290 Classmate

Do you have or did you have good classmates in school? Classmates can often end up still being good friends after they leave school and in Asia, it’s quite important to attend class reunions for many years after you’ve left school! Charlie Hoffs is a student in the USA who is also an expert Mandarin speaker. She and ShaoLan talk about school experience and the importance of classmates. Charlie notes that the Chinese word for “classmate” literally translates as “together study” which she sees as including a sense of cooperation and support, as opposed to “studying against” other students in a competitive environment. ShaoLan also teaches the words for different kinds of school and therefore allows you to describe classmates from each one, be it the elementary school, middle, high school or university!

In Chinese, the way to say “classmate” is 同學/同学, where the first character means “together” and the second character means “to study.” So the people who “study together” with you are your classmates.

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同學 / 同学
tóng xué
Study, to learn
學 / 学
Elementary school classmate
小學同學 / 小学同学
xiǎo xué tóng xué
Elementary school
小學 / 小学
xiǎo xué
Middle school classmate
中學同學 / 中学同学
zhōng xué tóng xué
Senior high school
gāo zhōng
Senior high school classmate
高中同學 / 高中同学
gāo zhōng tóng xué
大學 / 大学
dà xué
University classmate
大學同學 / 大学同学
dà xué tóng xué
One classmate
一個同學 / 一个同学
yī ge tóng xué
A measure word
個 / 个
Three classmates
三個同學 / 三个同学
sān ge tóng xué
Whole class
quán bān

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