Monday, April 30, 2012

The Three Little Pigs (pg 1)

Yesterday I rode my bike to a bookstore I stumbled upon a few weeks ago, because I wanted to buy some children's books to help me learn Chinese. I am figuring out my own language learning styles or preferences throughout this whole process, and it's been pretty enlightening. That's why I want to keep trying all kinds of different things instead of relying only on advice from others who have learned the language. They've given me great advice that I've definitely put to good use and am very appreciative, but different people learn languages differently of course. I learned that I need various tools and methods to keep from getting bored or frustrated, and need to switch between them frequently, which also seems to be helping me acquire things more quickly than when I first started.

I was hoping to find some books that had both the Chinese characters (called hànzì) as well as the words spelled in pīnyīn. One of the women who works there speaks a little English, and she was extremely helpful. I ended up getting a great beginner's workbook style of book that seems to be at a kindergarten or first grade level, a few beginner writing practice books (the kind where you trace the pieces of the Chinese characters in the correct order of how you're supposed to write each stroke, which I hear is pretty important), and a few story books that have both hànzì and pinyin. Just what I was looking for!

So over the past day since getting my books, I've been working through the workbook while using my Chinese-English dictionary to look up the words, and just now I attempted to translate the first page of one of my story books, using the dictionary of course. It was a really fun exercise. I got a kick out of the strictly literal translation, so I wanted to post it here for fun's sake. It's amazing how much is lost in translation, or rather how much you truly need to hear and speak the language with other people to really learn the nuances :)

The Three Little Pigs
(the very very very strictly literal, dictionary translation!)

To be one far far of little mountain village, lives pigs mother gentle she of three children. Old big call hu hu, old two call lu lu, old three call du du. They relate with each other blood relatives relate with each other love, born alive very fast happy.

I'm sure just about any English speaking person can catch the drift of this, especially since just about everyone has probably heard the story :) So here's a translation that adds in some of the smoothness, since I've heard most of the words on this first page in conversations.

There once was a little mountain village far far away, where a mother pig and her three children lived. The oldest was called Hu Hu, the next oldest was called Lu Lu, and the third oldest was called Du Du. The family loved each other, and they lived very happily.

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