Changing Money, Opening and Closing Times

3.6 Changing Money, Opening and Closing Times

This lesson is set in the RoC. You’ll learn how to understand more questions and answers about changing money as well as questions and answers about opening and closing times. Mr. Perez is stopping in the town of Shinju on his way to study Chinese in Taijong. He tries to change some money in his small traditional-style hotel. Let’s listen.

Qǐngwèn, nǐmen zhèli kéyi huàn Měijīn ma?请问,你们这里可以换美金吗 May I ask, can U.S. currency be changed here?
Duìbuqǐ, bù kéyi.对骨气,不可以 I’m sorry, that’s not possible.

Here is the word for may.

kéyi可以 may

Although the basic meaning of kéyi is that something is permitted or possible, you’ll often find that can will be a better English translation. You’ll remember that nǐmen zhèli is really a place phrase, meaning something like you’re place so that a more literal translation of the question would be as for you’re place, may one change American currency?.

Listen again and review.

The conversation continues.

Lǚxíng zhípiào ne?旅行支票呢 How about traveler’s checks?
Yě bù kéyi. Nín děi zài Táiwān Yínháng huàn.也不可以。您得在台湾银行换 That’s not possible either. You have to change them at the Bank of Taiwan.

Here is the English for must/have to.

děi must/have to

The conversation continues.

Yínháng shénme shíhòu kāi mén?银行什么时候开门 When does the bank open?
Jiǔdiǎn zhōng kāi mén.九点钟开门 It opens at nine o’clock.

Here’s how you say to open.

kāi mén开门 start of business/to open the doors

Here’s the word for hours.

diǎn hours on the clock

And here’s the word for O’Clock.

zhōng o’clock

The verb kāi of course is to open and mén is door. Nine o’clock is jiǔdiǎn zhōng. You may think of zhōng as being o’clock. Sometimes, zhōng is left off. Eg. Jiǔdiǎn just as we sometimes leave off o’clock eg. It’s nine.

Listen again and review.

The conversation continues.

Jǐdiǎn zhōng guān mén几点钟关门 What time does it close?
Sāndiǎn zhōng guān mén.三点钟关门 It closes at three o’clock.
guān mén关门 the close of business/to close the doors

The phrase guān mén can also refer to going out of business all together. In this conversation of course, the context makes it clear that you are referring to a closing time.

Listen again and review.

The conversation continues.

Xiànzài jǐdiǎn zhōng? Hái kéyi huàn ba?现在几点钟?还可以换吧 What time is it now? I may still change money, I suppose?
Xiànzài liǎngdiǎn bàn. Hái kéyi huàn现在两点半。还可以换 It’s half past, two now. You may still change money.
bàn half

Notice that the marker for ba is here added to a question Hái kéyi huàn ba? I can still change money I suppose. The marker ba is added to a question when you’re pretty sure the answer is going to be yes. Still, the suggestive quality of ba is translated here by the expression I suppose. Half past two is liǎngdiǎn bàn. Although in English, we seldom say half past two o’clock. In Chinese, you may hear liǎngdiǎn bàn zhōng since any clock time expression may end with zhōng.

Listen again and review.

The next day, Mr. Perez is at the bank.

Wǒ yào huàn yìdiǎn Táibì. Zhè shi yìbǎikuài MěiJīnde lǚxíng zhípiào.我要换一点台币。这是一百块美金的旅行支票 I want to change some money into Taiwan currency. Here are one hundred U.S. dollars in traveler’s checks.
Hǎo. Yíkuài Měijīn huàn sānshibākuài Táibì.好。一块美金换三十八块台币 Certainly. One U.S. dollar is thirty-eight dollars in Taiwan currency.

Here’s how you say the word for Taiwan currency.

Táibì台币 Taiwan currency

The conversation continues.

Zhè shi wǔ zhāng sìshikuàide lǚxíng zhípiào.这是五章四十块的旅行支票 Here are five 20-dollar traveler’s checks.
Qǐng nín děngyiděng. Wǒ jiù lái.请您等一等。我就来 Please wait a moment. I’ll be right back.

Here’s the word for to wait.

děng to wait

We’ve talked about the reduplication of verbs in Chinese. Besides simple reduplication, such as in kànkan, there is reduplication with the number one inserted as is kànyikàn.

Both forms of reduplication have the same effect on the meaning, making the verb more tentative. We may translate děngyiděng as wait a moment rather that just wait, to try to capture the softening.

After asking Mr. Perez to wait, the teller turns to go to the desk behind the counter saying I’ll be right back. In this context, the verb lái is understood to mean come back and the adverb jiù, which we have again translated as right, means immediately.

Listen again and review.

After the teller completes the paperwork, she hands Mr. Perez three thousand eight hundred dollars in Taiwanese dollars in 100-dollar bills.

Wǒ yào diǎn xiǎo piàozi. Zhèzhāng yìbǎikuàide qǐng ni gěi wo huànhuan, xíng bu xíng?我要点小票子。这张一百块的请你给我换换,行不行 I would like some small bills. Please change this 100-dollar bill for me. Would that be all right?
Xíng. Gěi nín jiǔzhāng shíkuàide, liǎngzhāng wǔkuàide.行。给您久张十块的,两张五块的 All right. I’ll give you nine tens and two fives.

Here’s the word for a bill.

piàozi票子 bill/paper money

And here is the word for to be alright.

xíng to be alright

The conversation concludes. Listen.

Máfan nǐ le.麻烦你了 Sorry to have bothered you.
Méi shenme.没什么 It’s nothing.

You’ll remember that méi is a common contraction of méiyou and that a toneless shenme is the indefinite word anything as in I don’t want anything else. So, méi shenme means literally there isn’t anything. That is presumably, what I did wasn’t anything calling for you making such a polite remark.

Listen again and review.

Pronunciation Practice