lesson 12 — e and en


…  the underlined word is a “measure word:”     Two flocks of geese.  Three loaves of bread.

English sometimes uses measure words, but Chinese almost always uses measure words when counting things.  Each item has its appropriate measure word, and there is also a general use measure word that you can use if you do not know the customary measure word.  That general use measure word is “ge.”  (sounds like the first two letters in the English word “gutter.”

When translating from Chinese to English, we do not usually translate the measure word if we do not commonly use one in that situation in English.  For example:

Chinese says “6 units of people” (liu ge ren), where English says 6 people.

Chinese says “tthree long-objects of boats,” (san tiao chuan), where English says  “three boats.”

About turning on lights: In example 5c above, “Qing kai deng, hao ma?” is literally “please open light, good (question)?” which we would translate as “please turn on the light, OK?”

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