Sing Scandinavian Song “Winde Weh’n” in Chinese

With our feathered friends flitting among the tree branches, there is no mistaking that a renewed vitality is in the air. Is there also a sense of joy springing from your heart? Perhaps also a general feeling of love, somthing akin to “this yearning burning in me” (as Mozart put it in The Marriage of Fiagaro)?

One way of giving an outlet of the feeling of love is to express it in a song. The Scandinavian song “Winde Weh’n” (sung in German) aptly captures the sincere love of a sailor in a mesmerizing melody and simple words. For the occasion of Valentine’s Day, I’ve translated it into Chinese below.

风儿飘,船儿摇,
Fēng er piāo, chuán ér yáo,
The wind blows, the boat rocks,

徐徐往远方。
xúxú wǎng yuǎnfāng.
slowly going into the distance.

那水手心中最亲爱的人,
Nà shuǐshǒu xīnzhōng zuì qīn’ài de rén,
The dearest person in the sailor’s heart,

在岸边泪汪汪。
zài àn biān lèi wāngwāng.
stays weeping on the shore.

那水手心中最亲爱的人,
Nà shuǐshǒu xīnzhōng zuì qīn’ài de rén,
The dearest person in the sailor’s heart,

在岸边泪汪汪。
zài àn biān lèi wāngwāng.
stays weeping on the shore.

莫悲傷, 甜臉龐,
Mò bēishāng, tián liǎnpáng,
Don’t you cry, lovely eyes.
(Don’t be sad, lovely face.)

快把淚擦干。
Kuài bǎ lèi cā gān.
Wipe your sad tears dry.

惦着我和那欢乐的时光,
Diànzhe wǒ hé nà huānlè de shíguāng,
Think of me and the happy times we had,

等我回到你身旁。
děng wǒ huí dào nǐ shēn páng.
and wait ’til I’m by your side.

惦着我和那欢乐的时光,
Diànzhe wǒ hé nà huānlè de shíguāng,
Think of me and the happy times we had,

等我回到你身旁。
děng wǒ huí dào nǐ shēn páng.
and wait ’til I’m by your side.

金银财宝, 一满箱,
Jīn yín cáibǎo, yī mǎn xiāng,
Silver and gold, a whole chestful,

看我载回来。
kàn wǒ zài huílái.
watch me bring it back.

丝绸和珠宝,琳琅满目,
Sīchóu hé zhūbǎo, línlángmǎnmù,
Silk and jewels, dazzling to the eye,

样样都献给你。
yàng yàng dōu xiàn gěi nǐ.
and all these I give to you.

丝绸和珠宝,琳琅满目,
Sīchóu hé zhūbǎo, línlángmǎnmù,
Silk and jewels, dazzling to the eye,

样样都献给你。
yàng yàng dōu xiàn gěi nǐ.
and all these I give to you.

The Chinese word for lovers is 情人 (qíngrén).

情人节快乐!
Qíngrénjié kuàilè!
Happy Valentines Day!

Pizza Time in Chinese

Home-made Pizza

Home-made Pizza

Well, the Chinese translation for “Pizza time!” depends on how you interpret this expression:

來吃比萨!
Lái chī bǐsà!
Come and eat pizza!

來做比萨!
Lái zuò bǐsà!
Come and make pizza!

Pizza is a popular fast food that originated in Italy. 意大利 (Yìdàlì) means Italy, and 意大利人 (Yìdàlì rén) refers to Italians. If you are interested in making pizzas, you will find the links to a few relevant YouTube videos as well as a link to Mel’s quick and easy foolproof pizza dough recipe in the following conversation.

你知道怎么做比萨吗?
Nǐ zhīdào zěnme zuò bǐsà ma?
Do you know how to make a pizza?

应该不会太难吧.
Yīnggāi bùhuì tài nàn ba.
It shouldn’t be too difficult.

我喜欢看维拓的示范.
Wǒ xǐhuān kàn wéi tuò de shìfàn.
I like to watch Vito’s demonstrations.

他做的比萨看来近乎完美.
Tā zuò de bǐsà kànlai jìnhu wánměi.
The pizzas he makes appear to be nearly perfect.

我想向他学习.
Wǒ xiǎng xiàng tā xuéxí.
I would like to learn from him.

如何甩比萨? 掉到地上怎么办?
Rúhé shuǎi bǐsà? Diào dào dì shàng zěnmebàn?
How to toss a pizza? What if it falls on the floor?

你可以用一条湿毛巾来练习.
Nǐ kěyǐ yòng yī tiáo shī máojín lái liànxí.
You could use a damp hand towel to practice.

光是等酵种发好就要十二到十六小时.
Guāngshì děng jiào zhǒng fā hǎo jiùyào shí’èr dào shíliù xiǎoshí.
Just to wait for the poolish to be ready will take 12 to 16 hours.

我不能等那么久. 我饿了.
Wǒ bùnéng děng nàme jiǔ. Wǒ è le.
I cannot wait that long. I’m hungry.

那么, 我们来做简易的那一种.
Nàme, wǒmén lái zuò jiǎnyì de nà yī zhǒng.
Well then, let’s make the quick and easy type.

谢谢. 这种其实也蛮好吃.
Xièxiè. zhèzhǒng qíshí yě mán hǎochī.
Thank you. This kind actually tastes quite good, too.

If making pizzas is not your cup of tea, perhaps you could try your skill at playing this simple Spinning Game.

To learn the names of some common food items, please read Chapters 20 and 21 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“.

父亲节快乐!
Fùqīnjié kuàilè!
Have a Happy Father’s Day!

The Butterfly Lovers

Peonies

Maybe you don’t like to go to school, but there was once a young lady who was very unhappy because she was not allowed to go to school. At that time in China, young children were home-schooled by their parents or hired mentors. Then the young men went off to school while the young ladies stayed home and did their needlework. For their safety and good reputation, the unmarried daughters from a typical Chinese family were kept out of the public.

According to the famous Chinese legend, 粱山伯与祝英台 (Liáng Shānbó yǔ Zhù Yīngtái), which was first recorded during the Tang Dynasty, this young lady, named 祝英台 (Zhù Yīngtái), pestered her parents to let her travel to a distance city, to attend school. She managed to convince them that she could disguise as a young man and not be found out. On the way to school she befriended a young man named 粱山伯 (Liáng Shānbó). So began a cute tale with a tragic ending. This story was featured in many Chinese stage plays and movies, the most notable of which being the blockbuster, “Love Eterne”, starred by the beautiful 乐蒂 (Lèdì) and the very talented 凌波 (Língbō) a few decades ago. It was reported that quite a few people in Southeast Asia watched this entertaining musical more than one hundred times. (At that time, there were no DVD’s to rent. You had to go to a movie hall and stand in a long line to watch a popular movie.)

When viewing this musical movie, you will need to rely on the subtitles to understand the songs because the rhyming lyrics contain a mix of colloquial Chinese and Chinese idioms, as well as many allusions to Chinese classics that may be challenging even for an advanced student of Chinese. Do pay attention to the sparse conversations and see if you can catch a few familiar words or phrases. Also take notice of the actors’ costumes, which reflect the clothing style of that era.

When used as a conjunctive, the word (yǔ) has the same meaning as (hé), i.e. “and” or “together with”. (hé) is used in everyday speech, while (yǔ) is mostly found in written documents.

In a well-to-do Chinese family, there would typically be an old master, 老爷(lǎoyé), the lady of the house, 夫人 (fūrén), one or more young masters, 少爷(shàoyé), one or more young misses 小姐( xiǎojie), the servants, 仆人 (Púrén), nowadays called 男佣(nánōng), and the maids, 婢女(bìnǚ), nowadays called 女佣(nǚyōng). 佣人(yōngrén) is a general term for servants.

In Chinese movies, the master of the house is often depicted as an authoritative figure whom everyone must obey and please. Therefore, a standard line for the 夫人 (fūrén) is:

不要惹老爷生气.
Bùyào rě lǎoyé shēngqì.
Don’t make the old master angry.

生气 (shēngqì) means to get angry.

Alas, after spending 3 years at school with 山伯 (Shānbó), young 英台 (Yīngtái), fell in love. When her parents sent for 英台 (Yīngtái), under the pretense that her mother got ill, 山伯 (Shānbó) saw her off part of the way. Unaware that her parents had promised her to a local rich dude, 英台 (Yīngtái) dropped hint after hint that 山伯 (Shānbó) should come to her house and woo her twin sister, who “looks exactly like me”. Except for actually revealing her true identity, what did she not try to entice him to come to visit her family? At one point, she sang:

牡丹花,你爱它.
Mǔdan huā, nǐ ài tā.
Peonies, you love them.

我家园里牡丹好.
Wǒ jiā yuán li mǔdan hǎo.
The peonies in my garden are gorgeous.

要摘牡丹上我家.
Yào zhāi mǔdan shàng wǒ jiā.
To pick nice peonies, you must come to my house.

Notice that is the non-human third person pronoun that means “it” or “they”.

When 山伯 (Shānbó) laughed off the silly notion of visiting the (Zhù) family merely for the sake of a few flowers, 英台 (Yīngtái) cited a variation of the following well-kown Chinese adage:

有花堪折直须折,
Yǒu huā kān zhé, zhí xū zhé.
When there are flowers to pick, go ahead and pluck them.

莫待无花空折枝.
Mò dài wú huā kōng zhé zhī.
Don’t wait until the flowers are gone, and you’r left with only branches to pick.

From the above English translation, you have probably figured out that (zhāi) and (zhé) both mean to pick, to pluck, or to snag.
(mò) is a classical Chinese word that means the same as 不要 (bùyào), or “don’t”.
(kān may, can) is also a classical Chinese word that mostly appears in set phrases. Its modern equivalent is the auxiliary verb (néng may, can).
(dài) is an abbreviation of 等待 (děngdài), which means “to wait”. In everyday speech, people usually just say (děng) instead of 等待 (děngdài).

If you have not yet found out from the lyrics of “Lover’s Tears” the Chinese terms for separating or parting, here are a few commonly used ones:

分别 (fēnbié) means to leave each other, or to differentiate.
分离 (fēnlí) means to separate.
分手 (fēnshǒu) means to part company with someone.

So, the friends parted. When 山伯 (Shānbó) found out that his pal was actually a co-ed, it was too late. 英台 (Yīngtái) was getting ready to marry the other dude against her own wish. 山伯 (Shānbó) soon died from depression and illness. The sorrowful 英台 (Yīngtái) defied her father and visted her beloved’s grave. Her pitiful wailing moved the heavens, and the tomb suddenly split open. 英台 (Yīngtái) jumped in. When the dust settled, two butterflies were seen soaring together out of the gave. Hence the English translation of the title of this story, “The Butterfly Lovers”.

Next time you see a 蝴蝶 (húdié, butterfly), remember what happens when you let a girl go to school.

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