Sing Moonlight on the Colorado in Chinese

The cooler weather of late autumn can put one in a pensive mood. A song comes to mind that aptly expresses the feeling of nostalgic longing. The music for “Moonlight on the Colorado”, composed by Robert A. King, interlaces perfectly with the lyrics written by Billy Moll. Fortunately for us, there is available a wonderful Chinese translation of the lyrics by 文杰 (Wén Jié).

You can hear a performance of the Chinese version, 科罗拉多美丽的夜晚 (Kēluólāduō Měilì de Yèwǎn Beautiful Night on the Colorado), by clicking this link.

Click here to see the lyrics in Simplified Chinese Characters.

Even though in the Chinese version, the river has turned into a lake and the lovers are presented as close friends, the translator has captured the spirit of this song and preserved the beautiful sentiments. As far as we are concerned here, the lyrics provide a few additional examples for adjective phrases discussed in Chapter 10 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“. You might also want to review the usage of adjectives and adverbs in the blog posted on 8/17/11 at this site.

清风 (qīngfēng) is a refreshing breeze. (fēng) is the noun and (qīng) is short for the adjective 清凉的( qīngliáng de).

In 湖边的垂柳 (hú biān de chuíliǔ), 湖边的 (hú biān de by the lakeside) modifies the noun 垂柳 (chuíliǔ), or weeping willow.

远方的友人 (yuǎnfāng de yǒurén) is a friend who is far away. 友人 (yǒurén), like 朋友 (péngyǒu), means friend or friends.

In 天边的明月 (tiānbiān de míng yuè), 天边的 (tiānbiān de on the horizon) is the adjective that modifies 明月 (míng yuè bright moon).

故乡 (gùxiāng) is one’s hometown. 美丽的故乡 (měilì de gùxiāng) means beautiful hometown, and 美丽的夜晚 (měilì de yèwǎn) means beautiful night.

悠扬的旋律 (yōuyáng de xuánlǜ) means tuneful melody.

吹动 (chuī dòng) means to move or arouse something by blowing at it.

健康 (jiànkāng) pertains to physical health, while 康健 (kāngjiàn) refers to general well-being.

默默地思念 (mòmò di sīniàn) means to long for quietly.

对我细语 (duì wǒ xì yù) means to speak to me softly. Notice the same pattern used in 对我诉说 (duì wǒ sùshuō to recount to me).

对著湖心 (duì zhe hú xīn) means facing the (center of the) lake.

平安 (shìfǒu píngān) means safe and sound.

归来 (guī lái) means the same as 回来 (huílái to come back). 回到我身边 (huí dào wǒ shēnbiān) means to come back to my side.

眨著双眼 (zhǎ zhe shuāng yǎn) means to wink (both eyes).

紧扣心弦 (jǐn kòu xīnxián) is to pluck intensely at the heartstrings.

With the help of the above list of words, you should be able to decipher the entire song. (After all, learning a new language is not unlike cracking a set of codes.) Hopefully you will sing this song so often that you will have soon learned it by heart. And if you are inclined to sing it against a guitar accompaniment, here is a link to one.


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