Learning Mandarin: Personal Pronouns and Adjectives

In English, we have personal pronouns and adjectives like:

I, we, you, your, our, my

So what are the equivalents in Mandarin?

(Wǒ) means "I". It's pronounced pretty much like the English "war". However, in English, a possessive form is my. In Mandarin, we use the same word as for I, but add on an indication that it's possessive.

我的 (Wǒ de) means "my". The de is pronounced a bit like "da" and

我的朋友 (Wǒ de péngyǒu) means "my friend".

To make it plural, there is another qualifier that we can add.

我们 (Wǒmen) is "we".

And just like before, we add to make it possessive.  So

我们的 (Wǒmen de) means "our" and

我们的朋友 (Wǒmen de péngyǒu) means "our friend"

The word for you is (Nǐ), the plural word is the same in English but it's

你们 (Nǐmen) in Mandarin. And no surprise that

你们的 (Nǐmen de) means "your".

Two Other Oddities

There are two other oddities that I want to mention today.

In English, we just have the word "you". Mandarin has two forms of this. We just saw

(Nǐ)

but there is another, more polite form, that's

(Nín)

It's often used to honor customers, people older than yourself, etc.

The other interesting one is the word for "we". In English, that might or might not include the person you are speaking to. It might include yourself and someone else, or yourself and the person you're speaking to, or perhaps also someone else.

We saw

我们 (Wǒmen)

before as the word for "we". However, if the person you're speaking to is also included, the correct term is

咱们 (Zánmen)

Learning Mandarin

I'll write more soon on the best methods for learning. If you want to get a taste for it in the meantime though, my current favorite site is iTalki, and my favorite teacher by far is Amy He. If you decide to try it, click here and it's cheaper for both you and me.

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