Asking and Giving Prices 2

3.2 Asking and Giving Prices 2

This lesson is set in the PRC. In this lesson, you’ll learn to understand questions and answers you might use in buying things to eat. Mr. Anderson has stopped in at a small shop in his hotel in Beijing to buy some small pastries and cookies for a snack. Listen to his opening remark.

Wǒ xiǎng mǎi diǎnr diǎnxin.我想买点儿点心 I’m going to buy some pastries.

Here is the word for a pastry, cookie, etc.

diǎnxin点心 pastry, cookies, cake

The word for some in this sentence is the toneless syllable diǎnr. You may think of this as a reduced form of the word yìdiǎnr a little bit. You had the word a little bit earlier in its non-Beijing form yìdiǎn.

Listen to the two forms compared.

Notice that the Beijing form drops the final n, adds an r and changes the vowel from the e of ten to the a of tar.

The conversation continues.

Zhèige xiǎo diǎnxin duōshao qián yìjīn?这个小的点心多少钱一斤 How much are these small pastries per catty?
Bāmáo qián yìjīn.包毛钱一斤 Eighty cents a catty.

Here is the word for small.

xiǎo to be small

And here is the word used for a catty.

jīn catty

Notice that in this exchange, the general counter ge is again used to refer to the kind of thing. The unit of weight used like pound, is known in English as the catty.

Although this text used the term a catty, you will probably be best thinking of it as half a kilogram.

Listen again and review.

The conversation continues. Listen and review.

Gěi wo liǎngjīn.给我两斤 Give me two catties.

Here’s how you say to give.

Gěi to give

Notice that the word order is the same as in English. The indirect object immediately follows the verb, ahead of the direct object liǎngjīn two catties.

Now listen to a politer version of his request.

Qǐng ni gěi wo liǎngjīn.请你给我两斤 Please give me two catties.

Notice that the pronouns and are unstressed in this sentence.

Here is the word for to ask for.

Qǐng to ask for

You might translate qǐng ni as I ask you to, but obviously, the idiomatic equivalent is please. You can also make this request without the word for you qǐng gěi wo liǎngjīn.

Listen again and review.

The conversation continues.

Nín hái yào diǎnr shénme?您还要点儿什么 What else do you want?
Wǒ hái yào qìshuǐ.我还要汽水 I want some soda too.

Here is the word for to want.

yào to want

And here is the word for a soda.

qìshuǐ汽水 soda/carbonated softdrinks

You’ve had the adverb hái as still. You’ve also had it as yet. Here, we can’t translate it either way. You might think of the word hái in this exchange, as meaning in addition. The sentences could then be translated literally as What do you want a little of in addition? and I want a little soda in addition.

We have translated more idiomatically using What else do you want? and I want a little soda too. Even though the translations else and too by themselves are a bit loose for hái.

Listen again and review.

The conversation continues.

Duōshao qián yìpíng?多少钱一瓶 How much is it per bottle?
Liǎngmáo wǔfēn qián.两毛五分钱 It’s twenty-five cents.

Here is the english for one bottle of soda.

yìpíng qìshuǐ一瓶汽水 one bottle of soda

Notice that the word píng bottle acts as a counter.

Here is the English for one cent.

yìfēn qián一分钱 one cent
Note, this text was originally published in the 70’s. As a result of inflation the fēn is too small of unit of currency to be used in daily life. Although you may receive some fēn as change when shopping at a supermaket, you’re unlikely to buy goods at a market priced in them.

The word fēn is also a counter, measuring amounts of money. Notice that 25 cents is given as two dimes and five cents.

Listen again and review.

The conversation continues.

Zhèi shi sānkuài qián.这是三块钱 Here’s three dollars.
Zhǎo ni liùmáo wǔfēn qián.找你六毛五分钱 Here’s sixty-five cents (in) change.
Xièxie. Zaìjiàn.谢谢。再见 Thank you. Good-bye.
Zaìjiàn.再见 Good-bye.

Here’s the English for to give change.

Zhǎo to give change

Our English translation is a little loose. The storekeeper is really saying something like I’m giving you sixy five cents change.

Here is the word for goodbye.

Zaìjiàn再见 goodbye

Word for word zaìjiàn is again – see that is, see you again.

Listen to the following and test your understanding.

Literally, Mr. Anderson is saying this is three dollars. In this use, the word zhèi has no counter attached. You’ve seen the specifier used this way before.

Listen again and review.

After paying, Mr. Anderson notices some apples. There are two kinds: large and small.

Dà píngguǒ duōshao qián yìjīn?大苹果多少钱一斤 How much are the large apples per catty?
Dàde sìmáo wǔfēn qián yìjīn.大的四毛五分钱一斤 The large ones are forty-five cents a catty.

Here is the word for apple.

píngguǒ苹果 apple

Notice that when the noun is dropped, the verb must have the marker de. Large ones is simply dàde and in the same way, good ones would be hǎode.

Listen again and review.

The conversation continues.

Xiǎode duōshao qián yìjīn?小的多少钱一斤 How much per catty are the small ones?
Sānmáo wǔ.三毛五 Thirty-five cents.

Small ones of course, is simply xiǎode. Notice by the way, that the price in the answer has been abbreviated by omitting the first unit marker fēn and the word money.

Listen again and review.

The conversation continues.

Qǐng gěi wo sānjīn nèige xiǎode.请给我三斤那个小的 Please give me three catties of those small ones.
Hǎo. Sānjīn yìkuài líng wǔ.好。三斤一块两五 Certainly. Three catties are $1.05

Here, the dimes’ place is empty and the placeholder líng zero must be used; yíkuài líng wǔ one dollar zero five. You’ll remember that yíkuài wǔ, with in the dimes’ place, would mean a dollar fifty.

Notice that the word of, in the English phrase three catties of those small ones, has no equivalent in Chinese, which word for word is three catties those small ones.

Listen again and review.

The conversation continues.

Nín hái yào shénme?您还要什么 What else would you like?
Wǒ bú yào shénme le.我不要什么了 I don’t want anything else.

In the question, shénme is the interrogative pronoun what. In the answer however, without it’s tone, it’s the indefinite pronoun anything. Mr. Anderson’s reply is a statement and not a question. The new situation marker le is his reply indicates that his not wanting anything represents a change: Now, I don’t want anything.

Listen again and review.

Pronunciation Practice