Sing “America the Beautiful” in Chinese

Blueberries ripening

Blueberries ripening

July 4th, 七月四日 (qīyuè sì rì), is the birthday of the United States of America. (zhù) is to express good wishes. 祝福 (zhùfú) is to give blessing to someone. This word can also be used as a noun. 庆祝 (qìngzhù) is to celebrate. There are a number of patriot songs to help us express our feelings while celebrating the national day, or 国庆日 (guóqìng rì), notably the one with lyrics written by Katharine Lee Bates and music composed by Samuel A. Ward – “America the Beautiful”. The Chinese word for America is 美国 (Měiguó). 美丽 (měilì) means beautiful.

忠贞 (zhōngzhēn) means being loyal and steadfast. 爱国 (àiguó) means being patriotic. So, 忠贞爱国 (zhōngzhēn àiguó) describes a person who is loyal to his country and loves it dearly, and patriotic songs are called 爱国歌曲 (àiguó gēqǔ).

At this link is a nice rendition of “America the Beautiful”. If you would like to sing this song in Chinese, here is my translated version:

啊, 多美丽! 蓝天辽阔,
Ā, duō měilì! Lán tiān liáokuò,
Oh, how beautiful – the spacious blue skies

麦田里漾金波.
màitián li yàng jīn bō.
and the golden waves rippling in the wheat fields.

高山峻岭, 气势磅礴,
Gāoshān jùn lǐng, qìshìpángbó,
High mountains and mountain ranges, so powerful and majestic,

遍地布满花果.
biàn dì bùmǎn huā guǒ.
and the land covered with flowers and fruits.

美丽家园, 美丽家园!
Měilì jiāyuán, měilì jiāyuán!
Beautiful homeland, beautiful homeland!

愿天父保佑你.
Yuàn tiānfù bǎoyòu nǐ.
May the Heavenly Father protect and bless you.

从南到北, 由西到东,
Cóng nán dào běi, yóu xī dào dōng,
From south to north, from west to east,

四海内皆兄弟.
sìhǎi nèi jiē xiōngdì.
within the four seas we are all brothers.

啊, 多美丽! 同心协力,
Ā, duō měilì! Tóngxīnxiélì,
Oh, how beautiful – the shared aspiration, the concerted effort

不断英勇建国.
bùduàn yīngyǒng jiànguó.
and the endless valor in founding the nation.

大城小镇亭亭玉立,
Dà chéng xiǎo zhèn tíngtíng yù lì,
Big cities and small towns now stand upright,

在泪光里闪烁.
zài lèi guāng li shǎnshuò.
shimmering in our tears.

美丽家园, 美丽家园!
Měilì jiāyuán, měilì jiāyuán!
Beautiful homeland, beautiful homeland!

愿天父保佑你.
Yuàn tiānfù bǎoyòu nǐ.
May the Heavenly Father protect and bless you.

从南到北, 由西到东,
Cóng nán dào běi, yóu xī dào dōng,
From south to north, from west to east,

四海内皆兄弟.
sìhǎi nèi jiē xiōngdì.
within the four seas we are all brothers.

辽阔 (liáokuò) means vast and expansive.

高山峻岭 (gāoshān jùn lǐng) is a popular phrase for describing high mountains.

气势磅礴 (qìshìpángbó) is a commonly used four-character idiom describing the power or momentum of someone or something.

英勇 (yīngyǒng) means heoric and courageous, as when speaking of the brave soldiers who help defend our country.

同心协力 (tóngxīnxiélì) is a commonly used four-character idiom describing two or more people working together with one heart and in full cooperation.

What are the things that you love the most or are most proud of about your own country? Would you like to share them with us in a comment either in English or Chinese?

美国国庆日快乐!
Měiguó guóqìng rì kuàilè!
Have a Happy July 4th!

Or,

美国国庆快乐!
Měiguó guóqìng kuàilè!
Have a Happy July 4th!

Chinese Word for Freedom

Freedom Stamp

At the end of a muggy day, we are finally rewarded with a few cool breezes, followed by a welcome offer for refreshment.

你要吃西瓜還是甜瓜?
Nǐ yào chī xīguā háishì tiánguā?
Would you like to eat watermelon or muskmelon?

Both sound good to me, and the choice is mine to make. 自由 (zìyóu) means freedom, liberty, unrestrained, or freely.

我有自由选择的权利.
Wǒ yǒu zìyóu xuǎnzé de quánlì.
I have the right to free choice.

I think of those people who are not so fortunate. Through various characters in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin“, the author Harriet Beecher Stowe tried to help us see the importance of a man’s basic right to freedom. It’s true that many of the colored slaves were treated almost like family, but still, their activities and fates were totally controlled by their masters. Generally the wellbeing or misery of the slaves depended entirely on the kindness or cruelty of their owners. They saw no hope for freedom or autonomy in this world. They could only long for a “better land” that Stephen Collins Foster referred to in his “Old Black Joe”. I’ll share with you the version of this song my father taught me when I was about six years old. I think he did this Chinese translation himself. The lines are different from what you will find when you search the Internet for 老黑奴 (Lǎo Hēi Nú), 老黑乔 (Lǎo Hēi Qiáo) or 老黑爵 (Lǎo Hēi Jué).

岁月不留,
Suìyuè bù liú.
Years go by;

难得青年心爽快.
nándé qīngnián xīn shuǎngkuai.
The joy of youthful heart won’t stay.

许多朋友
Xǔduō péngyǒu
Many of my friends,

离别后如今何在?
líbié hòu rújīn hézài?
after parting, where are they nowadays?

超脱尘世,
Chāotuō chénshì,
Risen above this mortal life,

去到天堂的乐土.
qù dào tiāntáng de lètǔ.
they’ve gone to heaven’s happy place
(i.e. paradise).

我听闻他们柔声呼唤:
Wǒ tīngwén tāmen róu shēng hūhuàn:
I hear them gently calling:

“老黑奴”.
Lǎo hēi nú.
“Old black slave.”

我来了,
Wǒ lái liǎo,
I’m coming,

我来了.
Wǒ lái liǎo,
I’m coming.

走尽世间崎岖路.
Zǒu jìn shì jiàn qíqū lù.
I’ve plodded life’s rugged ways.

我听闻他们柔声呼唤:
Wǒ tīngwén tāmen róu shēng hūhuàn:
I hear them gently calling:

“老黑奴”.
Lǎo Hēi Nú.
“Old black slave.”

难得 (nándé) means hard to come by, or “It’s a rare occasion that . . .”.

难得你来看我.
Nándé nǐ lái kàn wǒ.
What a rare occasion that you have come to visit me!
(This could be uttered either with grateful joy or with sarcasm.)

Back to the present day, I’m finishing up on reading “The Good Food Revolution“, a book co-authored by Will Allen and Charles Wilson. I’m sure Mrs. Stowe would be very pleased to see that the oppressed people she wrote about are enjoying not only liberty but also the awareness that they, like everybody else, are entitled to the freedom of choice on growing and eating wholesome foods.

美国国庆日快乐!
Měiguó guóqìng rì kuàilè!
Have a Happy July 4th!

美国独立纪念日快乐!
Měiguó dúlì jìniànrì kuàilè!
Happy Independence Day!

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