March in Chinese

水仙花 (shuǐxiàn huā) Daffodils

水仙花 (shuǐxiàn huā) Daffodils


If you know that (yuè) stands for “month”, and you can count to 12 in Chinese, then you know how to say the names of the twelve months in Chinese. March is the third month of a year. Therefore, it is called 三月 (sānyuè). Last year about this time we learned a song called 三月里的小雨 (Sānyuè Li De Xiǎoyǔ Light Rain in March). If you would like to review that lesson, here is a quick link.

In English, to march means to walk forward or to advance with determination. The corresponding Chinese word is (xíng), which happens to have a number of other meanings as well.

行军 (xíngjūn) refers to the marching of troops.

行人 (xíngrén) are pedestrians. 人行道 (rénxíngdào) is a walkway for people, i.e. a sidewalk or pavement. A one-way road is called 单行线 (dānxíngxiàn).

自行车 (zìxíngchē) and 脚踏车 (jiǎotàchē) both refer to a bicycle.

旅行 (lǚxíng) is a journey or travel. You can also use this word as a verb. 旅行社 (lǚxíng shè) is a travel agency. You might contact them to arrange a plane ticket or to inquire about joining a 旅行团 (lǚxíng tuán tourist group).

我们打算参加旅行团到日本去玩.
Wǒmén dǎsuàn cānjiā lǚxíng tuán dào rìběn qù wán.
We plan to join a travel group to tour Japan.

送行 (sòngxíng) is to see someone off. 行程 (xíngchéng) is an itinerary or the distance of travel.

行李 (xínglǐ) means luggage or baggage. This is not to be confused with 行礼 (xínglǐ to salute), in which (xíng) means “to do”. Following are a few other examples of using the word in this sense.

实行 (shíxíng) means to carry out or to execute a plan or a policy. 行为 (xíngwéi) means behavior or conduct.

进行 (jìnxíng) means to march on or to be in progress. It also means to get on a task.

警方正在进行调查.
Jǐngfāng zhèngzài jìnxíng diàochá.
The police are conducting an investigation.

Many people say “ (xíng)!” instead of “ (hǎo)!” for “All right.” Or “Okay.” Correspondingly, if they say ” 不行 (bùxíng)”, that means they are refusing your request (no go).

行不通 (xíngbùtōng) means going nowhere.

这样做是行不通的.
Zhèyàng zuò shì xíngbùtōng de.
This won’t do. (This won’t work.)

(xíng) also means being competent or capable.

他在音乐方面很行.
Tā zài yīnyuè fāngmiàn hěn xíng.
He is good at music.

When pronounced as (háng), this word means a row, or the seniority among siblings. It also means a trade or line of business. Please review the discussion posted on 12/7/11.

内行 (nèiháng) means being adept at a task or knowledgeable about a subject matter.

If your friends are chagrined that their offspring refuses to study to become a doctor or a lawyer, but instead chooses literature or art, you could comfort them with this Chinese saying:

三百六十行, 行行出状元.
Sān bǎi liù shí háng, háng háng chū zhuàngyuan.
One could achieve greatness in any one of the 360 (i.e. very many) trades.

状元 (zhuàngyuan) is one who earned the top grade in the highest imperial examination in old China. This term refers to the very best in any field. Who knows? Your friends’ son or daughter just might make it big as a writer or an artist.

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Sing Aura Lee in Chinese

桃花 (táohuā) Peach Blossoms

桃花 (táohuā) Peach Blossoms


Spring is just around the corner. I hope this blog post finds you with a twinkle in your eyes, a smile on your face and a spring in your steps, ready to conquer the world and take on the challenge of studying Chinese.

Unbeknown to you, I made a New Year resolution for you, namely to learn to sing a song or two in Chinese by the end of this year. There are many simple songs you can choose from the “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes” book, and we have talked about quite a number of other songs in my past blog posts. If you are able to record your performance, we hope you will share it with us by providing the link to your video or audio file.

Here is a traditional song that might help put you in the mood for the season. The lyrics for “Aura Lee” were written by W. W. Fosdick and the music was composed by George R. Poulton. You can download an audio file for the melody from the Microsoft OneDrive site at this link.

The first stanza of the original lyrics goes like this:

When the blackbird in the Spring
‘On the willow tree.
Sat and rocked, I heard him sing,
Singing Aura Lee.
Aura Lee, Aura Lee,
Maid with golden hair.
Sunshine came along with thee,
And swallows in the air.

As you know, Elvis Presley changed the verses of this song and turned “Love Me Tender” into a hit.

Following is my Chinese translation.

春风飘来, 桃花迎,
Chūnfēng piāo lái, táohuā yíng.
Peach blossoms cheer the breezy spring.

湖面起涟漪.
Hú miàn qǐ liányī
Ripples dance in glee.

枝头小鸟诉衷情,
Zhī tóu xiǎoniǎo sù zhōngqíng,
The bird on the treetop heartily sings

歌颂欧儿丽.
gēsòng Ōu Ér Lì.
in praise of Aura Lee.

欧儿丽, 欧儿丽,
Ōu Ér Lì, Ōu Ér Lì.
Aura Lee, Aura Lee.

金发多秀美!
Jīn fǎ duō xiùměi!
How fine your golden hair!

阳光照耀在大地,
Yángguāng zhàoyào zài dàdì,
Sunshine glistens in the fields,

燕儿漫天飞.
yànr màntiān fēi.
and swallows fill the air.

The following word list is for your reference. If you’ve been following this blog, you will find that you already know most of the words used in this song. Congratulations!

春风 (chūnfēng) is a breeze in the spring. It also refers to happiness. 飘来 (piāo lái) describes how the breeze wafts towards you.

(yíng) or 欢迎 (huānyíng) is to greet or to welcome.

Here, (miàn) is a surface, and 湖面 (Hú miàn) is the surface of a lake.

(qǐ) is to rise, to raise, to appear or cause to happen. 涟漪 (liányī) are ripples.

枝头小鸟 (Zhī tóu xiǎoniǎo) is a commonly used term referring to a bird or birds perching on the treetop.

(sù) is to tell or to tell of. 衷情 (zhōngqíng) are one’s inner feelings. If instead of 诉衷情, you prefer to sing 唱不停 (chàng bùtíng to sing incessantly), be my guest.

歌颂 (gēsòng) is to sing the praises of someone.
金发 (jīn fǎ) refers to blond hair.
秀美 (xiùměi) means elegantly beautiful.
阳光 (yángguāng) is sunshine.
照耀 (zhàoyào) is to shine or to illuminate.
大地 (dàdì) is the earth.
燕儿 (yànr), or 燕子 (yànzi), are swallows.
(màn) means all over the place.
(tiān) is the sky or a day.
(fēi) is to fly.

Learn Chinese word radical – Leather / Hide

The Chinese word for leather or hide is 皮革 (pígé).

(pí) means skin, leather or a thin layer of some material (such as a dumpling wrapper). It is also the abbreviation for 顽皮 (wánpí naughty).

When referring to human skin, say 皮肤 (pífū).

他的皮肤上长了湿疹.
Tā de pífū shàng zhǎng le shīzhěn.
There is eczema on his skin.

脸皮 (liǎnpí) refers to the face or the cheeks. So, 厚脸皮 (hòuliǎnpí) means thick-skinned or cheeky.

皮球 (píqiú) are rubber balls. Rubber is 橡皮 (xiàngpí). Rubber bands are called 橡皮筋 (xiàngpí jīn).

(gé) means leather, hide or to remove or expel.

革除 (géchú) is to get rid of or to abolish. One might talk about removing
不良分子 (bùliáng fènzǐ undesirable members) or getting rid of 不良习惯 (bùliáng xíguàn a bad habit)

改革 (gǎigé) is to reform. A land reform is called 土地改革 (tǔdìgǎigé). 革命 (gémìng) is more drastic – a revolution.

As expected, the (gé) radical appears in words related to leather goods.

(xié) are shoes. 皮鞋 (píxié) are leather shoes. (xuē) are boots.

(biān) is a whip. As a verb, it means to whip.

(bǎ) is the target in target shooting. It used to be made of leather.

(qiào) is a scabbard, such as for a sword.

(lè) is to strap or to rein in. We talked about 悬崖勒马 (xuányálèmǎ) previously while discussing the “mountain” radical.

(jī) is a bridle. As a verb, it means to control or to restrain. 傲慢不羁 (àomànbùjī) describes a person who is haughty and impudent.

我不欣赏他傲慢不羁的态度.
Wǒ bù xīnshǎng tā àomànbùjī de tàidu.
I don’t appreciate his arrogant manner.

(bà) is an overlord, a tyrant or a bully. 霸道 (bàdao) is the way of ruling by might. As an adjective, it means overbearing.

不要让孩子霸道.
Bùyào ràng háizǐ bàdao.
Don’t let the kid behave like a bully.

Now, the English word “hide” also means to conceal. This is not the case in Chinese. (cáng) is the word for hiding, concealing or storing away.

她把储蓄藏在床垫下面.
Tā bǎ chǔxù cáng zài chuángdiàn xiàmian.
She hides her savings under the mattress.

When pronounced as (zàng), this word refers to a depository or storage place. Tibet is called 西藏 (xīzàng).

Learn Chinese word radical – Horse

You already know that (mā) (ma) contain the “horse” radical. There are quite a few other characters that also do.

Last week we saw how a crow was cheated out of a piece of meat by a sly fox. (piàn) is to deceive or cheat someone. 哄骗 (hǒngpiàn) and 欺骗 (qīpiàn) also mean to to deceive or dupe someone. 哄骗 (hǒngpiàn) leans on the side of coaxing or humoring someone, while 欺骗 (qīpiàn) is not well-intended. 蒙骗 (mēngpiàn) is to hoodwink or to deceive. 骗子 (piànzi) is a swindler or trickster.

你别骗我.
Nǐ bié piàn wǒ.
Don’t’ lie to me. (Don’t try to fool me.)

那个推销员是个骗子.
Nàge tuīxiāo yuán shì gè piànzi.
That salesperson is a crook.

我被他骗走了一百块钱.
Wǒ bèi tā piàn zǒu le yī bǎi kuài qián.
I was cheated out of a $100 by him.

Understandably a number of words pertaining to riding or driving assume the horse radical.

(chí) is to gallop or speed forward.

(jià) is to harness a horse, drive a car, sail a boat or fly a plane. (shǐ) has the same meaning. These two words usually go together – 驾驶 (jiàshǐ).

驱驶 (qūshǐ) also means to drive, but usually in the sense of pushing someone to do something.

(yù), or 驾驭 (jiàyù), is to drive a carriage. 驾驭 (jiàyù) also means to control.

(qí) is to ride an animal, such as a horse, or to ride a bicycle.

我想骑脚踏车横跨美国.
Wǒ xiǎng qí jiǎotàchē héngkuà Měiguó.
I’d like to ride my bike across the United States.

(zhù) is to make a stop or to be stationed at a place. So, 驻美代表 (zhù Měi dàibiǎo) means a delegate stationed in the USA.

(tuó) is to carry on the back, usually said of an animal of burden.

(zǎo) are fleas. With a flea on a horse, (sāo) means disturbed, upset or coquettish.

(bó) means to refute or to contradict as a horse might refuse to obey orders. It is often used in 反驳 (fǎnbó to retort, or a retort).

(mà) is to scold or to condemn. Poor horse, with two mouths shouting at it.

他骂我粗心.
Tā mà wǒ cūxīn.
He scolds me for being careless.

骆驼 (luòtuo) is a camel. (luó) is a mule. (lǘ) is a donkey. I just realized there is a fun song for each of these animals in “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“.

I fail to see how an ant is related to a horse, but here you have it, 蚂蚁 (mǎyǐ ants). 热锅上的蚂蚁 (règuōshàngdèmǎyǐ) translates to “ants on a hot pan”. This expression describes a state of intense anxiety.

他急得像热锅上的蚂蚁.
He is anxious and jittery like ants on a hot pan.
Tā jí de xiàng règuōshàngdèmǎyǐ.

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