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Chinese Language Learning Corner
- 饮料 — beverages
- 冷，热，温 — There are hot and cold beverages. 冷 = cold and 热 = hot. If you want something in between hot and cold, you can use 温, which is warm. “请给我一杯温水。” = Please give me a cup of warm water.
- 咖啡 — coffee
- 茶 — tea. Some common tea drinks that you may hear are (a) 绿茶 = green tea, (b) 中国茶 = Chinese tea, (c) 奶茶 = tea with milk, (d) 凉茶 = “cooling” tea, this is herbal tea in general.
- 薏米 — barley. Barley is famous for its “cooling” effect on the body. Thus, if the restaurant does not have 凉茶, you may want to try your luck at 薏米.
- 加奶 — 加 = add, 奶 = milk. 咖啡加奶 = coffee with milk. You may notice that coffee with milk and tea with milk are said differently. Though 茶加奶 is correct, we are more used to the term 奶茶.
- 糖 — sugar. If you want less sugar, you say 少糖. A cup of coffee with milk and less sugar is 咖啡加奶少糖.
- 口渴 — thirsty. “我口渴了，想喝点水。” = I am thirsty, I want some drinks. 水 is water, but it is also used to refer to any drinks unspecified.
- 冰 — ice. 咖啡冰 or 冰咖啡 are both acceptable for a cup of coffee with ice.
- 汁 — juice. As long as the fruits or vegetables can be squeezed into juice, you just add the name of the fruit or vegetable to 汁. (a) 橙汁 = orange juice, (b) 苹果汁 = apple juice, (c) 萝卜汁 = carrot juice
- 酒 — alcoholic drinks in general
The vocabulary can be used when you want to order a drink. Enjoy the language and the drinks!
This is a continuation from Chinese Language Grammar 2. In this station, we are going to explore adjectives (形容词) and how to indicate time in a Chinese language sentence.
List of adjectives to be learnt: 小 (small)、黑色 (black)、顽皮 (naughty)。
Let’s take a dog (狗) as our model today. You can describe a dog in different ways:
1. 这只狗是黑色的。— This dog is black.
2. 这是一只小狗。— This is a puppy.
3. 这是一只黑色的小狗。— This is a black puppy.
4. 小狗很顽皮。— The puppy is naughty.
5. 那只黑色的小狗很顽皮。— That black puppy is naughty.
As you can see, the style is quite free, you can “mix and match” different adjectives in a sentence. As long as you follow the grammar rules, you can make many different sentences with few simple adjectives.
Time and Tenses (时间)
Another good news for Chinese language learners: there are no tenses to be remembered in Chinese language.
We can use the day to indicate when you did, do or will be doing an action or other words to indicate time.
1. Days — 大前天、前天、昨天、今天、明天、后天、大后天 (In the same order: two days before yesterday, the day before yesterday, yesterday, today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, two days after tomorrow)
Though we seldom use 大前天 and 大后天, the vocabulary is there for you to express different days and time. When you are speaking of different times of the day, you can use 早上、中午、下午、傍晚、晚上 and 午夜 (morning, noon, afternoon, evening, night and midnight).
(a) 今天早上我在公园跑了一圈。— I ran one round in the park this morning.
(b) 今天下午我将去图书馆。— I am going to the library this afternoon.
(c) 今天晚上我将早一点睡。— I will sleep earlier tonight.
With the use of different times of the day, we know whether something happened in the past or going to happen.
2. Use of different words to indicate time
(i) 刚刚，刚才 (just)
我刚刚吃饱。— I have just eaten.
(ii) 已经 (already)
我已经吃饱了。— I have eaten already. (It means “I am full.”)
(iii) 还没有 (not … yet)
我还没有洗澡。— I have not taken a shower yet.
(iv) 正在 (-ing)
我正在做功课。— I am doing homework.
What other words that you use to indicate time in Chinese language?
Next station is about 数量词。
When I go out to eat, normally I choose between rice （饭）or noodle（面）, then it is easier to decide what to eat. For rice, I can choose 糯米饭，椰浆饭，杂菜饭，鸡饭 etc. For noodle, I can choose 云吞面，意大利面 etc.
Chinese Language Learning Corner
- 饭 / 米饭 — rice. Both 饭 and 米饭 means rice. At Singapore, we use 饭, while I have heard people from China use 米饭. 米 = the rice before cooked, 饭 = the cooked rice. Thus, we have different types of 米 and different types of 饭.
- 糯米饭 — glutinous rice. We do not eat 糯米饭 often, because a small portion of glutinous rice makes you full.
- 椰浆饭 — 椰浆 = coconut milk, 椰浆饭 = rice cooked with coconut milk = nasi lemak.
- 杂菜饭 — economical rice. 杂菜饭 is commonly seen at hawker centres and food courts. The interesting part is “杂菜” has nothing to do with “economical”. 杂菜 = mixed vegetables, in this case, vegetables also mean dishes and you can choose fish and meat as well. 杂菜饭 is called economical rice because it is usually cheaper than other food.
- 小菜 — side dish. Similarly with 杂菜, 小菜 does not mean the small green vegetables, it means side dish.
- 鸡饭 — 鸡 = chicken, 饭 = rice, 鸡饭 = chicken rice 🙂 easy. Similarly, 鸭饭 = duck rice.
- 粥 — porridge.
- 意大利面 — 意大利 = Italy, 意大利面 = the noodle from Italy = spaghetti
- 饱 — full. When you are full after a meal, you say “我饱了。” Beware of the pronunciation; 饱 is bao, the third tone. On the other hand, if you are hungry, you say “我饿了。”
- 食物 — food
- 汤匙 — spoon
- 叉 / 叉子 — fork
- 筷子 — chopsticks
The vocabulary really makes me feel hungry. 吃饭还是吃面好呢？(What should I eat, rice or noodle?)
We eat at least three meals a day. Thus, learning a language would be more interesting and “tastier” if we learn words relating to food.
For this post, we are discussing about 云吞面, which has different versions of English name: Wanton noodles, Wonton noodles, Wantan noodles, Wanton mee, Wonton mee, etc. It is just the different pronunciation due to different Chinese dialects, but you will not go wrong by the word “云吞面”. 云吞 is dumpling, which can be cooked by boiling or frying. 云吞面 is the noodle with dumpling.
Chinese Language Learning Corner
- 云吞 — dumpling
- 炸云吞 — fried dumpling
- 面 — noodle / mee
- 干 — dry
- 汤 — soup
- 好吃 — delicious
- 古早味 — the taste of the old days
- 多汁 — juicy (this is not a type of fruit juice)
- 果汁 — fruit juice. The format is easy; you put the name of the fruit and end with 汁 (juice). For example, if you want orange juice, it is 橙汁; if you want apple juice, it is 苹果汁.
- 青菜 — green vegetables
The vocabulary can be used when you are having a meal. Enjoy the language and the food!
It is the time of the year when both the P6 students and their parents are stressed out. Yes, PSLE is here! The Chinese Reading Comprehension, unlike MCQ, has no choices. Thus, some students find it difficult to score high marks.
For any reading comprehension, either English language or Chinese language, do the following in sequence:
1. Read the whole passage
Please do not skip this step. Many students want to save time by reading the questions first. Reading the whole passage quickly helps you to get a general idea of what the passage is about. Some answers are from different parts of the passage, thus reading the whole passage first helps you to answer better.
2. Read the questions one-by-one
When you are reading the questions, focus on the keywords：什么 (What)，为什么 (Why)，怎样 (How), etc.
3. Read the part of the passage that is related to the question
From the keywords in the question, you know (roughly) where the answer is. Try not to “copy and paste” the whole part, especially if the answer is from a conversation.
4. Answer the question and check the answer
Check the marks allocated for the question; if the mark is 4, you know you should write longer than the question with 2 marks.
Note: Some students lose marks by not writing the correct Chinese characters. It is not because the teacher is strict, but because a single stroke makes a different character. A wrong character means a wrong answer, please be extra careful.
Different types of questions
Some answers are easy to find, for example 不重视 = 忽视. When you see “视” in the passage, you will pay attention to the character and check if 忽视 can replace 不重视.
Note: Not all answers are of two characters only. Some answers may be of one character or four characters as in idioms (成语).
For this type of question, read the passage carefully. As mentioned, the answer may be from different parts of the passage. This is a “copy and paste” question, as long as you understand the question, you can get the answer directly from the passage.
(c) Comparison questions
This type of question asks you to compare two things. Frequently, the question asks for 之前 (before) and 之后 (after), but the question can also ask you to compare two things.
This question asks for your opinion. More often than not, it is asking whether you agree or disagree regarding the action taken by someone in the passage, and why do you agree or disagree? Though it is about your opinion, sometimes you can still find hints from the passage. Furthermore, the question relates to moral qualities, such as honesty (诚实), being helpful （乐于助人）, etc. Thus, reading moral stories will help you in using the correct descriptive words.
Above is the summary from my personal teaching experience. Students are advised to be prepared for other types of questions in case the format is changed in future. All the best to all the P6 students!
Disclaimer: This article is open for discussion. I do not own this reference book with the title PSLE 华文阅读理解 (PSLE Chinese Reading Comprehension)， 第一版 2012年. Some questionable examples are found in the book.
1. Answer that does not exist?
Below is the extract of a full passage inside the book:
On the next page is the questions relate to the passage above, below is extract of the questions:
In the answer page, the answer given for question 18 cannot be found in the passage, as below extract of the answer page:
2. Extra, missing or wrong words?
Below are the three extracts from the book on different pages. After much discussion and consideration, it is confirmed that they are errors. Please feedback if you think otherwise.
(a) Missing word of “生” as the correct noun should be “小学生”.
(b) Extra word of “胡”
(c) The original word is “卖”, which has been amended to “买”. From the context of the passage, the passage is about consumers who has bought (买) the goods and found that the goods are not suitable for use.
With these examples, I hope parents and students will be careful when referring to any reference books available in the market. If you have any doubt, always find a third opinion. Most importantly, have confidence in yourself, do not feel discouraged if you find questionable information in any reference book. Knowledge is gained through questioning.
I am not sure if they have rectified the error, just want to alert parents and students if you have bought the same book with the same version as mine. I welcome comments and feedback. Thank you.