20 July 2012

Another Note on 是

I realized that yesterday's examples of "yes" and "no" in Chinese may not have been really clear. Here are some that might better illustrate what I mean about answers requiring more conviction or even commitment.

The word 吗 (ma) at the end of a question means that it's a yes-or-no question, but we weren't taught to actually answer with unique words for "yes" or "no." Instead, the way is to answer with the verb used in the question. So there's no simple "yes" or "no," but a full taking on of the action being asked.

Are you going to Beijing?

I am going.

Do you miss her?

I miss her.

Can you wait for lola?

I can wait.

Note that none of the questions nor the answers used 是. I think you can actually answer questions with 是, but that would be like:

Can I buy clothes here?

(You) are.

I don't know if this is correct or just how I understand the nuances of Chinese grammar and vocabulary, but that understanding is based on what I've learned out of mainland-published textbooks, so....

Cris is meeting the rest of my family tomorrow. That should be fun. :)