Chinese · HSK 1

If we want to introduce our nationalities in Chinese, we can use this structure:

Country Name +

So "country name + 人" suggests one's identity of having this country's nationality. And if we want to say our hometown, for example which city or province we are from, we can use this structure:

City / State / Province +

So "state/province/city... + 人" suggests one's identity of being from the state/province/city...Here are some examples:

  • Zhōngguó rén 
    中国人
    Chinese
  • Měiguó rén
    美国人
    American
  • Běijīng rén
    北京人
    people from Beijing (City)
  • Sìchuān rén
    四川人
    people from Sichuan (Province)
  • Jiāzhōu rén
    加州人
    people from California (State)

 

Grammar 2: Verb 是 · HSK 1

shì 是 to be

Generally, 是 can be translated as "to be" in English, but "to be" in English cannot be directly translated into 是 for every situation. We can use 是 to introduce one's nationality(or other identity, title...) in Chinese.

  • wǒ shì Zhōngguó ren
    我是中国人。
    I am Chinese
  • wǒ shì Měiguó ren
    我是美国人。
    I am American
  • wǒ shì Běijīng rén
    我是北京人。
    I'm from Beijing

 

Grammar 3: The 是 Sentence Structure · 是字句 · HSK 1

The 是 Sentence Structure, shìzìjù 是字句 is one of the most common sentence structures in Chinese, if not the most common one. The 是 Sentence Structure goes like this:

A 是 B

The example we learned today is the first use of the 是 Sentence Structure, and that is when:

(1) A "belongs to" the category, group or definition of B, and
(2)
B tells about A's identity or nature.

For example,

A B


I
shì

am
Yīngguórén
英国人
British


I
shì

am
Běijīngrén
北京人
Beijinger

25
Lesson Discussions

avatar
MHughes
Premium Student
MHughes

Hi, thank you so much for the lessons they are really helpful! I have a quick question, in the example given in the video the word for England was given as 英国, in the grammar section bellow this was also the word for Britain. Is there a separate word that can be used for either as they are not the same thing?

Sierra
Graduated Student
Sierra

Question. I m asked what state I live in , does Michigan have a translation or would I just say Michigan?

mindv0rtex
Premium Student
mindv0rtex

Hey, Lili! Russia is 俄国, right?

Rose-line
Premium Student
Rose-line

How do you say Mauritius ?

A BAO
Guest
A BAO

我是胡志明人, 胡志明市 是 越南国
谢谢你教我们

Quratulain saeed
Guest
Quratulain saeed

Ni hao
Mam li hao
How to say pakistan ???

Mhyana1p
Premium Student
Mhyana1p

UPDATE: I was able to find a video on youtube to help me with this. To ask someone which country they’re from, it’s apparently: 你是哪国人?Nǐ shì nǎ ɡuó rén?

Mhyana1p
Premium Student
Mhyana1p

Hello. I have a question… In the practice, you’re asking us to create a dialogue between two people who are asking and answering the question of where they’re from… however, I’ve re-watched the video and I don’t see where we’re taught to ask this… I attempted to use some of the words you’ve already taught us and using google translate, but i’m getting mixed answers.

How would we know how to ask someone where they’re from?

Odair Da silva
Premium Student
Odair Da silva

how to say im from Brazil

omsxavs
Graduated Student
omsxavs

我是墨西哥人。我叫Omar。

sotiri
Graduated Student
sotiri

我是希腊人
我是雅典

c.nowak
Graduated Student
c.nowak

你好。我叫Christian 。我是奥地利人。

Rommari
Premium Student
Rommari

你好, 我叫睿丽。 我是美国人。 我是加州人。

Imran Haider
Student
Imran Haider

你好。 我叫 Imran Haider。 我是巴基斯坦国 人。

Donald
Graduated Student
Donald

Lili Hao, in this lesson the word for a person, ren, sounds like Jen (first three letters of the name Jenny in English). Am I missing something?

sandeep
Student
sandeep

I learnt basic Chinese from a local Chinese trainer in India, however, even after completing 3 months I am filled with many doubts. But once I am going through your videos I am finding this the perfect way to learn this beautiful language. Thanks Hao Li. Your presentation way is just perfect and the way I was looking for. I am going to appear for HSK exam in May this year and I hope your videos will help me preparing myself. Thanks once again for all your effort.

mariosol
Guest
mariosol

finally found a site that it is awesome it is very detail oriented very happy to be here 谢谢漂亮

salindri71
Student
salindri71

I love this lesson. It can help me to improve my Hanyu skills .
Thank you Lili

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