Archive for the Category: Chinese

Just playing around

In Mandarin Chinese when you want to talk about playing a musical instrument, there are quite a few different words you could use, depending on the type of instrument. – 拉 (lā) is used for bowed instruments such as the 二胡 (èrhú), violin (小提琴 xiǎotíqín), viola (中提琴 zhōngtíqín) and cello (大提琴 dàtíqín), and also means […]

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The Mandarin Chinese expression, 我们AA吧! (wǒmen AA ba), is the equivalent of “lets split the bill” or “let’s go Dutch”. I heard it for the first time from a Chinese friend the other day. My friend assures me that it’s a very common expression and is used when going out for a meal with friends […]

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Hedges and thistles

During a conversation with a Chinese friend yesterday neither of us could think of the Mandarin word for hedge or thistle, among others, so I thought I’d look it up. There appear to be a number of words for hedge in Mandarin: – 栵 (lì) – hedge – 藩籬 [藩篱] (fān​lí) – hedge / fence; […]

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上海闲话 (Shanghainese)

According to an article I came across today, the local government in Shanghai is trying to preserve Shanghainese, the variety of Wu spoken in Shanghai. This involves recording people who speak ‘pure’ Shanghainese talking about local legends and traditions, etc. This is the third time such a project has been attempted, and they hope to […]

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Macaronic radio

I listened to some Cantonese on RTHK this morning, and while I didn’t understand everything, I could get the gist of the news stories. Then I saw that RTHK has a Mandarin channel as well, so I listened to that for a while and noticed that when they had outside reports and interviews, many of […]

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Thinking sdrawkcab

Here are the words of a song we’ve been learning recently at the Bangor Community Choir: When there is light in the soul, there is beauty in the person. When there is beauty in the person, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is honour in the nation. […]

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肚皮舞 (dù​pí​wǔ​)

The other day I discovered that the Mandarin word for belly dancing is 肚皮舞 (dù​pí​wǔ​). As I knew the meanings of the individual characters, I could guess the meaning of the word, even though I hadn’t heard it before. 肚 (dù​​) is stomach or belly, 皮 (​pí​​) is skin, and 舞 (wǔ​) is dance. I […]

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On the tip of my pyramid

Last night I spoke quite a bit of Mandarin with some people from China, and while I was able to have a good conversation with them, though there were some things I couldn’t remember or didn’t know how to say. Usually when this happens I try to find another way to express the same idea, […]

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Nadolig Llawen Joyeux Noël 聖誕快樂 Nollaig shona doibh ¡Feliz Navidad! Nollick Ghennal Bo Nadal Nollaig chridheil メリークリスマス Buon Natale Frohe Weihnachten Bon Nadal Veselé vánoce and Merry Christmas!

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Colds, streams and rivers

It’s rather cold here at the moment with daytime temperatures not much above freezing, and nighttime dropping to -10°C (14°F) or even -20°C (-4°F) in places. As a result, some of the snow that fell last week has frozen solid and been trampled down on pavements and ungritted back streets making them decidedly icey and […]

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