CCTV Growing Up With Chinese

Feb 17, 2022 — xiaolongbao

List of 100 TV episodes (15 minutes per episode) with accompanying text. Hosted by Charlotte MacInnis. Originally aired in 2010. The show is designed for beginner Chinese learners and targetted at a teenage audience.


Note: Please open any "Audio" link in a new window. You can listen to the pronunciation in Google Translate which is accurate.

The show in Chinese is called 成长汉语 (成長漢語) chéngzhǎng hànyǔ (Audio).

The dialogue is in Simplified Chinese (used in China) but Traditional Chinese (used in Taiwan) will also be supplemented for those learning it.

Lessons with links are ready on this page. PDF document will eventually be compiled once all 100 lessons have been transcribed.

To Do List

  • Download all 100 video episodes done! 4.51 GB
  • Download all PDF text done! 9.09 MB
  • Type out each lesson
  • Create single PDF file
  1. Greetings
  2. Thanks
  3. Name
  4. Age
  5. Simple enquiries
  6. Nationality
  7. Time
  8. Having dinner
  9. Family
  10. Dates
  11. Getting up
  12. Playing American football
  13. Breakfast
  14. Directions
  15. Buying
  16. Making a phone call
  17. Transportation
  18. Apologizing
  19. Talking about pets
  20. Homework and courses
  21. Parent-teacher conference
  22. Weather (1)
  23. Weather (2)
  24. Shopping (1)
  25. Shopping (2)
  26. Asking for directions
  27. Houhai (Lotus Market)
  28. Boat-rowing
  29. Eating fast food
  30. Dragon Boat Festival
  31. Learning to play American football
  32. Interests
  33. Playing computer games
  34. Sending emails
  35. Listening to music
  36. Compliments
  37. Complaints
  38. Planned outings
  39. Nanluogu Xiang street
  40. Beijing snacks (1)
  41. Beijing snacks (2)
  42. Uncle calls
  43. Entertaining visitors
  44. Lost and found
  45. Antique market (1)
  46. Antique market (2)
  47. Booking tickets
  48. Farewell
  49. Invitation
  50. Ancient Chinese lesson
  51. Basketball
  52. After-school basketball
  53. Medical office
  54. Visiting Xiaoming
  55. Xiaoming recovering from injury
  56. Choosing a gift
  57. Having a hair cut
  58. Birthday celebrations
  59. Chinese astrology signs
  60. Wishes
  61. Singing
  62. Nature museum
  63. American football
  64. Learning martial arts
  65. *Kite-flying
  66. Sports meet
  67. Bike repairs (1)
  68. Bike repairs (2)
  69. Laundry
  70. Revision (1)
  71. Revision (2)
  72. Revision (3)
  73. After exams
  74. Arguments
  75. Cooking (1)
  76. Cooking (2)
  77. Booking airfares
  78. Packing for a trip
  79. *Shanghai trip: The Bund (1)
  80. Shanghai trip: The Bund (2)
  81. Old City God Temple snacks
  82. Oriental Pearl TV Tower (1)
  83. Oriental Pearl TV Tower (2)
  84. Shanghai Science and Technology Museum (1)
  85. Shanghai Science and Technology Museum (2)
  86. Jiangnan Water Town: Suzhou (1)
  87. Jiangnan Water Town: Suzhou (2)
  88. Sight-seeing suggestions
  89. Hotel check-in
  90. At the teahouse
  91. Listening to Beijing Opera: Painting face
  92. Tailor-made Qipai dresses
  93. Great Wall (1)
  94. Great Wall (2)
  95. *Temple of Heaven
  96. Spring Festival (1)
  97. Spring Festival (2)
  98. Fruit-picking
  99. Picnic, barbecue
  100. Farewell

001. Greetings

第一课:问候dì yī kè: Wènhòu

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Why Study Mandarin?

Hi, everyone! 大家好!Dàjiā hǎo!

Welcome to the first episode of "Growing Up With Chinese", 成长汉语chéngzhǎng hànyǔ (成長漢語). My name is Charlotte MacInnis and in this show I'll be helping all of you learn some very basic and useful Chinese. Now, I realize that some of you might be thinking right now, "Why should I learn Chinese? What does China have to do with me?" Well, different people will give you different answers and I'll give you my answers today.

China is a country with over 5,000 years of history. Exploring the various facets of Chinese culture, Chinese life, Chinese inventions and tradition; and you can't forget Chinese language. All these aspects that have developed over these 5,000 years is fascinating, exciting, and really quite unique. Think of Gongfu 功夫 (gōngfū) or "Kung Fu" as some of you might know it. Or, even, Chinese food, which is delicious. Or... Can't forget, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This is one of the founders of Traditional Chinese Medicine. [Points to a painting of 李时珍 (李時珍) Lǐ Shízhēn * (known as Li Shih-chen, 1518-1593)

By learning how to speak Chinese, all of these wells of incredible information become more accessible to you. If you visit a foreign country and can speak the language of the country, you're going to have a completely different experience than if you don't speak a word.

About the Show

So, why should you learn Chinese with us, here, on "Growing Up With Chinese"? Well, a team of professionals have put their heads together to design a show specifically for teenagers but of course everyone is welcome to watch. And don't worry, it's not all going to be work. We also have clips of Mike, Xiǎomíng 小明, and their teachers and friends to help demonstrate what we'll be learning. And we will also be covering various facets of Chinese culture, history, and everyday life in the show's "Cultural Spotlight" segment. So I dare say, you won't get bored.

About the Host

And, finally, just so you all know a little bit more about me, as I will be seeing you every show, I was born in the United States and moved to China with my family in 1988. I was seven at the time and, yes, if you do the math, you can figure out how old I am. And I spent ten years here before returning to America for university. So I grew up in China learning Chinese and going to Chinese school and I'm thrilled to be hosting a show that will help all of you learn Chinese as you grow up. And, yes, no matter what your age, we never stop growing up.


So this program really is for people of all ages who want to learn Chinese. So, there we are! That was quite the long introduction but I hope that now, you're all more excited about learning Chinese and learning about China. Okay. 好!(Hǎo!)

Our topic for today is "Greetings". Very important phrases to know in any foreign language. Xiǎomíng 小明, a Chinese boy, is center-stage here in Beijing today as he prepares for Mike, a high school exchange student, to arrive. So let's take a look right now and see what Xiǎomíng is up to.


At a department store

你好。Nǐ hǎo.
Cashier你好。Nǐ hǎo.

On a bus

你好。Nǐ hǎo.
Female passenger你好。Nǐ hǎo.

At a public park

你好。Nǐ hǎo.

Sees an old man.

爷爷,早上好。Yéyé, zǎoshàng hǎo.

Good morning, grandpa.

小明,你好。Xiǎomíng, nǐ hǎo.

Sees his friends.

玲玲、小新,你们好。Línglíng, Xiǎoxīn, nǐmen hǎo.

Hello, Lingling, Xiaoxin.
小明,你好。Xiǎomíng, nǐ hǎo.
Hello, Xiaoming.
小明,你好。Xiǎomíng, nǐ hǎo.
Hello, Xiaoming

Sneaks up behind a boy.

你好,你好 。 Nǐ hǎo, nǐ hǎo!


Xiǎomíng certainly knows a lot of people doesn't he? My guess is all of you pretty much understood that what we just saw were the various ways Xiǎomíng greeted different people. Let's break them down one at a time.

你好 nǐ hǎo separately, nǐ means "you" and hǎo means "good". When they're put together they form the most common greeting in Chinese. "Hello!" 你好! nǐ hǎo!.

Now, if you're saying hello to more than one person, a "-们 (-們)" -men is added after nǐ. "-们 (-們)" -men effectively makes a singular pronoun (I, you, she, he, it) or a noun refering to a person, plural. 你们 nǐmen. It's the plural of "you". 你们好 (你們好) nǐmen hǎo therefore is "Hello, everyone" or "Hello, all".

早上好 zǎoshang hǎo. You're guessing correctly that this is a greeting. This phrase shares the hǎo that the other two have. 早上 zǎoshàng however, means "morning". So 早上好 zǎoshàng hǎo is "Good morning!"

Four Tones

Okay, let's take another look at the clip.

Alright. That just about wraps up today's general overview of the dialog. Now it's time to get into some specifics. Before we move into today's vocabulary, I want to ask you all a question. Did any of you notice how everything sounded almost like a song? That's because Chinese is a tonal language. Now what that means is that for almost every word in Chinese there are four ways, or four tones, in which you can speak it. And the meaning of the word changes depending on the tone. So let's use the word "ma" as an example.

So, "ma", we need four times because there are four tones. We've got our first tone, second tone, third tone, and fourth tone.


So, there are four tones and for every tone, "ma" has a different meaning or sometimes, different meanings. Now it might sound kind of confusing right now but don't worry. It's not too hard to grasp and you will all get plenty of practice with tones.


So now let's take a look at today's list of vocabulary words.

nǐn3(Audio)you (formal) - It's the formal usage of the word "you".
们 (們)men(Audio)suffix - It's used to form a plural number when added to a personal pronoun or a noun referring to a person.
早上zǎo3 shàng4(Audio)morning
爷爷 (爺爺)Yé2 yé2(Audio)grandfather

Physical greetings

Okay. It's time to switch gears for a minute. Now, regardless of where you're from I want all of you to think for just a second about how you greet someone in your culture if you don't say anything. I'm from the United States. I can think of a bunch of ways I might greet people depending on how familiar I am with them. I might hug them. I might kiss them once on the cheek. I could do a fancy handshake or just a plain handshake. Or I might even hold both their hands. It's all quite physical, isn't it?

Well, in general, physical greetings in China are quite reserved. In ancient times, men greeted in other like this (left hand over right fist, moved up and down). And women would greet people like this (both arms to the left hip and curtsey). People rarely made physical contact in public. Now of course, times change. Now you see all kinds of physical greetings taking place. But overall, especially compared to how physical American greetings can be. Physical greetings in China are still relatively restrained. You see handshakes and head nods mostly. Among young people you might see a hug exchanged but that's probably about it.

Now, growing up here, my Chinese friends always joked with me about giving me a Chinese hug. They would reach across and squeeze my arm, like this (left hand on her left shoulder). Now that's quite an affectionate way to acknowledge someone here.


3rd 3rd tones become 2nd 3rd tones

Okay. It's time to look at some of today's language points. And to start off with, we have a tone alert. Now, did all of you notice that both nǐ and hǎo are third tone characters. There's a rule for two "third tones" if they come next to each other. It's way too hard to make your voice do them side by side. Try it really quick. 你 (nǐ) 好 (hǎo). Now try it quickly. It's hard, huh? Well, when two "third tones" are side by side, the first one becomes a "second tone," like this. hǎo. It's easier, isn't it? So just remember. If it's a third tone and a third tone next to each other, it changes into a second tone and a third tone. Let's look at some more examples.


Lán lán
小明,你好。Xiǎomíng, nǐ hǎo.
Hello, Xiaoming.
你好,兰兰 。 Nǐ hǎo, Lánlán.
(你好,蘭蘭 。)

Hello, Lanlan.

Neutral tone ("5th tone")

We have another tone alert. Did you hear a tone for men? This demonstrates what some call the "fifth tone" in Chinese. But it's not really a tone. In Chinese it's called 轻声 (輕聲) (qīng shēng), which literally means "light sound". It's a toneless tone or a neutral tone.

Now, because we have men separating nǐ and hǎo. They both go back to being third tone. Ni3 Men Hao3. Ni2 Hao3. Ni3 Men Hao3. Can you hear the difference?


Xiaoming and Lanlan
老师好。Lǎoshī hǎo.

Hello, teacher.

同学们好。 Tóngxuémen hǎo.

Hello, students.
(小明和麥克 )

Xiaoming and Mike
爷爷好。Yéyé hǎo.

Hello, teacher.

呵呵,你们好。 Hēhē, nǐmen hǎo.


Formal "You"

Now here's a test for your ears. Did any of you notice that when Xiaoming said hello to the person at the store and the person on the bus, he said 您 (nǐn3). Sounds a lot like nǐ3, doesn't it? Well, they both mean "you". However, nǐn3 is the formal way to say "you" in Chinese. Now, I know some European languages like French for example, have the formal and informal "you". Chinese is the same. You say nǐn3 when you want to be respectful especially to people you don't know. 您好 nín2 hǎo3 (Audio). Let's look at some more 您 nǐn3 examples.


Lán lán
老师,您好。Lǎoshī, nín hǎo.

Hello, teacher.

你好,兰兰 。 Nǐ hǎo, Lánlán.
(你好,蘭蘭 。)

Hello, Lanlan.


Alright, that just about wraps everything up for today. Now don't worry if your head is swimming in the vast ocean of the Chinese language. We'll go over as much as we can what has been talked about in later episodes of 成长汉语chéngzhǎng hànyǔ. And you can always visit our website to review. Now, please feel free to also send us letters about the show or anything you might have questions about or any comments you might like to make. We'd love to hear from you. And whenever there is time at the end of the show, some of those letters will be read out loud. And I'll do my best to answer any questions you might have. Good luck with your Chinese studies everybody. 加油!jiāyóu!. See you all next time! 再见!zàijiàn! (再見!) (Audio).

002. Thanks

第二课:致谢Dì èr kè: Zhìxiè

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Hi, everyone. Nimen hao. Welcome back to another episode of "Growing Up With Chinese" (chengzhang hanyu). First off, I'd like to thank all of you who wrote in after watching our first show. It really is great to hear from you and very helpful to all of us working on the show. So keep your comments and questions coming our way. After today's show, I'll be able to thank all of you in Chinese because our topic for today is, that's right, "Thank you".

Now, last time we met Xiaoming and saw how he greeted different people using the phrases Nihao (Hello), Nimen hao (Hello, everyone), Yeye, zaoshang hao (Good morning, grandfather), and Nin hao (Hello - using the formal "you").

Today, we're going to meet Mike, as he makes his way to Xiaoming's apartment accompanied by his teacher. And, yes, he has a lot of thank yous to hand out today. Let's take a look.


In a taxi, the teacher pays the taxi driver.

Teacher: Xiexie.
Taxi driver: Meishir. Buyong xie.

The teacher and Xiaoming, with his luggage, head towards Xiaoming's apartment.

At the lobby waiting for the elevator.

Youth: Nimen hao. - Hello.
Teacher: Ni hao. - Hello.
Mike: Ni hao. - Hello.

All three enter the elevator and get off on the third floor.

Mike: Xiexie nin. 谢谢您。 - Thank you.
Youth: Hai, meishir, bu keqi 嗨,没事儿,不客气。 - Hey, no problem. Don't mention it.


Alright, let's break down what we heard. The first phrase is pretty simple. Xiexie. It means "thanks". Now, I know some people have a hard time with the pronunciation of Xiexie. You can think of it kind of like the word "she" and "eh" "shee-eh". Xiexie. Now if you add in Ni or Nin to the end of Xiexie, it becomes "Thank you - informal" or "Thank you - formal". Xiexie ni, that would be informal. Xiexie nin, is formal.

Buyong Xie

Buyong xie. This means "you're welcome". Bu is the negative, or "no". Yong is a verb we will cover many, many times and in this context, it means "need". So put together, buyong means "no need". So buyong xie literally is "no need to thank" or "no thanks necessary" or "you're welcome".

Taxi driver helps Mike with his luggage from the trunk of the taxi.

Teacher: Xiexie.
Mike: Xiexie.

Bu Keqi

Bu keqi. You're welcome. Bu again is no or a negative. keqi means "polite". So bu keqi literally means "no polite". Now, to be polite in China is something that you do with strangers. You make sure to be polite with strangers. But when it comes to people who are close to you, whether they're family or friends, being polite is something to kind of avoid. After all, you don't want to make the people close to you feel like you're treating them like strangers. So, as a result of this cultural tendency to not be polite is a phrase to use as "you're welcome". Bu keqi.


So that's not too hard to follow, right? Let's watch the action once more.


Initials and Finals

Okay, everyone. Let's take a look at today's vocabulary. Before we go into today's specific vocabulary words. Let's take a minute to go over Pinyin, or how we write Chinese using the Roman alphabet as opposed to using characters. Now, a Chinese character, or a Chinese syllable word, can be divided into two parts. The initial and the final.

For example. Let's take a look.

Ming. The word "ming" is composed of the initial "m-" and the final "-ing". Now, there are only 23 initial sounds in Chinese (b, c, ch, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, sh, t, w, x, y, z, zh) and many of them are pronounced quite similarly to how we pronounce them in English.


For example. b as in "bottle". p as in "part". d as in "dog. t as in "time. g as in "go" - but it's always hard, never soft. And k as in "key". Now there are more similar sounds but instead of listing all of them for you, let's go over some of the initial sounds that aren't so similar.

For example. z as in "zang" or "zeng". Its pronunciation is quite similar to the "ds" sound in English, like "cards". But you need to move the tip of your tongue closer to the back of your teeth. "zang". "zeng".

Okay. c as in "cang" or "ceng". It's similar to the "ts" in "its". "cang".

Now, here's an interesting one. q as in "qiu" or "qiong". It's similar to the "ch" sound in English, kind of like "achoo". qiong.

zh as in "zhang" or "zhou". Think of the "j" sound in "judge" and you've got this one. "zhang".

Now x, as in "xing" or "xie". Now this sound is somewhere in the middle of "sh" and "s". And this one's a bit tricky because the initial "sh" is pronounced like "sh" is in English. "x" is somewhere in the middle. So let's take "shang" and "xia" as an example.

Here are the two words. "shang" and "xia". "shang" "xia" "shang" "xia". Can you hear the difference? It's not major but it is there and it will come with practice.

We also have "r" as in "rang" or "rou". It's quite similar to the "r" sound in "run" but the "r" is a little softer. So try moving your tongue more to the back of your mouth. "rang". "rou".

Okay. Now for a complete list of all the initials in Pinyin, you can find them online on our website. They will be coming up as we move along in our shows though. So you will all have plenty of time to practice. For now, let's go into our vocabulary words of the day.


buno - or used with other characters to make something negative.
xiexiethank you
yongto use

Cultural Spotlight

Gratitude in China

Can any of you remember some of the first words your parents or family members taught you when you were small? I'm sure it's different for everyone but if I had to guess, "thank you" is probably among your list of words. In many cultures, "thank you" is probably a phrase that you say the most every day. If someone holds the door for you, you say "thank you". If you order something to eat at a restaurant, you would say "thank you" to your server. If your parents do something for you, you say "thank you".

I can remember when I was small, my mom said to me after someone gave me something, "what do you say?", and I'd say "thank you". In China, rules for saying "thank you are kind of opposite. In a nutshell, the logic behind saying "thank you" in China is that the closer you are to someone or the more you know someone, the less you say thank you. Interesting, huh?

In China, the closer you are to someone, the less you say thank you.

The way Chinese people explain this is that if your mom does something for you, for example, you don't need to say "thank you". She knows you're grateful. If you say "thank you", you're distancing yourself from her. And the same goes with friends. You don't really thank friends here. If I say "thank you" to my best Chinese girl friend, she gets all grumpy with me. She'll respond by saying, "Well, we're friends, aren't we? We do things for each other. You don't need to thank me. If you thank me, it makes me feel like we're not friends." Yes, literally. That's what she says.


4th 4th Tone

Alright. That wraps up our cultural spotlight section for this show. And now let's move in to some language points. We have a tone alert for . When used on its own. Bù is fourth tone. Bù. When bù is used before another fourth tone, it becomes second tone. Buxie or buyong xie. Can you hear how it changed? Now, this specific rule doesn't apply to two 4th tones all across the word. Remember how we discussed two 3rd tones turn into 2nd and 3rd, like Nihao, right? That's an all across the board rule. In this case, bu is special. It's an exception in the world of 4th tones. Buxie. Bukeqi. Buyong xie. Don't worry. We'll go over it again in the episodes to come.

Let's look at some examples first.

Yeye: Xiexie ni, Lanlan. - Thank you, Lanlan.
Lanlan: Yeye, buyong xie! - Not at all, grandpa!

Mike: Xiexie ni, Lanlan
Lanlan: Mike, buyong xie.

Now there's no definite rule for when a 4th tone turns neutral. And if you were to say Xiexie or Keqi as two definite 4th tones, people would still have no problem understanding what you're saying. It's more of a feeling kind of rule, which I know, when you're learning a new language can be very furstrating. It's always nice to have clear rules for when things change. But, don't worry, we'll try to go over this kind of change as much as we possibly can and soon you'll all have an instinctive feeling for when a neutral tone is needed.

Let's look at some examples.

Lanlan: Xiaoming, xixie ni!-Xiaoming, thank you! Xiaoming: Hehe, bukeqi.

Laoshi: Xiexie ni, Lanlan.-Thank you, Lanlan. Lanlan: Laoshi, bukeqi.-Don't mention it, teacher.


The taxi driver said Meishir when Mike's teacher thanks him for helping with Mike's bag. Meishir means "It's nothing", "That's alright". Just like we could say in English, "That's okay, you're welcome" or "It's nothing. You don't need to thank me". You can say Meishir, buyong xie or Meishir, bukeqi in Chinese.

Taxi driver: Hai, ni de qianbaoXiexie ni.- Hey, your purse. Lanlan: Xiexie ni-Thank you
Driver: Meishir-Oh, no worries. Grandpa: Xiexie ni-Thank you Xiaoming: Meishir-It's nothing.

Okay, that brings us to the end of today's show. I hope you all had fun. Now, don't forget to visit our website for reviewing or simply for fun and please keep your feedback coming in. See you all next time. Jiayou, Zaijian!

003. Name

第三课:名字Dì sān kè: Míngzì

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004. Age

第四课:年龄Dì sì kè: Niánlíng

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Lanlan's mother:

来了,来了lái le, lái le
Coming, coming.
阿姨ā yí您好nín hǎo
Hi, auntie.
Lanlan's mother:
It's you, Mike. Come on in. Please take a seat. Lanlan, Mike's here.
Oh, you're here. I was just going to look for you.

Quick Overview

Compilation of everything intoduced in all 100 episodes. Those in brackets are heard in dialogue but not officially taught.

001你 您 们 好 爷 早 上
(玲 小 新 兰 老 师 同 学 呵)
(问 候 成 长 汉 语 功 夫 加 油 再 见)
002谢 不 用 客 气
(司 机 麦 克 没 事 儿 邻 居 嗨 钱 包)
003叫 什 么 名 字 麦 克 姓 王 多 大 了 十 六 岁 呢 也
(父 母 噢 叔 阿 姨 妈)

About the Show

Host: Charlotte MacInnis (穆爱华)

  • Charlotte MacInnis (穆爱华 Mù Àihuá)
  • Scottish and Norwegian ancestry.
  • born 21 February 1981 (Michigan, United States)
  • Moved to Nanjing, Jiangsu, China in 1988 (age 7) and lived there for 7 years until age 14.
  • Moved to Beijing in 1995 (age 14) for 3 years.
  • Studied at Columbia University (New York City, NY, United States)
  • (Wikipedia)

Program: Growing Up with Chinese

  • 成长汉语 (成長漢語) (chéngzhǎng hànyǔ) in Chinese.
  • Each episode is 15 minutes long.
  • Originally aired between 2 August 2010 to 10 April 2011 from Monday to Sunday at 4:15pm and repeated at 0:15am.
  • Total 100 episodes.
  • Cast were around the age of 14 years old at the time of filming.
  • The show is aimed at a teenage audience who are at the beginner level in Mandarin.
  • (Wikipedia)


Tián Yuánhào
MikeExchange student from North America (United States). (Hair was dyed blonde.)
Wáng Hàochéng
Wáng Xiǎomíng
Host family's son
Āzī Gǔlì
(ethnic Uyghur)
Xiaoming's childhood friend.


CCTV News (formerly CCTV-9 in 2000; CCTV News in 2010; CGTN since 2016) also has other lessons (dead links)

Beginner Chinese

  • Growing Up with Chinese (hosted by Charlotte MacInnis) (CCTV)
  • Easy Chinese (hosted by Aurora Carlson)
  • Suvival Chinese
  • CRI Chinese Studio

Intermediate Chinese

  • Travel in Chinese (hosted by Dashan)
  • News in Special Chinese
  • Communicate in Chinese
  • Sports Chinese

Advanced Chinese

  • Happy Chinese: S1 Daily Life
  • Happy Chinese: S2 Tourist Chinese
  • Happy Journey Across China

Tags: mandarin