99. And in Chinese and With in Chinese

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The Mandarin Blueprint Podcast focuses primarily on The Mandarin Blueprint Method online curriculum. Creators Luke Neale & Phil Crimmins answer questions and comments, discuss topics related to China and Mandarin learning and have special guests.

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0:39 Grammar Point

The character 和 is either a “connector” (conjunction) or a “relator” (preposition). The difference comes down to the sentence structure. If the subject of the sentence is something like “你和我 Nǐ hé wǒ – You and I,” then 和 is a ‘connector.’ However, if 和 is in a phrase that modifies another part of the sentence, it’s a relator. Here’s an example as a “connector”:

Sentence 1:

我和儿子上午过来吗? – Level 13
Wǒ hé érzi shàngwǔ guòlai ma?
Shall my son & I come over in the morning?

Here we have a connector usage of 和, because “我和儿子” isn’t modifying anything, but rather is the “Host” (subject) of the sentence. 过来 is the “Does What” (verb), and “上午” is the “Guest” (object).

Only when 和 is in a part of the sentence that is modifying the “Host,” “Does What,” or “Guest” do we classify it as a “relator.” Here are some examples:

Sentence 2:

我想要和一个美女在一起。 – Level 19
Wǒ xiǎngyào hé yíge měinǚ zài yīqǐ
I want to be with a beautiful woman.

Usually, textbooks will translate “和” as “and,” but as you can see from this example, it’s also sometimes more appropriate to think of it as “with.”

In sentence 2, we see “和” as a relator. Why? Because the primary “Host – DoesWhat – Guest” (subject – verb – object) in this sentence is “我 – 想要 – 美女.” Everything else is modifying “美女.”

Unsurprisingly, there’s a bit more to this sentence than “I want a beautiful woman.” Surrounding 美女 with “和一个 “&” 在一起” expresses the relationship (hence the relator usage) between the subject’s desires (我想要) and the 美女. It’s with her (和).


Sentence 3:

我看见你能用中文和中国人聊天儿。 – Level 22
Wǒ kànjiàn nǐ néng yòng zhōngwén hé zhōngguó rén liáotiānr.
I saw that you can talk to Chinese people in Chinese.

This sentence has multiple verbs and verb phrases, and 和 isn’t in the context of a Host or Guest in any of them.

Phrase 1:

Host: 我
Does What: 看见
Guest: 你

Phrase 2:

Host: 你
Does What: 能用
Guest: 中文

Phrase 3:

Host: 你
Does What: 聊天儿

In this case, 和 helpers to modify “聊天儿.” It’s relating “你” and “聊天儿” by saying who “你” is speaking with (中国人).

It’s fun to breakdown sentences with multiple verbs like this by starting from the primary sentence and building up:

你·聊天儿。
你·和中国人·聊天儿。
你·用中文·和中国人·聊天儿。
你·能·用中文·和中国人·聊天儿。
我看见·你·能·用中文·和中国人·聊天儿。

Each sentence is grammatically correct, but adding those extra words changes the meaning significantly. Ultimately, this sentence is about the speaker remarking on his/her recognition of your abilities, which is why 我看见你 comes first.


Sentence 4:

很多人都等着和她拍照。 – Level 25
Hěn duō rén dōu děng zhe hé tā pāizhào.
There’s a lot of people waiting to take a picture with her.

We know that 和 is a relator here because it’s function is to show the relationship between taking pictures (拍照) and who/what is having their photo taken (她).

As a final point, whether it’s the connector or relator usage, you can replace “和 “with “跟 gēn” or “与 yǔ.” You can use “和 “and “跟” interchangeably (with one exception), but “与” is for more formal contexts. We’ll leave you with a couple of examples showing this:

Sentence 5:

我跟/和他是朋友。 – Level 32
Wǒ gēn/hé tā shì péngyǒu.
He and I are friends.

Sentence 6:

人与动物的区别就是人能制造和使用劳动工具。 – Level 51
Rén yǔ dòngwù de qūbié jiùshì rén néng zhìzào hé shǐyòng láodòng gōngjù.
The difference between humans and animals is that people can create and use tools for labor.

The One 跟/和 Exception

As we mentioned above, 跟 & 和 can be used interchangeably with one exception. Since “跟” also carries the meaning of “follow,” there are certain commands where you can use “跟” but not “和.”

Sentence 7:

跟我走。 – Common Phrase
Gēn wǒ zǒu.
Follow me.

In this sentence, 和 isn’t correct because there’s no sense of “follow” inherent in the character. However, if you add “一起,” you can use either:

Sentence 8:

跟/和我一起走。
Gēn/Hé wǒ yīqǐ zǒu.
Come with me.

Remember to search the tags ‘GW-Connector-With/And-连词-和-跟-与’ & ‘GW-Relator-With/And-介词-和’ in your flashcard software to see more sentences with this structure. 

8:58 Comments & Emails

Jason Pon by Community

Hi all – I’m running into a bit of a problem in terms of pacing myself between reviewing and studying new characters and adding new sentences. Ever since I hit character 105 and unlocked the GB decks, I’m finding that my Anki review sessions have become so much longer as GB cards are generally more time consuming than character cards (i.e. reading the sentence, practicing pronunciation, determining the missing word, listening to audio playback – much longer than character cards which are much more straightforward to review). Some days I get through my Anki cards (GB, Hanzi & words, and the very limited # of cards in my pronunciation mastery deck) and then am able to get through some new characters (maybe 3-5). But those characters usually have lots of new sentences associated with them (and I pick and choose, I do not unlock 100% of the characters). Thus, it feels like what I once was expecting to accelerate due to faster learning etc is actually being thwarted a bit by the increasingly time consuming review for my GB deck. Does anyone have any tips or advice on how to get over this hunch that I’m in? I am not sure if I am making the mistake of a) reviewing before studying (which I don’t think I am… I think review should be before new study), b) too many new cards (I have 20 new cards a day, but that’s coming from only 3-5 characters), c) or anything else. Or will it get easier once these initial sentences get rotated through a few times and SRS kicks in to have them appear less frequently (rather than everyday or 2).

I work full time during the week as well, so trying to get through 45 minutes and even up to 60 minutes sometimes of review is challenging enough, and then on top of that learning new characters! Getting a bit off more personal but I also have a lot of other ways I like to spend my evening time so I’m trying to strike the right balance between everything!! 

Thanks in advance!

21:21

Gavia Arctica by Community

Hi everyone! 

I’m very happy to found MBM after almost a year for going from one Chinese learning site to another. I feel like I have finally found the site to stay on long term!

I´m studying on my own, just for the fun of learning. Originally I had no plan, just to learn a few words in case I ended up going to China on a holiday but ended up falling totally in love with the language. It has become the “ultimate challenge” and I just love studying! 

That feeling of understanding at least something that is said in Chinese, a verse of lyrics of a song or trying to say something myself and seeing that a Chinese person understands me…. simply incredible… amazing! With the Covid situation it does not seem like I´m taking that trip to China any time soon now, but hey, that just gives me more time to learn before I go!

I can read simple HSK3-HSK4 level texts and in theory I know almost 1500 characters but the past 11 months have been enough to see for myself that what Luke and Phil say is true: rote learning does NOT work and words without context are not very useful. 

Also, I have not been speaking hardly at all so far, so the tones did not seem so important. Now that I want to start speaking I notice that all those characters I supposedly “know” are not understandable in a sentence if I have no idea of the tone and cannot pronounce. I did try to memorize them when learning characters but… the tone did not “mean” anything to me or “make any difference” at all. Now I notice that I can´t open my mouth to speak without knowing the tone! 

MBM seems like a lot of fun so I´m very happy to be here and start the process of “relearning” characters. At the same time I keep reading graded readers and watching some series, reading and listening to The Chairman’s Bao and hopefully some time soon start to practise speaking little by little. 

Looking forward to learning together with all of you! Will be posting some questions soon. 

24:46

Gavia Arctica by Email

Hi Phil & Luke,
I´m now on level 7 of the Foundation Course and simultaneously working on the Pronunciation Mastery course. Enjoying it all very much, thank you!!!
A few questions:
1) How to review ONLY WRITING characters?
Is there a way to review in Anki somehow by “card type” to ONLY review the cards that require WRITING a character, all in one go? All of those that are due, but only those cards that require writing I mean. I´m asking this because I definitely need to write them by hand, either on screen (have been using Skritter before and still keep reviewing there, too) or on paper. But since cards come up in a mixed order and many of my reviews now in the beginning are on sets, actors and props I find it a difficult “change of pace” to put down my mobile phone, take up pen and paper, write the character, take the phone again and then continue with other reviews just to go back to the pen and paper again a few minutes (or seconds) later, back and forth. 
I would love to have a way to review the cards that don´t require writing when I´m out and about and have a moment and can review on my phone, but then have my “writing moment” at night at home and just review those cards. Just take a cup of tea, my notebook and pencil and somehow choose just those “writing cards” on my computer screen rather than mobile phone.
So far I´m just not writing. It´s not much of a problem because most of the first characters I know quite well before anyway, but if I don´t write at all it will become a problem soon. I could of course just feed everything into Skritter  – do you know if anyone has already made shared Skritter lists for the MBM course? But I sort of like the idea of slowly learning to write by hand, even if it´s just a little. How could I do that with ANKI without skipping back and forth all the time between different types of cards? Also, Skritter is an extra cost and at some point I might want to use that money for other Chinese learning resources. I like the idea of “collecting all my characters in one place” so I probably will continue my Skritter subscription, too because I really like the app although I get that Anki is much more flexible in many ways.
2) How to find the motivation to make memorable movies for characters I already know from before? 
As I know most of the first characters quite well from before I find that so far this is a bit like doing things backward. I see the anki card, remember the character, how to write it, how to pronounce – mostly NOT remembering the tone though, that´s what I need the movie for! – and reviewing feels more like trying to learn these movies through the characters, not the other way around. I have been trying to memorize through other methods before, more like with verbal mnemonics I made up myself and after 11 months of that and words without context I KNOW that things don´t stay in long term memory that way. For a few days or weeks they do, but when I review a character I have not seen for a few months I NEVER remember it. I trust that with MBM I will and I want to stick to this even though right now it feels like I´d just like to skip all the characters I already know – but I can´t because then I would not build a solid base for my sets, actors and props!
My best movies have been the characters that I did not know from before like 兄 and 兑, here I feel I really used the MBM as it should be: making a movie to remember the character, not the other way around. I discovered the power of visual mnemonics with theses characters because I made my friend´s big brother (my 兄 prop person) wear a hairband with devil horns and since he is a person I don´t know very well and don´t have many real visual memories of in real life… well now I can´t get those horns OFF him! Any time I imagine him the horns are there and I´m sure I will remember the character 兑 probably FOREVER! But I might write 况 incorrectly, because those horns won´t come off him. I trust that as I get further on to characters that are less well known to me making all new movies will be as much fun as 兄 and 兑 were! They feel unforgettable now! I´m so much looking forward to feeling that way about many  more characters, thanks to the MBM method! 
Anyway, if you have any tips on how to remember my movies for previously known characters and build a solid base for the method I do need some help there! I suspect it might have something to do with the fact that I´m not writing by hand so far and/or there is not maybe enough interaction in my movies between props, actors and sets because I have that “oh, but I already know this” feeling and get lazy. Generally I just see a huge difference in my level of motivation between making movies for characters that are new to me and those that I know and only miss the tone.
Thank you for all you do, the course is fun and high quality and I have seen no other Chinese learning site that would be so responsive to questions, it´s really helpful to listen to your podcast and it feels like you are right here to help all the time!

Links Mentioned in the answer to the above email:

How Can I Review Only Cards That Prompt Me to WRITE a Chinese Character?

Intermediate Learners: How to Learn Mandarin Online with The Mandarin Blueprint Method

35:24

Hunter McCoid by Community

I’m in Phase 5 but have recently been wondering about the 3rd tone sandhi rules.  What sounds the most natural for multiple 3rd tones in a row?  i.e. ‘我3   只2   想3’ or ‘我2   只2   想3‘.

And for 4 or more 3rd tones in a row is a pattern like ‘2 3 2 3’ more common/natural?

37:29

Corinna Wetzel on ANKI DECK(S) INSIDE – Level 9 Complete

This video has me smiling a mile wide. I’m so happy every day
that I watch a new video (or more, haha). And even if I don’t
have time for a video every now and then, I still finish my Anki
cards every day. It’s definitely a habit by now.
You guys make learning Chinese so much fun and I’m just
incredibly grateful that I found the Mandarin Blueprint before
falling down the rabbit hole of rote learning.
Thank you for your enthusiasm and for making me love learning!

38:37

Matt Shubert on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 休息

It’s so fun to be able to read that dialogue and understand
nearly everything!! There’s a lot of “clicking” happening with
the method in this part of the course 😀

39:55

Irene Ong on BONUS: Connector – Saying ‘But’ with 但是 – 可是 – 不过

So good to be learning this lesson. Glad to advise that my
anxiety has disappeared into thin air now that I CAN READ
SENTENCES.
Again, Thanks a million Luke & Phil for innovating the MBM
Course.

41:56

Vincent Chen on ANKI DECK(S) INSIDE – Level 15 Complete

Ive officially completed level 15 and I have to say, I’m very
happy with how many characters I’ve learned and retained compared
to in the past where I was dreading the thought of forced
memorisation. I’m a Chinese born Australian and this program is
definitely the best learning system out there by far, better than
any chinese workbook and definitely better than going to Chinese
school. Thank you guys!

44:54

Jacqui Vinters on BONUS: From FAILURE to HSK 6 Exam in ONE YEAR!

I love hearing about your experiences, they reaffirm my decision
to trust you both and your system and give me hope when I am
struggling. I have an extremely poor memory, struggle with
visualisation and it is taking me a long time to “record” each
movie but somehow it is working for me 🙂 Thank you both for the
effort you have put into the course and the desire to share and
help others to learn.

47:17

Leonor Provencal on Simple Final I (YI) Quiz

Thank you for the clear explanation on how to differentiate the
letter J,Q,X. This are the letters that I used to pronounce all
the same. Now i can see the difference and can recognized them.

Thanks a lot!

47:57

Christopher Thompson on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 女人

I apologize if y’all covered this somewhere else (likely) and I
missed it. I am looking at the following…
如果女人想工作的话,

It seems as if I have learned that 如果 means “if” and 的话 means if
as well, but the truth of the matter is that they work together
in the form of…

如果 some clause 的话, the result (what follows from the if, the
“then” if you like).

In this case the clause is a simple SVO
(subject-verb-object/host-does what-guest) as in “if the host
does the thing…” and in Chinese you don’t need the “then” since
it seems like it is implied by that tag team of 如果 …的话. Is that
about right?

Also, does 如果 ever exist without the follow-up of 的话?

50:46

Rick Angleland on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 袋子

What’s the difference between 1) 袋子 and 2) 手提包? A google image
search suggests 1) carry bags, like plastic grocery bags, etc 2)
women’s handbags of the decorative kind

55:05

Micaela Ellison on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 话

In this video, it seems like you are saying 说话 is actually one
word. Is that right? I have always thought of it as verb+noun
(two words) and remembered that Chinese often requires nouns
when English doesn’t. If 说话 is one word, does that mean 唱歌 is
also one word?

58:05

Christopher Thompson on It’s a Word! 天

Above we have 天很蓝。
The translation is “The sky is so blue.” I know that the 很
implies an emphasis of the adjective, but I thought it was always
the link between an object and an adjective. Is 天是蓝的 wrong? It
has 是 and ends with 的, but I thought I have seen that. If
correct, does it mean simply that the sky is blue? Also, when
color words are used, sometimes I see 色 as in 天是蓝色的. Is that
wrong? Are there subtle differences in meaning?

1:02:30

William Beeman on Make a Movie 己

What’s the difference between this character (己) and 自?

1:09:51

Simoné Popadopolis on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 说服

Hi guys, do you have a podcast on measure words? An overview and
some more detail on how important they are and when they can be
substituted for 个 would be really great!

1:13:30

Christopher Thompson on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 女儿

Okay, so I bought myself an HSK Level 1 reader, so I have been
reading stories using 女儿 for some time now. In these stories, a
parent will sometimes address their daughter as 女儿, as in…
妈妈: 快来吃吧女儿.
That sounds odd to most English speakers, to address your
daughter as “daughter.” Even in Spanish you add the possessive
and shorten it to “mija” to soften it.
So, is this something a Chinese parent might say, or is the
author just keeping it simple because of the vocabulary
restrictions?

1:15:31

William Beeman on Required Sentences vs. Optional Sentences

Do you think people might enjoy reading the original work on
“Flow?” by Mihalyi Czikszentmihalyi?

Here is the Amazon link for the original: Beyond Boredom and
Anxiety – https://www.amazon.com/Flow-Psychology-Experience-Mihaly-Csikszentmihalyi/dp/B00005VXOM

1:16:32

kym Thomas on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 休息

I’m struggling with the gammer of this sentence. 我下午想休息。
my brain reads this as; I afternoon think rest.
So when I read the English translation I feel my translation is
not close . Will it become easier if I just keep reading
sentences? I feel I am not translating it properly therefore not
understanding what I am reading.

1:20:27

Matt Shubert on BONUS GRAMMAR POINT: Helper – Expressing Possession with 的

Sorry I might just be missing where this is covered in the
video, but in terms of the anki unsuspend sequence, should we now
be unsuspending all the GW-Helper-的 tags that intersect with the
level 13 tags? Unless I’m misunderstanding they will all be
unsuspended as we go through the rest of the lesson anyway,
correct?

I love the grammar videos and your explanations are great, just
want to make sure I’m making the best use of all the anki deck
tags for my reviews 🙂

1:23:20

Christopher Thompson on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 西边

I wondered if the musical West Side Story might translate in
Chinese to 西边故事.
I was close. It seems like they use 西区故事. My take on it is that
西区 is more like west end, as in the west end of a city, and 西边 is
a more general reference to the compass direction west.

1:25:50

Christopher Thompson on ew Vocabulary Unlocked! 快要

In many instances 马上 can replace 快要, yes? My Chinese language
partner says that the latter implies, perhaps, more urgency.

1:29:18

Charles Segal on It’s a Word! 来

Is there a way to look up characters and their related lessons?
For example, when reviewing the sentences above, I forgot the
meaning of 马上. I used an online dictionary to look it up, but
didn’t know how to find the lesson quickly (other than scrolling
through every level.)

1:30:07

Rebecca Wheble on ANKI DECKS INSIDE – Now Just LOOK at how SOLID that Foundation Is!

So I must be the tortoise…

Funnily a year ago today, I made the decision to learn Chinese
and I downloaded the Duolingo app (that’s how I know it was
exactly a year ago). I messed around with free apps for a few
weeks and then realised I needed to plonk down some money to
actually get somewhere. After a bit of research I decided to try
MB and here I am today.

The year milestone is great. I didn’t quit and I honestly can’t
see myself doing so now. I’ll just keep with my goal of three
characters a day and keep plodding (as others speed past me).

Onwards to the Intermediate course tomorrow and onto my Anki
review right now.

1:32:41

Christopher Thompson on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 哪个

So is the underlying construction here one we can use in other
situations?
你喜欢哪个包我就给你买哪个。
A哪个B哪个。
In which whatever condition is described in A, result B can be
expected.

ANSWER:

In the case of using “哪个,” “哪儿,” “什么,” “怎么,” “什么时候” or “谁,” to mean “whichever,” “wherever,” “whatever,” “however,” “whenever,” or “whoever” respectively, the key is that the speaker is expressing certainty that SOME-thing/place/method/time/person must meet a condition, but doesn’t know specifically. For example:

哪儿有最好吃的东西我们就去哪儿。
Nǎr yǒu zuì hǎochī de dōngxi wǒmen jiù qù nǎr.
Wherever has the tastiest food is where we’ll go.

*Speaker doesn’t know which place has the tastiest food, but it must be somewhere (so go there).

你想做什么就做什么。 
Nǐ xiǎng zuò shénme jiù zuò shénme.
Do whatever you want to do.

*Speaker doesn’t know what you want to do, but it must be something (so do that).

你想怎么做就怎么做。
Nǐ xiǎng zěnme zuò jiù zěnme zuò
However you want to do it, do it that way.

*Speaker doesn’t know how you want to do it, but it must be some way (so do it that way).

他什么时候做完就什么时候走。
Tā shénme shíhou zuòwán jiù shénme shíhou zǒu. 
Whenever he finishes is when we leave.

*Speaker doesn’t know when he’ll finish, but it must be some time (so that’s when to leave).

谁喜欢这个包我就给谁买。
Shéi xǐhuan zhège bāo wǒ jiù gěi shéi mǎi. 
Whoever likes this bag, I’ll buy it for them.

*Speaker doesn’t know who likes the bag, but it must be someone (so he’ll buy it for that person).

And back to the original sentence, the speaker doesn’t know which bag you like, but it must be one of them, and that’s the one he’ll buy for you.

1:38:34

Christopher Thompson on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 哪儿

So, I’m looking at this sentence.
你说的游泳的地方在哪儿?
I worked it out. That is, I understand it, even though the
construction is nearly the opposite of English, right? I mean, in
English we would start with “where”, then talk about the “place”
for “swimming” and finish with “you talked about”.
In this sentence that is nearly all reversed. This is pretty
standard for Chinese, though, yes?

I am trying to follow your advice on grammar. I’m not trying to
start by learning rules. I’m just exposing myself to content and
letting my sense for how sentences work form organically. This
sentence helps.
I recently tried to construct a sentence, based on all I have
learned. Here it is.
昨天我和我的同学看见我们的老师在学校后面的商店。
I don’t know if I got it all right, but it is my attempt to take
the grammar I have internalized so far. I have only been at it a
couple months. Even if the sentence is flawed, and not great
literature, I am about as proud of it as I would be had I written
a bestselling novel.

1:44:00

Simoné Popadopolis on It’s a Word! 完

Hi guys, can you clarify what the use of 没 is in the sentence
工作完成没?

1:44:45

Julie Hentschel Lund on ANKI DECK(S) INSIDE – Level 9 Complete

I watched a Chinese movie yesterday (of course with both English
ad Chinese subtitles) and I was actually amazed by the characters
I could fully recognise. Still got a lot of way to go, but I can
already see the results.

1:47:23 Movies! 

This blog post explains the theory behind Movie Scenes and learning characters.

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 免

Michelle Obama is sitting on the couch in my sister’s livingroom
(“an” location). From the centre of the ceiling a rope hangs
down. The Rolling Stone mouth is hanging off of the end of the
rope, and seems to be munching on someone, because only the human
legs are sticking out of its mouth. Michelle is obviously
uncomfortable, and keeps turning away from this hideous sight,
trying to AVOID seeing it. The mouth notices this, and begins to
swing towards her on the rope, making it very difficult for her
to AVOID seeing him. Michelle puts her hand up to shield her
eyes, so that she can continue to AVOID seeing this gruesome
sight.

1:48:37

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 晚

Woody bursts into Sharon’s livingroom. He has the frantic manner
of someone who is LATE! He looks out the large window and sees
that it is LATE, the sun is about to set. He looks around in a
panic, looking for the dentist chair, knowing that he is LATE for
his appointment. That is when he realizes that he has the address
wrong! This isn’t his dentist office!

1:49:33

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 买

Matt Damon is sitting in the hairdresser’s chair. He has been
the victim of the collapse of a broken roof, and has lost most of
his hair. There is a wig form sitting in front of him, next to
the mirror, and the wig looks exactly like the hair that he lost.
He takes out his wallet, willing to pay whatever it costs to BUY
the wig.