Sing Aura Lee in Chinese

桃花 (táohuā) Peach Blossoms

桃花 (táohuā) Peach Blossoms

Spring is just around the corner. I hope this blog post finds you with a twinkle in your eyes, a smile on your face and a spring in your steps, ready to conquer the world and take on the challenge of studying Chinese.

Unbeknown to you, I made a New Year resolution for you, namely to learn to sing a song or two in Chinese by the end of this year. There are many simple songs you can choose from the “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes” book, and we have talked about quite a number of other songs in my past blog posts. If you are able to record your performance, we hope you will share it with us by providing the link to your video or audio file.

Here is a traditional song that might help put you in the mood for the season. The lyrics for “Aura Lee” were written by W. W. Fosdick and the music was composed by George R. Poulton. You can download an audio file for the melody from the Microsoft OneDrive site at this link.

The first stanza of the original lyrics goes like this:

When the blackbird in the Spring
‘On the willow tree.
Sat and rocked, I heard him sing,
Singing Aura Lee.
Aura Lee, Aura Lee,
Maid with golden hair.
Sunshine came along with thee,
And swallows in the air.

As you know, Elvis Presley changed the verses of this song and turned “Love Me Tender” into a hit.

Following is my Chinese translation.

春风飘来, 桃花迎,
Chūnfēng piāo lái, táohuā yíng.
Peach blossoms cheer the breezy spring.

Hú miàn qǐ liányī
Ripples dance in glee.

Zhī tóu xiǎoniǎo sù zhōngqíng,
The bird on the treetop heartily sings

gēsòng Ōu Ér Lì.
in praise of Aura Lee.

欧儿丽, 欧儿丽,
Ōu Ér Lì, Ōu Ér Lì.
Aura Lee, Aura Lee.

Jīn fǎ duō xiùměi!
How fine your golden hair!

Yángguāng zhàoyào zài dàdì,
Sunshine glistens in the fields,

yànr màntiān fēi.
and swallows fill the air.

The following word list is for your reference. If you’ve been following this blog, you will find that you already know most of the words used in this song. Congratulations!

春风 (chūnfēng) is a breeze in the spring. It also refers to happiness. 飘来 (piāo lái) describes how the breeze wafts towards you.

(yíng) or 欢迎 (huānyíng) is to greet or to welcome.

Here, (miàn) is a surface, and 湖面 (Hú miàn) is the surface of a lake.

(qǐ) is to rise, to raise, to appear or cause to happen. 涟漪 (liányī) are ripples.

枝头小鸟 (Zhī tóu xiǎoniǎo) is a commonly used term referring to a bird or birds perching on the treetop.

(sù) is to tell or to tell of. 衷情 (zhōngqíng) are one’s inner feelings. If instead of 诉衷情, you prefer to sing 唱不停 (chàng bùtíng to sing incessantly), be my guest.

歌颂 (gēsòng) is to sing the praises of someone.
金发 (jīn fǎ) refers to blond hair.
秀美 (xiùměi) means elegantly beautiful.
阳光 (yángguāng) is sunshine.
照耀 (zhàoyào) is to shine or to illuminate.
大地 (dàdì) is the earth.
燕儿 (yànr), or 燕子 (yànzi), are swallows.
(màn) means all over the place.
(tiān) is the sky or a day.
(fēi) is to fly.

Happy Father’s Day in Mandarin Chinese

Father’s Day is coming around next Sunday. Here’s wishing every father on earth a Happy Father’s Day! 父亲节快乐! (Fùqin jié kuàilè!)

This brings to conscious mind a song I heard with my dear father at a friend’s house way back when. That song has stuck with me ever since. To hear Lys Assia’s rendition of the original German song, “O Mein Papa”, please click here.

To hear Eddie Fisher’s performance of the English version, please click here.

Not everyone has a talented clown as his or her dad. Nonetheless, each of our fathers, present or absent, played or is playing an important role in our lives. If you would like to sing to this soulful tune in Chinese, you could try the following lines. You may need to look up a word or two in your Chinese dictionary, but this simple song should be easy to comprehend. Please note that 多才多艺 (duōcáiduōyì) is a set phrase used for describing a gifted person with many talents. In the Chinese translation of the song, I’ve broken it into two parts to fill in the required number of beats.

我的爸爸 –
Wǒde bàba –
O my papa –

Tā duōme yǒuqù hé huáji.
Was full of fun and amusing plays.
(He was so amusing and funny.)

我的爸爸 –
Wǒde bàba –
O my papa –

Tā duōcái yòu duōyì.
Was gifted in many ways.

Quánshìjiè shàng,
In all the world,

Wéi yǒu tā tiāntiān dōu kuàihuo.
None seemed as happy all year round.
(Only he is happy everyday.)

Quánshìjiè shàng,
In all the world,

Wéi yǒu tā bù jìmò.
None had more friends around.
(Only he is not lonely.)

Tāde xiàoliǎn
His smiling face

Xiàng chūntiān yángguāng de wēnnuǎn.
Was the balmy sunshine in the spring.

Tāde liǎng yǎn
His smiling eyes

Xiàng zuànshí jīng guāng shǎnshǎn.
Were gleaming diamonds sparkling.

我的爸爸 –
Wǒde bàba –
O my papa –

Tā duōme yīngyǒng hé wěidà.
Was a hero everyone adored.
(He was so heroic and great.)

我的爸爸 –
Wǒde bàba –
O my papa –

Wǒ yǒngyuǎn xiǎngniàn tā.
I’ll miss him forevermore.

By the way, it happens to be the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival today.

Duānwǔjié kuàilè!
Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

The sun radical

As the Chinese saying goes,

The whole year’s planning hinges on a good beginning in spring.

This adage is particularly applicable to farmers and gardeners. You must first sow before you can reap. If you expect to harvest fresh vine-ripened tomatoes in late August, 八月 (bā yuè), or early September, 九月 (jiǔ yuè), then this is a good time to get a few tomato starts going. Tomatoes are called 番茄 (fānqié) in Chinese.

You’ll notice that there is a sun in the character (chūn). Let’s talk about the sun radical, (rì), in hopes of coaxing the sun out of its hiding.

The word (rì) can mean the sun, the day, daytime, or daily, while 太阳 (tàiyáng) specifically refers to the sun or sunshine. Solar energy is called 太阳能 (tàiyáng néng), while luorescent lamps are called 日光灯 (rìguāngdēng sunlight lamp).

(zǎo) and 早晨 (zǎochén) mean early morning.
(xiǎo) is day-break. It also means to know, as in 晓得 (xiǎodé).

Wǒ xiǎodé le.
Got it. (I see.)

时间 (shíjiān) is the time, a duration of time, or a point in time.

(wǎn) means evening, night, late, or junior. (xīng) refers to stars or heavenly bodies.

Wǎnshàng xīngxīng liàngjīngjīng.
At night the stars shine brilliantly.

(chāng) means flourishing. No wonder this character is found in the names of many places and localities. The word 昌盛 (chāngshèng) means prosperous.

(wàng) also means flourishing, but more vigorously than (chāng). You can use the word 旺盛 (wàngshèng) to describe a booming business or the vigor of an athlet.

(yì) has multiple meanings. 容易 (róngyìì) means easy. 交易 (jiāoyì) is a business transaction. 平易 (píngyì) means easy-going or amiable. In classical Chinese, (yì) also means to change or to exchange. 易经 (yìjīng) is The Book of Changes

(nuǎn) and 温暖 (wēnnuǎn) both mean warm.

(zhào) is to shine or to illuminate.

Yángguāng zhào zài wǒ liǎn shàng.
Sunlight is shining on my face.

照相 (zhàoxiàng) is to take a photograph. (xiàng) has multiple meanings. Here, it refers to one’s looks.

晴天 (qíngtiān) is fine, clear, sunny day. Too much of a good thing is not necessarily beneficial. Too much sunshine will result in 旱地 (hàndì dry land).

Try to make sentences using some of the above Chinese words. You have truly learned a word when you are able to incorporate it in a dialog or in your writing.

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