Student Reader

Country and language

Demonym

guó (n) nation, country
rén (n) person
shì is (equals)

Nation+ren=nationality (ie, America + ren = American person); adjective+ren=type (ie, nice + ren = nice person)

Places

外國 外国 wàiguó foreign country

Chinatown Los Angeles 國 / 国 guó chinese character
Broadway Ave, Chinatown, LA (© 2013)

中國 中国 zhōngguó China

Chinese person is 中國人中国人. Chinese written language is 中國文中国文. Chinese spoken language is . All nations follow this same pattern.

美國 美国 měiguó USA

American person is 美國人美国人 měiguórén. American language (American English) is 美國文美国文 měiguówén (written) and 美國語美国语 měiguóyǔ (spoken).

Chinatown Los Angeles 美國 / 美国 Měiguó chinese character
美國美国 Chinatown, LA © 2013

英國 英国 yīngguó England
墨西哥 mòxīgē Mexico
加州 jiāzhōu California
洛杉磯 洛杉磯 luòshānjī Los Angeles

Chinatown Los Angeles 洛杉磯 / 洛杉矶 luòshānjī los angeles chinese character
洛杉磯洛杉磯. Chinatown, LA © 2013

日本 rìběn Japan

Language

wén (n) written language
yǔ (n) spoken language

Chinese distinguishes between the oral and written facets of a language. This may seem unusual in a nation like England, but it is useful in China, which (mostly) has one written language but many spoken dialects. 文 Wén is used to refer to a written language. Add 文 after the nation's name to denote that nation's written language. Yǔ is used to refer to an spoken language. Add after the nation's name to denote nation's oral language. (However, in a rare irregularity, there is no 中語中语 zhōngyǔ -- just 漢語汉语 hànyǔ.) Of course, 文 and sometimes overlap. You are reading 英文 yīngwén but if you read it aloud you are speaking 英語英语 yīngyǔ.

説 / 說 shuō (v) to speak / say

The character can be freely written as 説 or 說 in traditional form.

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