“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.
Filling a Need
(Ōufú: Zuótiān tīng xiǎowén shuō “cóngxiǎo bǔ dào dà”, wǒmen bú tài dǒng yìsi, jiù shàngwǎng chá zīliào.)
Oufu: Yesterday I heard Xiaowen say, “Cong xiao bu dao da.” We don’t quite understand what that means, so we got on line to look it up.
(Lǎoshī: Nǐmen chá dàole shénme zīliào?)
Teacher: What did you find out?
(Déměi: Hǎoduō! Xiàng shì bǔkè, bǔkǎo, bǔpiào, bǔdòng, bǔjiāo zuòyè, bǔchōng shuǐ fèn, zhèxiē dōu hǎo dǒng.)
Demei:A lot! For example, “make up a class”, “make up a test”, “to pay for a ticket after getting on the train”, “to fill up a hole”, “hand in homework late”, and “to drink more water to prevent dehydration”. These were easy to understand.
(Ōufú: Kěshì duì bǔ yì bǔ, chībǔ, bǔxuě, bǔqì, bǔ shēntǐ, jiù bú tài qīngchǔle.)
Oufu:But as for “filling a need”, “eat something nutritious”, “nourishing the blood”, “to nourish or conserve one’s vitality”, or “nourishing one’s health”, we don’t understand those very clearly.
(Lǎoshī: Jīběn shàng “bǔ” yǒu “wán, hǎo” de yìsi, rúguǒ yǒu búgòu, bùquán de qíngxíng, jiù xūyào bǔ quán tā.)
Teacher:Basically, “bu” has the meanings of “complete” and “well”. If there isn’t enough of something, or it is incomplete, then we need to make up the lack.
(Déměi: Wèishéme yào “cóngxiǎo bǔ dào dà” ne?)
Demei: Then why do you need to “bu” from since you were a baby?
Lǎoshī: Yīnwéi rén cóng xiǎoshíhòu dào dà, yīnggāi shuō “dào lǎo”, shēntǐ rúguǒ quēshǎo le shénme? Yīshī huì jiànyì chī bùtóng de wéitāmìng. Wǒmen zhōngyī jiù huì jiànyì chúle yào bǔ zhī wài, hái yào shíbǔ.
Teacher: Because from the time we are small until we are fully grown, or I should say, until we are old, what happens to our health if we are lacking something? The doctor will suggest that we take different vitamins. Our Chinese herb doctors would suggest that, in addition to medicine, we also need to eat certain kinds of nourishing foods.
(Ōufú: Ó! Suǒyǐ jīngshén bù hǎo, jiù yào hē jījīng bǔchōng jīnglì, shì ma?)
Oufu: Oh! Therefore, if someone lacks stamina, they should drink essence of chicken broth to increase their energy, right?
(Lǎoshī: Xué de zhēn kuài! Kàn lái jīntiān xiàwǔ kěyǐ búyòng bǔkèle!)
Teacher: You learn quickly! Looks like we won’t have to “bu” the class this afternoon!