Eragon Ch.2 pt.4

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We are looking at sentences from 龍騎士:飛龍聖戰(Eragon). Today we will look at the fourth and final sentence of this paragraph.

艾瑞岡跪在被踐踏過的蘆葦草上,用他那熟練的眼神掃視著。足印告訴他那群鹿半個小時前才在這草地上,牠們很快就會停下來休息。他的目標——一隻跛了左前腳的小母鹿,仍跟在鹿群中。他很驚訝她竟然走了那麼久都沒有被一隻狼或熊抓到。

第四句

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他 → He
很 → very
驚訝 → surprised, astonished
她 → she
竟然 → unexpectedly, to one’s surprise, actually
走 → to walk
了 → aspect particle showing completion
那麼久 → that long (THAT long)
都 → all, everyone, everything. Here the 都 plays the same role as the contruction 連…都/也, however, the 連 cannot be used here in the passive voice.
沒有 → have not, quite literally.
被一隻狼或熊抓到 → been snatched by a wolf or bear. Using 被 makes a sentence passive. The construction is 「被 + Noun(if there is one) + Verb (+ some sort of aspectual marker)」 and it means “(By noun [if there is one]) verb[in passive form]."※

So putting this all together, we get a sentence that literally says, “He very surprised she unexpectedly walked that long even have not by wolf or bear been snatched." In our modern tongue we would say…

“He was surprised that she had actually come this far without having been snatched up by a wolf or bear."

That’s it for this little paragraph. Let me know if you have enjoyed it and if you would like to see more sentences from the book in the future. If so, I will try to vary the difficulty of the sentences so everyone can profit.

Also, if you have any requests, please don’t hesitate to make them. I have video games and a few books in Chinese, so I could take from those as well. Leave a comment and share the site with your friends^^

※ I will go over 被 in more depth in a later post.

Eragon Ch.2 pt.3

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This is a continuation of my last two posts. We are looking at sentences from 龍騎士:飛龍聖戰(Eragon). Today we will look at the third sentence of this paragraph.

艾瑞岡跪在被踐踏過的蘆葦草上,用他那熟練的眼神掃視著。足印告訴他那群鹿半個小時前才在這草地上,牠們很快就會停下來休息。他的目標——一隻跛了左前腳的小母鹿,仍跟在鹿群中。他很驚訝她竟然走了那麼久都沒有被一隻狼或熊抓到。

第三句

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他的目標 → His target
一隻小母鹿 → a small doe. 母鹿 (mother deer) is a female deer, or “doe" in English. We add 小 to say a small doe. You CAN add a 的 after 小, but you usually only add 的 when the adjective is bisyllabic. With monosyllabic adjectives, the 的 is optional. The classifier for most mid-sized animals is 隻. So putting it all together it gives us “one small doe" or “a small doe" depending on the context.
跛了左前腳的 → whose front right foot is crippled. 跛 means “lame" or “crippled". Adding the aspectual particle of completion 了 shows us that the crippling has already been completed. 左前 means “front right", in Chinese the word order is usually the opposite of English. 腳 means foot. Wrapping it all up is a 的, which allows us to modify the following noun with all that comes before it.
仍 → still, the same use as in English.
跟 → to follow
在…中 → inside (of)
鹿群 → deer herd

So putting it all together, our literal translation would be, “His target——one crippled front-right footed little doe, still follow inside deer herd." Proper English gives us something like…

“His target——a small doe whose front-right paw was crippled, still following inside the herd."

That was a small sentence, but I’ll leave it at that for today. I’ll post the last sentence tomorrow. I can see how this might be rather boring, so the next sentences I post will be more interesting and more difficult. :)

Eragon Ch.2 pt.2

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This is a continuation of my last post. We are looking at sentences from 龍騎士:飛龍聖戰(Eragon). Today we will look at the second sentence of this paragraph.

艾瑞岡跪在被踐踏過的蘆葦草上,用他那熟練的眼神掃視著。足印告訴他那群鹿半個小時前才在這草地上,牠們很快就會停下來休息。他的目標——一隻跛了左前腳的小母鹿,仍跟在鹿群中。他很驚訝她竟然走了那麼久都沒有被一隻狼或熊抓到。

第二句

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足印 → footprint
告訴他 → tell him
那群鹿 → that group of deer, 群 is the classifier for groups of animals. 鹿 means deer.
半個小時前 → a half an hour ago, 半個… means half of (whatever noun you’re using). 小時 means hour. 前 come after the time you want to use when saying “… ago".
才 → just
在…上 → to be on …
這草地 → this meadow
牠們 → they, 牠 is used for animals.
很快就會 → will soon, 很快 means very quick/soon. 就 means then. 會 expresses possibility. Don’t worry too much about this construction, it’s rather advanced.
停下來 → to stop, 停 means to stop. 下來 is a complement of direction, you will very often see it with this verb.
休息 → to rest

So the literal translation would be, “Footprints tell him that group of deer half an hour ago just on this meadow. They very quickly will stop to rest. In proper English this would give us…

“The footprints told him that the herd of deer had been in this meadow a half an hour ago. They would soon stop to rest."

More to come tomorrow. Once again, please leave your comments letting me know what you think.

Eragon Ch.2 pt.1

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Here is 龍騎士:飛龍聖戰, otherwise known as “Eragon" in English. A friend brought this book back from Taiwan for me, I think it is about time I started reading it. I am going to use sentences from the book that I found easy to read and understand to teach a little bit of Mandarin. I will also be posting sentences that I find particularly interesting or difficult even (who knows!)

These next four posts will be dedicated to the first paragraph of the second chapter of the book. Each post will contain one of the sentences, and I will try to break it down. Also, since I love this font so much, we’re going to have pictures of each sentence written in it!

艾瑞岡跪在被踐踏過的蘆葦草上,用他那熟練的眼神掃視著。足印告訴他那群鹿半個小時前才在這草地上,牠們很快就會停下來休息。他的目標——一隻跛了左前腳的小母鹿,仍跟在鹿群中。他很驚訝她竟然走了那麼久都沒有被一隻狼或熊抓到。

第一句

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艾瑞岡 → Eragon
跪在…上 → kneel on …
被踐踏過的蘆葦草 → here 踐踏 means to trample. With 被 we now have the passive tense, “been trampled". Next, add a 過 particle to mark an experience, so “has been trampled". Now let’s wrap it all up with a 的 so the entire phrase is modifying the noun that comes after it. Often you can translate this by the relative pronoun, “that". 蘆葦草 means “reeds", so all together this part means “the reeds that have been trampled on".
用他那熟練的眼神 → use his THAT skilled eyesight. The 那 adds a greater degree to 熟練. It’s like the difference between “he is skilled" and “he is THAT skilled". 熟練 means practiced, proficient, or skilled. 眼神 means eyesight.
掃視+著 → to glance, to sweep ones eyes over + particle showing progression of action.

So the literal translation would be, “Eragon kneels down on the reeds that have been trampled on, use his THAT skilled eyesight sweeping over (the area)" or in more plain English…

“Eragon knelt down on the trampled reeds, using his honed eyesight to scan the area."

Please comment and let me know what you think of these. Would you like to see more of them? Were my explanations clear enough? Would you like me to explain things differently? Please let me know^^

連…也 by itself

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For those who don’t already know the 連…都/也 structure, it means “even". E.g., 「連蘋果都很好吃」= “Even apples are delicious".

Today I learned something new; it can be used without a verb. Here is the context I saw it in.

Click image for full size

吉坦
「啊!連嘉妮特也!」

Translation:
Zidane (The speaker)
“Ah! Even Garnet!"

Basically everyone fainted/fell into a deep sleep, and he was surprised that Garnet did as well.

I did not know that you could use this structure without the verb, however, since it is implied/understood, it is not necessary. Now I know, and knowing is half the battle! G.I. Joe!!

Everything you need to learn Mandarin!

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I have to say, I freaking love this website. The association is called OCAC(Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission) and it targeted at overseas Taiwanese/Chinese people wishing to improve their Mandarin.

Check out this link here, OCAC Digital Publishing System. It is EXCELLENT. It has soooo many resources for learning Mandarin, and they are all EXTREMELY good.

The main website is http://edu.ocac.gov.tw/home_en.htm.

Listening comprehension

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Unfortunately, my headset broke recently so I cannot chat on Skype with native speakers at the moment. Therefore, I am watching Taiwanese variety shows. You can find a TON at Sugoideas. They are all posted on Youtube, and you can either watch them online or download them using a website like KeepVid.

康熙來了 is a good one for listening. They do interviews of famous people in Asia. 天才衝衝衝 is very funny, but there is less conversation.

Aside from variety shows, the website also has Taiwanese dramas. So if that is what you prefer, they have a bunch of those as well in the same format.

I’ll leave you with this video from 娛樂@亞洲. It may be a bit girly, but I find the woman’s voice very easy to understand and it is great practice for me.

Increasing Vocabulary

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So I’ve been using Ubuntu in Mandarin for quite a long time now, and one thing I have yet to master is OpenOffice. My OpenOffice Word is in Chinese but I don’t understand a lot of the vocabulary just because I haven’t taken the time to look them up. Therefore, I am going to learn all of it in one fell swoop.

Click to enlarge

I have taken pictures of all of the words in the menus for both the English and Mandarin version. I am working now on putting each picture side by side with it’s equivalent in the other language as seen in the picture above. It’s taking forever, but hopefully I can learn some more technical vocabulary from it.

OpenOffice remains one of the few programs on my computer that I have yet to master in Mandarin. Most of my programs do not have too many options, so it usually doesn’t take very long to learn the new vocabulary used in them.

Putting your computer in the language you are learning is a great way to increase your vocabulary and grow accustom to the sentence structure. However, you MUST take the time to look up the words that you do not know, otherwise you will never advance.

Mandarin progress

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Seeing as I do not make posts often enough, I have decided to make blog posts about my progress in learning Mandarin. I got the idea from the language blog of a friend, here.

So I suppose I will show some of the methods that I use to learn Mandarin and maybe post some sentences from video games that I play or books that I read that I find interesting. Let me know what you think and what you would like to see more of on my blog.

No more pinyin!!

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(Note: This post is about people who only use pinyin only INSTEAD of writing in Chinese characters. This has nothing to do with people who use pinyin IMEs to type in Chinese or who use pinyin to show the pronunciation of words)

Ok, so I met another pinyin-only learner today and I’ve finally had it. I’m making a post about it!

I’m not going to go over all of the reasons why learning Mandarin with pinyin only is a bad idea, but I’m going to look at one reason in particular today: Pinyin ambiguity.

So you think you can learn Mandarin by only learning the spoken language and getting by with just pinyin? Ok, so let’s try it.

What does “shi" mean? ……
……
……
Go ahead, take your time. CNS11643 shows 193 different characters for the pinyin combination “shi".

Ok, so with single characters, it’s not possible. Let’s try something else…

“Wo de niao shi lüse de."※
How about this one? What does this translate to? Could it be 我的鳥是綠色的, “My bird is green" or could it be 我的尿是綠色的, “My urine is green"? We don’t know. There is no way to tell.

Does “hanyu" mean “the Chinese language"(漢語) or “the Korean language"(韓語)?

Is “lianxi" 練習、聯繫、連繫、or 憐惜?

Does “mao" mean “cat"(貓) or “hair/fur"(毛)?

Does “gaochao" mean “excellent"(高超) or “orgasm"(高潮)? (O_o)

Does “yinhe" mean “The Milky Way"(銀河) or “clitoris"(陰核)? (囧)

The tones change the meanings of these words. There are so many of these that I can’t even begin to count them. If you know any good ones please leave a comment and I may add it to the list :)

Using pinyin to type in Mandarin is ambiguous and leads to mistakes and misunderstandings. Not only that, but you lose out on all of the culture and understanding of the language. Learning Chinese characters is not hard unless you make it hard.

……plus if you learn them, you’ll be regarded as a genius in the eyes of most East Asians. Everyone loves attention :)

※ You’ll probably see the “ü" written as “v" or simply “u" by most people.