Sing “Pearly Shells” in Chinese

Picked Blackberries

Picked Blackberries


Blue, blue my world is blue – the good kind of blue from the luscious blueberries (藍莓 lán méi) and blackberries (黑莓 hēi méi) in my yard begging to be picked. Duty-bound I don a white shirt with long sleeves, grab a 1 1/2 quart plastic container and head outside. It is my responsibility to unleash my gatherer instinct and free those anxious berries from their bondage to the same old bushes under the scorching sun.

What precision it takes to pluck each and every blackberry without being poked or scratched by the vicious thorns! And what delight it is to gently roll or rub a bunch of blueberries and nudge the ripe ones into the container! It does take some nerves, though, to work alongside the honeybees (蜜蜂 mìfēng) and not be intimidated by their constant buzzes and hums. My white shirt makes me basically invisible to these flying stingers. I just need to be careful not to pick from the same bunch the bees are after. Some of them zip around at lower elevations and bump into my long trousers once in a while.

An hour or so later, I come back inside with a quart of each kind of berries, fully intending to elevate their status to velvety berry sauces, to-die-for pies, or glistening jams and jellies. Alas, that is not to be. Eager hands fall upon the berries and plop them into eager mouths. Within minutes all berries are gone.

Oh well. Anyhow it’s too hot to be in the kitchen baking, canning or, for that matter, cooking. I stretch out on my favorite chair and dream about a vacation in Hawaii (夏威夷 xiàwēiyí). I imagine myself walking barefoot along the coastline, now and then picking up a seashell to admire. I come upon a group of adorable kids singing “Pearly Shells“. I smile and say, “Aloha!”

You might try singing the first part of this cute song in Chinese by substituting the English lyrics with the following lines.

小贝壳,来自海洋,
Xiǎo bèiké,láizì hǎiyáng,
Little shells that came from the ocean,

遍布沙滩上,
biànbù shātān shàng,
spread all over the sandy beach,

阳光下发亮.
yángguāng xià fāliàng.
glisten under the sunshine.

看见它们,
Kànjian tāmen,
Seeing them,

我心明白我爱的是你,
wǒ xīn míngbai wǒ ài de shì nǐ
my heart knows that the one I love is you,

尽管那些贝壳有多美丽.
jǐnguǎn nàxiē bèiké yǒu duō měilì.
despite the beauty of all the pearly shells.

来自 (láizì) means to come from a place. In Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes we came across this word while singing the phrase “I come from Alabama” in the song “Oh Susanna”. We use this word more often in writing than in speaking. Colloquially you would say “The little shells came from the ocean.” as follows:

小贝壳是从海洋来的.
Xiǎo bèiké shì cóng hǎiyáng lái de.

明白 (míngbai) as an adjective means clear or obvious. Used as a verb, it means to know, to understand or to realize, as shown in the following example.

现在我明白了.
Xiànzài wǒ míngbai le.
Now I understand.

You probably already know that “I love you” in Chinese is 我爱你 (Wǒ ài nǐ). 我爱的是你 (Wǒ ài de shì nǐ) emphasizes the choice of the person one loves. You would use this form when there is a doubt of which person you actually love and clarification is called for. When you need to clarify your intention or what you’ve just said, you could start the sentence with 我的意思是 (Wǒ de yìsī shì I mean, or what I meant is)

尽管 (jǐnguǎn), as used here, means “even though” or “in spite of”. This word also means “feel free to (do something)”, as shown in the following example:

不要担心. 你尽管去做.
Bùyào dānxīn. Nǐ jǐnguǎn qù zuò.
Don’t worry. Go ahead and do it.

祝夏安!
Zhù xià ān!
Have a nice summer!

Advertisements

Sing Aloha Oe in Chinese

One of the meanings of the word (bié) is to leave or to part. The “knife” radical on the right-hand side signifies the separation.

离别 (líbié) and 别离 (biélí) both mean to leave or to part for a long period of time.

告别 (gàobié) and 辞别 (cíbié) mean to take leave of, to say good-bye or to bid farewell.

拜别 (bàibié) is to respectively say good-bye or bid farewell.

送别 (sòngbié) is to see someone off. 送别晚会 (sòngbié wǎnhuì) is a send-off soiree.

告辞 (gàocí) is to take leave of one’s host. On the other hand, 不辞而别 (bùcíérbié) is to leave without bidding good-bye.

我不能理解他为什么不辞而别.
Wǒ bùnéng lǐjiě tā wèishénme bùcíérbié.
I cannot comprehend why he took off without saying good-bye.

“Farewell to Thee” is a world-renowned song composed by Queen Liliuokalano. It expresses the sentiments of parting with a loved one who lives in a bautiful place that is Hawaii.

Have you wondered why Hawaii is called 夏威夷 (Xiàwēiyí) in Chinese when (xià summer) sounds quite different from “Ha”? Well, in earlier days, many overseas Chinese were Cantonese, and in the Cantonese dialect the “x” pinyin sound is pronounced like “h”, and (xià) is pronounced “ha”.

We’ve been singing “Aloha Oe” in Chinese since grade school, but I have not been able to find out who the translator was. Although the wording is different from the original lyrics, the Chinese version also aptly portrays the reluctance, the acceptance and the hope at play while bidding farewell to a dear friend. At this link is the song sung by a group of middle school students. I think you will appreciate their clear enunciation of the Chinese lyrics.

绵绵 (miánmián) describes a soft continuous mass. (mì) means dense, thick, fine or secret. Here it refers to the thick clouds. Some versions of the lyrics start out with 浓密密 (nóng mì mì), which also means thick and dense.

乌云 (wūyún) are dark clouds.
(duī) is to pile up. (mǎn) means full of. 堆满 (duī mǎn) describes how the dense dark clouds are piled on on the mountaintop, or 山顶 (shāndǐng).

笼罩著 (lǒngzhào zhe) means enveloping or shrouding. The object of this action are the woods, or 树林 (shùlín).

山谷中 (shāngǔ zhōng) means in the valley.

吹来 (chuī lái) means blowing or wafting towards the observer.

凄凉的 (qīliáng de) means desolate, dreary, sad. 微风 (wēifēng) is a gentle breeze.

激动起 (jīdòng qǐ) means to rouse up or to incite.

(sī ) means thoughts. In formal Chinese it also acts as the verb “to think”. (qíng) are feelings and emotions. 别思 (bié sī) and 离情 (lí qíng) both refer to the thoughts and emotions at parting.

珍重 (zhēnzhòng) means to take good care of yourself and stay well, and 再见 (zàijiàn) is good-bye.

亲爱的朋友 (qīnài de péngyǒu) means dear friend or dear friends.

就在眼前 (jiù zài yǎnqián) means right before one’s eyes, or right at this moment.

从今以后 (cóngjīnyǐhòu) means starting from today.

Here, (dào) means until. 下次 (xiàcì) is next time. 相见 (xiàng jiàn) is to see each other. (qián) means before or in front of.

会感到 (huì gǎndào) means “we will feel”. 心酸 (xīnsuān) means heart ache. The use of (huì) as an auxiliary verb has been mentioned in several articles at this blog site and is discussed in Chapter 16 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes”.

How to dance to this song? Click on this link to watch the lovely hula dance performed by Punihei Anthony.

%d bloggers like this: