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Lesson 6 Channels & long distance calls

Chinese Lover


1)怎么样 a general question like "what do you think" or "what´s up"


What do you think about the weather in Beijing?


It's 6 o'clock why don't we go for dinner together?

2)别 don´t , better not


The weather is no good today, let's not go out.


It's too late. Don't watch TV anymore.

3)收到 to receive


I received her letter yesterday.


I received the ticket that I've reserved.


Making Phone Calls in China

Making phone calls in China is much easier and cheaper than it used to be. At most hotels, you can dial directly from your room, although, as we saw in the dialogue, a deposit is often required. Sometimes you can simply have the front desk swipe your credit card as a deposit.

Local calls are usually 7 or 8 digits, depending on the city. Large cities like Beijing switched to 8 digit numbers several years ago. The largest cities have a 2 digit area code. 10 for Beijing, 21 for Shanghai. Smaller locations have 3 digit area codes. For example, Chengde to the north of Beijing is 314. To make a domestic long distance call, you usually dial 0, then the area code followed by the local number. For long distance calls, you can also buy phone cards that give you heavily discounted rates on long distance charges.

10 digit phone numbers are also very common in China, and they usually start in 1,3. These are for cell phones. The numbers are longer because most of these phones can be used while roaming anywhere in China. Rather than have a separate area code, the area code is built into each cell phone number. Cell phones are extremely common in China. At least in the cities, it seems just about everybody has one, from high school students to retired people. Cell phones are not very expensive, so it makes sense to buy one if you are in China for more than just a few weeks. For shorter trips, you can even rent cell phones.

Substitution and Extention

1)……的话 indicates a hypothetical, if something happens. It can be preceded by "要是"or "如果".


If it's convenient, please give me a phone call.


If we have time, we can go to the Summer Palace this afternoon.

2)可……了 is used to show emphasis, like "really".


Her Chinese is really quite good.


Xuemei: Xiaojie, how’s your room?

Xiaojie : It’s alright. How come there’s no news about the camera yet?

Huang: Don’t worry, I’ve already told reception. They’ll let us know as soon as there’s news.

Xuemei: You’ve got to take care of your belongings from now on!

Huang: Watch some TV, see what’s showing on Chinese television.

Xiaojie : Are there any American programmes?

Huang: Let me ask.

(makes a phone call)

Huang: Could you tell me if the TV in the room can get American channels?

Reception : Sorry, right now we can’t get American TV programmes.

Huang: Well, which channel is for sports programmes?

Sorry, I can’t find the sports channel .

Ok, thanks!

She said she would send someone to tune it.

(Staff comes in, adjusts television)

Staff: Let me tune it for you.

Huang: Thank you!

Staff: This is the sports channel, and this is the English channel.

Staff: Oh that’s right, there’s beer and drinks in the fridge.

Xuemei: I want to ask you a question. Can the phones in the room make national long distance calls?

Staff: Sorry that’s not available yet, you can only make local calls.

Xuemei: Then how do we make national long distance calls?

Staff: You’ll need to apply the service at reception, then you can make the calls.

Xuemei: Can you make international calls?

Staff: For international long distance calls you need to pay a deposit at reception. Then you can make the calls.

Xuemei: Now I understand.

Huang: Let’s go get something to eat. Celebrate a bit.

Xuemei: Good ideas. Xiaojie, let’s go?

Xiaojie : You guys go, I don’t want to go.

(phone rings)

Huang:(picks up the phone)Hello? What? They’ve already sent the camera bag back. Thank you!

Xiaojie : I’ve got my camera back.

Huang: Yes.

Xiaojie : Dad, Mom. Let’s go eat. I’m really hungry.

Huang: OK! Let’s go.