How to say Halloween in Chinese?

Witch flying on broom

NYC, here I come!

Halloween is the eve of All Saints’ Day. In Chinese, it is called 万圣节 (Wàn Shèng Jié), or ten thousand saints’ festival, which is not generally observed in Asian countries. In China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, those who have passed away are remembered at the Night of the Ghosts, or 中元節 (zhōngyuán jié), which falls the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar.

As you know, 巫婆 (wūpó witches), 妖怪 (yāoguài monsters, demons) and carved pumpkins, or 南瓜 (nánguā), feature prominently at Halloween.

Memory took me back to Halloween a few years ago when I had to take a red-eye flight to New York City on business.

万圣节那天下午,我去雜貨店買了一支旅行用的牙膏.
Wàn Shèng Jié nàtiān xiàwǔ, wǒ qù záhuò diàn mǎile yī zhī lǚxíng yòng de yágāo.
That afternoon on Halloween Day I went to the grocers to buy a travel-size tube of toothpaste.

因為我的舊掃帚已經用壞了,
Yīnwei wǒ de jiù sàozhǒu yǐjīng yòng huài le,
As my old broom had been worn out,

我也順便買了一支新的掃帚.
wǒ yě shùnbiàn mǎile yī zhī xīn de sàozhǒu.
I also grabbed a new broom.

結帳時店員好意地問我,
Jié zhàng shí, diànyuán hǎoyì dì wèn wǒ,
At the checkout stand the friendly clerk asked me,

“你今天晚上準備做些什麼?”
Nǐ jīntiān wǎnshàng zhǔnbèi zuò xiē shénme?
“What are you planning to do tonight?”

我回答說, “我今天晚上要飛到紐約去.”
Wǒ huídá shuō, “Wǒ jīntiān wǎnshàng yào fēi dào Niǔyuē qù.”
I replied, “I’m flying to New York tonight.”

他看了我的掃帚一眼,
Tā kànle wǒ de sàozhǒu yīyǎn,
He eyed my broom for a moment,

然後帶著將信將疑的微笑說,
ránhòu dàizhe jiāngxìnjiāngyí de wéixiào shuō,
and then said with an incredulous smile,

“哦, 是嗎?”
” Ó, shì ma?”
“Oh, yeah?”

我後悔當時沒有也買了一頂黑色的有尖頂的巫婆帽.
Wǒ hòuhuǐ dāngshí méiyǒu yě mǎile yī dǐng hēisè de yǒu jiāndǐng de wūpó mào.
I regret not having also picked up a black witch hat with a pointed top.

万圣节快乐!
Wànshèngjié kuàilè!
Happy Halloween!

The Gift of the Magi Story in Chinese

Christmas Present

Christmas Present 圣誕禮物

What gifts will you be placing under the Christmas tree for your loved ones this coming holiday? It is no small feat choosing an appropriate gift for everyone on your list. Do you think you will get exactly what you have been wishing for? Will you be pleasantly surprised? Or, will you say, “Oh, no!” like Jim and Della in the short story “The Gift of the Magi” written by O. Henry (William Sydney Porter)? Following is my version of the story retold in Chinese.

吉姆和德拉是一对贫穷的年轻夫妻.
Jímǔ hé Déla shì yīduì pínqióng de niánqīng fūqī.
Jim and Della were a young married couple who were struggling financially.

吉姆有只祖传的缺了表链的怀表.
Jímǔ yǒu yī zhī zǔchuan de quē le biǎo liàn de huáibiǎo.
Jim owned an heirloom pocket watch that lacked a watch chain.

那是他最珍爱的物品.
Nà shì tā zuì zhēn’ài de wùpǐn.
It was his most treasured possession.

德拉最引以为傲的则是她美丽的长头发.
Déla zuì yǐn yǐ wéi ào de zé shì tā měilì de cháng tóufa.
As for Della, her pride and joy was her beautiful long hair.

圣诞节就要到了.
Shèngdànjié jiùyào dàole.
Christmas was approaching.

两人没有钱为心愛的人买圣诞礼物,
Liǎng rén méiyǒu qián wèi xīn’ài de rén mǎi shèngdàn lǐwù,
Not having money to buy Christmas presents for their beloved,

心中非常着急.
xīnzhōng fēicháng zháojí.
the two felt frustrated.

圣诞夜吉姆下班回家时, 吃了一惊.
Shèngdànyè Jímǔ xiàbān huíjiā shí, chī le yī jīng.
On Christmas Eve Jim was shocked when he came home from work.

“德拉, 你的头发怎么剪掉了?”
“Déla, nǐ de tóufa zěnme jiǎn diào le?”
“Della, how come you’ve cut off your hair?”

德拉取出一条白金表链給吉姆看.
Déla qǔchū yī tiáo báijīn biǎo liàn gěi Jímǔ kàn.
Della showed Jim a watch chain made of platinum.

她说: “我卖了头发, 买了這個送给你.”
Tā shuō: “Wǒ mài le tóufa, mǎi le zhègè sòng gěi nǐ.”
She said, “I sold my hair and bought this for you.”

吉姆缓缓地拿出他要送给德拉的礼物.
Jímǔ huǎnhuǎn de ná chū tā yào sòng gěi Déla de lǐwù.
JIm slowly produced the present he was giving to Della.

原来, 他把怀表当了,
Yuánlái, tā bǎ huáibiǎo dàng le,
It turned out that he had pawned his pocket watch

为德拉买了一套精美的发饰.
wèi Déla mǎi le yī tào jīngměi de fà shì.
and bought a set of elegant decorative combs for Della.

两人含情脈脈, 投入了對方的懷抱.
Liǎng rén hánqíngmòmò, tóurù le duìfāng de huáibào.
With tenderness in their eyes, the two threw themselves into each other’s embrace.

圣诞快乐!
Shèngdàn kuàilè!
Merry Christmas!

** The links for a few of my books are listed below:

Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes on amazon.com

Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes on books.apple.com

Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes on kobo.com

English Edition of The Little Monk

Traditional Chinese Edition of The Little Monk on amazon.com

Simplified Chinese Edition of The Little Monk on kobo.com

Simplified Chinese Edition of The Little Monk on books.apple

My Fatima

Tame Migraine the Delicious Way

If you enjoyed reading the ebook, please post a book review at amazon.com for it. Thanks much!

Speaking of book reviews, if you would like to read some of the book reviews I’ve written, please click on this link: “Book Reviews I’ve Written“.

Happy 2020!

 

Learn Chinese word radical – Knife

Watermelon 西瓜 (xīgua)

Watermelon 西瓜 (xīgua)

今天好热呀!
Jīntiān hǎo rè ya!
It’s so hot today!

我去买个西瓜.
Wǒ qù mǎi gè xīgua.
I’ll go buy a watermelon.

How best to cut up a watermelon? At this link is shown a clever way to dissect this large round mass with minimal messiness.

The Chinese word for cutting or slicing is (qiē). (gē) just means to cut. Put the two characters together, and you have a new word, 切割 (qiēgē), which means to make an incision or to cut and sever.

(dāo) is a knife. You can see that there are seven cuts in the character (qiē).

As a verb, (fēn) means to divide, to separate or to differentiate. There are eight cuts in this character. After the division, each portion or part is called 一份 (yī fèn).

(bàn) means to play a part in a drama.

忿 (fèn) means vehement. 忿怒 (fèn nù) means fury or furious (very angry).

(rèn) is the edge of a knife or a sword. The word for endure, forbear or tolerate, (rěn), features a heart being knifed. This is definitely more painful than biting one’s lip. 忍不住 (rěnbuzhù) means unable to bear.

她忍不住哭了出来.
Tā rěnbuzhù kū le chūlai.
She couldn’t help but start to weep.

In some words, the knife radical is place at the top. For example, (jiǎo) is a horn, an angle or a corner. On the other hand, 角色 (juésè) means a role in a drama.

危险 (wēixiǎn) means danger or dangerous.

(miǎn) means to eliminate, to remove from office or to excuse someone from something (i.e. to remove the responsibility from someone).

这样可以免掉不少麻烦.
Zhèyàng kěyǐ miǎn diào bùshǎo máfan.
This way we can avoid a lot of trouble.

(xíng) is a corporal punishment or prison sentence. It features a “knife” word radical in the vertical format on the right-hand-side.

(pàn) means to differentiate, as in 判别 (pànbié) , to make a judgement, as in 判断 (pànduàn), or to issue a sentence, as in 判刑 (pàn xíng). 免刑 (miǎnxíng) means to exempt from punishment.

我判断这消息不真实.
Wǒ pànduàn zhè xiāoxi bù zhēnshí.
I think this piece of information is not true.

(kè) is to carve or engrave. As a noun it means a moment of time. 立刻 (lìkè) means “at once”.

(shuā) is to brush or to eliminate.

(cì) is to pierce or to stab. As a noun it means a thorn or a fish bone.

(duò) is to cut by chopping. (xiāo) is to cut by whittling.

(tì) is to shave. Therefore, shaving a beard is called 剃胡子 (tì húzi).

(guā) is to scrape or fleece. 刮胡子 (guā húzi) also means to shave one’s beard or mustache. In Taiwan, this is a slang expression that means to criticize or refute someone in his or her face.

我被他刮了一个胡子.
Wǒ bèi tā guā le yī gè húzi.
I got a slap in the face from him.

%d bloggers like this: