Last year, or the year before–they are all running into each other now–I was somewhat subscribed to the Chinese language learning site, ChinesePod. Not being a paying member, I could only access the most basic level languages; nonetheless, I felt flooded with emails announcing new lessons and they always piled up on me before I got to listening to a batch.
Their learning model is quite compelling. Phrases were taught in the context of a simple conversation/dialogue that was spoken three times. The lovely hosts, Jenny and Ken, would go over the conversation in detail, going over pronunciation and explanation. I quizzed myself by trying to understand the content of a dialogue within the three iterations. I would never understand 100% of the words and some of them I could not even get the gist. Frustrating.
The most memorable lesson to me (to which I cannot find a link) is the one that introduced the phrase: 不告诉你, meaning “I’m not telling you”. As I recall, the male speaker was asking a female different questions and she kept avoiding the question, getting increasingly agitated. I was showing off to NPY the next day the new Mandarin phrase I had learned!
Like 我不知道, a Cantonese-speaker’s other favourite phrase meaning, “I don’t know”, 不告诉你 is easy to remember.
Given NPY and I often sass at each other rather than be serious, can’t you see how often this phrased can be used between us??