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27 June 2003 @ 09:21
useful mandarin redux redux...  
So, in celebration of the first draft of Lex Talionis being sent off to be whipped into shape by betas, I have updated my glossary of "Useful Mandarin for Firefly authors" and if anybody out there actually, you know, speaks Mandarin, and can point out all of the lovely fuck-ups, I would greatly appreciate it, as much of this was culled from the web, as well as from Insight Pocket Travel Dictionary: Chinese (ISBN 1-58573-200-1)

ài rén   sweetheart

bâobèi   precious (item); ie: precious jewels (endearment)

bà bà   daddy (familiar)

bèn dàn   [you] idiot!

bì zuî   be quiet/shut up

cào   v/t screw, fuck

cào nî zûxiān shí bâ dai   fuck 18 generations of your ancestors

chûn   stupid

chûnrén   fool, jerk (familiar)

chùsheng xai-jiao de xiang huo   animal fucking bastard

dà gē   big brother (formal); also way of addressing non-relation, similar to "Sir"

dòngwù   animal

dāì ruò mù jī   dumb as a wooden chicken

dong ma?   understand?

duìbùqî   I'm sorry/excuse me

fèhuà   garbage (nonsense)

fùqin   father (formal)

gāxìng jìandào nî   pleased to meet you

gē ge   big brother (familiar)

gôu pì   bullshit

gôushî bùrú   lower than dogshit/lowest of the low

gûnkāi   fuck off

hâo ba   okay (reluctant)

hâo de   okay/will do!

hâo le ma   that's enough, okay?

hâo le   okay (contextual "Okay, that's enough. Stop right there." can be considered rude)

hâo   okay/sure

húndàn   asshole/bastard

heishôudâng liúmáng   gangster asshole/bastard(s)

jiao-zi   pan-fried dumplings

juéduì bù   (exclamation) no way!

lâotou   old geezer

lìngrén jingyì   stunning, amazing

liúmáng   bastard/asshole/criminal/gangster

mâshàng   on the double/quickly/right away/immediately

mà mà   mommy (familiar)

méi gu&257;nxi   it's nothing/it's okay

méiyôu mûqin de xiao gôu   motherless cur

mêilì   beautiful/pretty

mèimei   little sister

m&257;de   (exclamation) fuck

mu qin   mother (formal)

nî bù dông ma   don't you understand?

nî bù dông   you don't understand

nî hâo mêi   you're so beautiful

nî shòu shäng le   you're hurt

ni meí shì bà?   are you okay?

nuòfu   coward

pōfù   bitch

qù tāmāde   (exclamation) fuck him/fuck that!

qù tāmāde   (exclamation) motherfucker

qin ài de   dear, darling

qingwa cào de liúmáng   frog-humping sumbitch

shénme?   what?

shìde   yes/right

shuài   hansome/snazzy

sishengzi   bastard (not an insult)

tāmāde húndàn   fucking bastard

tìan xiâo de   God knows (heaven/sky only knows)

tiānna   (exclamation) Oh God

wô hâo   I'm fine

wúnéug de rén   trash (despicable person)

wo nén qin ni tiào wu ma...?   may I have the pleasure...(of this dance)?

wode tìan   oh sky! (colloquial: Oh God!)

xíao dì   little brother (familiar); used with a blood relation

xiâo dì dì   little brother (familiar); can be used with someone not related to you

xiâo mèi   baby sister; used with a blood relation

xiâo mèimei   baby sister; can be used with someone not related to you<

xiâo péngyou   little friend (familiar), kid, children

xiâoxin   [be] careful

xièxie nî   thank you

xièxie   thanks

xin gan   sweetheart, darling

xin nian kuai le   happy new year

yúchûn   stupid/ignorant

yaoguài   monster

zài-jiàn   goodbye

zôugôu   yes man (derogatory)

zhàngfu   husband

zhè bìng bù huài   it's not that bad

zhùzuî   be quiet/shut up

needless to say, I am still tracking down the hanyu pinyin for a lot of the Mandarin used on the show, and still annoyed at the fact that half the diacritical marks I need aren't supported in HTML *sigh*
mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Taiamutaiamu on 27th June 2003 18:15 (UTC)
A (fairly long and useless) post about Mandarin

My Mandarin is really shaky(two years of it in uni, and I don't remember much of that, so take it for what it's worth), but I believe that 'ma' is always added to the end of a sentence if you intend it as a question.

Ex: (Ni)chr fan ma? Do (you) want to eat?

Lit: 'You eat food?'

A few other odds and ends:

Wo: I/me
Ni: You
Ta: He/She (note: 'Ta' is one of those wierd words. If you are speaking, you have to kind of guess if the person being referred to is male/female by the context. If it's written, there are different characters for male/female, so it's a bit easier.)
Tamen: They
Nimen: You(plural)
Women: We
Lao Hu: Lit: 'Wild Woman' I.E. Prostitute. You might want to check this, as I'm going from memory.

As I remember, Mandarin doesn't really conjugate much. They just add another word into the sentence.This makes for very long sentences. ;)

Um...let's see. Mandarin is tonal. This is something you probably won't see when you're using it in a story. But it is an interesting fact to keep in mind. Ex: When asking a question, our voices usually rise at the end of a sentence. IIRC, Mandarin doesn't do this. The 'ma' ending should be sufficient. The tone is very important--you could think you're saying something totally innocuous, and end up calling someone a frelling bastard. ;)

Like I said, not much info, and most of it is about the structure of the language, which may not be of use to you. ::shrug::

I didn't really get into Firefly--I don't generally like the western genre, so a show set even partially in that genre has to really be something special. But, in my meanderings across the eps, I did wonder:

Why Mandarin? I mean--very cool. But I caught myself wondering how/why it came to be used as a slang language in the 'future'. Any real reason? Or did Joss just think it was cool?

Oh, and hey, can I friend you?

ljctaraljc on 27th June 2003 19:44 (UTC)
Re: A (fairly long and useless) post about Mandarin
Sure you can friend me!

I think Joss' logic was that, 500 years from now, America and China would have formed an Alliance. hence the Anglo-Sino Alliance, and all the characters being bilingual.