Time flies in Chinese

手表 (shǒubiǎo) Wrist Watch

手表 (shǒubiǎo) Wrist Watch

Hòutiān shì dàniánchūyī.
It will be the lunar New Year’s Day the day after tomorrow.

Chūnjié kuài yào dào le.
Soon it will be the Spring Festival.

Another lunar year has slipped away. Time flies. It zips by like an arrow – 光阴似箭 (guāngyīnsìjiàn).

Following are the lyrics from a cute children’s song (author unknown) that uses the movement of the pointers on a traditional clock face to remind people how time passes relentlessly and why we must not waste time. On a clock, 时针 (shízhēn) is the hour hand (long hand), 分针 (fēnzhēn) is the minute hand (short hand), and 秒针 (miǎozhēn) is the second hand.

时针慢走, 秒针急.
Shízhēn màn zǒu, miǎozhēn jí.
The hour hand moves slowly, the second hand rushes on.

滴答, 滴答, 滴.
Dīda, dīda, dī.
Ticktock, ticktock, tick.

Fēnzhēn gēnzhe zǒu xiàqu.
The minute hand follows along.

滴答, 滴答, 滴.
Dīda, dīda, dī.
Ticktock, ticktock, tick.

Yīshíyīkè bù tíngliú.
Not stopping for a single moment,

zhěngtiān zhěngyè zǒu xiàqu.
all day, all night, they continue on.

Ruò bù jíshí duō nǔlì,
If you don’t work hard now,

hǒuhuǐ láibují.
it will be too late to regret later on.

On the first line, (màn slowly) serves as an adverb that modifies the verb (zǒu). When these two words are combined together, the phrase takes on a few different extended meanings, depending on the context. 慢走 (màn zǒu) means “Don’t go yet.” or “Wait a minute.” On the other hand, when you see a guest off after a party and say 慢走 (màn zǒu), you are saying, “Take care.”, “Walk slowly (safely).”, or “Good-bye.”.

(jí) means anxious or anxiously.

及时 (jíshí) means in time (not missing the deadline).

停留 (tíngliú) is to stay. On this line, 不停留 (bù tíngliú) is the combination of (bù not) and 停留 (tíngliú stay). The context tells us not to read it as 不停 (bù tíng without stopping, continue to) and (liú stay), which makes no sense.

Some people use 成天成夜 (chéngtiān chéngyè all day all night) instead of 整天整夜 (zhěngtiān zhěngyè). These adverbs pertain to duration or frequency of doing something. Read Chapter 18 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes” to learn more words in this category.

努力 (nǔlì) means to exert effort or to try hard. (nú) means slaves. (lì) means strength, power or making every effort. You can see how much effort is embedded in the word 努力 (nǔlì).

来不及 (láibují) can mean too late, or it can mean not having enough time to do something.

快点儿, 要来不及了.
Kuài diǎnr, yào láibují le.
Hurry up, or we’ll not be able to make it.

By the way, if you’ve not been able to keep the resolution you made for the new calendar year, there is an opportunity to renew it for the Chinese New Year, which is what matters to most Chinese people anyway.

Happy New Year!

Let’s welcome spring by learning the Chinese word radical – Walk

春 (chūn) Spring

春 (chūn) Spring

A lazy cloud parks up there in clear blue sky, and birds are chirruping all around. Come tomorrow, it will be officially spring. Let’s open our arms to welcome 春天 (chūntiān springtime).

迎接 (yíngjiē) is to meet or greet. 迎春 (yíng chūn) is an abbreviation for 迎接春天 (yíngjiē chūntiān). It is also the name for the winter jasmine, as well as the name of one of the female characters in 红楼梦 (hónglóumèng Dream of the Red Mansion).

(yíng greet, welcome) takes on the reduced form of the word radical for (zǒu to walk), i.e. . You see, when one greets enthusiastically, one will tend to move forward to embrace the person, the news or the event. As resembles the character (zhī), this radical is named 走之旁 (zǒu zhī páng), or 走之底 (zǒu zhī dǐ). (páng) means on the side, referring to the radical’s placement on the left side. (dǐ) means at the bottom, referring to the tail of this radical that extends underneath the remainder of the character.

We know that 欢喜 (huānxǐ) means to be happy or delighted. Therefore, 欢迎 (huānyíng) means to happily greet or welcome someone or something. 不受欢迎 (bùshòuhuānyíng) means unwelcome.

Tā shì quánguó zuì shòuhuānyíng de lánqiú míngxīng.
He is the most popular basketball star in the nation.

挑战 (tiǎozhàn) means to challenge or a challenge. 迎接挑战 (yíngjiē tiǎozhàn), or 迎战 (yíngzhàn), is to face a challenge.

迎面 (yíngmiàn) means coming in one’s face, or head-on. Therefore, 迎风 (yíngfēng) means facing the wind.

轻风迎面吹来, 非常舒服.
Qīngfēng yíngmiàn chuī lái, fēicháng shūfu.
Soft wind blows in my face; it feels so good.

迎合 (yínghé) means to cater to someone else’s wishes or taste. 逢迎 (féngyíng) is to fawn on or to curry favor with the rich and/or powerful.

(zhuī) is to chase, run after, or pursue. It is also the abbreviation for 追求 (zhuīqiú), which means to seek, to pursue or to court. 理想 (lǐxiǎng) is an ideal. 理想的 (lǐxiǎng de) is the adjective that means ideal or perfect. 追求理想 (zhuīqiú lǐxiǎng) is to pursue one’s ideals. On the other hand, 追求理想的配偶 (zhuīqiú lǐxiǎng de pèiǒu) means to court one’s ideal mate.

Kànlai Hēnglì zài zhuī lì shā.
Looks like Henry is courting Lisa.

(dá) as a verb means to reach a place, to attain a goal, or to successfully comminicate a message. For example, 传达消息 (chuándá xiāoxi) is to pass on a piece of information or news.

退 (tuì) is to step back, to retreat or to withdraw or cancel. So, 退租 (tuì zū) is to cancel a rental, such as a tenant terminating the renting of an apartment.

(yuǎn) means distant, far away or remote. The opposite is (jìn), or near.

(yāo), or 邀请 (yāoqǐng), is to invite or to solicit. Usually, if you say 邀请 (yāoqǐng) or (qǐng), you are expected to be the host and foot the bill. If you don’t intend to pay for the other party, then just say (yāo).

Wǒ xiǎng yāo nǐmen yītóng qù kàn diànyǐng.
I’d like to ask you to go together with me to watch a movie.

Following are a few words that contain the full-blown radical.

(fù) means to go to or attend an event. 赴约 (fù yuē) is to go to a date or appointment. 失约 (shīyuē) is to fail to keep an appointment or date.

(qǐ) means to rise, get up, stand up, set up, or start up. For example, 起床 (qǐchuáng) is to get out of bed.

(qù) means interest or fun. 有趣 (yǒuqù) means interesting or amusing. 志趣 (zhìqù) is one’s aspiration or inclination.

(gǎn) is to drive away, to catch up with or to dash for something.

Gǎnkuài lái!
Hurry and come!
(Or, in a commanding tone, “Get here this minute!”)

Now that you are getting a rush learning about the “walk” radical, hurry and look up other words that contain either form of the walk radical and that might be useful to add to your vocabulary.

%d bloggers like this: