Vocab and usage question

October 20, 2010, 04:24 AM posted in I Have a Question

There's a few expressions in a song I’m listening to now, which I just. Can't. Wrap. My. Head. Around!  The song is 爱上你等于爱上了错 sung by 张振宇.

The two expressions in question are:

...直到后来有一天 你突然间告诉我

寄托 ??  My friends tried to explain this usage of 寄托 to me, but they may as well have been speaking Chinese (ba-da-bump).  I vaaaaguely get the usage, but not really…

The second expression is:

每一次听你说 心里好像有团火…

团火??  Don’t have a clue what this means…

Anyway, so glad to finally be here on Chinesepod.  If Jenny, Ken, or John respond to this message, I'll just die of happiness.  Oh, and any help on the above questions would be greatly appreciated.


George  ^_^

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October 20, 2010, 09:23 AM

Hi George, would it be too much trouble for you to post more of the lyrics, not just those two couplets? Don't know that I myself will be able to help, but a little more context might be good.

Ken isn't with ChinesePod any more btw.

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Thank you for the post! For what it's worth, okay...






所以爱你爱的认真 爱的执着


















But... I really don't want my fellow non-native-speaker podists to wrack their brains! I am a firm believer that non-native-speakers should steer clear of helping non-native-speakers when it comes to usage questions... but that's just me. Even with the best intentions, I happen to think it leads to more doubt and confusion more often than to clear answers. Others may disagree.

I once spent an hour reading a German forum (I studied German and lived in Germany for many years) where posters were passionately arguing and debating back-and-forth (in German) over what Arnold Schwarzenegger meant when he said, "I will clean house" during his first gubernatorial campaign. Some were certain it was poor English (trying to say, "I will clean *the* house"). Others came up with the most wild of guesses. But any native speaker could have told them in two seconds flat that to "clean house" is a common English saying that has two possible meanings: 1) to win big, or 2) to get rid of undesirable elements/people (this is the one that Arnold Schwarzenegger meant, and that was clear from the context of his speech).

Are there any native speakers who patrol these forums?

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I really don't want my fellow non-native-speaker podists to wrack their brains! I am a firm believer that non-native-speakers should steer clear of helping non-native-speakers when it comes to usage questions...

Oh. Maybe you should say so at the top of your original post. I wouldn't have bugged you to go to the trouble of typing out the whole song then!

Some non-native speaker learners are advanced (well, they're scarcer now than they used to be in the CPod community), some are less proficient. I understand what you mean about the German forum, but I could have told them the answer and I'm not a native speaker of English. So that isn't necessarily the point.

Hope you get what you want anyway. Sorry I can't help.

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Hi Zhenlijiang. Oh, no, I would love any help I can get! Especially from advanced learners! By all means, if you know those usages, then I'd love to pick your brain, so to speak. ^_^

I was just worried that I might get a lot of replies along the lines of, "Maybe it means XYZ, but I'm just guessing," when really that sort of thing just leads to more confusion on the part of everyone... I thought I sorta needed a native speaker to translate something at that level. You know what I mean? Unless someone really knows or has already asked.

I'm not always good at expressing myself politely; I'm too blunt. It's the American businessman in me. 那么。。。所以,不仅在中文方面,而且在文化方面我还得努力努力向我们中国朋友学习!:-P

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Hi George, you know I think in this Community more responses are going to be like "Maybe it means XYZ, but I'm just guessing". We like to have a go here, think about things 中文, make mistakes and try to learn from others along the way. We used to have more advanced contributors among us whom we could count on, but now it would probably have to be a teacher to help you out. We also used to have more non-staff native speakers mingling with us, they've also been scarce recently.

I'm not at all advanced, I would be wild-guessing and theorizing as well.

And I didn't think it was blunt or impolite of you, just thought it would have been good to say what you wanted first, before you got helpful-minded poddies spending time thinking about your question and trying to come up with an answer. If I seemed blunt, and I can be sometimes, sorry.

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October 21, 2010, 02:21 AM


I'm no native speaker either, but I talked it over with Connie.

First, the easier one.  团火 is the same as 一团火, which means, roughly, "a ball of fire."

The 寄托 one is not as easy.  It means something like "to put (all) one's hope in."  Normally it's not really a bad thing, but here, clearly it makes the singer upset.

Connie's not 100% clear either, but she's saying it's probably upsetting because the person is "putting all their love" into the singer (almost like a bank!) consciously, rather than being driven by passion.  That would explain the indifference the singer accuses the other person of.

Does that make sense?

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First, I have to say... OH MY GOD! IT'S YOU!!! JOHN WROTE TO ME! AAAAH! AWESOME!!

I been listening to your voice almost daily for two damn years. Ha ha! I always imagined that your studio looks something like Howard Stern's. Does it? You rock, man.

Okay, okay... back down to earth. (wooow! John wrote to me!) Okay, back to earth. I figured that 寄托 would be a nebulous concept. The frustrating part is that I know it makes sense to Chinese people, but explaining it to me is hard for them. It's that "Aha!" moment that's missing so far, and I'm still looking for it.

My friend (a long time teacher) tried to explain it to me thusly: The singer is upset because the girl said he was her 寄托. What she is implying is that she has "put her hopes in him" as in more of an ideal (she respects him and looks up to him) but doesn't have real feelings for him. According to my friend, that's the implication. Does that gel with what Connie told you?

I still don't fully get the concept that links her "putting her hopes" on him and him being an abstract "ideal"... and finally, her not really loving him and thus hurting his feelings. It doesn't click in my head because I know you can say that parents consider their children 寄托... and I don't think that implies a lack of real love!

Dude... thank you so much for looking into this and for responding, man. This helps a lot as it confirms what my friend told me and gives me another angle to consider it from. YOU ROCK!!!



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Happy to help! If you ask lots of questions on ChinesePod (especially in the lessons themselves), you'll get answers from me, Jiaojie, Connie, and Jenny all the time. :)

Our studio is a bit more modest than Howard Stern's, I think. (But we have three!)

Anyway, yes, your teacher's explanation do gel with what Connie said. The thing is, neither Connie nor Jiaojie (both natives speakers) feel like they totally clearly understand what the singer is expressing. So my advice to you is to not focus too much on the meanings of song lyrics, because in many cases, there's just not much there! (For example, what does "take on me" really mean, anyway??)

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Good question which I like for a few reasons. I have a similar but slightly different angle on it but I won't confuse you with my non-native interpretation, hehe [but I enjoyed pondering it anyway so thanks :) ]. Instead, I'll ask you what no doubt will seem like a dumb question. What meaning, if any, does "(ba-da-bump)" have?

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It's an onomatopoeia. :-) It makes the sounds of a drum beat for comedic effect. The background is that comedians in America, during live comedy shows, after making an ironic observation, joke, or pun, would often be followed by the club drummer's quick "ba-da-bump," indicating that the joke was good or indicating to the audience that it was supposed to be funny and that they should thus applaud.

"... may as well have been speaking Chinese" is a typical saying that implies that the subject was not making sense or speaking incomprehensibly. Since Chinese is incomprehensible to English speakers, it's used as the proxy for incomprehensible, complicated, or nonsensical speech.

In my usage above, however, I was making a joke for the purpose of irony... because the subject was, in fact, speaking Chinese.

... ba-da-bump. ^_^

- George

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thanks for that mate. I nearly did ask if it was the same as "boom boom" which is used in exactly that way.

yeah, I thought it was an ironic adaptation of "it's all greek to me"..very good.

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Okay, I talked to my teacher again (who has apparently been brooding over it for a week and even downloaded the song to listen to it). Now she says that, in its usage in this song, the word 寄托 does not/not imply "hope" but rather "idealization" in the sense of romanticisation or objectification. According to my teacher, the girl was trying to let him down gently by implying that he was an ideal guy worthy of objectification, a real 寄托. The implied undertone--which hurts his feelings--is that she doesn't actually want him (kind of like a girl calling you "sweet"), despite her feeling that he is an ideal guy, so she's also saying, "goodbye." So here, it's not actually used in the same sense of a parent placing all their hopes on their children. That's according to my teacher.

As for "Take on Me," ha ha ha! Good example, man! I remember when I was a high school student in Europe, my French and German classmates would come up to me with the latest rap songs by people like Redman, and ask me what the lyrics meant. Because I'm American... and so is Redman, and thus I would know, right? Here's some examples from the song "Pick It Up" which every European teenager was rockin' out to in 1996 (dating myself here):

"Sit back relax and while my Squad kick tacks

Then tap your man back and be like "Did you see that??"

Peep that back-in-the-day shit when that other Squad was Hit-tin

Back through Patterson, J.C. and Hacken-sack

Step uncorrect and get blackened

The assassin, find da MC's by the jazz men"

My European classmates couldn't grasp that I had no idea whatsoever what Redman was singing about. Not a clue... not even an intelligent guess. :-P

George ^_^

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November 10, 2010, 07:47 AM

hey George, btw mate, I've been meaning to tell you for a while now, this is uncanny but you posed this question about 寄托 on the 19th October, and then that same word arose 2 days later in the Media lesson 出租白人 here:


at 10m20s, in this context [which I have made a poor attempt at translating]:

徐洲: 诶,这好像,啊,什么都是国外的比国内的好

hey, this seems ,ah,to take the attitude that whatever is foreign is better than domestic

Connie: 那我们平时可能也听到各种各样的情结,比如说公主情结啦,思乡情结啦,恋母情结啦,等等

so we also might regularly hear of all kinds of complexes, for example “princess complex” , “homesick complex”, “Oedipus complex”, etc  

徐洲: 就是它所有的感情会以那些东西为寄托,是把?对。。

to be precise, in all these complexes there is the feeling that they want to place their hope in these things/be taken care of by these things

Connie: 特别喜爱那一方面的东西  

especially like that aspect of those things

徐洲: 对某一类东西的非常的向往,非常的喜爱

strongly yearn for something, love it


...I hope you can gain some further insight into this word[and maybe even share that insight and enlighten the rest of us, hehe]. Cheers.