Great Mothers

White Peony

White Peony

Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday. I think back to how my mother cared for me and nourished my body and soul in different ways at different times. Not only did she teach her children to be kind to other people, but she also spurred us to do our best in our studies. And I’ve come to realize that my mother was the one behind my father’s career change that opened up favorable opportunities for our education and personal growth.

Fast-rewind to a story that took place about twenty-three hundred years ago. The title is 孟母三迁 (Mèng Mǔ Sān Qiān). 孟母 (Mèng Mǔ) refers to the mother of the great Chinese philosopher Mencius, or 孟子 (Mèngzǐ). (qiān) is to relocate. The common term for moving one’s house is 搬家 (bānjiā).

Watch the cartoon at this Youtube link to find out why Mencius’ mother had to move three times, or 三次 (sān cì).

Are you able to keep up with the speed of the narration? Hope the following vocabulary list helps.

小的时候 (xiǎo de shíhòu) means in one’s childhood.
靠近 (kàojìn) is to be near some place or someone.
墓地 (mùdì) is a graveyard.
学会 (xuéhuì) as a verb means to have learned to do something.
祭奠 (jìdiàn) is to hold a memorial service.
动作 (dòngzuò) are actions or movements.
Here, 不能 (bùnéng) means “should not”.
孩子 (háizǐ) is a kid.
(zhù) is to live at a place.
城镇 (chéngzhèn) means cities and towns.
集市边上 (jíshì biān shàng) means by a market.
模仿 (mófǎng) is to imitate.
商人 (shāngrén) are merchants.
做买卖 (zuò mǎimài) means to do buying and selling business.
吹牛 (chuīniú) and 夸口 (kuākǒu) both mean to boast and brag. (In this story, these words are used to describe how the merchants touted their merchandise.)
模样 (múyàng) are looks and appearances.
维妙维肖 (wéimiàowéixiào) means “in close resemblance to”.
不行 (bùxíng) means “no good” or “won’t do”.
还得 (hái děi) means “still must”.
不久 (bùjiǔ) means not long afterward.
书塾 (shū shú) refers to an old-style private school in China.
附近 (fùjìn) means vicinity.
小伙伴 (xiǎo huǒbàn) are little companions.
遵守秩序 (zūnshǒu zhìxù) means to follow rules and regulations.
讲究礼貌 (jiǎngjiū lǐmào) means to pay attention to good manners.
适合居住的地方 (shìhé jūzhù de dìfang) means a suitable place for living.
生活环境 (shēnghuó huánjìng) means the environment in which one lives.

You can get this story in English and also find out more about Mencius and his philosophy by reading this article at Wikipedia.

Mǔqīnjié kuàilè!
Happy Mother’s Day!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anthony Bogadek
    May 08, 2013 @ 10:32:20

    Hi Miss Lin,
    Happy Mother’s day to you.
    1) in intro part: “How to say imitate or mimick”: I guess it should be “mimic”; no final “k”. Ah, but the past test is spelt “mimicked” (with a “k”)!
    2) Re. “xuehu”; the dictionary gives only “xuehui”; there is no “xuehu” entry in it.

    Best regards and thanks for the lovely lesson,
    Anthony B.


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