Hi everybody 大家好, thanks for joining us for today’s episode of Growing up with Chinese. 欢迎收看今天的成长汉语.
We’ve got a fun topic to discuss today the Chinese zodiac! Yes, it has worked its way into*1 our dialogue. After all, what better time*2 to talk about zodiac animals than at a birthday party. So, without farther ado, let’s check in with our buddies and see how the Chinese zodiac has managed to work its way into today’s dialogue.
好了, my guess is that our clip wasn’t too hard for you guys to follow today although I do know that there was some new vocabulary that it might have made things a little bit difficult. But, no matter, we’ll go over the dialogue right now and then we’ll move into more detail.
听说你是属狗的, 我送你一只玩具狗. I heard your zodiac animal is the dog, so I got you a toy dog. 属 in today’s context is a fabulous verb that specifically refers to being born in the year of one of the twelve Chinese zodiac animals. 你是属狗的. You were born in the year of the dog. Now 玩具 means toy. So, 玩具狗 is toy dog.
听我妈妈说属狗的朋友多. I heard my mom say that people born in the year of the dog have a lot of friends. 听 means listen or hear, right? So 听我妈妈说 is I heard my mom say.
人们都说属猪的最有福气了. People say that everyone born in the years of the pig has the most good fortune. 福气 means happy lot or good fortune. So 最有福气 refers to having the most good fortune or the best happy lot.
比起你们, 我的中文水平还差得远. Compared to you guys, my Chinese skills still have a long way to go. 水平 means level or standard. So 中文水平 means Chinese level or Chinese skills. 差得远 is still have a long way to go, or is nowhere as good as.
中文是我们的母语. Chinese is a mother tongue. 母语 means mother tongue or native language. And 母 on its own means mother, 语 we know means language. So this one shouldn’t be too hard for you all to remember.
All right, so next up let’s take a look at our vocabulary of the day.
- 属 be born in the year of one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. shǔ
- 近乎 intimate*5, friendly, clubby. jìn hu
- 懒 lazy. lǎn
- 享福 enjoy a happy life, live in ease and comfort. xiǎng fú
- 不劳而获 reap without sowing. bù láo ér huò
- 母语 mother tongue, native language. mǔ yǔ
Our radical of the day is also a character and it does not change at all from its character form and its radical form. It’s the corpse or body radical 尸部.
So, let’s take a look at the character, well, and the radical really because it doesn’t change. There it is, it’s very simple. So 尸 as a character on its own has the meaning of corpse. Now we see it as a radical in the character 属 from today’s vocabulary list.
So here we have our corpse radical... and then inside we have our component that makes it 属. Now 属 has a number of meanings. But in today’s dialogue, 属 is a verb that means to be born in the year of something, right? So bodies are born, are they not? Hmm, hence the body or corpse radical.
OK, here’s some more characters that use the 尸部. 屋 room. 尾 tail or end. 展 open up, unfold or exhibition.
Today marks the end of our cultural spotlight series on the Chinese zodiac. We have managed to cover basic characteristics and traits for people born in all twelve years the rat ox tiger rabbit dragon snake horse sheep monkey rooster and dog. That’s quite a lot.
Now we’re ending with the pig who was the last in the celestial zodiac race to cross the finish line. According to legend, it is said that the pig took time to eat and rest during the race, so this is why the pig came in last place.
There’re quite a few sayings in English that involve pigs that aren’t so complimentary. We have “lazy as a pig,” “don’t be a pig” as in don’t be greedy or don’t be messy, and we even refer to “messes as pig sties*6.” So not so good, huh.
But then again, pigs are also known to be very intelligent, they make wonderful therapy animals, and I do know some people who have a little pot-bellied pig as a pet and they make great pets.
So for those of you familiar with Jim Henson’s “The Muppet Show,” Miss Piggy was always a very popular character and E. B. White’s children’s book “Charlotte’s Web” is about a very cute and nice pig named Wilbur.
So, what’s the deal with the year of the pig? Now before we get into details, recent years of the pig include nineteen fifty-nine, seventy-one, eighty-three, ninety-five and two thousand seven. And maybe this will come as a surprise, may be not, but the year of the pig is a very, very popular zodiac year in China as people say pigs represent luck and good fortune. So people born in the year of the pig are said to be very loyal, trusting, loving and caring.
They have sweet natures and be can be quite naive, so it’s not uncommon for people to take advantage of them. And while they are very intelligent, they are said to be stubbornly optimistic and don’t like to argue. They will avoid it at all costs. So this gives them some kind of reputation for being decently snobby But they’re very chivalrous*7. And have pureness of heart that is pretty hard to match. And there you have it, a twelve zodiac animals.
I hope you all enjoyed our series there is a tons of information out there on the Chinese zodiac, for those of you who want to find out more. It’s quite complicated actually just like the Western zodiac. In any case, the Chinese zodiac does play into everyday life in China especially around Chinese New Year. So it’s a good things to know and now, let’s move on.
好了, 现在让我们一起来看一下今天的语言点. It’s time to go over today’s language points and to begin with we’re gonna take a look at a pattern: 不是 something 就是 something.
Now this pattern is kind of like the English pattern “if not something then something” or “either something or something.” 不是, 就是. Now this tells us that out of two choices one must be correct or we must pick one. For example, I could say 谁给你打电话? Who called you? and you could reply 不是小明, 就是麦克. It was either 小明 or was Mike. If it wasn’t 小明, then it was Mike.
OK in today’s dialogue we saw the 不是 就是 pattern in this sentence. 我们班同学不是属猪就是属狗. If our classmates weren’t born in the year of the pig, then they were born in the year of the dog. Or our classmates were either born in the year of the pig or they were born in the year of the dog. OK, let’s take a look at some more examples of this pattern.
大有. 大有 is like saying 有很大的 to have a big something or to have a large something. However, what follows 大有 is typically a two syllable verb or noun. So for example you could say 大有机会 has a huge opportunity. Now today we saw it use this way. 你的中文大有进步. Your Chinese has greatly improved.
玩儿命. Now if you translate this word literally, it means to play with one’s life. Now in other words, it expresses a supreme degree of action like you’ve put all you can into doing something or getting something done. So it’s kind of like saying exerting ones at most or straining every muscle or for all one is worth or desperately. 玩儿命的学. Study for all one’s worth*8.
OK everyone that brings us to the end of today’s episode of Growing up with Chinese. Please do not forget to check out our website when you have the chance and send us your feedback or any questions you might have. It’s always wonderful to hear from you.
好了, 感谢大家收看我们今天的成长汉语. Thanks for watching today. 大家, 加油, good luck with your Chinese studies and I will see you all next time, bye for now. 再见.