Sing “It’s A Small World After All” in Chinese

The Globe

The Globe


It’s a ball! It’s a globe! It’s our world! As the surface of the earth approximates a sphere, it is logical to use the latitude-longitude coordinate system as a location reference.

We already know that the earth is called 地球 (dìqiú). 纬度 (wěidù) is the latitude , while 经度 (jīngdù) is the longitude. Therefore, a north latitude would be given as 北纬 (běiwěi), while a south latitude would be given as
南纬 (nánwěi). Similarly, the east longitude is 东经 (dōngjīng), and the west longitude is 西经 (xījīng).

迪斯尼乐园位于北纬33度48分, 西经117度55分.
Dísīní Lèyuán wèiyú běiwěi 33 dù 48 fēn, xījīng 117 dù 55 fēn.
Disneyland is located at 33-48 N and 117-55 W.

Each one of us is at an intersection of a latitude line (parallel), or 纬线 (wěixiàn), and a longitude line (meridian), 经线 (jīngxiàn). A miniscule speck indeed. We are so 渺小 (miǎoxiǎo tiny, insignificant) compared to the entire world, or 世界 (shìjiè).

The good news is that technology has shortened the distance between countries and groups of people. Whereas just a century ago, a Chinese peasant might have to travel on foot for three days to attend a relative’s wedding celebration, nowadays you could fly to any city in the world in less than 24 hours. The world has shrunk, so to speak. The Walt Disney song, “It’s a Small World After All”, captures this sentiment in a happy tune. The Chinese version at this link relays many positive messages.

不管 (bùguǎn) means “regardless of” or “no matter”.
分种族 (fēn zhǒngzú) is to differentiate by race.
阶级 (jiējí) means social class.
充满 (chōngmǎn) means to be filled with.
友情 (yǒuqíng) is friendship.
甜蜜 (tiánmì) means sweet or a sweet and happy feeling.
昨日 (zuó rì) means the same as 昨天 (zuótiān yesterday).
相隔 (xiānggé) is to be apart (by a distance).
千万里 (qiānwàn li) means ten million miles (i.e. a very long distance).
今天 (jīntiān) means today.
在一起 (zài yīqǐ) means to be together in the same place.
奇妙 (qímiào) means marvelous or amazing.
欢笑 (huānxiào) is to laugh heartily, and 欢呼 (huānhū) is to cheer and hail.
自由 (zìyóu) is freedom.
幸福 (xìngfú) is happiness or wellbeing.
歌唱 (gēchàng) means the same as 唱歌 (chànggē to sing).
相亲相爱 (xiāng qīn xiāng ài) is a phrase commonly used to describe how people get along amicably or lovingly with each other.
互相勉励 (hùxiāng miǎnlì) is also a popular phrase describing how people give each other encouragement and moral support.

What color represents friendship?

Let’s get into a good mood for studying Chinese by listening to a delightful fast-paced song, titled “Rose, Rose, I Love You”, in both Chinese and English.

This Chinese version was sung by Liu Wenzheng. The lyrics are shown in traditional Chinese characters. Click here to see the lyrics in simplified Chinese. Don’t worry about all the new Chinese vocabulary in this song. We are mainly interested in the word 玫瑰 (méigui roses).

The English version was first recorded by Frankie Laine. The verses do not correspond to the original Chinese lyrics, but rather depict one facet of the life of a GI stationed in Asia around WWII.

Most everyone knows that red roses, or 红玫瑰 (hóng méigui), represent love, while yellow roses, or 黃玫瑰 (huáng méigui), represent friendship.

黃玫瑰代表友情.
Huáng méigui dàibiǎo yǒuqíng.
Yellow roses represent friendship.

淡绿色也象征友情.
Dàn lǜsè yě xiàngzhēng yǒuqíng.
Light green also symbolizes friendship.

A word of caution: Beware that the Chinese term, 黃色 (huángsè) also refers to decadent, obscene stuff, such as in 黃色小說 (huángsè xiǎoshuō x-rated fiction).

(hóng red) and 绿 (lǜ green) are a popular colors for dying silk and other fabric. What radical is shared by these two words? The radical on the left side of these words is (mì fine silk). The characters in the following list also contain this radical, albeit in its simplified form. As you can see, all of these words have something to do with silk, threads or fabric.

(sī) is silk, a fine thread, or a trace.
(xì) means fine, thin, slender, or delicate. These are general properties of a thread.
线 (xiàn) is a thread, a string or a line.
(shā) is a yarn.
(zhǐ) is paper.
(gěi) means to give. Beautiful silk would make a nice present.
(jié) means a knot, or to tie together.
(biān) means to wave or to knit.
(zhī) also means to wave or to knit.
(zǐ) is the purple color. Here, the (mì fine silk) radical is placed at the bottom rather on the left side.

Silk comes from the silkworm. It’s fascinating to watch a silkworm wrap itself up in a cocoon of silk.

蚕会吐丝.
Cán huì tǔ sī.
A silkworm will extrude silk.

丝巾 (sī jīn) is a silk scarf. The famous Silk Road is called 丝路 (sī lù).

仔细 (zǐxì) means to be careful and paying attention to details.

直线 (zhixiàn) is a straight line. 曲线 (qūxiàn) is a curve.

白纱 (bái shā white ) is the white material from which a Western bride’s veil is made, while 纱布 (shābù) usually refers to the gauze used for first aid.

报纸 (bàozhǐ) are newspapers. (kàn) means to look, to see, or to appear to be. Nevertheless, 看报纸 (kàn bàozhǐ) means to read the newspapers, rather than just looking at them.

结合 (jiéhé) means to combine or unite.

编织 (biānzhī) is the art of weaving or knitting.

How would you say the following sentence in Chinese?
“He gave a purple silk scarf to me.”
A scarf is considered a longish item. Do you remember what unit is used with such an item? If not, please review the post that’s dated June 22, 2011.

Love is blue?

The following sentences use the passive voice. Please compare them with the corresponding sentences in the active voice that I posted here last week.

电脑被他弄坏了.
Diànnǎo bèi tā nònghuà le.
The computer was damaged by him.

她被那公司雇用了.
Tā bèi nà gōngsī gùyòng le.
She was hired by that company.

我被他吓了一跳.
Wǒ bèi tā xià le yī tiào.
I was startled by him.

Sentence structures form the framework of language. The simple sentence pattern of “Noun + Verb” can be likened to the frame of a small one-story dwelling. To complete the house, you will still need to install the siding and the roof. Each word you learn is another brick, panel or shingle added to the house. And don’t forget the amenities inside the little house. In other words, it’s important to build up your vocabulary to be able to carry an interesting conversation.

Today we will look at some of the Chinese words that represent the colors, 颜色 (yánsè). (hóng) is the red color, regarded by the Chinese as an auspicious and festive color. (bāo) means to wrap, and you know that 包子 (bāozi) is a bun stuffed with filling. Well, 红包 (hóng bāo) is a red envelope containing money that’s presented as a gift on a happy occasion, such as a birthday, a wedding, or New Year. This same form of gifting is also used in bribing government officials, company managers, and so on. So much so that the term 送红包 (sòng hóng bāo giving a red envelope) is now synonymous with bribing.

The word for “green” is 绿 (lǜ). (qīng) is a blue-green hue often used to characterize green grass or the sky. It is also used when referring to a young person or a young crop. I don’t know how it came about, but the expression 戴绿帽子 (dài lǜ màozǐ wearing a green hat) means to be cheated on by one’s wife.

Obviously, 红绿灯 (hóng lǜ dēng red and green lights), refers to the traffic light.

If you ever see the term, 红男绿女 (hóng nán lǜ nǚ), it has nothing to do with Halloween costumes. It just means “dudes and gals”.

美国国旗的颜色是: 红, 白, 和蓝.
Měiguó guóqí de yánsè shì: hóng, bái, hé lán.
The colors of the American flag is red, white and blue.

(hēi) is the black color. It is associated with 夜晚(yèwǎn nights) and 黑暗 (hēiàn darkness). On the other hand, (bái white) represents 白天 (báitiān daylight), 光亮 (guāngliàng brightness) and 光明 (guāngmíng open-heartedness). Please note that in the West, black is the color of mourning, but in the Chinese communities, people in mourning wear plain and unadorned white clothing.

The lyrics of “Love is Blue” (originally a French song) associates a gamut of feelings with some familiar colors. One might say:

蓝色代表忧郁.
Lánsè dàibiǎo yōuyù.
Blue represents depression.

灰色代表乏味.
Huīsè dàibiǎo fáwèi.
Grey represents cheerlessness.

红色代表爱情.
Hóngsè dàibiǎo àiqíng.
Red represents love.

绿色代表嫉妒.
Lǜsè dàibiǎo jídù.
Green represents jealousy (or envy).

黑色代表绝望.
Hēisè dàibiǎo juéwàng.
Black represents despair.

What color represents friendship?

____色代表友情.
______ dàibiǎo yǒuqíng.
________ represents friendship.

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