mandarin grammar rules podcast

80. Emphasizing Details In Mandarin

Podcast Duration: 01:06:46

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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.

80. Emphasizing Details In Mandarin

4:13 Grammar Point GS-Special-是-Description-的

Sentence 1:

这只羊是白的。- MBM Level 15

Zhè zhī yáng shì bái de.

This sheep is a white (sheep).

Sentence 2:

我的妈妈是最美的。MBM Level 16

Wǒde māma shì zuì měi de.

My mom is the most beautiful.

Sentence 3:

十个人以内是免费的。MBM Level 17

Shíge rén yǐnèi shì miǎnfèi de.

Ten people or fewer are free of charge.

Grammar Point GS-Special-是-PPT-的

Sentences 4:

桌子上的勺子是你的吗?MBM Level 13

Zhuōzi shàng de sháozi shì nǐde ma?

Is the spoon on the table your’s?

Sentence 5:

我爱你!我的心是你一个人的。MBM Level 13

Wǒ ài nǐ! wǒde xīn shì nǐ yíge rén de.

I love you! My heart is yours and yours only.

Sentence 6:

中国人的名字差不多都是三个字的。MBM Level 22

Zhōngguó rén de míngzi chàbuduō dōu shì sān ge zì de.

Almost all Chinese people’s names are three characters long.

Grammar Point GS-Special-是-DoesWhat-Guest-的

Sentence 7:

桌子上哪个苹果是你买的? MBM Level 20

Zhuōzi shàng něige píngguǒ shì nǐ mǎi de?

Which of the apples on the table are the ones you bought?

Sentence 8:

我和我的女朋友就是在某个公园认识的。MBM Level 23

Wǒ hé wǒde nǚ péngyǒu jiùshì zài mǒuge gōngyuán rènshi de.

It was at a particular/certain park that I met my girlfriend.

Sentence 9:

你是几岁成为司机的?MBM Level 25

Nǐ shì jǐ suì chéngwéi sījī de?

How old were you when you became a driver?

12:16 Miscellaneous

Rebecca Wheble by Community

I have on occasion come across words like 信心 or 日本, that I look at and  know the characters for but haven’t been taught the word yet. I assume that they don’t have a high enough frequency to make it into the course when those characters are first introduced, but when do we learn these? Do we discover them ourselves (and avail ourselves of Pleco to find their meaning) or do they pop up in the future in the course?


Dan Kutch by Community

Hello all. My name is Dan. After reading many introductions I find that I am lacking as to why Chinese is where I want to start my language acquisition.

As a kid going through school I never thought learning a new language was important. In high school, we had to take a language so I picked Spanish since the cute girls took Spanish. To be honest, I hated it. My brain could not justify the bandwidth to learn a language I thought I would never need. You see, many of my friends came from Mexico but their parents made them learn English since that was the language of their new country. So I never thought it would be useful. I live in Southern California so I guess I missed that prediction by a long shot.

After high school I went into the military ultimately making it my career. I traveled all over the world, jumped out of perfectly good planes and still didn’t need a second language. Most of the areas we had bases in spoke English to do business with the Americans in the area. I still believed that there wasn’t a need to learn because my job didn’t require it. Chalk up another bad prediction. If you see a pattern here you can tell I am not the person to wager money on my picks for FIFA Cups or Super Bowls.  Lol

Now not all my predictions and decisions came out wrong. My wife was me really marrying way above myself. And she along with my two daughters can read, write, and speak Spanish. My two sons went the way of their old man but are doing well.

After the military, I became a special needs teacher. I try to do things that I am excited about but can also motivate them to do better themselves. Teaching chess, magic, amateur radio has been a fun part of teaching. So I was looking through Facebook and I see this guy Luke sitting on a bench speaking fluent Chinese. I was excited as I have always liked Asian culture after being stationed in Okinawa, Korea, and Japan.

So here I am learning Chinese. A video in Unit one talked about attitude. As a grumpy old soldier I don’t always have the best attitude so I need to find ways to keep up my learning while maintaining a positive attitude to be successful. I am not always sure how to do that on a daily basis. My father who had many health issues after he retired in the late 80’s kept himself learning lapidary work, wood carving, gardening, etc. He was always busy. After he had his big stroke the doctor said he would be surprised if my dad lived to 1998. Well, he made it to May of 2019. He out lived my mother who had no health issues by two years. I know if my father had seen Luke and Phil on the videos I watched he would really like them and want to try and learn Chinese.

To those to read my long story thank you and apologies for causing you to yawn too much.


William Edmeades by Email

Hey Luke and Phil!

I’m sure you get told this a lot, but I just REALLY wanted to express my gratitude that this course exists. It’s because of you guys that I haven’t given up on learning Chinese, and because I didn’t give up on my language journey I feel like I’ve truly found my life’s calling, and countless others as well as myself can now communicate with a vastly rich culture (and best of all the journey isn’t long OR boring like it was before!). And I just wanted to thank you guys and all the effort (lord knows it’s a lot), and the time and care you put into the course and into every. single. student. It’s truly remarkable and you should feel so proud of yourselves!

Koing what you’re doing


Máire Liath Ní Bhrádaigh on Set the Scene -EI 9/13

I love this comment. I realised this too, when I was creating a
scene for shí, my birthday. That was actually a really bad day
IRL, and it was lovely in the ‘scene’ for it to start off
stressful, but then ten year old me got to eat birthday cake with
my adult son, which was lovely. It feels almost like therapy,
writing some of these scenes, bringing different parts of my life
together and seeing what arises.


Pablo Prieri on ANKI DECKS INSIDE – Now Just LOOK at how SOLID that Foundation Is!

Thank guys for this nice little journey. To get through there in
4 months and a half (like William) implied quite some energy
while doing a full time job on the side (in an ideal world, I
would have liked to dedicate 100% to the course, it was an
amazing experience to know more and more everyday…).

I feel like my speaking/listening part is not at the same level
of my reading/writing, so I think I will take a little pause now
before starting the next levels. I would like to get a more solid
foundations on the speaking part, so I will dedicate some energy
to the Conversation connectors, some videos on the side and maybe
start with an online tutor to help move all this ‘passive’ input
into ‘active’.

Time to celebrate tonight this little victory and congratulations
to those who also made it through this point 🙂


William Edmeades on Pick a Prop 右

右 “right (side)” – Since the right side of your brain is
well-known to be your creative side, a creative person of your
choice sounds like a good prop. I’m going with the amazing Bob


Rick Angleland on Make a Movie 每 

Isn’t this specifically used for time periods e.g. every day,
every year etc. Or can it be used in other ways?


Máire Liath Ní Bhrádaigh on Level 4 Complete

Going to wait until tomorrow before starting level five – drat
nightshift anyway, I just want to play on here! (That’s exactly
what it feels like, playing – the kind of imaginary adventures
you have when you are a 儿 kid.


Dom Thomson on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 手机

A hand machine! Love it!


Deborah Driscoll on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 自动

Ah so if it’s self moving, it’s automatic. I love the Chinese


Timothy Filson on (BONUS) Language learning tripod: Attentiveness

Luke & Phil,

I have felt very drawn to both Japanese and Chinese languages and
culture most of my life. I had rosetta stone for Mandarin I was
starting on, maybe a week in, when I saw your ad on Facebook. I’m
very glad I checked out your course because I feel that I will be
to a much higher fluency and proficiency in less time, plus
having a more detailed understanding of the underlying
philosophy, culture and pronunciation. I’m very excited to
continue as I pick up this new language that a fair number of
people I know feel is impossible for them!



Dev Chen on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 周末

Re: 你周末干什么去? I think of 去 qù as “to go” …. so would not have
naturally translated as “What are you going to do this weekend?”
…. although I’m confident that it’s correct (same translation
using the online translation engines).


Dev Chen on It’s a Word! 住

Question. “B: 住了三年了” …. could you please explain the function
of the 2 了’s? Thanks.


Kathleen Gans on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 汉字

Speaking of 汉字,is there an “alphabetical order” in Chinese?
It is easy to search electronically, but what happens if you need
to look up something in a printed dictionary?


Frank Havlik on YOU DID IT!!!

Awesome course! I wish I took it 2 years ago when I started
learning Chinese but excited what’s ahead. Thanks guys!


Petteri Nakamura on Make a Movie 爱 

I have to rant a little bit about this!

How is it possible that they simplified LOVE by taking the HEART
out of it?! 愛 -> 爱

The lower part is different too but the heart part is utterly
incomprehensible. The original is also so beautiful and balanced,
but the simplified one is just so… Bland!


Deborah Driscoll on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 记住

Hi guys is there a difference between using 记住 and 想起来 for


Jay on It’s a Word! 到


Why 自己的 instead of 你的?

44:06 – Course Updates

45:36 Movies! 

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

Deborah Driscoll on Make a Movie 办 

Beren (B) my son is terrified of spiders so he asks Popeye 力 to
go into my ‘an’ bathroom to deal with the big spider in there.
Popeye comes out with 2 spider legs, one in each hand (how I
remember the positioning ) Beren immediately bursts out in tears
that the situation has been dealt with successfully.


Dom Thomson on Make a Movie 香

Cheryl Cole (xi-) is outside the front of my old school (-ang,
1st tone).

A golden sunbeam scatters through the morning mist as a cheerful
ukulele soundtrack slowly builds from afar.

Cheryl holds a giant Weetabix over the top of the smiling Cartoon
Sun, gently toasting it. The smell of Weetabix wafts through the
air like a pie in a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

Cheryl quickly grabs a small bottle to capture the wafting smell.

She holds it up to the camera.

“Weetabix – the new fragrance by Cheryl…”


Deborah Driscoll on Make a Movie 会

Hu character is desperate for a wee (just because it sounds a
bit like hui and I was struggling to remember the pronunciation
?) so she runs to the bathroom of my ei set, but she is
confronted by an evil Mario cloud who says “Ha ha how WILL you
get to the toilet now??” Hu character pulls out her umbrella and
says determinedly “I WILL show you!!” before floating over the
cloud and landing on the toilet!


Kika Bisogno on Make a Movie 坏 

(Hu)mpty Dumpty is smoking a cigarette on the BACKYARD of the
Palace of Vers(ai)lles. A biker who is driving by on his CROSS
DIRT BIKE sees him, grabs a NO SMOKING SIGN and hits him over the
head while yelling “No smoking here, you rotten egg!”. Humpty
falls down and breaks, spilling all his insides on the ground. A
really BAD sulphuric smell now permeates the air.


Rick Angleland on Make a Movie 犬

How are 犬 and 狗 different? I’d be interested in the
history/etymology too, as that often provides useful images that
can help with memorization.
You call 犬 pit bull, but I suspect that was not known in ancient


MICHAEL ROTCHFORD on Make a Movie 连 

Linda is in my -an kitchen with the city planning commission.
Their focus is the design of a new road that would LINK the
suburbs with the city. As everybody keeps pointing to the
different maps on the table and shouting over each other, Linda
quietly points out to the road 辶 where her Delorean 车 is parked
and says, “where we’re going who needs roads”


Al (泰光) Roy (王) on MAKE A MOVIE 中

Jet Li is standing outside the bowling alley, in the parking
lot, putting on a bit of show for the locals, when the Chatterer
cenobite approaches him, stepping out of the doorway. Jet Li
knows the cenobite has come to take him to hell, and wants
nothing to do with the idea. So Jet takes his staff and throws it
at the Chatterer’s hideous mouth, hitting him square in the face,
with the bottom end of the staff sticking in the ground, forming
an impassable bar the the cenobite cannot manage to get past.

The cenobite angrily stands there, his teeth chattering from
directly behind the staff. His mouth and the staff together form
the 中 character.


Jeffrey Herzog on MAKE A MOVIE 付

Lord Farquaad is standing on the porcelain throne (toilet) of
the bathroom in my Childhood home, one by one the fairytale
creatures come up, bow down, and pay their taxes. The inch worm
comes up slowly and protests that he doesnt have enough, so Lord
farquaad’s bodyguard (Chuck Norris) picks up the inch worm in a
menacing way, then the inch worm frantically starts paying Lord
farquaad what he owes him


Máire Liath Ní Bhrádaigh on MAKE A MOVIE 识

KEYWORD: Knowledge
Pinyin: shí
Actor: shi-/sh- Séamus
Set: -Ø childhood home
Room within Set: Hallway/Lobby or Kitchen
讠Lectern, book
只 Spider
Séamus my son is in the kitchen of my childhood home, rather
puzzled because there is a big old wooden lectern where the
washing machine should be. Being of a curious bent he climbs up
the steps to see what’s in the book, but it’s written in some
mysterious language he can’t read. He’s frustrated, but a spider
the size of his fist runs up to him and scuttles over the book,
reading aloud as it goes. ‘That’s amazing,’ says Séamus, ‘how do
you know so much?’ I am the Spider of KNOWLEDGE’ says the spider,
glowing golden with pride. ‘I thought it was a Salmon of
Knowledge,’ Séamus says. ‘Can’t a Spider have KNOWLEDGE?’ ‘Of
course you can,’ says Séamus, apologetically. Which is why his
patronus is a giant glowing spider and he’s a master at Trivial


Neil on Make a Movie 耳

I had one calligraphy teacher who said that stroke order is just
to help you remember how to do a character.
If you are a good enough calligrapher, you can paint well enough
that even if you “get the stroke order wrong” you can still make
the character look correct (or recognizeable.).
And while there are some people who say that if you memorize the
“correct stroke order” you can flow more easily while painting a
character, it’s basically all habit.
Plus, sometimes, when making stroke order suit a set of rules,
with some characters, such as this one, the stroke order that
doesn’t necessarily “fit the rules” might actually be easier to
learn at first (or, one is just as good as the other.)


Al (泰光) Roy (王) on MAKE A MOVIE 计

Jeanette is chilling in my childhood home’s back yard, sitting
on a lawn chair, with her left arm resting on one of the
horizontal bars of a large metal plus sign. She is speaking with
someone on a cellular phone and says, “sounds good. I’ll see you
here on Friday.” She hangs up the phone and immediately sneezes.
As she tries to stifle the sneeze, it comes out sounding like a
loud “计!”


Petteri Nakamura on Make a Movie 改

Grant, the gentle teacher, has come to my “-ai” home to offer me
work. We sit in the living room discussing the prospect and it
sounds very promising so I’m excited to take up the offer. We
sign the contract and suddenly, right after I have signed my
name, his face suddenly splits up and something else starts
coming out. It is the worst boss I ever had (Evil Taskmaster),
peeling the disguise of Grant off himself like a snakeskin,
laughing a diabolic laughter!

24 March, 2020