Learn Chinese from scratch!
第四课 - Lesson 4

Introduction and greeting




Zhè shì wǒ bàba.


这 是 我 爸爸。


Zhè shì wǒ māma.


这 是 我 妈妈。


Zhè shì wǒ péngyou Āndéliè.


这 是 我 朋友 Āndéliè.


Nǐmen hǎo!


你们 好!

Bàba, Māma:

Nǐ hǎo!


你 好!

New words

  1. (pron.) zhè this
  2. (v.) shì to be
  3. 朋友 (n.) péngyou friend
  4. 爸爸 (n.) bàba dad, father
  5. 妈妈 (n.) māma mother
  6. 你们 (pron.) nǐmen you (pl.)

Proper names *

  1. Āndéliè Andrei
  2. Māsha Masha

* These are Russian names. Sorry, guys, but the audio was made for Russian students, and it cannot be changed, therefore, the names cannot be changed too. Anyway, strange names, words, sounds... are all the part of studying Chinese, so... enjoy! :)

= (graphic sign) + (to walk)
I had been walking and ran into this sign.
"To walk" kind of points you something with its "leg"...

also means literary language.
= (sun) + (leg)
"Leg" in the full character looks a bit different: the upper part is compressed into one horizontal line with the "sun" above it.
朋友 = (moon) + (right hand)
朋友 Both characters mean "friend".
The moon and the right hand kind of highlight the value of a friend.
(the main meaning of
is again)
= (father) + (phonetic)
The phonetic component 巴 ba gives the sound to the character "father".
= (woman) + (phonetic)
The phonetic component 马 ma (horse) gives the sound to the character "woman". If it makes anybody feel better, you may remember it as a woman-horse :)


  1. 这是我爸爸。” — “This is my father.” The expression “这是” is usually used to introduce one person to another, and the expression “我是” is used when one introduces oneself. (“” in both expressions is pronounced light).
  2. 你们好。” — “Hello” is used to greet more than one person.

Pronunciation drills and conversation practice

Initials zh sh
Finals -i [] iou (-iu) eng
  1. The four tones and neutral tone

    zhē zhé zhě zhè } zhè shì
    shī shí shǐ shì
    shā shá shǎ shà    
    pēng péng pěng pèng } péngyou
    yōu yóu yǒu yòu
  2. Sound discrimination

    zhēn — zhēng
    shuō — shōu
    liú — lóu
    lè — liè

    dàng — dèng
    zhǐ — zhě
    shé — shí

  3. Tone discrimination (2nd tone and 1st tone)

    péng — pēng
    zhí — zhī
    shéng — shēng

    shé — shē
    zhóu — zhōu
    shén — shēn

  4. Tone changes — half 3rd tone

    wǒ māma
    wǒ gēge
    wǒ péngyou
    wǒ dìdi
    wǒ bàba
    hǎo ma

    nǐ māma
    nǐ gēge
    nǐ péngyou
    nǐ dìdi
    nǐ bàba
    nǐ ne

  5. Read out the following phrases:

    tā māma
    tā bàba

    tā péngyou
    tā hǎo

Identifying people or objects

  1. Father and Mother

    Zhè shì wǒ bàba / māma.

    Zhè shì tā bàba / māma.

  2. Introducing one person to another

    A: Zhè shì Māsha.

    B: Nǐ hǎo!

  3. Introducing oneself

    A: Nǐ hǎo, wǒ shì Āndéliè.
    В: Nǐ hǎo, wǒ shì Māsha.

  4. Greeting each other

    1. A:

      B, C, D:

    2. bàba máng ma?
      Wǒ bàba hěn máng.
      (Read the phrases aloud, then replace the bold word with the following words:
      māma, péngyou)

    3. A: Nǐ bàba hǎo ma?
      В: Тā hěn hǎo.
      A: Nǐ māma ne?
      В: Тā yě hěn hǎo.
      (gēge, dìdi, māma, péngyou)

    4. A: Nǐ máng ma?
      В: Wǒ bù máng.
      A: Nǐ péngyou máng ma?
      B: Wǒ péngyou bù máng.
      A: Nǐ gēge, nǐ dìdi ne?
      B: Tāmen bù máng.


How to pronounce these initials and finals

Initial zh [tʂ] ≈ [ʤ]

The initial zh [tʂ] is a blade-palatal, unaspirated voiceless affricate. It is produced by curling the tip of the tongue and raising it against the front part of the hard palate, allowing a narrow opening between the tongue-tip and the hard palate for the air to squeeze out. The vocal cords do not vibrate in pronouncing it.

Initial sh [ʂ] ≈ [ʃ]

The initial sh [ʂ] is a blade-palatal voiceless fricative. It is produced by curling the tip of the tongue and raising it to the hard palate, leaving a narrow opening between them to allow the air to squeeze out through it. The vocal cords do not vibrate in pronouncing it.

Simple final -i []

The letter “i” is used to stand for the blade-palatale vowel [] after the initials “sh, zh” (and “ch” and “r” to be introduced in the next two lessons). In order to distinguish the simple final “i []” from the simple final “i [i]”, “i []” written as “-i” when it stands alone. In pronouncing such syllables as “zhi” and “chi”, the tongue is kept still, and care must be taken not to pronounce it as the simple final “i [i]” which is never found after “zh, ch, sh” or “r”.

Compound final iou [iəu]

The compound final iou [iəu] is produced by first lowering the tongue from the position of “i” to that for “o”, then raising the tongue fom the position of “o” to that of “u”. The compound final “iou” is written as “iu” when it comes after an initial and the tone-graph is placed on the last element, e.g. “liù”.

Table of stroke-order of Chinese characters

1. Stroke order zhè 这 7
  Stroke order zhè трад. 這 10
2. Stroke order shì 是 9
3. Stroke order bà 爸 8
4. Stroke order mā 妈 6
  Stroke order mā трад. 媽 13
5. Stroke order péng 朋 8
6. Stroke order you 友 4

Phonetic dictation

Listen to the following one-syllable words. Write them in transcription pinyin. Lay tone marks:

只; 使; 六; 牛; 梦; 门; 丢; 等; 疼; 说;
捉; 朋; 胖; 省; 深; 商; 跟; 更; 争; 针;
周; 受; 比; 批; 某; 谬; 圣; 上; 地;
报纸; 头疼; 上课; 深刻; 耕地。


Character dictation

Write the following sentences in Chinese characters adding tone marks above them:

  1. Zhè shì wǒ gēge.
  2. Dìdi hěn máng.
  3. Nǐ bàba, māma hǎo ma? — Tāmen dōu hěn hǎo.
  4. Wǒ bù máng, wǒ péngyou yě bù máng.


Do you know?

Chinese Phonetic Alphabet pinyin

The transcription system pinyin (pīnyīn, 拼音) is the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet (pīnyīn zìmǔ, 拼音字母). “The Scheme for the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet”, which was adopted at the First Plenary Session of the First National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China on February 21, 1958, is a set of symbols used to transliterate Chinese characters and combine the speech sounds of the common speech into syllables. The scheme makes use of the Latin alphabet, modified to meet the needs of the Chinese language. The scheme, which will form the foundation for the creation of a Chinese alphabetic system of writing, is being used throughout the country to facilitate the learning of Chinese characters, help unify pronunciation and popularize the common speech. The scheme has for years been used among foreign learners of Chinese as well and has been found much useful and helpful.