The giant panda and babies
1 Newborn giant pandas
This is a giant panda newborn baby!
They are only about 15cm long when first born. They are not only small but pink, maybe with a little bit of white fur and they don't look like a giant panda!
Giant pandas have a small baby. Let's try to say this in Mandarin.
Dàxióngmāo yǒu yī gè xiǎo bǎobao.
Mandarin Learning Points:
- When counting anything in Mandarin, there are measure words. For example, in English we say one baby or three babies and so on. If you wanted to translate this into Mandarin, you might think you could just say the numbers followed by the word for baby：一宝宝 yī bǎobao, 三宝宝 sǎn bǎobao but this is wrong!
- We don't need to change the word for baby - 宝宝 bǎobao - because in Mandarin, the word is the same for singular and plural. The numbers are correct for one and three but a measure word has to be placed between the number and whatever you are counting. This measure word will change depending on what you are counting.
- The general measure word 个 gè is used in the sentence above for counting babies or in this case for saying 'a baby', meaning one baby. 小 xiǎo is also inserted in this sentence to describe the baby, 小 xiao means small.
- One small baby is 一个小宝宝 yī gé xiǎo bǎobao.
Work out how you would say, in Mandarin:
four small babies
five small babies
three big babies (remember that giant panda is literally big bear cat, so work out the character for big)
Giant pandas tend to only have one baby at a time but sometimes there may be two. These phrases are just to practise your Mandarin!