yī: When 一 is used in counting, is by itself, or at the end of a phrase it is pronounced with a first tone as we learned previously.
yì + 1st, 2nd, or 3rd tones: When followed by a first, second, or third tone 一 is pronounced as a fourth tone.
yí + 4th tone: When followed by a fourth tone 一 is pronounced as a second tone.
Most noun objects in English do not require measure words, but sometimes the omission of a measure word would sound awkward. For example we say "piece of paper," "two cups of coffee," "three pairs of socks," and the like.
Counting objects in Chinese always requires the use of an object specific measure word between the number and the object.
In this lesson we learn our first two measure words 個 [gè], a general measure word for a variety of nouns, and 本 [běn], the measure word for books and other book-like objects.
[Numeral + Measure Word] + Noun
There are two word choices when asking "how much?" Use 幾 [jǐ] when the expected amount is going to be less than 10, and 多少 [duōshǎo] for any quantity. While a measure word is not necessary when using the question word 多少, it is required with 幾.
幾 + Measure Word + [Object]
多少 + [Measure Word] + [Object] The measure word is optional with 多少, but not used when the expected response is a large number.
In a noun phrase the Number + Measure Word combination is always before the noun it modifies. Since the measure word carries the general connotation of the noun it precedes the noun can be omitted where the reference is clear.
Measure Word + [Object]
As learned previously 有 [yǒu] means "to have." In Chinese 有 is not only used to indicate personal possession, but also extends to the possessions of inanimate objects. That is to say the existence of something somewhere.
In English we say, "There are Chinese books in the library." In Chinese the same sentence would read, "The library has Chinese books." So when you want to say "there is" or "there are" use 有.
We covered the character 還 [huán], to return, as a verb in lesson 11. When 還 is used as an adverb the same character is pronounced hái and carries the meaning "still," "additionally," "on top of that." It is similar to 也 but is used to add extra emphasis or surprise.
[Subject] + 還 + Verb + [Object]