Maria Holland

Visit China: The Scenery’s Not Bad

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2009 at 12:38 am

Sometimes it seems like I have too much fun for me to actually be learning anything.  Fortunately, living in China provides lots of opportunities for positive feedback on my progress.  It’s not just the Chinese people, who seem generally willing to label you as fluent if you can say 你好 (nǐ hǎo).  Besides that, they have thoughtfully posted written Chinese everywhere, which means every time I open my eyes there are some Chinese characters ready to challenge me.  Almost every day, I look at a sign that I’ve looked at hundreds of times and, instead of seeing random lines or seemingly-unconnected characters, I understand the meaning. 

I was talking to my Dutch friend Diederik about this today.  Despite knowing all four characters in the 成人用品 signs that are posted around town (respectively: ‘become’, ‘person’, ‘use’, and ‘product’), he didn’t know what it meant until yesterday.  成人 means ‘adult’ and 用品 means ‘goods’, so basically . . . sex shop. 

I’m going to start taking better notes on the signs I see and sharing the translations with you.  There are a lot of messages of encouragement, exhortation, or advice posted around for the public, and they’re my favorite.  Soon you, too, will be able to enjoy Chinese PSA’s. 

I’m also trying to get into Chinese music right now, because it seems like one of the more fun ways to learn, although perhaps not the most effective.  So, for your entertainment and my education, here is my authoritative (ha) translation of my favorite Chinese songs, 大中国

We all have one family
It is called China
There are a lot of brothers and sisters
And the scenery’s also not bad

The house has two dragons
Called the Yangtze and the Yellow Rivers
It also has Mount Everest
Which is the tallest mountain

Look at that Great Wall, 10,000m long
It weaves back and forth between the clouds
Look at the Roof of the World
Even bigger than the sky

Our big China
Quite a big family
It has made it through a lot of
Wind blowing and rain falling

Our big China
Quite a big family
Always, always,
I want to follow you

China, I wish you prosperity
You will always be in my heart

Favorite line of the song: “The scenery’s also not bad.”  (Probably not the best translation as far as meaning goes, but it does literally mean “not wrong”.  Also that’s what I was originally taught, so I’ll never be able to separate 不错 from “not bad”.)

Stay tuned for more! 

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