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Pimsleur's Mandarin course teaches 'both of us' as 我们两个都 (wǒ men liăng ge dōu), but in another question I asked here I recently found that 我们俩 (wǒ men liă).

Are these always interchangeable, or are there any rules concerning when to use one over the other? Are there any more ways to say 'both of us'?

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Just a heads up: "我们两个都" is only an appropriate translation for "both of us" when it appears before a predicate. That's because it contains the adverb "都" which needs a verb or adjective to modify. That means "我们两个都" isn't interchangeable with "both of us", especially when "both of us" is an object as in: "You want both of us?" ("你要我们两个都吗?"× doesn't fly, "你要我们俩吗?" does). –  Gus Jul 6 '12 at 8:51
    
i'm beginner in chinese, with a french keyboard, and I wonder how you put your accents, like the accents 1 and 3 on dou and wo. on your keyboard ? –  Stephane Rolland Jul 21 '12 at 11:33
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@StephaneRolland I use Pinyinput: pinyinput.sourceforge.net –  Cocowalla Jul 21 '12 at 19:41
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

俩 means 两个and is typically more colloquial. 俩 is often used for people, but doesn't need to be. Some examples:

  • 买俩馒头: to buy two steamed rolls
  • 兄弟俩
  • 他们俩。

Alternatively you can use "咱俩" in oral language, "咱" means "我". The difference between 我们 and 咱们, is that 咱们 includes the listener. So 我们两个, 我们俩, 咱们俩 and 咱俩 all mean "the two of us".

A side remark: when a father talks with his son he can use 咱爷俩 referring to himself and his son.

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Also is informal and mostly used in spoken language. –  NS.X. Jul 5 '12 at 21:03
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@NS.X. I believe that's what the word 'colloquial' means. –  deutschZuid Jul 6 '12 at 2:48
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@JamesJiao, yes you're right. At first I wanted to say 俩 is even considered wrong in written language (my elementary or middle school teacher would've circled it in red), but then thought that might a problem with the education system and changed my comment without realizing it's becoming what's already said. Sometimes it is very hard to determine if something is really linguistically incorrect or only against the "formulaic answer". –  NS.X. Jul 6 '12 at 9:03
    
Also 娘俩 for the speaker (female) and her daughter. –  Mike Manilone Oct 14 '12 at 6:52
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两 and 俩 are members of the same sound family, liang. 俩 has the 人 radical in front of 两.

两means "two" and 俩 means "pair." The first refers to "two things or people" and the second to a "pair of things or people." They are interchangeable in many contexts, but not all. 俩 is more colloquial, and can be considered an "abbreviation," 两个 is the more proper long form."

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