Sing Oh, Shenandoah in Chinese

Today we will sing a traditional American folk song in Chinese. Below, on the right side, you will find one version of the lyrics to this song. On the left side is my translation notated with pinyin.

噢, 泄南多啊! Oh Shenandoah,
Ō, xiè nán duō a!
我多想念你. I long to hear you.
Wǒ duō xiǎngniàn nǐ.
再会! 涛涛的大河! Away! You rolling river!
Zàihuì! Tāo tāo de dà hé!
噢, 泄南多啊! Oh Shenandoah,
Ō, xiè nán duō a!
我多想见你. I long to see you.
Wǒ duō xiǎngjiàn nǐ.
再会!来日再会! Away, I’m bound away
Zàihuì! Lái rì zàihuì!
遥念于密苏里. ‘Cross the wide Missouri.
Yáo niàn yú Mìsūlǐ.

噢, 泄南多啊! Oh Shenandoah,
Ō, xiè nán duō a!
我多么爱她. I love your daughter.
Wǒ duōme ài tā.
再会! 涛涛的大河! Away! You rolling river!
Zàihuì! Tāo tāo de dà hé!
我会带她 I’ll take her ‘cross
Wǒ huì dài tā
平安地回家. Your rollin’ water.
Píng’ān dì huí jiā.
再会!来日再会! Away, I’m bound away
Zàihuì! Lái rì zàihuì!
遥念于密苏里. ‘Cross the wide Missouri.
Yáo niàn yú Mìsūlǐ.

这七年多, ‘Tis seven years,
Zhè qī nián duō,
我四处漂泊. I’ve been a rover,
Wǒ sìchù piāobó.
再会! 涛涛的大河! Away! You rolling river!
Zàihuì! Tāo tāo de dà hé!
等我回来, When I return,
Děng wǒ huílái,
当履行承诺. I’ll be your lover.
Dāng lǚ xíng chéngnuò.
再会!来日再会! Away, I’m bound away
Zàihuì! Lái rì zàihuì!
遥念于密苏里. ‘Cross the wide Missouri.
Yáo niàn yú Mìsūlǐ.

噢, 泄南多啊! Oh Shenandoah,
Ō, xiè nán duō a!
我必须离去. I’m bound to leave you.
Wǒ bìxū lí qù.
再会! 涛涛的大河! Away! You rolling river!
Zàihuì! Tāo tāo de dà hé!
噢, 泄南多啊! Oh Shenandoah,
Ō, xiè nán duō a!
我不会负义. I’ll not deceive you.
Wǒ bù huì fù yì.
再会!来日再会! Away, I’m bound away
Zàihuì! Lái rì zàihuì!
遥念于密苏里. ‘Cross the wide Missouri.
Yáo niàn yú Mìsūlǐ.

河 ( hé ) is a river. A small stream or brook would be called 溪 (xī). 涛涛 (tāo tāo) describes the rolling waves.
想念 (xiǎngniàn) means to miss someone. 遥远 (yáoyuǎn) means faraway. Therefore, 遥念 (yáo niàn) means to miss someone from afar.
再会 (zàihuì) and 再见(zàijiàn) are interchangeable. Both mean “See you again.”.
来日 (lái rì) means someday in the future. The Chinese idiom 来日方长 (Láirìfāngcháng) means there will be another day for that.
平安地 (píng’ān di) means safely.
回家 (huí jiā) means to go home or come hom.
四处漂泊 (sìchù piāobó) is to wonder around.
履行承诺 (lǚ xíng chéngnuò) is to fulfill one’s promise.

The Chinese idiom 忘恩负义 (wàng’ēnfùyì) is used for accusing someone of being ungrateful and turning one’s back in return.

七月四日快乐!
Qīyuè sìrì kuàilè!
Happy July 4th!

To be honest in Chinese

Gray Zucchini Fruits (aka Mexican Squash)

My heart is filled with joy when I go to the garden to check on my gray zucchini plants. The huge dark-green leaves spreading out from turgid stems and the light-green fruits swelling up under attractive bright yellow-orange blossoms are indeed wondrous to behold, but my main concern is, “Which puppies will be ready to eat in the next couple of days?” Stir-fried young zucchinis are tender and mildly sweet – a delight to the discerning palate. (See recipe for Vegetarian’s Delight in my “Tame Migrain the Delicious Way” ebook.) I carefully remove any extra blossoms from the plant, chop the golden petals up and toss them into the frypan as well. Yummy! The Chinese call zucchinis 夏南瓜 (xià nánguā summer pumpkins) or 西葫芦 (xīhúlù western gourds). I prefer the latter name because of its interesting ring.

The Chinese word for fruits in general is 果实 (guǒshí). Our focus today is on the other meanings of the character (shí), which relate to the fact that a fruit is something solid and tangible, and therefore real and true.

When interpreted as a combination of a verb and a nouns, the word 结实 (jiēshi) means to bear fruit. Used as an adjective, 结实 (jiēshi) means sturdy, strong, tough or muscular.

实在 (shízài) means real, true, honest or dependable. As an adverb, it translates to indeed or really.

他做人实在.
Tā zuòrén shízài.
He is an honest and dependable person.

我实在不明白她为什么离开我.
Wǒ shízài bù míngbái tā wèishénme líkāi wǒ.
I really don’t understand why she left me.

说实在的, 我很想念她.
Shuō shízài de, wǒ hěn xiǎngniàn tā.
Actually (to state the fact), I miss her very much.

实际上 (shíjìshàng) means in reality or as a matter of fact.

实际上我不赞成他去巴黎.
Shíjìshàng wǒ bù zànchéng tā qù bālí.
In fact I don’t approve of his going to Paris.

不切实际 (bùqièshíjì) means unrealistic or impracticable.

他的计划不切实际.
Tā de jìhuà bùqièshíjì.
His plan is impractical.

On the contrary, 脚踏实地 (jiǎotàshídì to have one’s feet planted on solid ground) means to be earnest and down-to-earth.

The adjective 真实 (zhēnshí) is used to describe something that is true, real or authentic. 真实的故事 (zhēnshí de gùshi) is a true story. 真实的情况 (zhēnshí de qíngkuàng) is the actual situation or what is actually happening. This is often abbreviated as 实况 (shíkuàng). Therefore 实况转播 (shíkuàng zhuǎnbō) is a live broadcast. Similarly, 实情 (shíqíng) also means the actual situation or the true state of affairs. However, it is usually used to refer to the truth of the matter.

The idiom 名符其实 (míngfúqíshí) describes someone who lives up to his or her name. It can be applied to inanimate objects as well. On the other hand, 名不副实 (míngbùfùshí) means unworthy of the name or title.

天堂岛是一个名符其实的度假区.
Tiāntáng dǎo shì yīgè míngfúqíshí de dùjiàqū.
Paradise Island lives up to its name as a vacation area.

确实 (quèshí) means indeed or truely.

一般说来, 台湾的人确实很友善.
Yībān shuō lái, Táiwān de rén quèshí hěn yǒushàn.
Generally speaking, the people in Taiwan are indeed quite friendly.

货真价实 (huòzhēnjiàshí) describes merchandise that is genuine and fairly priced. When used to describe a person, this expression translates to “through and through”. For example,

他是一个货真价实的书呆子.
Tā shì yīgè huòzhēnjiàshí de shūdāizi.
He is a total bookworm.

To verify, or 证实 (zhèngshí), a physical law, one could do an experiment, or 实验 (shíyàn). The laboratory is called 实验室 (shíyànshì). To gain hands-on experience, it also helps to do fieldwork, or 实习 (shíxí).

忠实 (zhōngshí) means faithful or loyal, and 诚实 (chéngshí) means to be honest and not tell lies. 老实 (lǎoshi) means frank, honest and well-behaved, often borderin on being simple-minded, naive or gullible.

他太老实了!
Tā tà lǎoshi le!
He is so gullible!

When you want to start a remark by saying “Frankly” or “To be honest”, you could use the expression 老实说 (lǎoshi shuō).

老实说, 我对他没兴趣.
Lǎoshi shuō, wǒ duì tā méi xìngqù.
To be honest, I’m not interested in him.

To end this lesson on a funny note, I would like you to type “Frankly, I don’t give a fig.” into Google Translate and see what it shows for the Chinese translation. Do you know the correct way of saying this in Chinese?

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