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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
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