Pizza Time in Chinese

Home-made Pizza

Home-made Pizza

Well, the Chinese translation for “Pizza time!” depends on how you interpret this expression:

Lái chī bǐsà!
Come and eat pizza!

Lái zuò bǐsà!
Come and make pizza!

Pizza is a popular fast food that originated in Italy. 意大利 (Yìdàlì) means Italy, and 意大利人 (Yìdàlì rén) refers to Italians. If you are interested in making pizzas, you will find the links to a few relevant YouTube videos as well as a link to Mel’s quick and easy foolproof pizza dough recipe in the following conversation.

Nǐ zhīdào zěnme zuò bǐsà ma?
Do you know how to make a pizza?

Yīnggāi bùhuì tài nàn ba.
It shouldn’t be too difficult.

Wǒ xǐhuān kàn wéi tuò de shìfàn.
I like to watch Vito’s demonstrations.

Tā zuò de bǐsà kànlai jìnhu wánměi.
The pizzas he makes appear to be nearly perfect.

Wǒ xiǎng xiàng tā xuéxí.
I would like to learn from him.

如何甩比萨? 掉到地上怎么办?
Rúhé shuǎi bǐsà? Diào dào dì shàng zěnmebàn?
How to toss a pizza? What if it falls on the floor?

Nǐ kěyǐ yòng yī tiáo shī máojín lái liànxí.
You could use a damp hand towel to practice.

Guāngshì děng jiào zhǒng fā hǎo jiùyào shí’èr dào shíliù xiǎoshí.
Just to wait for the poolish to be ready will take 12 to 16 hours.

我不能等那么久. 我饿了.
Wǒ bùnéng děng nàme jiǔ. Wǒ è le.
I cannot wait that long. I’m hungry.

那么, 我们来做简易的那一种.
Nàme, wǒmén lái zuò jiǎnyì de nà yī zhǒng.
Well then, let’s make the quick and easy type.

谢谢. 这种其实也蛮好吃.
Xièxiè. zhèzhǒng qíshí yě mán hǎochī.
Thank you. This kind actually tastes quite good, too.

If making pizzas is not your cup of tea, perhaps you could try your skill at playing this simple Spinning Game.

To learn the names of some common food items, please read Chapters 20 and 21 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“.

Fùqīnjié kuàilè!
Have a Happy Father’s Day!

Chinese Song – Words from the West Wind

Lotus Pond at the Botanical Garden in Taipei, Taiwan

Thanks (but, no thanks) to slugs, deer, squirrels and wild rabbits, we did not have much to harvest from our vegetable garden this year. Still, I am happy to have autumn come and ease us into winter. Admiring the fall scenery of green, gold and red, I think of an old song named “Words from the Westwind”, with music by 黄自 (Huáng Zì), and lyrics by 廖辅叔 (Liào Fǔshū). Here is the link to a nice performance of this song.

Xīfēng de Huà
Words from the West Wind

Qùnián wǒ huílái,
When I came back last year,

nǐmen gāng chuān xīn mián páo.
You had just donned your new gown.

Jīntiān wǒ lái kàn nǐmen;
Today I come to visit you,

Nǐmen biàn pàng yòu biàn gāo!
How stout and tall you have grown!

Nǐmen kě jìde,
I wonder if you still remember,

chí lǐ héhuā liánpeng?
The lotus in the pond formed pods?

Huā shǎo bù chóu méi yánsè,
Blooms are scarce, but there’ll still be colors,

wǒ bǎ shùyè dōu rǎn hóng
For I shall tint the leaves with red.

As you may know, west winds are associated with fair weather. Therefore, you would expect kind words from the west wind. In fact, you can tell that the west wind is talking to a bunch of children. (xīn) means new, and 棉袍 (mián páo) are quilted cotton gowns or jackets. Before winter arrives, parents usually give their children new jackets to wear to keep them warm. The big give-away is on the forth line. Only children and youth can keep growing big and tall. (biàn) means to change or to become. (pàng) means plump, chubby or stout, and (gāo) means tall. (yòu) means again or also.

There is no mention of the season of the year in the lyrics. However, you can guess from the context that it is autumn, or 秋天 (qiūtiān). In the fall, the lotus flowers turn into pods, which contain edible lotus seeds. Lotus seed paste makes delicious filling for moon cakes. Here is an interesting article about lotus pods and lotus seeds.

不愁 (bù chóu) means need not worry about something.

Wǒ xīwàng shìjièshàng suǒyǒu de rén dōu bù chóu chī bù chóu chuān.
I hope all the people in the world won’t have to worry about want of food or clothing.

There are fewer flowers in autumn than in spring, but we need not worry about lack of colors. The west wind will color the leaves red for us. Here the word (rǎn) means to dye. This word also means to contaminate, to acquire a bad habit or to catch a disease.

Dāngxīn bùyào bèi chuánrǎn dào gǎnmào.
Take care not to catch a cold.

Please see Chapter 23 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes” for additional words, expressions and songs related to the four seasons.

Chinese checkers, anyone?

Chinese checkerboard modified for marble solitaire

Chinese checkerboard modified for marble solitaire

In Chapters 11 through 14 of the book “Learn Chinese Songs and Rhymes” we studied a number of action words (verbs), one of which is (tiào jump). This same word also means to leap, to hop or to skip.

Fleas are called 跳蚤 (tiàozǎo) because they jump around.

跳动 (tiàodòng) is to move up and down or to pulsate.

Nǐ de màibó měi fēnzhōng tiàodòng jǐ cì?
What’s your pulse rate?
(How many times does your pulse beat in a minute?)

跳班 (tiàobān) or 跳级 (tiàojí) means to skip a grade.

跳槽 (tiàocáo) means to change job. This usually refers to the situation in which one goes to work for another company to the current employer’s disadvantage.

跳行 (tiàoháng) means to skip a line while reading. It can also mean to change one’s 行业 (hángyè trade or profession). In this case, it is synonymous with 改行 (gǎiháng).

心跳 (xīntiào) means heartbeat or palpitation.

我害怕极了, 心跳不停.
Wǒ hàipà jíle, xīntiào bùtíng.
I was extremely scared, and my heart thumped without stopping.

眼跳 (yǎntiào), or 眼皮跳 (yǎnpí tiào), refers to the involuntary twitching of the eyelid. Some people believe that twitching of the lower eyelids predicts a happy event, while twitching of the upper eyelids foretells bad news.

心惊肉跳 (xīnjīngròutiào) describes a state of apprehension, in which the heart beats fast and the flesh shakes.

下棋 (xiàqí) means to play a strategic board game involving small pieces. The game of go is called 围棋 (wéiqí). 西洋棋 (xīyáng qí) is the chess game. Chinese chess is called 象棋 (xiàngqí). The checkers game is 西洋跳棋 (xīyáng), and Chinese checkers is 跳棋 (tiàoqí).

The checkers game is comparatively simple. You can move only diagonally, one space at a time. When an opponent’s piece is in your way, you can jump over it and capture the piece. Whoever captures all of the opponent’s pieces first wins. In Chinese, capturing an opponent’s piece is called (chī eat). This word is also used in the game of mahjong when you are able to form a meld by taking the piece that the previous player has just discarded.

With the game of Chinese checkers, you can move a piece only when there is a neighboring piece that can be jumped over. You don’t “eat” an opponent’s piece. Rather, your goal is to get all of your pieces across the board to the triangular area on the opposite side. Whoever accomplishes this first wins. You can have up to six players in a game, but usually it is played with two or three players.

竞争 (jìngzhēng) means to compete, and 竞赛 (jìngsài) is a competition. If you would like to find out more about the personality of your friends or colleagues, invite them to a friendly game of Chinese checkers.

赖皮 (làipí)

Are the players 冷静 (lěngjìng sober and clam) or 急躁 (jízào impatient)? Do they adhere to the rules or do they try to cheat?

下棋要遵守规则, 不可以赖皮.
Xiàqí yào zūnshǒu guīzé, bù kěyǐ làipí.
When playing the board game, we must follow the rules and not cheat.

Yíng jiā bù yào deyìyángyáng.
The winner should not act too cocky.

Shū jiā yào bǎochí liánghǎo fēngdù.
The loser should maintain good demeanor.

If you have some time to spare, you could try blocking off an area on the Chinese checkerboard as shown in the above photo and play a variation of the marble solitaire. You may move a piece only by jumping over another piece. Remove the piece that was jumped over to uncover a new empty space. The only spaces available are the ones originally occupied by the pieces plus the one empty space at the apex of the triangular area. The goal is to have at the end a single piece remaining at the apex of the triangular area where the empty space is now showing in the photo. A word of caution:

Zhègè mí tí bù róngyì jiě.
This puzzle is not easy to solve.

Chinese word radical – Hand

Hand Shadow

Hand Shadow

Come to think of it, our hands do a multitude of things for us, but most of us take them for granted. Without hands, it would be very difficult to even perform such basic tasks as putting food into one’s mouth and doing the dishes. That’s why the Chinese say, “双手万能 (huāngshǒu wànnéng)”.

The hand is called (shǒu). 双手 (huāngshǒu) means both hands. 万能 (wànnéng) means all-powerful or omnipotent.

Naturally, words like (zhǎng the palm) and (quán the fist, or boxing) take on the “hand” radical. So does the word (ná), which means to hold, to grasp or to take.

In everyday speech, we often speak of the palm as 手掌 (shǒuzhǎng). Similarly, we often refer to the fist as 拳头 (quántou). 拳击手 (quánjíshǒu) is a boxer. In this term, (shǒu hand) refers to a person who is doing a task or is good at doing a certain task, much like how the word “hand” is employed in the English term “farmhand”.

In your Chinese dictionary you will find many words containing the reduced “hand” radical. We’ve discussed a number of them in “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“, and mentioned a couple last week Following are a few more for you to look at

(mō) is to stroke, to feel with one’s hands or to feel out.

Tā mō dào yī gè xiǎo liúzi.
He felt a small tumor.

(fú) is to support someone with one’s hands. 扶手 (fúshou) is a handrail or an armrest.

(rēng) and (pāo) both mean to throw, to toss, to discard or to abandon.

他抛弃了财产, 离开家乡.
Tā pāoqì le cáichǎn, líkāi jiāxiāng.
He adandoned his property and left his hometown.

(sī) is to tear.

Tā sī xià yī zhāng rìlì.
He tore off a page from the daily calendar.

As a verb, (tuō) is to hold or support something with upturned hands. 委托 (wěituō) means to entrust someone with a task. 寄托 (jìtuō) means to entrust something or someone to the care of another person. 拜托 (bàituō) is to politely ask someone to do something in your favor.

拜托, 帮个忙.
Bàituō bāng gè máng.
Please, do me a favor.

托儿所 (tuōérsuǒ) is a child-care center.

(wā) means to dig or unearth. 挖苦 (wāku) means to speak sarcastically or ironically.

(kàng) is to resist or to defy. 抵抗 (dǐkàng) is to resist, and 抵抗力 (dǐkàng lì) refers to one’s ability to ward off diseases.

(chě) is to pull apart or to pull on someones clothing. Colloquially it refers to going off a point. For example, 胡扯 (húchě) means to talk nonsense.

(pá) is to rake up or to push loose things (like dry leaves) aside to reveal what’s underneath. Doesn’t the (bā eight) character on the right-hand side look like arms spread out while pushing things away from the center? A pickpocket is called a 扒手 (páshǒu). Here again, (shǒu hand) refers to the “doer”. An easy way to remember this word is to imagine eight hands picking all your interior and exterior bellow pockets, zippered pockets, hand-warmer pocket, etc. (This reminds me of a scene in Charlie Chaplin’s movie “The Kid“.)

吃里扒外 (chīlǐbāwài) describes the treacherous behavior of living on somebody but secretly working for the benefactor’s adversary, or 对手 (duìshǒu oponent). This is a rather serious accusation.

Homework: Find out what hand shadows are called in Chinese.

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