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xuechengfeng

"The Lady in the Painting"

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marcopolo79

This book seems really strange to me, the phrasing is very colloquial and regional, I think the study of this book would be best attempted while actually in Northern China, where one could hear this kind of phrasing daily. It would be better to stick to more standard writings to get a greater comprehension of basic sentence structure down first, then try to mimic the patterns in this book.

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Pravit

Which book? The first version, right? BTW, the one I'm reading seems to have a lot of typos in it.

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Pravit

Here's my take on your questions, but perhaps you should wait until someone more knowledgeable than me answers.

他跟大明兩個人不是也得上很多錢的稅嗎﹖

"Don't her (Mei Zhen) and Da Ming also have to pay a lot of taxes?"

Yep, I think so, except in this line it's Mei Zhen thinking to herself, isn't it?

不是就是兩個鴿子的事情嗎﹖

"Isn't the matter only 2 pigeons?"

I think so too.

那個人一想也對。可是有甚麼法子呢﹖他說﹐要是我們送到了的時候是真鴿子﹐那就

行了。他吃的時候﹐是不是紙的﹐那就不是我們的事了。

"That person thought it over, and it was also right. But did they have a method? He said, if when we present this real pigeon, then that is OK. When he eats it, whether it's paper or not, then that is not our matter."

That one thought it over and (what his companion had said) was right. But what would they do? He said, "If the pigeons are real when we give them to him then it'll be OK. When he eats it whether it's paper or not it doesn't concern us."

他們知道不是那兩個鴿子又變成紙的了。

"They thought the two pigeons didn't become paper."

(upon hearing that the pigeons were in fact rather delicious) They knew that it hadn't been that the pigeons had turned into paper.

美真說﹐“你別著急﹐聽我慢慢兒的告訴你。”美真這才把昨天逮鴿子人哭

"Mei Zhen said, 'Don't worry, listen and I'll slowly tell you.' Only then did Mei Zhen tell of yesterday's catching pigeons and crying people." (The part that confuses me is 美真這, which looks something like "Mei Zhen this, only then..." I'm assuming it means only after Mei Zhen said this.)

Hmm, I don't know why the 這 is there either, I just ignored it. I'm guessing the 这 is referring to the sentence before it. Since cai goes with the thing that comes right before it, it's something like "Only until this(Mei Zhen saying "Dont worry etc.")..." But I thought you can only use cai with verbs. Perhaps you can use it with nouns too.

As for the rest of it, my version ends there :(. Perhaps I should get myself a real copy of this book! But I'll give it a shot anyway.

我要看看這個女人是一個甚麼樣兒的人。

"I want to see what type of woman this is?" (I don't get the shenmo in here)

I don't see what's wrong with the shenme. If you didn't have it, how would you express that you wanted to know what type of person it was? Isn't shenme used often in this sort of question?

應當替平常人想想

I can't understand this fragment alone, either. It's important to have the context in which you saw it in. Sometimes you need to read past a part you don't understand and then it'll become clear. I can only guess that here it means "should stand in for a normal person to think", but that's probably wrong.

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xuechengfeng

For some reason I can't get my parents computer to encode the characters, but NJ star lets me type characters.. so, I'll try to guess what fragment you don't understand.. and here is the context it is in..

那個時候﹐美真又往前走了一點兒﹐對國王說﹕“你這個國王﹐真不是東西。一個國

王﹐應當好好的辦國裡的事情。應當替平常人想想。。。。

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marcopolo79
那個時候﹐美真又往前走了一點兒﹐對國王說﹕“你這個國王﹐真不是東西。一個國

王﹐應當好好的辦國裡的事情。應當替平常人想想。。。。

At that moment, Meizhen stepped forward a bit, upon which she said to the king: "You('re) the King, not some inanimate object. (What use is) a king, (you) should be attending to internal affairs of the state. (You) ought to be doing the thinking for the common folk...

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Lu

真不是東西 is ma ren de hua, 'you're not even a thing', very bad person.

What Meizhen says would be something along the line of 'You, king, are really a bad person. A king should be busy managing the affairs of the state. He should think for the common folk.'

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yonglan
Why shouldn't I write it out in English? It helps me attempt to translate, and it helps me remember the story better.

I'm just afraid you might develop a stilted sense of word definitions if you do that.

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Learner

Pravit wrote:

BTW, how many parts are there? There's some more at http://homepages.stuy.edu/~jrolle/chinese/lady2.htm

Is that the whole story?

------------------------------------------

The actual printed text by Fang-Yu Wang is not broken up into parts but rather consists of 80 undivided pages containing both the text of the story and 46 illustrations. The primary html text (lady1.html) at Stuyvesant includes pages 1-30 (without the illustrations).The additional link you give (lady2.htm) actually is an incomplete version of the primary version (it includes only pages 1-19), but it also contains hyperlinks to the vocabulary. As to how many parts the entire story will be split up into, I guess that depends on what James Rolle (the maintainer of the page at Stuyvesant) decides to do. Similarly, the PDF version at MIT will, I suppose, be divided into as many parts as the professor there sees fit.

Learner

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Pravit

Yeah, I was kind of disappointed when I finished reading the first part. Do you know where I could read the rest of it online?

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anonymoose
Yeah, I was kind of disappointed when I finished reading the first part. Do you know where I could read the rest of it online?

同意,学成凤,can you type out the rest for us? It will be good practise for you :wink:

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character

There's a new edition out:

Traditional

This expanded edition of The Lady in the Painting can be used as the primary textbook for a low-intermediate class or as a supplementary text, depending upon the reading proficiency of the students. The CD-ROM provides sentence-by-sentence and paragraph-by-paragraph audio recordings for listening practice, as well as listening comprehension questions and dictation sentences that can be used for writing characters or Romanization. Each of the eight chapters of the book includes an expanded vocabulary list, structure notes and exercises and reading comprehension questions. The book is available in either simplified or traditional characters.

Simplified

No affiliation, etc.

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boxcar

I haven't really seen any posts about the new version of The Lady in the Painting, so I thought I would write about my experience studying it for the last two months. I think I had the necessary pre-requisites coming in and didn't have to look up very much vocabulary outside of the vocabulary provided. I would imagine that someone who has spent a couple of months working on learning basic vocabulary and grammar would be able to start working on reading this book. I'll mention what I liked and didn't like about each facet of the book.

Text: This was my first exposure to extended Chinese text and I found it very helpful. While most of the structure is simple, it does contain some long sentences. I think this helped me break the habit of just translating each word I see into English as I read it. This mental translation was too unwieldy and I would lose sense of the meaning. By the end of the book, I felt like I could skip this mental translation and still understand what was going on. The text is very repetitive, which helps with vocabulary and grammar retention. There were a few times where I struggled to understand the meaning of a sentence. When asking a native speaker for help, they would occasionally struggle too. It seems that in trying to simplify the vocabulary and focus on certain grammar points, sentences would sometimes become very awkward. You just need to understand that while you are reading Chinese, it might not be very natural at times. The story itself is not very interesting, but you can't expect much when the authors are given such severe vocabulary restrictions.

Grammar: I learned many new grammar points based on the discussions at the end of each chapter. I had previously taken 2 years of Mandarin in college and many were still new. I guess that just speaks to the poor quality of instruction that I had received. Each grammar point contains an explanation and usually an example from the story. The story itself contains no translation, but in these grammar points each example is translated. The only disappointing thing about the grammar explanations is the amount. After reading the first chapter and seeing over 15 separate grammar notes, I was very excited about learning more from the rest of the book. However, each chapter contains progressively less grammar discussion. The last couple of chapters only contain between 0-3 notes.

Exercises: Each chapter contains exercises at the end. There are mainly two types of exercises. The first type is translating a sentence from English to Chinese or vice versa. The second type is more leading discussion type questions. I liked the exercises, but I'm not sure how much use they are to a self-learner. The text contains no solutions or example discussion answers. I think this would work great as a textbook in a course though.

Multimedia CD: The CD basically contains a flash program, but it is very well done. You can see much of the vocabulary by clicking on the underlined words. Individual sentences can be read or entire paragraphs with a click. The book uses simplified characters, but using the CD you can switch between simplified and traditional characters anytime that you want. The CD is well made, but I didn't get much use from it. In my opinion, a big reason to use a book like this is so that you can get away from the computer for some of your study.

Audio: The audio is well-done and read at a moderate pace. The first chapter is about 1500 characters and contains about 10 minutes of audio. I can't speak to the accent, but I do think the pronunciations differ occasionally from "standard" Mandarin. My big complaint about the audio and my only real complaint about the product is that it is not provided in an accessible format. You can only hear the audio by interacting with the CD. I was really hoping to be able to just drop the audio into my MP3 player and listen while doing other things. What upsets me even more is that the mp3 files are actually on the CD. I did figure out that if you can find a program to extract elements from a flash file, you can get at the individual mp3 files. However, it is then up to you to order them properly and give them relevant names. One possible benefit is that you can get audio that is already segmented both by paragraph and by sentence. If you wanted to make audio flash cards or something, the pre-segmentation of the audio is a nice bonus.

Has anyone else read this story or have any thoughts? Is it just me or is 张大明 a very unlikeable character? His first interactions with 美真 are very creepy. He does nothing useful and basically relies on his wife to take care of everything without even asking her how.

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character
Has anyone else read this story or have any thoughts? Is it just me or is 张大明 a very unlikeable character? His first interactions with 美真 are very creepy. He does nothing useful and basically relies on his wife to take care of everything without even asking her how.

I think the new edition is much better for learners than the old one. While there is no translation, there are enough pictures to help those struggling with the basic storyline. As for the story itself, consider that he was a very simple man confronted with magic, etc. Some might consider the story feminist in that she solves the problems.

If you're learning simplified characters, you might also try the Chinese Breeze series of books. They are good as well as reading material.

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Meng Lelan

I've read this story and am not sure what to think from a literature point of view. Is this story based on some story in Tang dynasty literature or a modern day invention for the purpose of teaching intermediate Chinese? I tried doing a google search. 

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