Ask and ye shall receive

There are a few ways of saying, “He gave a purple silk scarf to me.”

Tā gěi le wǒ yī tiáo sī jīn.
He gave me a purple silk scarf.

Tā sòng le yī tiáo sī jīn gěi wǒ.
He gave a purple silk scarf to me.

Tā bǎ yī tiáo sī jīn sòng gěi le wǒ.
He gave a purple silk scarf to me.

(gěi) means to give to, to grant to, or to allow.
(sòng) is to deliver, to escort, to see someone off, or to give as a gift.
送给 (sòng gěi) means “to give as a gift to”.
拿给 (ná gěi) means “to hand to” or “to take something to (someone)”.
寄给 (jì gěi) means “to mail to (someone)”.
交给 (jiāo gěi) means “to hand over or deliver to (someone)”. The thing you transfer over could be a physical object or an intangible item. For example,

这件事, 交给我办.
Zhè jiàn shì, jiāo gěi wǒ bàn.
Let me handle this matter for you.
(This matter, hand it over to me and let me deal with it.)

As we have seen before, you can change a statement into a request or question by adding “Yes or no?”, or “OK or not?” at the end. This also serves to soften the tone of a demand. For example,

给我一杯水, 好吗?
Gěi wǒ yī bēi shuǐ, hǎo ma?
Give me a glass of water, okay?

Wǒ xiǎng jì qǐngtiē gěi tā, kěyǐ ma?
I’d like to mail an invitation to her. Is it okay?

给我三天的时间, 可不可以?
Gěi wǒ sān tiān de shíjiān, kě bù kěyǐ ?
Give me three days of time (to think about or work on it), all right?

可不可以 (kě bù kěyǐ) is an abbreviation of 可以不可以
(kěyǐ bù kěyǐ okay or not).

Here is a song with Chinese verses fitted to the lively music of “Seven Lonely Days”. The humerous Chinese lyrics don’t correspond to the English verses. In my opinion, this has resulted in a much more effective song than if the renowned songwriter 陳蝶衣 (Chén Diéyī) had implemented a faithful translation instead. And, like the unforgettable Patsy Cline, 张露 (Zhāng Lù) belted out this fun song with a punch.

Can you tell what the singer is asking for? Click here to display the lyrics in simplified Chinese characters.

Click here to watch Hugh Jackman perform this song.

Anyway, this song contains many practical words and phrases that will be good for you to learn.

(gē) are songs, and 歌词 (gēcí) are the lyrics for a song.

(wěn a kiss) can be used both as a noun and as a verb. (fēi) means flying, or to fly. 飞吻 (fēi wěn) is a blow kiss.

(liǎn) is the face. (shàng) means “up”, “on”, “above”, “previous”, or “better”, and refers to the upper side or a superior position. It can also be used as a verb that means to apply, to tighten (a spring or a screw), or to submit. Therefore, 脸上 (liǎn shàng) means on the face, and 心上 (xīn shàng) means on the heart or mind.

(liú) means to remain, stay, keep or leave behind.

标记 (biāojì) is a symbol or a mark. 爱标记 (ài biāojì) means love-token. You could also translate “a token of love” as 爱的标记 (ài de biāojì).

(ràng) means to let, allow, or yield to.

想念 (xiǎngniàn) is to long for or to miss someone.

纵然 (zòngrán) is an adverb that means “even though” or “even if”.

(dèng) is to glower at someone or something.

嘴唇 (zuǐchún) are the lips.

(mén ì) is a door. (bì) shas the latch set in the door, and therefore means to close up or being closed.

请求 (qǐngqiú) means to make a request, and 恳求 (kěnqiú) means to implore.

决不 (juébù) means definitely not.

灰心 (huīxīn) means to be discouraged, and 伤心 (hāngxīn) means to be sad or to feel hurt.

答应 (dāying) means to reply or to consent to. 回音 (huíyīn) is a reply or a response.

没关系 (méiguānxi) means “It doesn’t matter.”, or “It’s all right.”

感谢 (gǎnxiè) and 感激 (gǎnjī) both mean to be thankfur or grateful.

敷衍 (fūyan) means to be perfunctory or to act tongue-in-cheek

甜蜜 (tiánmì) means honey-sweet, or happy.

By the way, the Chinese phrase 有求必应 (yǒuqiúbìyìng) could serve as a translation for “Ask and ye shall receive.” It is also used to describe a supreme being, like the Goddess of Mercy, who will always respond to any request for help, or a person who is unable to say no to anyone asking for help.

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