When were you born
So far we have learned to say 什么what, 几 or 多少 how many, 谁who, 哪儿where, and 哪个 which in Chinese and you are now able to find the information you need using these interrogative pronouns. Now we will learn to say when. When is formed by two words: 什么 what and time in Chinese. We know how to say what, so the only new word we have to learn here is time.
Can you ask the following questions in Chinese?
When are you going to Beijing? you what time go Beijing?
When are they going to Shanghai? you what time go Shanghai?
When is Daphne going to London? Daphne what time go London?
Can you answer the above questions in Chinese? You might need the following words.
Chinese perception always looks from background to foreground. For instance, when Chinese people are expressing time or date, they always follow the order of year, month and date.
2003 年nián year 5 月yuè month 26 号hào date
The number before年nián year is read out as individual digitals, as if reading out a phone number. Let’s try to say the following time in Chinese.
1870 1990 2000 (两千年liǎnɡ qiān nián two thousand year, year 2000 is also acceptable.) 2008
一月 yī yuè one month January
二月 èr yuè two month February
三月 sān yuè three month March
四月 sì yuè four month April
五月 wǔ yuè five month May
六月 liùyuè six month June
七月 qī yuè seven month July
八月 bā yuè eight month August
九月 jiǔyuè nine month September
十月 shíyuè ten month October
十一月 shíyīyuè eleven month November
十二月 shíèryuè twelve month December
一号 yīhào one date first day of the month
二号 èrhào two date second day of the month
三号 sānhào three date third day of the month
二十八号 èrshíbā hào twenty eight date 28th
二十九号 èrshíjiǔ hào twenty nine date 29th
三十号 sānshí hào thirty date 30th
In order to understand the following dialogue clearly, we have to learn two words:
生 to give birth to and 日which means day.
The structural particle is placed after a pronoun or noun indicating the possessive. 的 is pronounced in the neutral tone.
我的wǒde my 他的tāde his 哥哥的gēgede elder brother’s 妈妈的 māmade mother’s
A group of Chinese people have been talking for some time and want to know more personal information about each other. Here is what they say:
a. 请 问，你 是 什么 时候 出生 的？
qǐng wèn, nǐ shì shénme shíhou chūshēng de
please ask, you are what time be born DE
May I ask you when you were born?
b. 我 是 1980年 5 月 1 号 出 生 的。
wǒ shì 1980nián wǔ yuè yī hào chū shēng de
I am 1980 year 5 month1 date be born DE
I was born on the first of May 1980.
How about him?
b. 对不起，我 不 知道。 请 你 问 他。
duìbuqǐ, wǒ bùzhīdào qǐng nǐ wèn tā
Sorry I not know please you ask him
Sorry, I don’t know. You ask him, please.
Let’s read the above dialogue and form questions to find out other people’s dates of birth.
1. Read the numbers and the dialogue given and pay attention to the tones.
2. Ask the dates of other people’s birthdays.
3. Ask questions using the question word when.
Part one: new words
Part two: expressions
Part three: conversation