21. Occupation and Profession


nihao Hello. Today we are going to learn how to ask about occupation and profession, which is 职业 /zhiYe. Please repeat after me and try to remember the words, listen a few times as this conversation is long. My name is Julian Luo, I am recording this lesson in a village called The Great Slope, which is very close to mountains, that’s why I call my mandarin course inMountains mandarin course.

The conversation below is between two persons who do not know each other. This is Lesson 21. Now listen to me carefully.

  • nin[you] 您【 neen 】
  • Shi[are] 是】【 Shir 】
  • Zuo[do] 做 shenme[what] 什么【 Dswar shenmuh 】
  • de? 的】 [d?]

[Shi…de is a structure applied to emphasize the content in between these two words. It is often used when we talk about profession/job.]

What is the difference between the word [nin] and [ni], which both means [you]? The difference is [nin] is a more respectful word. You only call somebody [nin] when he or she is older than you. When a young man/girl call a senior person, typically we say [nin].

  • wo 我【 war 】
  • Shi[I am] 是【 Shir 】
  • Ge 个【 Gher 】Ge is a unit word for person, it is short for yiGe/one, and the word (yi) is omitted.
  • laoshi[teacher]. 老师【 laoshir 】
  • ———-
  • lao actually means old. shi is a traditional way of calling a teacher. While laoshi is a modern word for teacher. This is probably because when this word was invented about over a thousand years ago, the teachers tend to be old men.
  • ———-
  • nin[you] 您【 neen 】
  • ne[a question particle]? 呢【 ner 】

(nin ne)? is like [How about you?], there is no verb in either sentences. Sometimes we can do that to save words.

On the photo above, we see two Chinese characters, and above each of them, there are two pinyin words, which tell you how to pronounce. Pinyin is an official pronounciation, while the words between 【】 below are my invention.
  • wo [I] 我【 war 】
  • Shi[am] 是【 Shir 】
  • Zhengfu[government] 政府【 Dsengfoo 】
  • gongZuo renyuan[working personnel/ worker] 工作人员【 gongDswar renywan 】

I work in the government.

  • ni[your] 您【 nee 】
  • pengyou[friend] 朋友【 pengyou 】
  • ne? 呢【 ner 】

How about your friend?

  • ta[He/She] 他【 tar 】
  • Shi[is] 是【 Shir 】
  • shenme[what] 什么【 shunmuh 】
  • zhiYe[profession]?职业【 dsirYeah 】

What does he/she do for a living?

  • ta [He/she] 她【 tar 】
  • shi[is] 是【 Shir 】
  • HuShi[nurse], 护士【 HooShir 】
  • ———-
  • buGuo[but] 不过【 booGwar 】
  • ganggang[just] 刚刚【 gunggung 】
  • cizhi[resigned], 辞职【 tsirDsir 】
  • ———-
  • zhunBei[planning to] 准备【 drenBay 】
  • Ziji[himself/herself] 自己【 Dsirjee 】
  • kai[open] 开【 kai 】
  • gongsi[company].公司【 gongsir 】

She was a nurse, but just resigned, and has been preparing to start a business.

This is a photo of Chinese nurses who shaved their heads preparing for trveling to Wuhan to help fighting against coronavirus. They are not prisoners, they are young brave nurses from outside of Hubei Province, the coronavirus epidemic center.
  • hen[very] 很【 hen 】
  • buCuo[nice] 不错【 booTswar 】
  • a[particle of praise].啊【 ah 】

That’s good.

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