How to say the splendor of love in Chinese?

光彩 (guāngcǎi) means splendor, luster, radiance or glory. 光辉 (guānghuī) also refers to the radiance, brilliance and glory such as that of the bright sun. Therefore, one could speak of the splendor of love as 爱的光彩 (ài de guāngcǎi) or 爱的光辉 (ài de guānghuī).

The traditional American folk song “Down in the Valley” provides a simple tune to which many trite love verses have been fitted. Here is one of the well known rhymes:

蛇 (shé) Snakes

蛇 (shé) Snakes

Roses love sunshine;
Violets love dew.
Angels in heaven
Know I love you.

Méigui ài yángguāng,
Roses love sunrays,

Lán ài yǔlù.
Orchids love rain and dew.

Yǒngyuǎn dōu bù wàng
I’ll remember always,

Fēi nǐ mò shǔ.
I belong to you.

Click on this link then select “Roses love sunshine” to hear a recording of the Chinese verses.

(shǔ) as a verb means to belong to. (mò) and (fēi) are both terms of negation. You know from your algebra classes that the product of two negative values is a positive value. Therefore, “If not to you, then I won’t belong.” is the same as “I will only belong to you.” The following example illustrates the same idea:

Wǒ juéxīn fēi tā bù qǔ.
I’m determined to marry no one but her.

敢情 (gǎnqing) is the colloquial way of saying “indeed” or “I dare say.” Don’t confuse it with the word 感情 (gǎnqíng), which is a noun that means feelings or emotions.

Remember the song “Love Somebody” that we sang a couple years ago? If you are quite sure your affection will be reciprocated, then you could substitute the last line with the following:

Gǎnqing wǒ yě shì tā de xīn shàng rén.
And I know somebody loves me, too.

When talking about love, probably the last thing that comes to mind is a snake. Well, there is a fascinating Chinese tale called 白蛇传 (Báishézhuàn Legend of the White Snake), in which the heroine is a powerful white snake fairy who took on a lovely and graceful human form and married a mere mortal (and a weakling at that) with whom she fell in love. Add to the cast a faithful friend, the 青蛇 (qīng shé, blue snake), who is also a mystical being, and a meddling, unsympathetic Buddhist monk, the 法师 (fǎshī) or 和尚 (héshàng), drama ensues. There are many different versions of this beautiful and moving story of love, friendship and struggles against external interference of the unnatural union. You can get some details at this link.

Bái shé tóng qīng shé chéng le jiébài jiěmèi.
The White Snake and the Blue Snake become sworn sisters.

Xǔ Xiān yǔ Bái Sùzhēn jié wéi fūqī.
Xu Xian and Bai Suzhen tie the knot and become husband and wife.

Fǎhǎi héshàng yào zhuōná bái shé.
The monk, Fahai, wants to capture the White Snake.

If you are ambitions and want to see how much you can get out of a Beijing opera movie with only Chinese subtitles provided, then click on Legend of the White Snake.

Traditional Chinese operas, referred to as 京戏 (jīngxì) or 京剧 (jīngjù), are staged with little or no prop, and the performers use a set of established theatrical gestures to help project an emotion or an action involving an object (which is invisible to the audience). The female characters usually sing in a high-pitched voice that could sound annoying to the untrained ear. When these ladies sing rhyming verses to describe a beautiful scenery or to express their inner thoughts, a word (note) could be held for quite a long while. I think this Legend of the White Snake movie can serve as a good introduction to Chinese opera. Featuring Chinese subtitles, real-life scenes, and even special effects, it should be less of a cultural shock to you than a traditional Chinese opera performed on stage. The dialog is somewhat off from the standard Mandarin pronunciation and intonation, and may sound strange to you. The actors do a fabulous job with body language, though. And many of the scenes are slow enough to permit you to take a good look at the displayed Chinese characters. Perhaps you could make a Lunar New Year’s resolution to study and understand all the subtitles for this movie by the end of this year, 今年 (jīnnián), or next year, 明年 (míngnián), or the year after, 后年 (hòunián)?

Zhù nǐ yǒu gè yúkuài de Qíngrén Jié!
Have a pleasant Valentine’s Day!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jenny
    Feb 13, 2013 @ 06:43:26

    I’ve been following your blog for a while and just wanted to say thank you for all the excellent posts. I will definitely make a resolution to watch the movie this year, it looks fascinating!


  2. Krystal
    Feb 13, 2013 @ 09:44:27

    Thank you so much for you lessons! One suggestion…could you record yourself saying the poem? I want to make sure I get the words right.


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