Posts Tagged ‘learn mandarin’

Chinese Podcast – Chinese Idioms- Learn mandarin

Thursday, November 24th, 2011





Lu Yu was a very learned and honest man of the State of Wei in the Three Kingdoms Period (220 — 280). He served as a senior official for three years and made many good suggestions to Emperor Wendi. He was later promoted to the position of Minister of Official Personnel Affairs.

When the emperor was selecting personnel for a very important post, some well-known people were recommended. But Emperor Wendi didn’t like them. In a special imperial edict, the emperor said, “whether we can find the right person for this post depends on Lu Yu. We shouldn’t choose those only with fame but without real ability and learning. Fame is just like a pancake drawn on the ground which you can’t eat.”

Lu Yu suggested that recommendation be combined with examination and the emperor adopted his proposal. Officials were then appointed according to their competence. This method won wide acclaim from the people.

From a phrase in the imperial edict came the idiom 画饼充饥 (huà bǐng chōng jī). At first, it means “value empty names”, or “enjoy a reputation unwarranted by any real learning”. Now, people use it in a new sense. By 画饼充饥 (huà bǐng chōng jī), we mean “feed on illusions” or “console oneself with false hopes”.

Chinese Podcast -不寒而栗 (bù hán ér lì)- Learn mandarin

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Shiver all over though not cold — tremble with fear

Yi Zhou was known as a rigid official in Chinese history who lived in the Han Dynasty and died in the year 117BC. He had been county and prefecture magistrates. He was strict with laws and stern to law-breakers. And he was not swayed by personal considerations. Nor did he shrink from bigwigs. Outlaws were very much afraid of him and social order improved significantly in the counties under his jurisdiction.

After he was promoted to the position of Magistrate of Nanyang between present-day Central China’s Henan and Hubei provinces, Yi Zong learned that one of his immediate subordinates named Ning Cheng was extremely ruthless. Ning Cheng was in charge of tariffs. He usurped power and cruelly victimized the people. Without hesitation, the new magistrate Yi Zhong investigated and verified the brutal official’s crimes and brought him to justice.

Later, Yi Zhong was transferred to Ding Xiang in what is now the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. He was now Magistrate of Ding Xiang, an area where offenders ran wild. Upon his arrival, Yi Zhong took drastic measures. He sentenced to death more than two hundred criminals from the prison who he felt had been underpunished and had taken off their fetters and handcuffs without permission. Also killed at the same time were more than two hundred people who had secretly visited those major criminals and helped them take off their shackles.

This incident shocked the Ding Xiang area. People high and low were talking about how Yi Zhong killed more than four hundred people in one day. Although it was not cold that day, many people shivered at the news. Those who had violated het law or had done evil began to restrain and behave themselves.

Such massive execution really struck people with horror. And from the phrase about people’s reaction comes our idiom 不寒而栗 (bù hán ér lì). We use it to describe the feeling of being terrified.

Chinese Podcast -Animals- Learn mandarin

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Y: Dajia hao, perfect your Chinese every day, right here in the Chinese Studio. Wo shi Y.
B: And, wo shi B, ni hao Y. It’s animal week and time to learn more about our wonderful furry friends.
Y: Let’s check our key words of the day.

Key words of the day
Snake 蛇,Rabbit 兔子,dolphin, 海豚,the zoo 动物园Do you want to go to the zoo? 你想去动物园吗?Let’s go to the zoo. 咱们去动物园吧 。Shall we go to see the dolphins? 我们去看海豚好吗? Let’s go to see the lions first. 咱们还是先去看狮子吧。All in today’s Chinese Studio.

B: The zoo, the zoo, I want to go to the zoo. But what do I call it in Chinese Y?
Y: That’s easy, 动物园。
B: dong4 wu yuan2,
Y:  dong4 wu is animal or zoological,
B: dong4 wu,
Y: yuan2 means garden,
B: Yuan2,
Y: dong4 wu yuan2
B: dong4 wu yuan2 zoo. … And, do you want to go to the zoo?
Y: You mean  你想去动物园吗?
B: ni2 xiang3 qu4 dong4 wu yuan2 ma?
Y: xiang3 qu4 means want to go somewhere,
B: xiang3 qu4.
Y: dong4 wu4 yuan2, zoo.
B: dong4 wu4 yuan2
Y: 你想去动物园吗?
B: ni2 xiang3 qu4 dong4 wu4 yuan2 ma?  Do you want to go to the zoo?

Conversation 1
A: 你想去动物园吗?
B: 好啊,走吧。

B: So, we both want to go the zoo. Let’s go to the zoo.
Y: Great, but let’s say that in Chinese,  咱们去动物园吧。
B: Let me practice: zan2men qu4 dong4 wu4 yuan2 ba.
Y: zan2men  means we,
B: zan2men ,
Y: qu4 means set off for some place,
B:  qu4,
Y: dong4 wu4 yuan2  means zoo,
B: dong4 wu4 yuan2
Y: 咱们去动物园吧
B: zan2men qu4 dong4 wu4 yuan2 ba Let’s go to the zoo .….Great, can’t wait to go!

Conversation 2
A: 咱们去动物园吧。
B: 太好了,我正好很喜欢动物 。

B: Ok, let’s learn a few more names of animals. Snakes are fascinating.
Y: That’s a  蛇。
B: she2. And rabbit. Remind me, I should know because we were talking about the Easter bunny not so long ago.
Y: Okay,  that’s a  兔子。
B: tu4 zi.  How about dolphin?
Y: it’s hai3 tun2.
B:  hai3 tun2. Shall we go to see the dolphins?  How do I say it in Chinese?
Y: you can say:   我们去看海豚,好吗?
B: wo3men qu4 kan4 hai3 tun2, hao3 ma?
Y: wo3men means we,
B: wo3men,
Y:  qu4 kan4 means go to see,
B: qu4 kan4,
Y:  hai3 tun2 is dolphin,
B: hai3 tun2,
Y: hao3 ma? Is it okay?
B: hao3 ma?
Y: 我们去看海豚好吗?
B: wo3men qu4 kan4 hai3 tun2 hao3 ma? Shall we go to see the dolphins?

B: 等会儿再去吧, 水族馆还没开门呢。

B: 我们去看海豚好吗?
Y:  It’s too early for the dolphin show. Let’s go to see the lions first.
B: How do you say that in Chinese?
Y:  you can say 咱们还是先去看狮子吧。Zan2men means we,
B: zan2men,  and wo3 men also means we,
Y: That’s right. hai2 shi4 means had better do sth,
B: hai2 shi4,
Y: xian2 qu4 means go somewhere first,
B: xian2 qu4,
Y: kan4 means see,
B: kan4,
Y: shi1zi is lion,
B: shi1zi,
Y: ba  is used to indicate suggestion,
B: ba.
Y: 咱们还是先去看狮子吧。
B: zan2men hai2shi4 xian1 qu4 kan4 shi1zi ba. Let’s go to see the lions first.

Conversation 4
A: 我想去看海豚。
B: 咱们还是先去看狮子吧。

Key words reminder
Snake 蛇,Rabbit 兔子,dolphin, 海豚,the zoo 动物园Do you want to go to the zoo? 你想去动物园吗?Let’s go to the zoo. 咱们去动物园吧 。Shall we go to see the dolphins? 我们去看海豚好吗? Let’s go to see the lions first. 咱们还是先去看狮子吧。All in today’s Chinese Studio.

B: Hey, it’s time to set off for the zoo. Y, what’s our question of the day?
Y: Remind us how to say, “Let’s go to the zoo” in Chinese.
B: Send your email answer to Hurry along and you could win yourself a prize. Mingtian jian.
Y: Until tomorrow.