Day 162 - Literal Translations

Monday, July 18th, 2016
Art Exhibit, No Plaque

The days, they bleed together. 
Apparently all I had written today was an echo of previous days.

Gotta find something interesting to say, so let’s take a gander at my mandarin notes and poke fun at the literal translations of things, shall we?

Word Order

The grammar can be difficult to translate from English sometimes. Chinese is generally:
Subject + time + verb + object

I was  trying to ask “How long have you worked there?” which will set you on the wrong course. Instead, you have to approach it like “You - there - worked - how much time?” (nǐ - zài nà lǐ - gōng zuò le - dūo cháng shí jian?) [knee z-eye nah lee goh-ng zoo-oh luh]

If you want to exchange something, you say “I - want to use - this - trade - that” (wǒ - yào yòng - zhè gè - hùan - nà gè) [wo-ah yow yoh-ng jigga hwan naga]


Fruits seem to be named around peaches for some reason. If you want to take an adjective and make it into a noun, sometimes just adding “zi” [zz] onto the end makes it into an object. Such as peach:

There were no plaques explaining
what the exhibits were called
or meant, so.. take them as they are.
Peach - táozi [t-ow-zz]
Grape - pútáo [poo-t-ow] (technically a different character, but whatever)
Cherry - yīngtáo (ying + peach) [ying-t-ow]
Star Fruit (carambola) - yángtáo [yah-ng-t-ow]

To be “famous” (adj) is to “have name” (yǒu míng [yo ming]). I asked what “popular” was and my tutor said famous was the same. I pointed out that it didn’t imply a good or bad connotation, just that it’s known. We have “popular” and “notorious” for good and bad types of fames. I looked it up: liúxíng [leo-shing] is popular, while chòumíng zhāozhù [cho-ming jow-jew] is notorious.

For someone to “have good education” means that they got any education, particularly higher forms, while someone who is uneducated is said to “have not good education.” Similar.

Dǎ,the verb “to hit,” is difficult to fully grasp, because it seems to be used in many different contexts. You can hit your phone (dǎ shǒujī/diànhùa [dah show-jee/dee-ann hwa] (call), you can hit someone (dǎ nǐ (hit you) [dah knee]) (maybe a slap, maybe a punch, who knows?), you can hit something (dǎ nà ge [dah naga]) (sometimes implying you broke it, maybe).

That’s it for today. This doubled as mandarin studying time! Win-win.

Note: The title picture is recruitment posters for the military that were at knee-level in the subway. Can't say for sure which age group they'd be targeting, but I don't think legless fans of cartoons are the target audience.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]

Editing Music
Magic City Hippies

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