Beginner Lesson 3.1 – Countries & Nationalities

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


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 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 
  • Měiguó rén
  • Běijīng rén
    people from Beijing (City)
  • Sìchuān rén
    people from Sichuan (Province)
  • Jiāzhōu rén
    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
    I am Chinese
  • wǒ shì Měiguó ren
    I am American
  • wǒ shì Běijīng rén
    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
B tells about A's identity or nature.

For example,





Collapse Comments
Trinity HollandPremium Student July 4, 2024 at 4:06 pm

你好!我叫 Trinity Holland。我是美国人。

你好, 我是美国人

Anthony WilliamsPremium Student February 9, 2024 at 5:18 am

Wǒ jiao Tony
Wǒ xìng Williams
Nǐ xìng shénme?
Nǐ jiao shénme?
Wǒ shì Yīng guó
Wǒ shì Yīng guó rén
Wǒ shì London rén

NayfkPremium Student January 31, 2024 at 2:31 pm

你好, 我是法国人


WilliamPhuketPremium Student October 12, 2023 at 8:16 am


Daniel TomPremium Student October 2, 2023 at 2:19 pm


你好 , 我叫 Ivy,我是加拿大人 !

nahilPremium Student June 3, 2023 at 9:58 pm


silvigarciaPremium Student May 17, 2023 at 12:57 pm

你好, 我是 巴西人, 我叫私人表噶死啊, 我姓私人表

Johnny KPremium Student February 24, 2023 at 9:44 pm

Hi Lili Hao, I am a new member of the I am not familiar on posting my practical image, voice and video in the discussion box. I wanted to post these files but I do not know how to do it ? If you have anything to help me please?

Hi there! I’m happy to help you with posting your image, voice and video files in the discussion box. The services our students use for this are Imgur for images, YouTube for videos, SoundCloud and Vocaroo for voice recordings.
To post an image using Imgur, you can upload the image to their website and then copy the link to the image. In the discussion box, you can paste the link and it will show up as an image.
To post a video using YouTube, you can upload the video to your YouTube account and then copy the link to the video. In the discussion box, you can paste the link and it will show up as a video.
To post a voice recording using SoundCloud, you can upload the recording to their website and then copy the link to the recording. In the discussion box, you can paste the link and it will show up as an audio player.
To post a voice recording using Vocaroo, you can record your voice on their website and then copy the link to the recording. In the discussion box, you can paste the link and it will show up as an audio player.
I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Hii Lili, I looked up on Google, but to confirm, is Brazil 巴西?
Thank you in advance!

Tamie TaufaasauPremium Student April 26, 2022 at 9:00 am

Hello! My name is Tamie. I am an American. I live in the state of Texas.

Nǐ hǎo! Wǒ jiào tǎ mǐ. Wǒ shì měiguó rén. Wǒ zhù zài dé kè sà sī zhōu.

And, yes. I used google translate to write in Hanzi. How can my keyboard write characters?

wo shi yin dou ren

Vidia AmelliaPremium Student January 10, 2022 at 2:36 am

Hallo I’m from Indonesia
does Indonesia have a translation ?

yahye mohamedPremium Student September 30, 2021 at 3:54 pm

你好 !我是索马里人。
谢谢 李李

hesterPremium Student September 22, 2021 at 2:37 am

你好 我是美国人

what’s India called in chinese?

Swatantra PandeyPremium Student July 10, 2021 at 1:56 am

wo Shi Yin du Ren

VincentEho22Student June 24, 2021 at 1:40 am

我是印度尼西亚人 (Wǒ shì yìn dù ní xī yǎ rén)
I am Indonesian

Duy BảoPremium Student June 2, 2021 at 3:08 am

你好!我 是 越南人

我是 India人

你好,我叫 Sòng San
我是 yin du人

Beatriz Fernandes SuPremium Student April 25, 2021 at 10:46 am


naireaksmeyStudent March 23, 2021 at 4:06 am

我 姓smey, 我叫nai reaksmey, 我是cambodia人,

FikerPremium Student February 18, 2021 at 12:13 am


SimonePremium Student January 29, 2021 at 8:10 pm

Question. I am in North Carolina. How would I say that?

Roxanne CuPremium Student January 21, 2021 at 8:12 am


你好, 我叫杰西。我是美国人。我今天早上去了海边跑步。

Inja GroznikPremium Student October 29, 2020 at 5:32 am

Hi, I’m from Slovenia. is there a word for Slovenia in Chinese??

how can i say Myanmar in chinese?

ra_schmiPremium Student October 13, 2020 at 11:29 pm

你 好, 我叫 王二。
我 是 中国人。

How would I say “I am English” because I’m from England


ni hao , wo shi UAE ren but i dont really know how to write it in Chinese can you help me ?

najahPremium Student June 12, 2020 at 5:04 pm

我叫 na’j’a’h

Rose-linePremium Student April 29, 2020 at 5:06 am

How do you say Mauritius ?

我是胡志明人, 胡志明市 是 越南国

Quratulain saeedGuest September 22, 2019 at 1:34 pm

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

Mhyana1pPremium Student September 18, 2019 at 12:17 am

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?

Mhyana1pPremium Student September 17, 2019 at 11:58 pm

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?

MHughesPremium Student August 15, 2019 at 10:06 am

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?

英国 is used to translate both England and Britain. 英格兰 can be used specifically for England.

Odair Da silvaPremium Student August 13, 2019 at 11:58 pm

how to say im from Brazil

omsxavsPremium Student June 6, 2019 at 5:38 am


sotiriPremium Student February 4, 2019 at 6:06 am


c.nowakPremium Student January 6, 2019 at 6:32 am

你好。我叫Christian 。我是奥地利人。

RommariPremium Student November 27, 2018 at 3:56 am

你好, 我叫睿丽。 我是美国人。 我是加州人。

你好。 我叫 Imran Haider。 我是巴基斯坦国 人。

SierraPremium Student July 21, 2018 at 3:20 am

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

Michigan is 密歇根(Mìxiēgēn) or 密歇根州()Mìxiēgēn Zhōu). 州(Zhōu) is state.

Names of states, cities, counties in Chinese and their pronunciations can be found on Google Translation or other online dictionary.

mindv0rtexPremium Student May 4, 2018 at 8:56 am

Hey, Lili! Russia is 俄国, right?

Lili HaoTeacher May 4, 2018 at 1:57 pm

俄国 is technically the Russia before Soviet Union (Sūlián 苏联), and Russia after Soviet Union is usually 俄罗斯(Éluósī). Sometimes when people say 俄国 you know they’re talking about Russia though.

mindv0rtexPremium Student May 4, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Thanks! That is a bit harder to memorize!

DonaldPremium Student February 25, 2018 at 12:20 pm

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?

For detailed pronunciation tips on the Initial r, please kindly see our Pinyin Lesson on Initials zh, ch, sh r.

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.

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

Thank you so much! We’re very glad to know that you enjoyed our lesson on Countries in Chinese!

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

You’re welcome! I’m really glad that you find our lesson on Countries and Nationalities in Chinese helpful for learning Chinese! Keep it up!

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