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Group read! 《秘密花园》; "The Secret Garden" (300-ch. book). Discussing through Chapter 2!


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So far, I think you and I are the only ones who have, at least who are joining in the thread. What do you think of it so far? Do you know the original story? If you do, what do you think of the translation? Obviously, the vocabulary limitation straitens what they can do, but I think it's very good. Honestly, even if the story were new to me, I really, really, really appreciate that I can read it (albeit with the aid of dictionaries). If you'd asked me when I started 6 weeks ago whether I'd be reading 汉字-only books by now, I would have just laughed.

Anyway, I think that in order to get some more discussion and interaction, it's best to slow down a little. Otherwise this really will become "My Lang-8, better explained edition". :P So, after this, I'll drop it to one update every Friday. That should give people more time to read, write questions, discuss the story, and still fit it all in around the rest of their lives.

Chapter Summary:

李叶 has made it to 南京. She meets another new 阿姨, 王乐心. 王乐心 is much closer in age to 李叶 than anyone else we've met so far, and comes from a family of 10 children. Through her eyes, we also see a little of how nice 南京 can be. 李叶 hated 南京 before she even got there, so it's nice to get the description from 王乐心.

We also get a glimpse of just how spoiled 李叶 is - she not just won't dress herself, she can't, and I don't think it's down to buttons she can't reach. She also doesn't know what 'hungry' is, because she's never truly exerted herself and has always had food available immediately when she asks for it.

Even more than 马阿姨, 王乐心 is not putting up with 李叶's nonsense. She's still helpful, but not obsequious. She soothes 李叶's tears, but lets 李叶 know that she has other things to do besides take care of a grumpy 10-year-old.


For now, I'm just going to be one more person pointing out the resources for this chapter on AllSet Learning.

I'll probably edit this post or make another one with my thoughts on grammar and my writing practice later. Right now, I'm running out of time to keep writing, so I have to stop here.

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You all probably glossed right over this since you seem to be further along in your studies than I am, but this form tripped me up a little. When I read the first couple of chapters on my own, I skimmed over a few phrases that seemed awkward, like 一点也不. So, in the first paragraph there's a sentence phrase  "李 叶 的 妈 妈 好 像 一 点 也 不 喜 欢 李 叶". When I first read this, I took it too literally and translated each character and ended up with some nonsense like "it seemed like LiYe's mother didn't yet like her a little." I'd never seen the 一点也不 ... form before and so I missed the real meaning, which completely changes the feeling you get from reading that sentence. I was reading this with my speakmandarin.com teacher and she told me that the 一点也不... form means "not at all..." so now 李 叶 的 妈 妈 好 像 一 点 也 不 喜 欢 李 叶 means "It seemed like LiYe's mother didn't like LiYe at all".


I guess my point here is that I can sit and read things with a dictionary and translate individual words but unless I have the context about different forms and patterns, I'm missing out on a lot of the real meaning of the text. 

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the 一点也不... form means "not at all..."

Yeah, this "一 (soandso) 也不 (or 没)..." is such a curious structure! You can do something similar with 都。 I stumbled over that in the Ancient Chinese Parables graded reader, a guy who 一个字都不认识。 What? Just one character he totally doesn't know? Lucky him! :P

Well, you can already guess what it really means! (I found out when I consulted a grammar)

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疼爱I guess Marguerite is buried under a big heap of work. I hope you don't mind if I jump in without asking her first, I just want to help out.


My summary and grammar observations is going to be world record short, anyway:


Chapter 4



李叶认识一位老男的, 叫林爷爷, 和林爷爷的朋友, 一只小鸟。

认识了他们以后, 李叶经常跑去花园, 和小鸟玩。


她一直想文叔叔的小花园。 可是, [找不了]找不到 叔叔的那个花园的门。

有一天, 王乐心告诉李叶那个花园的秘密:


十年前, 在这个花园里, 文叔叔[的爱]疼爱的妻子出事了。



I'll just pick what I currently find interesting, and that is time expressions:

1) 就在 [。。。] 的时候, [。。。]verb+了

this occurs quite a few times. I'm not sure if the 了 is mandatory, but it seems to add to the sense that something happens right in this moment.


2) 一边。。。, 一边。。。

This was actually in the HSK 3 test last sunday: Don't eat and read the newspaper at the same time! :P


3) 一下子


So, actually you can express quite advanced time concepts with super easy vocabulary, if you just know how to.

I remember somethin akin (What is more important: how many words you know, or how well you know your few words?) being discussed on this forum a few days ago, here, on the last page of this elder topic: mission impossible: 300-400 characters a month?


So anyway -

JiangshiLieren, how are you doing?

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Couple of comments on your summary: 

找不了 - 找不到 would be much more common. 找不了 to me sounds more like 'wasn't able to look for it' rather than 'couldn't find'

文叔叔的爱的妻子 - maybe use something like 疼爱, and I think you can drop a 的

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Thank you!


I had a feeling that sentence was clumsy. I dropped the 的 between husband and wife, cause if I got this right, it shows close relation. "我妹妹" instead of "我的妹妹"。


疼爱, that is a nice expression!

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I'd like to comment on a couple things, too:

一位老男的 :i think it's much more common to say "一位老男人". I also just learned "叟", but couldn't tell you how often that's used :P

她比以前很健康:this is like saying she was very healthier than before: you can't use 很 with 比. If you want to say she was much happier, you could use a different construction, maybe "比以前健康多了" or "比以前健康得多".

她一直想文叔叔的小花园:i think you left out a word here, what did she always want to do?


And  "文叔叔疼爱的妻子" is perfect :)

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