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Introduction | Episodes |

95 Temple of Heaven 天坛

Hi everybody, 大家好, 欢迎收看今天的成长汉语. Thank you all for joining us for today’s episode of Growing up with Chinese.

We continue to explore 北京 today with Mike and his mom, and I’m especially excited to watch today’s clip, because they are off to my favorite sightseeing spot in 北京. I am sure those of you who know me know where that is. It’s the Temple of Heaven. OK, let’s check in with them, and see how it’s going.

小明:天气预报真准,今天果然是个大晴天。
Mike妈妈:是啊,昨天有点儿下小雨。要是今天还下雨,那可就惨了。
小明:不过露西阿姨,雨中逛天坛也挺有意思的,就是拍照受一点影响。
Mike:是啊,妈妈。上次我们逛天坛的时候就淅沥沥地下着毛毛雨,可有意思啦。对了,我不是还把照片发给您了吗?
Mike妈妈:噢,对对对,我想起来了。麦克,那就是你照片中的……叫什么来着?
Mike:妈妈,那叫祈年殿。
Mike妈妈:嗯,真棒! 比照片上的祈年殿漂亮多了!
小明:阿姨,上次我们来的时候不是下雨了嘛。光线不好,色彩自然就差了许多。
小明妈妈:来,露西、麦克,你们看看,这是天坛的介绍。
Mike:噢,天坛原来是在明朝的时候建的。
小明妈妈:是啊,麦克。准确地说,天坛是在1420年建造的。可是,有一部分建筑在清代时又重新修建了。
Mike:妈妈,你知道吗,祈年殿是古代帝王祭天、祈谷的地方。
Mike妈妈:什么叫祈谷?
小明妈妈:露西,祈是祈求,谷是粮食作物。那时候科学技术不发达,人们只能祈求老天赐一个好收成。
Mike妈妈:嗯,中国是个农业大国嘛。
小明:是啊,那时候大部分人还靠种地过日子。
Mike:小明,那我们也祈求祈求吧!
小明:麦克,别求了。走,咱们带你妈妈到那边的回音壁看看吧。您忘啦,上次来天坛,你就和兰兰在回音壁喊个没完没了的。
Mike:对对对。妈妈,那边的回音壁可好玩儿了,咱们快去看看吧。

Mike妈妈:李红,我觉得北京的名胜古迹可真多啊。
小明妈妈:可不是嘛。露西,你难得来一次北京。真应该好好逛逛。
Mike妈妈:我也想啊。可是,我没有这么长的假期。明天我就要回美国了。
小明妈妈:啊,这么快就要回去啊。不过,北京最著名的景点也就是故宫、长城、天坛和颐和园了。你看,昨天和今天你就去了其中的两个。
Mike妈妈:是啊。我还去茶馆品了茶、听了京剧、做了旗袍……
小明妈妈:哈哈,这叫“不虚此行”。
小明:你们走了这么慢? 露西阿姨,前面就是回音壁了。你们快点儿过来啊!

小明妈妈:露西,你看,这就是回音壁。
Mike妈妈:这么厚的墙,真能听到回声吗?
Mike:可以啊,妈妈您试试。您站在这儿别动,我去那边喊您。
小明:我也去,我也去。

Mike:妈妈! I LOVE YOU.
小明:露西阿姨,你听得到吗?
Mike妈:小明、麦克,我听到啦。
小明:妈妈,您呢,听到了吗?
小明妈:我也听到啦。
小明妈妈:麦克、小明,你们俩快过来,咱们往前逛逛。

Mike妈:麦克,妈妈订好明天回美国的机票了。你可一定要听阿姨的话啊。
小明妈:露西,你放心,麦克一向是个听话的好孩子。
Mike妈:麦克,你还得在中国待半年多呢,今年的圣诞节就没法和爸爸妈妈一起过了。
Mike:是啊。不过,没关系,我可以在小明家过中国的春节啊。
小明:是啊,是啊,咱们一起在家过春节。
小明妈:这两个孩子。
Mike妈:哈哈。

Now Mike certainly knows his Temple of Heaven trivia. He told his mom today 祈年殿是古代帝王祭天, 祈谷的地方. That’s a mouthful of vocabulary isn’t it. Don’t worry, we’ll break it down. 祭天. The 祭 here means offer a sacrifice to and 天 mean sky or heaven. 祈天.

Now 小明’s mom explained the rest specifically 祈谷. 祈是祈求. The 祈 in the question is the 祈 of 祈求 or earnestly hope or pray for. 谷是粮食作物. So 谷 means cereal, grain or millet*1. 祈谷 to pray for grain.

Mike:噢,天坛原来是在明朝的时候建的。
小明妈妈:是啊,麦克。准确地说,天坛是在1420年建造的。可是,有一部分建筑在清代时又重新修建了。
Mike:妈妈,你知道吗,祈年殿是古代帝王祭天、祈谷的地方
Mike妈妈:什么叫祈谷?
小明妈妈:露西,祈是祈求,谷是粮食作物。那时候科学技术不发达,人们只能祈求老天赐一个好收成。
Mike妈妈:嗯,中国是个农业大国嘛。
小明:是啊,那时候大部分人还靠种地过日子。
Mike:小明,那我们也祈求祈求吧!
小明:麦克,别求了。走,咱们带你妈妈到那边的回音壁看看吧。

小明’s mom gave us a list of 北京’s four most famous historical sites also main tourist sites. 故宫 the Forbidden City, 长城 we know this one, the Great Wall, 天坛 we know this one too, the Temple of Heaven, and 颐和园 the Summer Palace.

And Mike’s mom Lucy and just two days managed to see two on the list. 你看, 昨天和今天你就去了其中的两个.

小明妈妈:露西,你难得来一次北京。真应该好好逛逛。
Mike妈妈:我也想啊。可是,我没有这么长的假期。明天我就要回美国了。
小明妈妈:啊,这么快就要回去啊。不过,北京最著名的景点也就是故宫长城天坛颐和园了。你看,昨天和今天你就去了其中的两个
Mike妈妈:是啊。我还去茶馆品了茶、听了京剧、做了旗袍……
小明妈妈:哈哈,这叫“不虚此行”。

All right. Let’s take a few minutes to go over some of today’s vocabulary words.

  • 天气预报 weather report. tiān qì yù bào
  • 晴天 blue sky. qíng tiān
  • 毛毛雨 drizzle*2, mist. máo mao yǔ
  • 农业 agriculture, agricultural, farming. nóng yè
  • 名胜古迹 places of historic interest and scenic beauty. míng shèng gǔ jì
  • 回声 echo. huí shēng
  • 圣诞节 Christmas. shèng dàn jié

Spotlight

We’ve spoken about the Temple of Heaven a bunch of times in our Spotlight section, but there’s always more that can be said about places of history.

So back in the day, twice a year, the emperor and his entourage would make their way from the Forbidden City down to the Temple of Heaven complex. And they would set up shop there for a period of time.

Now during this time, they would wear special ceremonial robes and abstain*3 from eating meat. It was during these special times that the emperor himself would personally pray to heaven for a good harvest. Now remember, the emperor was viewed to be the son of heaven. So it was important that he takes this role very seriously.

Now apparently the ceremony that was conducted at the winter solstice*4 was the most important of the year, and no mistakes, no matter how small, could be made. It was widely believed that if the emperor made a mistake, it was a terrible omen and the following year the entire nation would suffer for it.

But here’s a fun piece of trivia before we move on. The emperor, who is credited for building the Temple of Heaven 永乐, is also the emperor who built the Forbidden City. He certainly had his work cut out for*5 him, no?

Primer

OK everyone it’s language point time. So let’s start by taking a look at 自然.

自然 in today’s context appears as an adverb. And it means naturally or of course. So it’s expressing something that’s a given. Now 小明 said today 光线不好, 色彩自然也就差了许多. When the light is bad, the colors naturally don’t come out as well. Now you could also say 现在多看点书, 以后自然会有好处. If you read more books now, later you will naturally reap the benefits.

  • 这家餐馆的菜太辣了。/这是川菜,自然很辣。
  • 这茶真好喝。/那当然,这是今年的新龙井,自然好喝。

难得. 难得 usually appears at the beginning of a sentence or after the subject and it’s followed by a clause or a phrase. Now it expresses something that doesn’t come easily. So you shouldn’t take it for granted. So in a way it’s kind of like the English hard to come by, rare, seldom or rarely. So 小明’s mom said today 你难得来一次北京, 真应该好好逛逛. You don’t come to 北京 everyday, so you should really get out there and see things.

  • Mike,今天难得没留作业,我们打会儿球再回家吧。/太好啦!
  • Mike,你妈妈难得来一次中国,我们应该多带她去几个地方。/是啊,可是她没那么多时间。

一向. 一向 is an adverb that means consistently or all along. Now today 小明’s mom said Mike, 一向是个听话的好孩子. All along Mike has been a very good kid. Now you could also say 他周末一向待在家里, 哪儿都不去. He always stays at home on the weekends and doesn’t go anywhere.

  • 兰兰,你不喜欢吃巧克力吗?/我一向都不喜欢吃。
  • 兰兰,你现在怎么这么能吃辣的?/我一向都能吃辣啊。

好了, 我们今天剩的时间不多了. We’ve just about run out of time for today and I am off to the Temple of Heaven.

OK! Don’t forget to visit our website if you want to review anything or watch today’s episode again, and while you are there, please leave us some comments or send in any questions you might have, your feedback is very important to us. OK, I will see you all next time. 大家, 加油, 下次见.

*1:millet 雑穀

*2:drizzle 霧雨

*3:abstain 慎む

*4:winter solstice 冬至

*5:cut out for 適している