Chinese take-out!

Look to your right – on the screen, not in real life – just above the weather (which is still showing a moon when it’s sunny here… argh!). We just added Chinese take-out!, where we’ll post fun things to say in Chinese – hopefully almost every day. Now you can practice on all your Chinese friends and co-workers! (And if you offend them, they’ll never let you know! =)

– You can leave replies to each phrase by clicking the date and time.
– Clicking the pronunciation will take you to a very cool online Chinese dictionary that has audio files of each word.
– To see all the Chinese take-out! phrases, click “Chinese take-out” in the Categories list in the left-hand sidebar.
– Starting now, you can mouseover characters like this: 我爱你 to see the pronunciation.
– If you are seeing computer symbols instead of Chinese, you need to either update your browser, enable East Asian languages, and/or ditch Internet Explorer and switch to Firefox!

For the inaugural phrase we picked “ma3ma3 hu1hu1” (ma-ma hoo-hoo), for no other reason than it just sounds really funny when you say it. We were in Wen2-di2’s car (yes, that’s pronounced “Wendy,” and he hates it) with some others and were trying to catch the conversation when one of them used this phrase and it made us laugh. Lao3 Zhao4 also used it the day we were getting my hair cut. Anyway, there will be plenty more to come. And we take requests!

5 thoughts on “Chinese take-out!”

  1. “Chinese take-out” as in, “here’s some Chinese words to-go,” not “order caterpillars next time you go for Chinese food.”

    I didn’t realize how putting a caterpillar underneath “Chinese take-out!” looked until it was posted. Oh well. In Thailand they eat caterpillars, and I’m sure I could find some to eat on the Mainland. For the record, our Taiwanese friends say that they don’t eat caterpillars.

  2. I’m really new to the Chinese language, but I’m assuming the numbers next to each syllable refer to pitch. If so, is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5(?) ascending tones or descending tones? In other words is 1 high and the others lower, or is 1 low and the others go up from there? (And are there five tones or four or three?)

  3. Yeah, sorry about that. We’ll provide the pronunciation guide soon. But for now, the numbers are tones:

    1 – flat (zh?ng… middle)
    2 – going up (gu… country)
    3 – down and up (m?i… beautiful)
    4 – down (i… love)
    5 (or nothing) – no tone, sometimes described as a dot.

    And those letters may look familiar, but in some instances they aren’t the letters we know! If you click the link by “Pronounced:” then you’ll get a dictionary page with audio files for each character.

    We use tones in English, just in different ways, less often and with less finesse: “N!”(4) and “N?”(2), or “Ys!”(4) “Ys?”(2), or “Excse(4) me”(5) and “Exc?se(3) m!”(4)

  4. Yeah, Yeah I’m all about the food! But what I want to see is the Kong Fo! Where are those picts? Wait maybe I missread this post. It’s not about food!

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