Our Chinese classes are getting better every week! Last week, when we were learning about food, one student asked me the question: “Why do Chinese people usually ask me ‘吃了吗’ (chi le ma?) or ‘吃饭了吗’？(chi fan le ma?)” I smiled and asked: “Has anyone else gotten the same question?” All the students raised their hands. I asked : “So if your answer was ‘没吃’ (mei chi)，did he or she invite you to dinner?” They all laughed: “No. But why do they care about whether I have eaten?” “Because we have a saying ‘民以食为天’(mín yǐ shí wéi tiān) which means “People regard food as their prime want”. There used to be a lot of famines in Chinese history, and many people died during these famines, so food is a thing of great importance in daily life. When people ask “吃了吗”, it’s just like saying “Hello” or “how are you?” in English.
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