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Stepping Stones Lesson Three

Audio Immersion  |  Audio Practice  |  Vocabulary Study  |  Vocabulary Review
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Reading Practice

Practice reading the entire story aloud, with comprehension, using only the unannotated Chinese text.

If you get stuck, you can click on any character to display the pinyin and meaning of the character. Use the audio player to review the pronunciation of the text.

Grammar Notes

Adverbs and Word Order

English is quite flexible with regard to placement of adverbs in a sentence, however, in Chinese, adverbs referring to time or place must come before the verb.  An example of this from the text above is “每天早上给四个栗子,晚上给三个栗子.”  Here the adverbial phrases “每天早上” and “晚上” (which refer to the time of the event) precede the verb “给” in each clause. [Additional Reading]

Omitting the Subject

In Chinese it is common to omit the subject of a clause and place the object (direct or indirect) before the verb.  In this situation it is necessary to infer the subject using context.  An example of this from the text above is “每只猴子给三个栗子.”  One may first try to translate this clause as “each monkey gives three chestnuts.”  However, this translation would not make sense.  The actual meaning of the clause is “I will give each monkey three chestnuts,” where the subject “I” (referring to the Daoist priest) has been omitted and the object “每只猴子” has been placed before the verb “给”.

Sentence Patterns

Like English, Chinese has a number of “sentence patterns” that serve as templates for certain ways of saying things.  One major sentence pattern that occurs in this text can be found in the final sentence, “猴子一听早上多了一个栗子就高兴了.”  This sentence contains the pattern, “一…就…” and can be translated as the pattern, “as soon as…”  It is used to indicate cause and result in a clause.  In this pattern, “一” is placed immediately following the subject and before the initial verb (the cause), while “就” is placed in front of the resulting action.  The entire sentence, therefore, is translated: “As soon as the monkeys heard that they would get one more chestnut in the morning they were happy.” [Additional Reading]

Once you can read the story through (congratulations!), you're ready to go on to the next step.