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Epickyle's Blog

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Have almost finished translating the song 纯真年代 so will post that up when done, but to take a break and try translating some smaller passages I'm going to copy some sample sentences from NCIKU.com's dictionary. Here is the first one I tried with my translation underneath:

A: 回忆起过去那如火如荼的革命岁月,他激动不已。

B: 岁月漫长,世事如白云苍狗

A: Remembering the rapidly growing revolutionary years, he is endlessly excited

B: The years are endless, world affairs are like white clouds and dark green dogs

  • 回忆起过去

"memories form and pass by".

I thought remembering or as he remembered would be an appropriate translation but I am unsure.

  • 那如火如荼的革命岁月

"That like fire like bitter herb revolution years".

This really confused me when I broke it down as I didn't know how to combine the 如火如荼 part. The dictionary said it was a saying meaning either "magnificent" or "originally used to describe a soldier's demeanor and discipline; developing quickly; growing rapidly;blazing", so I opted for rapidly growing as seems more appropriate to describe a revolution.

  • 他激动不已

"He excited endlessly".

I thought this would sound better as "His excitement is endless" but that would need 的, and the translation that I have for 不已 is endlessly, which is an adverb. I would have used this first translation but when I saw that 漫长 translates as endless in the second phrase I compared the two.

I don't know what time frame the first line occurs in. Present tense? - As he remembers the revolutionary years he is endlessly excited, or past tense? - As he remembered the revolutionary years he was endlessly excited.

  • 岁月漫长,世事如白云苍狗

I'm not sure about the last line, Nciku.com says that it's a saying meaning "how things change in this world". My literal translation looks a bit silly but it's based on my current knowledge so I will leave it as it stands.


是。。。的 Constructions: Colloquial Chinese chapter 13

Chapter 13 of Colloquial Chinese: 打电话

Picked up Colloquial Chinese and flipped to a later chapter at random to get the ball rolling, show y'all I'm not slacking! There were some pretty easy vocab-based exercises at the end of the chapter and then these two.

Exercise 3

"Translate the following sentences:"

1) What time did David leave?

David 是几点走的?

David 是什么时候走的?

I know that 几 is used when you expect the answer to be a small number (my book says usually less than 20) and I thought 什么时候 was used to ask questions about time when the answer could be weeks, months, etc so would have thought 几点 to be the better answer.

2) I came to work by bike this morning


3) Whenever you like, you decide


4) He does not like to take the bus, no matter when


Could you come to collect me?

5) 你可以来接我吗?

I've read that 可以,会 and 能 are interchangeable in a situation like this but since it sounds like asking a favour I thought that 可以 was more polite, since 会 is more like "are you able to..", and 能 is "can you"

6) What time and where exactly shall we meet?


This reads a bit oddly to me. My thoughts were that I needed 要 as "shall we meet" refers to something happening in the future

Exercise 4

"How do you ask Xiao Li the following?"

So when it refers to past events in every question I saw this as a blatant prompt to use 是。。。的 since the grammar section says,

"...it is used in interrogative sentences, which ask about the time, place or manner of an action that happened in the past" and also, "...used in positive sentences that emphasize the time or manner of a past action". I checked out the forum and it agrees pretty well with this summary I think.

1) What time did you leave work yesterday?


2) How did you get to work yesterday?


3) Was it last night that your younger sister arrived?


4) When did your younger sister start learning English?


Ok, time for bed! Will come back to this soon but just wanted to get something posted so I have a starting point for next Wednesday. So it's 中秋节 soon too and I get an extra day off work, woop! Who knows, maybe I'll do more homework?


Introducing.. Me!

Ok, my first blog entry so I thought I'd give a little background:

I'm working in Hong Kong doing TEFL in the New Territories and I get Wednesday mornings off work so I'm planning to use this time to get at least an hour or so of studying done.

I'm currently learning 汉字 using flashcards deluxe on my phone, which I study on the MTR to and from work, so in total about 20-30 minutes a day. I'm learning the "3000 most commonly used characters" set at the rate of 50 a week. Other than that I don't do much structured studying during the week as I go to the gym or am busy/tired. I know it'll take a lot more study than this to achieve my goal but baby steps, right? :D

I have stayed in mainland China, mostly Shandong province, Yantai, for almost two years so was pretty immersed in Chinese-ness for a good while. I picked up a lot of conversational and slang terms and think I have a fairly decent vocabulary but, having only picked up these words by listening and repeating I can be a little unsure on tones and exact pronunciation.

So, my mission statement, if you will, is:

  • Continue to expand my vocabulary by using my trips to and from work to study using flashcards
  • Start to write exercises in this blog in 汉字 to consolidate the vocabulary I'm learning and improve my grammar

I finished using "Colloquial Chinese" by Kan Qian about 9 months ago but my knowledge is patchy so I figured a good starting point would be to go through some of the later grammar sections, do the exercises in characters and create some of my own sentences. I've been carrying this book around with me wherever I go for ages and have rarely, if ever picked it up in the last 6 months. A lot of it seems too simple now but there are some useful phrases and grammar points that I don't know so am having trouble sifting through what I need to learn. An added fringe benefit will be finally being free of this book! (although I probably won't throw it away since I'm a bit of a hoarder..)

As time goes on I will try and add audio too for some speaking practice.

Having read similar blogs and forum posts I'm aware that not everybody has time to sit down, read through someone else's work and give corrections or any kind of detailed critique so I will appreciate anybody taking the time to comment or give feedback and, for my part, will try to make reading this blog worth your while.

Happy studying!


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