Fortuitous Encounter in Chinese

Zucchinis coming out of my ears

Zucchinis coming out of my ears

As part of my disaster preparation effort this year, I sowed quite a few zucchini seeds in the spring. Zucchinis are known to be very prolific, but at this time I’m still waiting to see the explosion of zucchini fruits to come out of my ears. Should that happen in the near future, and we have extras not consumed with our regular meals, my plan is for these nutritious summer squashes to go into the freezer, the dehydrator, the zucchini breads and, of course, my neighbors’ homes. Yep, that’s what neighbors are for. 😉

Well, today I mainly want to share with you another wonderful encounter with a cute little humming bird in my yard. Hopefully this will help you forget for a moment the disasters and turmoils currently taking place at home and abroad. (Click here to read my previous blog post about a happy encounter with a hummingbird.)

今天早晨我在园里浇水的时候,
Jīntiān zǎochén wǒ zài yuán lǐ jiāoshuǐ de shíhòu,
This morning while I was watering in the garden,

又听到蜂鸟振翅的声音.
yòu tīng dào fēngniǎo zhèn chì de shēngyīn.
again I heard the sound of a hummingbird flapping its wings.

这回是一只更小的蜂鸟.
Zhè huí shì yī zhǐ gèng xiǎo de fēngniǎo.
This time it was an even smaller hummingbird.

它像蜜蜂一样围绕著我飞了一会儿,
Tā xiàng mìfēng yīyàng wéirào zhe wǒ fēile yīhuǐ’er,
It flew around me like a bee for a while

然后转头飞向由水罐洒出的细水柱,
ránhòu zhuǎn tóu fēi xiàng yóu shuǐ guàn sǎ chū de xì shuǐzhù,
then turned and flew toward the thin column of water from the watering can,

吸了几滴水之后才欣然离去.
xīle jǐ dīshuǐ zhīhòu cái xīnrán lí qù.
and sucked a few drops of the water before departing cheerfully.

真可惜那时没有另外两只手
Zhēn kěxí nà shí méiyǒu lìngwài liǎng zhī shǒu
What a pity that at that time there was not another pair of hands available

可以帮我录下这奇遇.
kěyǐ bāng wǒ lù xià zhè qíyù.
to capture on video this fortuitous encounter for me.

浇水 (jiāoshuǐ) means watering.
(yòu) can mean once again or also.
蜂鸟 (fēngniǎo) are hummingbirds.
振翅 (zhèn chì) means to flap the wings .
(gèng) means to a greater degree or extent.
这回 (zhè huí) means this time. It has the same meaning as 这次 (zhè cì).
蜜蜂 (mìfēng) are honeybees or bees in general.
像 . . . 一样 (xiàng . . . yīyàng) means to be same as.
围绕 (wéirào) can mean to go around or to surround.
转头 (zhuǎn tóu) and 转身 (zhuǎn shēn) both mean to turn around or turn away.
(xī) is to suck or suck up.
欣然 (xīnrán) means joyfully or gladly.
可惜 (kěxī) means too bad or it’s a pity.
另外 (lìngwài) as an adjactive means some other. As a conjunctive adverb, it means moreover or in addition.
(lù) is to record or to write down.
奇遇 (qíyù) is a fortuitous encounter.

Sing Tenting Tonight in Chinese

American Flag

American Flag

“Tenting on the Old Camp Ground”, also known as “Tenting Tonight”, is a sorrowful anti-war song with words and music composed by Walter Kittredge during the American Civil War. It describes the atrocities of war and reveals how soldiers actually long for peace and don’t really want to go to war.

露营 means to camp out, usually in a tent. 扎营 is to set up a tent. Here, we are talking about a military camp. My brother liked to sing this song, and that’s how I came to know it. I’ve made the Chinese translation easy to sing, while still closely following the English verses.

 

今夜在这里露营 Tenting Tonight
 Jīn yè zài zhelǐ lùyíng

今夜又在老战场扎下营,               
Jīn yè yòu zài lǎo zhànchǎng zhá xià yíng
We’re tenting to-night on the old camp ground,

唱只歌来听听.                             
Chàng zhī gē lái tīng tīng.
Give us a song to cheer

唱唱家园, 朋友的情景,                 
Chàng chàng jiāyuán péngyǒu de qíngjǐng
Our weary hearts, a song of home,

安慰我们疲惫的心.                       
ānwèi wǒmén píbèi de xīn.
And friends we love so dear.

有多少的人今晚心情不宁,           
Yǒu duōshao de rén jīnwǎn xīnqíng bù níng,
Many are the hearts that are weary to-night,

期望战火快快停.                           
Qíwàng zhànhuǒ kuài kuài tíng.
Wishing for the war to cease,

有多少的人渴望能有幸
Yǒu duōshao de rén kěwàng néng yǒu xìng
Many are the hearts looking for the right,

看到宝贵的和平.                           
kàndào bǎoguì de hépíng.
To see the dawn of peace.

今夜露营, 今夜露营,                     
Jīn yè lùyíng, jīn yè lùyíng,
Tenting to-night, tenting to-night,

今夜在这里露营.                          
Jīn yè zài zhelǐ lùyíng.
Tenting on the old camp ground.

 

今夜又在老战场上露营,                ,
Jīn yè yòu zài lǎo zhànchǎng lùyíng
We’ve been tenting to-night on the old camp ground

思乡之情更切.                               
Sī xiāng zhī qíng gèng qiè.
Thinking of days gone by,

想到家人握着手叮咛,                   
Xiǎngdào jiārén wò zhe shǒu dīngníng,
Of the loved ones at home that gave us the hand

依依挥泪道别.                               
Yīyī huī lèi dào bié.
And the tear that said “Good-by!”

有多少的人今晚心情不宁,
Many are the hearts that are weary to-night,
期望战火快快停.
Wishing for the war to cease,
有多少的人渴望能有幸
Many are the hearts looking for the right,
看到宝贵的和平.
To see the dawn of peace.
今夜露营, 今夜露营,
Tenting to-night, tenting to-night,
今夜在这里露营.
Tenting on the old camp ground.

 

我们不再热切逞英勇.
Wǒmén bùzài rèqiè chěng yīngyǒn,
We are tired of war on the old camp ground.

有些人已把命送.
Yǒuxiē rén yǐ bà mìng sòng.
Many are dead and gone.

其他离乡背井的弟兄
Lí xiāng bèi jǐng de dìxiōng
Of the brave and true who’ve left their homes,

大都负伤惨重.
Dàdū fùshāng cǎnzhòng.
Others been wounded long.

有多少的人今晚心情不宁,
Many are the hearts that are weary to-night,
期望战火快快停.
Wishing for the war to cease,
有多少的人渴望能有幸
Many are the hearts looking for the right,
看到宝贵的和平.
To see the dawn of peace.
今夜露营, 今夜露营,
Tenting to-night, tenting to-night,
今夜在这里露营.
Tenting on the old camp ground.

 

今夜又在老战场上火拼,               
Jīn yè yòu zài lǎo zhànchǎng shàng huǒ pīn
We’ve been fighting to-day on the old camp ground,

诸弟兄遍地躺.                               
Dìxiōng zhū biàndì tǎng.
Many are lying near;

有些已逝, 有些奄奄呻吟,               
Yǒuxiē yǐ shì, yǒuxiē yǎnyǎn shēnyín,
Some are dead, and some are dying,

也有人泪满眶.
Yě yǒurén lèi mǎn kuàng.
Many are in tears.

有多少的人今晚心情不宁,
Many are the hearts that are weary to-night,
期望战火快快停.
Wishing for the war to cease,
有多少的人渴望能有幸
Many are the hearts looking for the right,
看到宝贵的和平.
To see the dawn of peace.

今夜成仁, 今夜成仁,
Jīn yè chéngrèn, jīn yè chéngrèn,
Dying tonight, dying tonight,

今夜在这里成仁.                           
Jīn yè zài zhelǐ chéngrèn.
Dying on the old camp ground.

 

祝你有个美好的七月四日!
Zhù nǐ yǒu gè měihǎo de qīyuè sìrì!
Have a wonderful 4th of July!

Practice writing Chinese characters (Exercise 2)

Carnations

Carnations

Today we will practice writing 10 words used in the “Two Odd Tigers” song discussed in Chapter 1 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“. Please print out the sheet at the following link:
Chinese Character Tracing 6

Trace over the fainter characters to become familiar with the position of each stroke then write the character in the three blank spaces yourself.

Details about the types of strokes you will encounter in Chinese characters and the correct stroke order can be found at this link.

By the way, Mother’s Day is coming up. To my own dear mother in heaven:

这朵鲜花献给您.
Zhè duǒ xiānhuā xiàn gěi nín;
This carnation I offer you today,

您看不到, 也听不见.
Nín kàn bù dào, yě tīng bù jiàn.
But you cannot see, nor can you hear.

但盼天使捎个信
Dàn pàn tiānshǐ shāo gè xìn,
Hope the angels will relay

遥传我们的思念.
Yáo chuán wǒmén de sīniàn.
How much you’re missed by all of us here.

Those of you who are fortunate to still have your mother and/or grandmother around, don’t forget to express your love to them in a way they can appreciate. Come to think of it, have you noticed that, when inverted, MOM becomes “WOW”?

母亲节快乐!
Mǔqīnjié kuàilè!
Have a Happy Mother’s Day!

Sing Flower on a Rainy Night in Mandarin Chinese

The song called 雨夜花 (Yǔ Yè Huā Flower on a Rainy Night) is a very well-known Taiwanese song. The beautiful melody was originally composed for a children’s song. After hearing the sad life story of a young bar girl, the lyricist changed the lyrics and used a tender blossom pounded upon by merciless, relentless rain as a metaphor for a poor girl fallen into the flesh trade through unfortunate circumstances.

The Taiwanese pronunciation for 雨夜花 is “wuyahue”, quite different from the Mandarin Chinese pronunciation. There are still a few older Taiwanese folks who only speak the local dialect. However, the majority of the people in Taiwan speak Mandarin Chinese, which is the official language to date.

At this link, you can hear Teresa Teng sing this song in Taiwanese.

I changed the lyrics so you could sing it in English or Mandarin Chinese, if you wish.

Flower on a Rainy Night

Rain on me, rain on me.
So much shame, so much pain to bear.
No one sees me, no one hears me,
No one knows me, no one cares.

Nigh is falling, day is dying,
Now I wilt, now the last hour nears.
No more sighing, no more crying,
No more fears and no more tears.

雨连连, 雨连连.
Yǔ liánlián, yǔ liánlián.
The rain keeps falling.

多少羞愧, 多少悲凄.
Duōshao xiūkuì duōshao bēi qī.
So much shame and regret, so much sorrow.

没人看见, 没人听见,
Méi rén kànjian, méi rén tīngjiàn,
No one sees, no one hears,

没人知晓, 没人理.
Méi rén zhīxiǎo, méi rén lǐ.
No one knows, no one pays attention.

夜已临, 日已尽.
Yè yǐ lín, rì yǐ jìn.
Night has come, day has ended.

花已谢, 花瓣已凋零.
Huā yǐ xiè, huābàn yǐ diāolíng.
Flower is spent, the petals have fallen.

不再怨叹, 不再啜泣,
Bùzài yuàn tàn, bùzài chuòqì,
No more sighing, no more sobbing,

不再畏惧, 得安宁.
Bùzài wèijù, dé ānníng.
No more dreading; peace at last.

So today we will learn a few words associated with decay and sadness.

(yǔ) is rain. 下雨 (xiàyǔ) means to rain.
(lián) means to connect or to link. 连连 means continuously, as in the song “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”.

羞愧 (xiūkuì) means to feel ashamed or abashed.
悲凄 (bēi qī) means mournful.
知晓 (zhīxiǎo) means the same as 知道 (zhīdào), i.e. to know or to be aware of.
理睬 (lǐcǎi) means to pay attention to or to show interest in.
Here, (xiè) does not mean “thanks”. It refers to the decline or withering of the flower. 谢世 (xièshì) means to pass away.
花瓣 (huābàn )are flower petals.
凋零 (diāolíng) is to wither and be scattered about.
怨叹 (yuàn tàn) is to complain and to sigh.
啜泣 (chuòqì) is to sob or weep.
畏惧 (wèijù) is to fear or to dread.
安宁 (ānníng) means peaceful or free from worries.

儿童节快乐!
Értóng jié kuàilè!.
Happy International Children’s Day!

P.S. I hope you are all holding out all right with the social distancing. Stay safe.

 

Peaceful Christmas and Happy New Year in Chinese

One of my favorite Christmas carols is “Away in a Manger”. In Chinese it is usually referred to as 马槽歌 (Mǎ Cáo Gē) or 圣婴孩主耶稣 (Shèng Yīnghái Zhǔ Yēsū).

马槽 (mǎ cáo) is a trough for feeding horses. (gē) is a song.

Baby Jesus is usually referred to as 圣婴 (Shèng Yīng), or the Holy Baby. The song uses 圣婴孩 (Shèng Yīnghái) because there is an extra beat in the music that needs to be filled. 耶稣 (Yēsū) is Jesus. 主耶稣 (Zhǔ Yēsū) is Lord Jesus.

The peaceful nativity scene is captured in the beautiful tune composed by James R. Murray in 1887. At this link is John Denver’s rendition of the song.

If you are into improvising in playing the piano by ear, here are a couple helpful instruction videos by Yoke Wong and Rosa Suen.

To be able to improvise and re-harmonize a song on the piano, one will need to have some knowledge of the “rules” based on which many songs are composed. The better your understanding of the structure of a song, the better you will be able to apply the commonly used scale note intervals, chords and variations thereof to play the song your own way. This is not unlike learning a foreign language. You are better equipped to express yourself in the language when you know the underlying grammar and sentence patterns. This is why I put quite a bit of emphasis on grammar and sentence structure in my book “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“.

Another popular musical setting for “Away in a Manger” is the one by William J. Kirkpatrick (1895). In Book 5 of the Pianoforall piano course, Robin Hall shows you how to play a simple ballad style that you can apply to this version of the song.

To hear it in Chinese, please click on this link: 圣婴孩主耶稣 (Shèng Yīnghái Zhǔ Yēsū)

To see the lyrics in simplified Chinese characters, please click on the link then scroll down to item 15.

天堂 (tiāntáng) is heaven or paradise.

马棚 (mǎ péng) is a horse stall.

(zhěn) or 枕头 (zhěntou) is a pillow, and (chuáng) is a bed.

(wú) means without or nothing.

护卫 (hùwèi) is to protect or to guard. As a noun, this word refers to a bodyguard.

安睡 (ān shuì) is to sleep peacefully.

听见 (tīngjiàn) is to hear. (líng) is a bell.

梦醒 (mèng xǐng) means to wake up from a dream. 啼哭 (tíkū) is to cry or wail. 笑容 (xiàoróng) is a smiling face.

(cǎo) is grass. Here, it refers to the hay, or 干草 (gāncǎo).

(yuàn) is to hope for, wish for or be willing. As a noun, it means a wish. (qiú) is to beg, to beseech or to seek.

靠近 (kàojìn) is to be near or close-by or to get near. 身旁 (páng) means one’s side.

照顾 (zhàogu) is to look after or to give favorable consideration to.

(xì) as a verb means to tie or fasten.

身心 (shēnxīn) means body and mind. 受伤 (shòushāng) means to be hurt or harmed.

(cì) is to give, to grant or to favor someone with something as a superior. 恩惠 (ēnhuì) is a benefaction.

(zhòng) means the many or the multitude. 孩童 (hái tóng) are children.

世上 (shìshang) or 世界上 (shìjièshàng) means “in the world”.

相会 (xiàng huì) is to meet each other or to get together.

It’s been a very pleasant four years since I started blogging at this site to share my knowledge of Chinese and exchange ideas with you. As I’m having to deal with a health issue, I will not be posting any more lessons here in the foreseeable future. I may work on some other projects that are less demanding and do not have a time constraint. There are 210 lessons at this site that you are welcome to revisit anytime. Feel free to post your questions as a comment, and I will try to answer them as best I can. I thank you for your readership and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

恭祝圣诞平安, 新年快乐!
Gōng zhù shèngdàn píngān, xīnnián kuàilè!
Respectfully wishing you a Peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

P.S. I’ve added a few of my paintings and calligraphy to the “About” page of this blog site. You are welcome to take a look there as well.

11/1/15 I just posted a fun song “Down by the Bay in Chinese” at youtube. Please check it out and see if you can make other funny rhyming verses that the mother in the video might say.

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