M: Ni hao! 现在学汉语。Now learn Hanyu, with Learn Chinese Now! Woshi ML.
S: Woshi Stuart.
M: And Stuart is using my shouji to talk with Mary. She's just picked up the phone.
MY: Who is this? 您是哪位? Nín shì nǎwèi?
S: Wǒ shì Stuart.
M: Now listen to and repeat each bit of the rest of their chat. Try to guess the meaning. I'll give you three clues: yì diándiǎn means 'a little', 'zài lù shang' means 'on the road', and sān diǎn means ' 3 o'clock'. Mary is a bit surprised, because it seems Stuart can speak Chinese now.
MY: Stuart,现在你会说汉语了吗? Xiànzài nǐ huì shuō hànyǔ le ma?
S: Yī diǎn diǎn. Yī diǎn diǎn. Wǒ zhǐ huì shuō yī diǎn diǎn. Wǒ zhǐ huì shuō yī diǎn diǎn.
MY: Tài hǎo le! Tài hǎo le! 你在哪儿？Nǐ zài nǎr?
S: 我和ML在路上。Wǒ hé Manli zài lù shang. Wǒmen zài lù shàng. Women qu yǒuyì bin'guan. Women qu yǒuyì bin'guan.
MY: 你们几点到? Nǐmen jǐdiǎn dào?
S: 三点. sān diǎn. sān diǎn zhōng.
M: Right! Let's learn the new stuff. Mary said:
MY: Stuart! xiànzài nǐ huì shuō hànyǔ le ma?
M: nǐ huì shuō hànyǔ. nǐ huì, huìHUI huì, means 'can', 'able to'. Nǐ huì shuō. shuō SHUO shuo, means 'speak'. Nǐ huì shuō hànyǔ. Now, you at home try to say, 'I can speak Chinese'. ….. Hěnhǎo. I can speak Chinese, wǒ huì shuō hànyǔ. wǒ huì shuō hànyǔ. Now, back to what Mary said.
MY: xiànzài nǐ huì shuō hànyǔ le ma?
M: huì shuō hànyǔ le ma? The little 'le' indicates that something has been achieved. Here, it's learning Chinese. The 'ma' makes it a question, albeit a rhetorical question. Modest Stuart replied:
S: Yī diǎn diǎn.
M: Yi diandian. A little. YI DIAN DIAN. Yi diandian.
S: Wǒ zhǐ huì shuō yī diǎn diǎn. I only can speak a little.
M: zhǐ, ZHI, third tone, means only. So all together, the whole sentence.
S: Wo zhi hui shuo yi diandian. Wo zhi hui shuo yi diandian.
M: Now Mary asks, 'where are you?'
M: Wǒmen zài lù shàng. lù LU lù, means 'road'. Shàng SHANG shàng, means 'on'. 'We're on the road' , Women zai lu shang. Zai lu shang.
S: Going to the Friendship Hotel.
M: qù yǎuyī bin'guan. qù yǒuyī bin'guan.
M: jídiǎnzhōng dao? jídiǎn, JI DIAN jídiǎn, is 'what time?', jidian. Add zhong ZHONG zhong, and we get 'jidian zhong, which means exactly the same. jídiǎn, jídiǎn zhōng, yī yàng. Dào is 'to arrive'. So what does 'nǐmen jídiǎn zhōng dào' mean? Right, 'what time will you arrive?'
S: Sān diǎn. Sān diǎn zhōng.
M: Guess what 'sān diǎn zhōng' means. Remember 1 2 3, yī èr sān. Right, san dian zhong is ' o'clock'.
S: And sān diǎn means the same. Sān diǎn, sān diǎn zhōng, yi yang.
M: Which is a good time to finish today's lesson. zaijian.