Jump to content
  • Sign Up

Can anyone explain the characters in this sentence?


Recommended Posts


I've just starting using the Rosetta Stone program, level 1; I was aware that the program worked primarily on a match-phrases-to-photos theme, so I've registered as it seems that I might have a lot of questions about the sentences I'm matching to photos. Just to be sure that I'm meaning what I'm saying, and that the program is teaching what it's intending.

Anywho, I wanted to make this first post to discuss a sentence in the first unit of the program, hoping someone can explain to me exactly what the characters mean, and how they combine to make a sentence.

The program shows a boy riding a horse, and the correct choice here is:


I was wondering if anyone could explain the characters in this sentence. (First, is this a sentence?)

After some research I can see that:

一个 the? a grammar particle?

骑to ride

在be at, in, on, etc.


上 below, under?

的 grammar particle?

男孩儿 boy

1. Is this a "boy riding a horse" or "the boy is riding the horse" or "the boy is on top of the horse"? How do the verb words relate to the object & noun words in the sentence?

Thanks for any help, I look forward to posting in the future.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your translation is correct. It may help if you remember that prepositional phrases precede the noun and verb phrases they modify in Chinese.


one RIDING ON A HORSE boy ---> a boy riding a horse


he IN BEIJING works


We TOGETHER went to Shanghai on holiday

If you want software that will help you understand sentences like this on a word-by-word basis, try running them through the Adso engine. It will save you a great deal of looking thing up in a dictionary, and is unlikely to be wrong for this sort or relatively basic text.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alfred, I'm also using Rosetta Stone and have the same opinion...their intuitive approach isn't always so intuitive. I find the program most useful for expanding my vocabulary of nouns and verbs, but it's a challenge to determine what the particles and phrases add to the meaning.

I'm using the program in pinyin mode, so I frequently look up the words online as well. I use: http://www.pzlabs.com/chinese/o.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stone CD you can find a text book explaining in US english what the text is supposed to say "D:DocsTextsLevel I" or in what ever drive you have your disc.

I have the combined level 1 & 2 program and that directory isn't on there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the program's supposed to mimic human's natural ability to aquire language by listening and image correlation. But doesn't that only happen in our early childhood? I tried it without any text at all (no pinyin or characters) to mimic real life as much as possible, but it gets really difficult. Even with pinyin I start getting lost at around Unit 2, or just simply waiting to hear (or see) one or two key words to clue me in on which image I should pick. And isn't pinyin kind of cheating? What's the point in the narrator even talking, then?

although at least you get the satisfaction that if a native speaker, talking quickly, suddenly went up to you and said "na ge nan hai er, he na ge nu: hai er zai tiao" I would know exactly what they were talking about and they would be like :shock:

and on the topic of adverbs/descriptors and their order:

zai4 fei5 ji5 shang4 mian4 de yi1 ge4 nan2 hai2 er2

really confusing.. using English word order and limited understanding of the parts of the sentance you get "plane > fei ji" "above > shang" "boy > nan2 hai" but that's wrong...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

Forgive me for resurrecting a thread that is almost four years old. :mrgreen: I have just started with Rosetta Stone, too.

I'm slightly confused as to why the program gives the following (all presumably mean to swim?)




So it seems a man does one thing, a fish does another and a dog does yet something else!

Can anyone explain why? Many thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites




This [M] man is swimming swimming. (Chinese likes two-character words, sometimes this means that two characters that mean basically the same thing are put together, to make a two-character word.)

This [M] dog is swimming in water.

This [M] fish is swimming.

They all have 游 you, to swim. 游泳 youyong also means to swim. 水 shui means water, so 游水 youshui is to swim in water.

I hope that helps!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

跑步 is a verb-noun and is = 跑. Just like 吃饭 "to eat (food)" and 走步 "to walk" (lit. to walk a step).

男人 can both 跑 and 跑步. It's the same, but 跑步 is clearer that he is running, just like 吃饭 is clearer that one is eating than doing something else pronounced chi1.

Wait a second... Do horses 跑步. 步 means "step". Do horses take "steps", or do they only 跑? :roll:

Anyway, I think it's obvious that in this case the horse is running. Horses don't really have a lot of different things they do, compared to humans. So just 跑 is enough to understand.

This explanation based on my gut-feeling. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...