Sing Chinese Song – Fisherman’s Plight

Fishes in the Sea
Fishes in the Sea

Soon the winter wind will be blowing over the country and bring with it chills, snow or sleet. While we huddle in front of the fireplace, think of the fishermen who must brave the cold and often stormy weather to make a living. Fisherman’s Plight is the theme song of an old Chinese movie that was very popular a couple generations ago. It is a classic that has withstood the test of time. This version provides good pronunciation of the lyrics but at snail speed. I suggest that you play it at 1.25 times the normal speed to preserve the lilting quality of the music.


渔光曲
Yú Guāng Qū

云儿飘在海空,
Yún er piāo zài hǎi kōng,
Clouds are floating in the ocean sky;

鱼儿藏在水中.
yú er cáng zài shuǐzhōng.
Fishes are hiding under the water.

早晨太阳里晒鱼网,
Zǎochén tàiyáng lǐ shài yúwǎng,
In the morning sun we dry the fish net,

迎面吹过来大海风.
yíngmiàn chuī guòlái dà hǎifēng.
the ocean wind blowing in our faces.

潮水升, 浪花涌,
Cháoshuǐ shēng, lànghuā yǒng,
The tide rises and the waves billow;

鱼船儿漂漂各西东.
yú chuán er piāo piāo gè xī dōng.
The fishing boats drift here and there.

轻撒网, 紧拉绳,
Qīng sā wǎng, jǐn lā shéng,
Throwing the net out gently and pulling the ropes in tight,

烟雾里辛苦等鱼踪.
yānwù lǐ xīnkǔ děng yú zōng.
We wait arduously in the smoke and fog for traces of the fish.

鱼儿难捕, 租税重,
Yú er nán bǔ, zūshuì zhòng,
Fish is hard to catch, and the boat rental fee and taxes are high.

捕鱼人儿世世穷.
bǔ yú rén er shìshì qióng.
It’s the fisherman’s lot to be poor from generation to generation.

爷爷留下的破鱼网,
Yéyé liú xià de pò yúwǎng,
The patched fishing net left behind by grandpa

小心再靠它过一冬.
xiǎoxīn zài kào tāguò yī dōng.
we had better take good care of it to tide us over this winter.

N.B. 飘 and 漂 are pronounced the same. 飘 means to float in air, while 漂 means to float on water. Did you catch the error in the lyrics displayed in the video?

Attention please: “5 Stories in Chinese -Book 1 Chinese Tales” was published last month.
I have since added more material to the eBook. Those of you who have already obtained Book 1, please ask amazon.com to let you download the updated version. Thank you.

To listen to a reading of the first story in this eBook, please click on this youtube link.

If you would like me to check the sentences that you have constructed for the exercises in “5 Stories in Chinese”, please post them in a Comment.

5 Stories in Chinese – Book2 Tales from around the World” is now live.

圣诞快乐, 新年如意!
Shèngdàn kuàilè, xīnnián rúyì!
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!

How beautiful in Chinese

Rhododendrons in Bloom

Rhododendrons in Bloom


To help celebrate the joy of spring before it is outshone by the glory of summer, I’ll call on a delightful old song written by the talented 黎锦光 (Lí Jǐn Guāng):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYCdz2t-T_c

The first verse is presented below in simplified Chinese.

少年的我 (Shàonián de Wǒ) Me in My Youth

春天的花
Chūntiān de huā
Flowers in the spring –

是多么的香!
shì duōme de xiāng.
How fragrant they are!

秋天的月
Qiūtiān de yuè
The moon in the fall –

是多么的亮!
shì duōme de liàng.
How bright it is!

少年的我
Shàonián de wǒ
Me in my youth –

是多么的快乐!
shì duōme de kuàilè.
How happy I’m feeling!

美丽的她
Měilì de tā
Beautiful she –

不知怎么样?
bùzhī zěnmeyàng?
I wonder how she is doing?

This song is full of exclamatory sentences that start with the word “how”. Used in this sense, the Chinese equivalent is 是多么的 (shì duōme de), 是多么 (shì duōme), or simply 多么 (duōme), which is often shortened to just (duō).

他對待妳是多么的好!
Tā duìdài nǐ shì duōme de hǎo!
How nice he treats you!

妳看, 她的男朋友多么英俊!
Nǐ kàn, tā de duōme yīngjùn!
See, how handsome her boyfriend is!

啊! 多美丽!
Ā! Duō měilì
Oh! How beautiful!

As for the other meaning of “how”, as in asking a question, the commonly used Chinese equivalent is 怎么 (zěnme). In a more formal context, we use 如何 (rúhé). For example:

这种鱼要怎么煮?
Zhèzhǒng yú yào zěnme zhǔ?
How do you cook this kind of fish?

To verbally inquire about an acquaintance, I might ask:

他最近怎么样?
Tā zuìjìn zěnmeyàng?
How is he doing lately?

In a letter, I might write:

他的近况如何?
Tā de jìnkuàng rúhé?
How has he been recently?

Your challenge for this lesson is to use the same syntax and form as the above song to make a short rhyme about a subject of your choice. If you would like to share your limerick, please post it in a comment to this post. Thanks.

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