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Talking About The Environment - Expanded Chinese Lesson

So in this lesson, we talk about the environment. Let's explore and learn!


环境 - huán jìng

We can use this word to talk about both a physical environment or a figurative environment.

我不适应这环境 - wǒ bù shì yìng zhè huán jìng

I am not used to this environment (Literally: I no accustomed this environment)

In the expression above, notice where the verb is. The verb is 适应, so don't add the "to be" verb even though it makes more sense in English.

保护环境 - bǎo hù huán jìng

Protect the environment

环境保护 - huán jìng bǎo hù

Shortened form


The flexibility of Chinese

Because Chinese does not have tenses, it makes the language very flexible. You can see from the use of

保护环境 - bǎo hù huán jìng


环境保护 - huán jìng bǎo hù

It's literally just putting phrases together. In English, one would be "protect the environment" or "environmental protection." You have to conjugate the verb and the noun. But in Chinese the verb and noun are always the same. The context in how they're used is what matters.

Here's another example:

歌唱 - gē chàng


唱歌 - chàng gē

Both mean singing, but you can also use 歌唱 as a verb in addition to a noun. So 唱歌 is sing, whereas 歌唱 can be the noun "singing."

For example:

他唱歌唱的很好。我们都很欣赏他的歌唱。He sings very well. We really enjoy his singing.

Redundancy built into words

Since we used the word "protect," let's explore it more


It's literal meaning is "protect protect." There's two characters that mean basically the same. You get this sometimes in Chinese. Lots of words are just two characters of the same or very similar meaning put together. Almost like an extra emphasis.

Here are some examples:

生产 - shēng chǎn, Produce/production (Literal: Creating Producing)

教师 - jiào shī, Teacher/instructor (Literal: Teaching teacher)

创造 - chuàng zà0, create/invent (Literal: create produce)

Task 1

Talk about the environment. Think about your work environment, your home environment. Your favorite hiking spot.

How's the 环境?





Task 2

Find more Chinese words that have two characters that mean the same put together. Show me some! Have fun exploring!

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