Polite remarks

  • 03 May, 2018
  • Paula Chao
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“Fitting in in Chinese” is a special series on Chinese to Go, which is jointly produced by the Chinese Language Center of Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages and Radio Taiwan International.

 

Episode 49

 

Polite Remarks

 

老師:歡迎歡迎! 嗨 德美、歐福,你好!請進請進。
(Lǎoshī: Huānyíng huānyíng! Hài Déměi, Ōufú, nǐ hǎo! Qǐng jìn qǐng jìn)
Teacher: Hi, Oufu! Hi, Demei! Welcome! Welcome! Come in, please!

 

歐福、德美:老師好!
(Ōufú, Déměi: Lǎoshī hǎo!)
Demei & Oufu: Hello, Teacher!

 

德美:老師,我們只有三個人來吃飯,你為什麼準備這麼多菜呢?
(Déměi: Lǎoshī, wǒmen zhǐyǒu sāngèrén lái chīfàn, nǐ wèishéme zhǔnbèi zhème duō cài ne?)
Demei: Teacher, we only have three people who have come to eat, why did you prepare so much food?

 

老師:沒什麼菜,沒什麼菜,大家多吃一點兒。
(Lǎoshī: Méishénme cài, méishénme cài, dàjiā duō chī yìdiǎn er.)
Teacher: It’s nothing fancy. Please, help yourselves!

 

歐福:那麼多菜,為什麼說沒什麼菜呢?
Ōufú:Nàme duō cài, wèishéme shuō méishénme cài ne?
Oufu: So many dishes! Why do you say it’s “nothing fancy”?

 

老師:這是客氣話。送禮物給朋友的時候,我們也常說這不是什麼貴重的東西,小意思、小東西請收下。
(Lǎoshī: Zhè shì kèqì huà. Sòng lǐwù gěi péngyǒu de shíhòu, wǒmen yě cháng shuō zhè búshì shénme guìzhòng de dōngxī, xiǎoyìsi, xiǎo dōngxī qǐng shōu xià.)
Teacher: This is just a polite expression. When we give friends a gift, we usually say, “This is nothing valuable, a mere trifle.”

歐福:這跟我們很不一樣。

(Ōufú:Zhè gēn wǒmen hěn bù yíyàng)

Oufu: This is very different from our culture.

 

老師:我做這麼多菜,是因為歡迎你們。再加上我們喜歡熱鬧,人越多越好。
(Lǎoshī: Wǒ zuò zhème duō cài, shì yīnwèi huānyíng nǐmen. Zài jiā shàng wǒmen xǐhuān rènào, rén yuè duō yuè hǎo.)
Teacher: I prepared all these dishes just to welcome you. Also, we like a lot of “hubbub” – the more people, the better.

 

德美:難怪台灣人吃飯的時候,聊天的聲音特別大。
(Déměi: Nánguài táiwān rén chīfàn de shíhòu, liáotiān de shēngyīn tèbié dà.)
Demei:No wonder, when people in Taiwan eat together, they’re loud!

 

歐福:德美,你覺得這種東方的客氣話跟西方的白色謊言一樣嗎?
Ōufú: Déměi, nǐ juédé zhè zhǒng dōngfāng de kèqì huà gēn xīfāng de báisè huǎngyán yíyàng ma?
Oufu: Demei, do you think this Asian form of “polite language” is the same thing as westerners’ “white lies”?

 

德美:嗯! 好像有點像,可是不完全一樣。
Déměi:Ń! Hǎoxiàng yǒudiǎn xiàng, kěshì bù wánquán yíyàng.
Demei: Hmm. They do seem to be similar, but not completely so.

 

老師:你們可以舉兩個例子給我聽聽嗎?
(Lǎoshī: Nǐmen kěyǐ jǔ liǎng gè lìzi gěi wǒ tīng tīng ma?)
Teacher: Can you give me two examples?

 

德美:好,比方說,朋友做蘋果派請你吃,你不要讓朋友難過,就說「這是我吃過最好吃的蘋果派!」
(Déměi: Hǎo, bǐfāng shuō, péngyǒu zuò píngguǒ pài qǐng nǐ chī, nǐ búyào ràng péngyǒu nánguò, jiù shuō “zhè shì wǒ chīguò zuì hǎo chī de píngguǒ pài!”)
Demei: For example, if a friend bakes an apple pie, and you don’t want them to feel bad, you say, “This is the best apple pie I’ve ever eaten!”

 

歐福:其實不是真的,你會偷偷地把那蘋果派丟掉。
Ōufú:Qíshí búshì zhēn de, nǐ huì tōutōu de bǎ nà píngguǒ pài diūdiào.
Oufu: When in fact, it’s not true, and you secretly get rid of the apple pie.

 

老師:或者,你覺得我歌唱得怎麼樣?
Lǎoshī:Huòzhě, nǐ juédé wǒ gēchàng de zěnme yàng?
Teacher: Or, “What did you think of my singing?”

 

歐福:我覺得…很~有特色。
(Ōufú: Wǒ juédé…hěn ~yǒu tèsè.)
Oufu: It was really“special”!