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28 Boat-rowing 划船

大家好, welcome back to another episode of Growing up with Chinese 成长汉语. Thanks for joining us. 欢迎大家.

Today we continue our series on 后海, one of 北京’s most popular hangouts. Now last time we saw some of the sites along Lotus Lane, and in 后海’s many 胡同s. Today we are hitting the water. That’s right, 小明, 兰兰 and Mike have decided to go boating, which is actually common pastime*1 all over China where there’re public lakes. I can remember going boating as a kid in 南京 on 玄武 Lake. The paddle boats there resembled swans, was a lot of fun. Now, I’m sure boats have changed a lot since I was a kid. So, let’s check in with our fabulous trio and see just what they’re up to.

Mike:兰兰,小明,你们看! 那边有人在划船。


兰兰:看,我们比他们划得快! 加油加油



Well, that certainly looked like fun, no? Life has gotten so high tech and sometimes quite easy to forget how wonderful it is to have some simple fun. Next time Mike, 小明 and 兰兰 go out, I’m going to ask if I can go along too, and you are all invited. OK, let’s take a quick look at some of what was said in our clip.

你们看, 那边有人在划船. Look guys, there are people paddling boats over there. 划 is to paddle or row, 船 is boat, so 划船 is to row boat or paddle boat.

Mike:兰兰,小明你们看! 那边有人在划船

在哪儿可以租船? Where can we rent a boat? 在哪儿 where, 可以 can, 租 rent. 在哪儿可以租船? Where can we rent a boat?

不远, 挺近的. Not far, it’s pretty close. 挺 is another way to say 比较, which is like saying rather, quite or pretty. 挺近的. It’s rather close.


手划船还是脚踏船? Let’s break this up before we translate it OK? 手 hand, right? 划 to row or paddle, 船 boat. A boat with hand paddles 手划船. 脚 is foot or feet, 踏 is to step on or tread on, 船 is a boat. A boat, paddled with your feet so a paddled boat. “手划船还是脚踏船?” is asking a boat with oars or a paddle boat.


OK, that just about wraps up our general overview for today’s dialogue. Now let’s get into some specifics.

Let’s take a look at today’s vocabulary first and we’ve got a lot of fun vocabulary words to cover. Then we’ll move onto our radical.

  • 划 to paddle or row. huá
  • boat, ship. chuán
  • 租 to rent. zū
  • 稍等 wait a moment. shāo děng
  • 押金 money deposit. yā jīn
  • 唱歌 to sing. chàng gē
  • 掌握 in today’s context, 掌握 means control. zhǎng wò
  • 风景 scenery. fēng jǐng

Today’s radical is one of my favorites. 舟, which means boat. Let’s take a look at it. I think it’s absolutely beautiful.

… Kind of looks like a boat doesn’t it. It doesn’t take much imagination actually to see a boat in this character 舟. And as a radical, we see it in the character for a boat. OK let’s take a look at it. 船.

船 … Here is the character for boat. Now, some of you might be wondering what is the differences between saying 船 boat and 舟 boat. Well historically speaking, 舟 came before 船. It was only after the 汉 dynasty that 船 became the common term for boat. Nowadays 舟 is used to refer to very small boats. And even then you don’t hear to too much.

OK, enough history. Let’s look at some other characters that have the boat radical. 航 navigate, sail or fly. 盘 plate or dish. 舱 cabin or hoard.


Last show our spotlight was 后海, and while our fabulous trio is still wandering about this wonderful area, today we thought it might be fun to talk about some of 北京’s parks.

Parks are great thing to have in any modern city. When looking at forest of*2 buildings, gets too tiring, parks can offer good changes in scenery and pace. 北京 has lots of parks, neighborhood parks, larger parks and even historical parks. One park that functions as both a neighborhood and historical park is 北海公园 Beihai Park.

First of all, 北海’s location is smack-dab in the middle of town. It neighbors the Forbidden City and 什刹海. First built in the tenth century it’s one of the oldest and best preserved imperial gardens in 北京. Now before it became a public park, 北海 was where the emperors and empresses of China went to relax as it was connected to the Forbidden City.

Now part of what makes 北海 so beautiful and so special is that many parts of that were constructed to reflect scenic spots from all over China. So you can sit in the pavilions and see the canals or waterways of 扬州 or 杭州, walkthrough the garden you might find 苏州 and on and on.

People go there to see the Nine Dragon Wall, which is a wall made of glazed*3 bricks with nine complete dragons playing across it on both sides. Or the White Dagoba*4, or the Five Dragon Pavilions. Others would go there simply to be in a beautiful park and do the things that one does when one is in a park.


It’s time to look at some of today’s language points. And we’ll begin with a pattern A 还是 B. A or B. So, 你想去后海还是天坛? Do you want to go to 后海 or the Temple of Heaven? Now we saw this pattern today in the question 手划船还是脚踏船? Row boat or a paddle boat? It’s pretty straightforward. A还是B.

  • 明天第一节课是英语还是数学?/我看看。
  • 你喜欢什么颜色? 蓝色还是黄色?/蓝色。

得. 得 is a helping verb that means must or should. 我们得走了. We should be leaving. 得交多少钱押金. How much deposits do we have to pay. And there’s no choice involved with 得 just like must or have to in English.

  • 8点了,我们快点儿了。/8点?我的表刚7点。天哪,我的表坏了,完了完了,我们会迟到的。
  • 兰兰,兰兰,我们出去玩儿吧。/不行,我做作业。

比 on its own denotes comparison. And there are three basic rules need to go over for this one.

Rule number one. A 比 B + adjective. For example, Mike比兰兰高. Mike is taller than 兰兰. If you want to add a word of degree, you use 更 and not 非常 or 很.

Rule two. 比 cannot be used when expressing a comparison in negative form. 兰兰 isn’t as tall as Mike. You can’t say 兰兰比Mike不高. Instead you say 兰兰没有Mike高. 兰兰 isn’t as tall as Mike.

And finally rule number three. If you’re comparing things that have a specific difference, the specific difference comes after the adjective. So, 我比他大. I’m older than him. Specific difference, 我比他大三岁. I’m three years older than him.

  • 今天比昨天热。/是吗?可天气预报说今天没有昨天热
  • 兰兰,我和Mike,谁比谁帅?/当然是Mike比你帅。/哼!

好了, 我们得休息了. OK it’s time to take a break. We’re out of time for the day. We’ve covered a lot, and don’t worry if you’ve got a grammar or vocabulary words swimming around in your head, it will all settle with time.

And don’t forget if you’re having trouble with anything, feel free to visit our website and if you can’t find what you are looking for, please send us your question and I’ll answer it at the end of one of our shows. All questions are good questions. OK, 大家, 加油. I’ll see you all next time. 再见.


*1:pastime 娯楽

*2:forest of 林立した

*3:glaze 釉薬をかける

*4:dagoba 仏舎利塔