How to say Halloween in Chinese?

Witch flying on broom

NYC, here I come!

Halloween is the eve of All Saints’ Day. In Chinese, it is called 万圣节 (Wàn Shèng Jié), or ten thousand saints’ festival, which is not generally observed in Asian countries. In China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, those who have passed away are remembered at the Night of the Ghosts, or 中元節 (zhōngyuán jié), which falls the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar.

As you know, 巫婆 (wūpó witches), 妖怪 (yāoguài monsters, demons) and carved pumpkins, or 南瓜 (nánguā), feature prominently at Halloween.

Memory took me back to Halloween a few years ago when I had to take a red-eye flight to New York City on business.

万圣节那天下午,我去雜貨店買了一支旅行用的牙膏.
Wàn Shèng Jié nàtiān xiàwǔ, wǒ qù záhuò diàn mǎile yī zhī lǚxíng yòng de yágāo.
That afternoon on Halloween Day I went to the grocers to buy a travel-size tube of toothpaste.

因為我的舊掃帚已經用壞了,
Yīnwei wǒ de jiù sàozhǒu yǐjīng yòng huài le,
As my old broom had been worn out,

我也順便買了一支新的掃帚.
wǒ yě shùnbiàn mǎile yī zhī xīn de sàozhǒu.
I also grabbed a new broom.

結帳時店員好意地問我,
Jié zhàng shí, diànyuán hǎoyì dì wèn wǒ,
At the checkout stand the friendly clerk asked me,

“你今天晚上準備做些什麼?”
Nǐ jīntiān wǎnshàng zhǔnbèi zuò xiē shénme?
“What are you planning to do tonight?”

我回答說, “我今天晚上要飛到紐約去.”
Wǒ huídá shuō, “Wǒ jīntiān wǎnshàng yào fēi dào Niǔyuē qù.”
I replied, “I’m flying to New York tonight.”

他看了我的掃帚一眼,
Tā kànle wǒ de sàozhǒu yīyǎn,
He eyed my broom for a moment,

然後帶著將信將疑的微笑說,
ránhòu dàizhe jiāngxìnjiāngyí de wéixiào shuō,
and then said with an incredulous smile,

“哦, 是嗎?”
” Ó, shì ma?”
“Oh, yeah?”

我後悔當時沒有也買了一頂黑色的有尖頂的巫婆帽.
Wǒ hòuhuǐ dāngshí méiyǒu yě mǎile yī dǐng hēisè de yǒu jiāndǐng de wūpó mào.
I regret not having also picked up a black witch hat with a pointed top.

万圣节快乐!
Wànshèngjié kuàilè!
Happy Halloween!

The Gift of the Magi Story in Chinese

Christmas Present

Christmas Present 圣誕禮物

What gifts will you be placing under the Christmas tree for your loved ones this coming holiday? It is no small feat choosing an appropriate gift for everyone on your list. Do you think you will get exactly what you have been wishing for? Will you be pleasantly surprised? Or, will you say, “Oh, no!” like Jim and Della in the short story “The Gift of the Magi” written by O. Henry (William Sydney Porter)? Following is my version of the story retold in Chinese.

吉姆和德拉是一对贫穷的年轻夫妻.
Jímǔ hé Déla shì yīduì pínqióng de niánqīng fūqī.
Jim and Della were a young married couple who were struggling financially.

吉姆有只祖传的缺了表链的怀表.
Jímǔ yǒu yī zhī zǔchuan de quē le biǎo liàn de huáibiǎo.
Jim owned an heirloom pocket watch that lacked a watch chain.

那是他最珍爱的物品.
Nà shì tā zuì zhēn’ài de wùpǐn.
It was his most treasured possession.

德拉最引以为傲的则是她美丽的长头发.
Déla zuì yǐn yǐ wéi ào de zé shì tā měilì de cháng tóufa.
As for Della, her pride and joy was her beautiful long hair.

圣诞节就要到了.
Shèngdànjié jiùyào dàole.
Christmas was approaching.

两人没有钱为心愛的人买圣诞礼物,
Liǎng rén méiyǒu qián wèi xīn’ài de rén mǎi shèngdàn lǐwù,
Not having money to buy Christmas presents for their beloved,

心中非常着急.
xīnzhōng fēicháng zháojí.
the two felt frustrated.

圣诞夜吉姆下班回家时, 吃了一惊.
Shèngdànyè Jímǔ xiàbān huíjiā shí, chī le yī jīng.
On Christmas Eve Jim was shocked when he came home from work.

“德拉, 你的头发怎么剪掉了?”
“Déla, nǐ de tóufa zěnme jiǎn diào le?”
“Della, how come you’ve cut off your hair?”

德拉取出一条白金表链給吉姆看.
Déla qǔchū yī tiáo báijīn biǎo liàn gěi Jímǔ kàn.
Della showed Jim a watch chain made of platinum.

她说: “我卖了头发, 买了這個送给你.”
Tā shuō: “Wǒ mài le tóufa, mǎi le zhègè sòng gěi nǐ.”
She said, “I sold my hair and bought this for you.”

吉姆缓缓地拿出他要送给德拉的礼物.
Jímǔ huǎnhuǎn de ná chū tā yào sòng gěi Déla de lǐwù.
JIm slowly produced the present he was giving to Della.

原来, 他把怀表当了,
Yuánlái, tā bǎ huáibiǎo dàng le,
It turned out that he had pawned his pocket watch

为德拉买了一套精美的发饰.
wèi Déla mǎi le yī tào jīngměi de fà shì.
and bought a set of elegant decorative combs for Della.

两人含情脈脈, 投入了對方的懷抱.
Liǎng rén hánqíngmòmò, tóurù le duìfāng de huáibào.
With tenderness in their eyes, the two threw themselves into each other’s embrace.

圣诞快乐!
Shèngdàn kuàilè!
Merry Christmas!

** The links for a few of my books are listed below:

Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes on amazon.com

Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes on books.apple.com

Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes on kobo.com

English Edition of The Little Monk

Traditional Chinese Edition of The Little Monk on amazon.com

Simplified Chinese Edition of The Little Monk on kobo.com

Simplified Chinese Edition of The Little Monk on books.apple

My Fatima

Tame Migraine the Delicious Way

If you enjoyed reading the ebook, please post a book review at amazon.com for it. Thanks much!

Speaking of book reviews, if you would like to read some of the book reviews I’ve written, please click on this link: “Book Reviews I’ve Written“.

Happy 2020!

 

Read a novel in Chinese and English

Chinese edition of The Little Monk

The Little Monk in Chinese

The Little Monk

The Little Monk in English

Earlier this year I mentioned that I planned to publish a middle-grade novel in both English and Chinese. I am pleased to announce that the English and Chinese editions of “The Little Monk are now available as Kindle eBooks at amazon.com.

It’s been quite a few years since I started this blog site, and I hope that some of you have advanced to the intermediate level in your study of the Chinese language. Are you ready to take on the challenge of reading a complete novel in Chinese? To date there is still a shortage of bilingual English-Chinese reading material for intermediate level language students.

The fact is that reading the same material side by side in Chinese and English can greatly benefit both the Chinese and English language learners.

If you don’t have a Kindle reading device, you can still read Kindle eBooks─on your PC, Mac, iPhone, Blackberry, or Android-based phone or tablet. Please see the information provided at this link.

To give you an idea of what the story is about, here is a brief description.

十七世纪中, 台湾被称作福摩萨,  
Shíqīshìjì zhōng, Táiwān bèi chēng zuò Fú Mó Sà,
In the 17th century, Taiwan was called the Island of Formosa,

意为美丽的小岛.
yì wéi měilì de xiǎodǎo.
meaning “Beautiful Island”.

岛上有宜人的气候, 令人瞩目的风景, 
Dǎo shàng yǒu yírén de qìhòu, lìngrén zhǔmù de fēngjǐng,
The island featured pleasant climate, eye-catching scenery,

以及丰富的自然资源.
yǐjí fēngfù de zìran zīyuán.
and rich natural resources.

各国强权纷纷来到, 建立了殖民地.
Gèguó qiángquán fēnfēn láidào, jiànlì le zhímíndì.
Foreign powers flocked to the place to colonize it.

这个故事发生在一个被西班牙统治的地区.
Zhègè gùshi fāshēng zài yīgè bèi Xībānyá tǒngzhì de dìqū.
This story took place during the brief Spanish rule of part of the island.

娃娃出生之后不久就与他的父母分离
Wáwa chūshēng zhīhòu bùjiǔ jiù yǔ tā de fùmǔ fēnlí
Shortly after Wawa was born, he was separated from his parents

而被一位中国少林和尚收容了.
ér bèi yī wèi shào lín héshàng shōuróng le.
and taken in by a Chinese Shaolin monk.

他十二岁时已经熟读佛经, 并且练了一身好功夫.
Tā shí’èr suì shí yǐjīng shú dú Fójīng, bìngqiě liàn le yīshēn hǎo gōngfu.
At the age of 12, he was already trained in Buddhism and kung fu skills.

娃娃想要从另外一位师父那儿学习石猴功.
Wáwa xiǎng yào cóng lìngwài yī wèi shīfu nàr xuéxí shí hóu gōng.
Wawa wanted to learn the unique Rock Monkey Kung Fu from another master.

在前往那位师父的途中, 他遇到了他的父亲尤大, 
Zài qiánwǎng nèi wèi shīfu de túzhōng, tā bùyì yùdào le tā de fùqin Yóudà.
On the trip to seek the other master, Wawa encountered his father Yotas,

但是两人都不知道他们之间的父子关系.
Dànshì liǎng rén dōu bù zhīdào tāmen zhījiān de fù zǐ guānxi.
but neither one was aware of their kinship.

娃娃也遇到他的对手明善. 
Wáwa yě yùdào tā de duìshǒu Míngshàn.
Wawa also encountered his adversary, Mingshan.

明善正要帮助西班牙军队逮捕尤大.
Míngshàn zhèng yào bāngzhù Xībānyá jūnduì dàibǔ Yóudà.
Minshan was helping the conquistadors to capture Yotas.

The twists in the plot of this story will keep you wondering what eventually happened to each of the main characters. At the same time, you will have a glimpse of the local scenery and the multi-cultural history of the place. You will be entertained by the amazing kung fu fighting actions, and hopefully also give some thought to racial prejudice and religious tolerance.

To watch a video showing scenes similar to those used as the background of this story, please click on this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUhzZ3n8Q0Q

To watch a video about the aborigine tribes in Taiwan, please click on this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cRl8FuK-YQ

A joke retold in Chinese

Laughing

Today I will tell you a modified version of a joke that I once read in the Reader’s Digest. I will provide just the Chinese text and let you figure out the joke by referring to the associated vocabulary list below.

有一对夫妻因为吵架,已经

两天没有同对方讲话了。

有必要的时候,他们用电邮

把话传给对方。

这一天,那位先生传电邮给太太:

“明天早上八点钟我得去公司开会。

请你七点叫我起来。”

第二天,那位先生起床时,已经八点钟了。

他非常生气,正要写电邮去责备太太时,

看到了太太的电邮:

“起来吧。现在七点了。”

一对 (yīduì) a couple, a pair
夫妻 (fūqī) man and wife.
因为 (yīnwei) because
吵架 (chǎojià) quarrel
已经 (yǐjīng) already
两天 (liǎng tiān) two
没有 (méiyǒu) have not (done something)
同 (tóng) with
对方 (duìfāng) the other party
讲话 (jiǎnghuà) speak, talk
必要 (bìyào) necessary
时候 (shíhòu) a point in time
他们 (tāmen) they
電郵 (diànyóu) or 電子郵件 (diànzǐyóujiàn) electronic mail (email)
话 (huà) words
传 (chuán) transmit
先生 (xiānsheng) husband
太太 (tàitài) wife
明天 (míngtiān) tomorrow
早上 (zǎoshàng) morning.
八 (bā) eight
点钟 (diǎnzhōng) o’clock
得 (děi) must, have to
去 (qù) go
公司 (gōngsī) company
开会 (kāihuì) attend a meeting
请 (qǐng) please
叫 (jiào) call
起来(qǐlái) or 起床 (qǐchuáng) get up, rise or get out of bed
第二天(dì’èr tiān ) the following day
已经 (yǐjīng) already.
非常 (fēicháng) very
生气 (shēngqì) angry
正要 (zhèng yào) just about to
责备 (zébèi) reproach
看到 (kàndào) see
现在 (xiànzài) now
七 (qī) seven

  • Special Announcement:

I have just self-published a novel titled “My Fatima“. This is a story about the friendship between a 14-year old German girl and her Palestinian schoolmate Fatima and how the lives of these two girls were changed forever by the culture and political strife in the Middle East.

To see the paperback version and Kindle eBook version listed at at amazon.com, please click on this link.

To watch the book trailer video, please click on this link.

To listen to the Arabic “Postman” song mentioned in the story of “My Fatima”, please click on this link.

 

A glimpse of classical Chinese (3)

I know the majority of you will never be called upon to read a full-length composition written in classical Chinese. Still, it helps to have a smattering of the classical or formal Chinese words so that when they appear on a sign, in a phrase or in a document, you will not be totally stumped.

Following are a few more examples of commonly used formal words and their modern/colloquial equivalents.

(shǒu) is the head. It connotes importance, priority and leadership. The modern equivalent is (tóu head).

(zú foot, sufficient) as a part of the body is the foot. The modern equivalent is (jiǎo foot). 足球 (zúqiú) refers soccer. When there’s pain in your foot, you’d say:

我的脚疼.
Wǒ de jiǎo téng.
My foot hurts.

The formal word for “to see” is (shì), such as in 电视 (dian shi). In everyday speech, you would use (kàn), or 看见 (kànjian), instead.

他看见一只大象.
Tā kànjian yīzhǐ dà xiàng.
He saw a large elephant.

(yún) is the formal word for “to say”. It has been adopted as the simplified Chinese character for cloud. 佛云 (Fó yún) means “Buddha said.” The modern word for “to say” is (shuō say, speak).

(xíng) has a number of different meanings. It is the formal word for “to walk” or “to go”, which corresponds to the familiar word ( zǒu). It is also the formal word for “to carry out” or “to engage in”, which corresponds to the familiar word (zuò). It also refers to one’s behaviour or conduct, as in 行为 (xíngwéi). When used colloquially, 行! (Xíng!) means “Cool!”, “O.K.”, or “All right.”

人行道 (rénxíngdào) is a sidewalk or a pedestrian walkway.

, when pronounced as “zhāo”, means morning. (yáng) means the sun, or being positive, open or masculine. 朝阳 (zhāoyáng) is the morning sun. In modern spoken Mandarin, you would say, 早晨的太阳 (zǎochén de tàiyáng).

(xī) means evening, and 夕阳 (xīyáng) is the sun at dusk. In spoken Mandarin, you would say, 傍晚的太阳 (bàngwǎn de tàiyáng).

朝夕 (zhāo xī) means day and night, or daily. In modern parlance, it’s 天天 (tiāntiān).

If you ever need to bargain with Buddah for happiness, here’s a cute story that shows how. (This story is widely circulated on the Internet, but I was unable to find the name of its original author. If you know who the original author is, please let me know. Thanks!)

我对佛说:
Wǒ duì fó shuō:
I say to Buddha,

“请让我所有的朋友永远健康快乐.”
Qǐng ràng wǒ suǒyǒu de péngyǒu yǒngyuǎn jiànkāng kuàilè.
“Please let all of my friends be forever healthy and happy.”

佛说: “只能四天.”
Fó shuō: “Zhǐnéng sìtiān.”
Buddha says, “Only four days.”

我说: “好. 春天, 夏天, 秋天, 冬天.”
Wǒ shuō: “Hǎo. chūntiān, xiàtiān, qiūtiān, dōngtián.”
I say, “Okay. Spring days, summer days, autumn days and winter days.”

佛说: “三天.”
Fó shuō: “Sāntiān.”
Buddha says, “Three days.”

我说: “好. 昨天, 今天, 明天.”
Wǒ shuō: “Hǎo. Zuótiān, jīntiān, míngtiān.”
I say, “Okay. Yesterday, today, tomorrow.”

佛说: “不行. 两天.”
Fó shuō: “Bùxíng.Liǎng tiān.”
Buddha says, “No way. Two days.”

我说: “好. 白天, 黑天.”
Wǒ shuō: “Hǎo. Báitiān, hēi tiān.”
I say, “Okay. Bright days (daytime), dark days (nighttime).”

佛说: “不行. 就一天!”
Fó shuō: “Bùxíng. Jiù yītiān.”
Buddha says, “No way. Just one day.”

我说: “好!”
Wǒ shuō: “Hǎo.”
I say, “All right.”

佛茫然问道: “哪一天?”
Fó mángrán wèn dào: “Nǎ yītiān?”
Perplexed, Buddha asks, “Which day then?”

我说: “在我所有朋友活著的每一天.”
Wǒ shuō: “Zài wǒ suǒyǒu péngyǒu huó zhe de mě iyī tiān.”
I say, “Each day my friends are alive.”

佛笑了. 他说:
Fó xiào le. Tā shuō:
Buddha smiles. He says,

“以后你所有的朋友将天天健康快乐.”
Yǐhòu nǐ suǒyǒu de péngyǒu jiāng tiāntiān jiànkāng kuàilè.
“From now on, all of your friends shall be healthy and happy every day.”

Congratulations! You have just finished reading a complete story in Chinese. Give yourself a pat on the back!

Have a Happy New Year!

恭贺新禧!
Gōnghèxīnxǐ!

(gōng) means respectful or respectfully.
(hè) is to congratulate.
(xīn) means new.
(xǐ) means auspiciousness or jubilation.

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