Here's a fairly well-known morality tale called The Blind Man and the Cripple. It was written for overseas Chinese and purchased years-ago in San Francisco's Chinatown. I've retyped the original text and the original translation. My contribution is that the Chinese is in traditional characters with annotations for simplified characters. If you spot any typos, please leave a comment, and I'll fix it/them.
BTW this is written for third graders...
bababardwanMay 16, 2010, 10:27 PM
Hey thanks tvan,can't wait to read this one.I see it starts with our new/old friend 从前 so we're off to a nice start,hehe. It's great to see all these different presentation methods.Thanks for all the annotation...辛苦你了。The English is well hidden.I like your background into above ..who it was written for and the level it was aimed at.Well done mate. :)
tvanMay 17, 2010, 06:32 PM
@orangina, every time I read one of these children's stories, I wind up with some kind of problem. In this story, most of it is pretty simple. However, one sentence gave me trouble:
in the first part, 熊 is used as an adjective. However, it seems to be describing the temple/廟 rather than the conflagration/大火.
As for the second part, my parsing is, 兩個人/two men, 總算/at long last, 撿/ collected, 回/return, 一條/one, 命/their life.
Two men at long last collected return one life.... Obviously, I'm missing something.
tvan, yes! these things are what I was talking about. But I haven't spent as much time with them so wasn't yet able to articulate what I found strange/difficult/new.
I think the adjective is not 熊熊，but 大火熊熊。So it is describing the temple, not the fire. The "fire engulfed temple" to be liberal about it.
For the second part, what do you think of "The two men got themselves together and returned to life." Not that they had died, but until they came up with their plan they were dead men. The piece of life they had left was forfeit.
@orangina, re: 熊熊 I think you're definitely right. I just don't understand the grammatical structure. I've got the common "older learner" problem of being too tied into my mother language's grammatical structure where the adverb generally precedes the adjective that it is modifying. I would have expected something along the lines of 熊熊的大火的...
I'm still working on the last part, though. The English translation, while it might convey the spirit of the story, doesn't seem to accurately reflect the meaning in Chinese; similar to another discussion going on in this group.
Hi guys I haven't yet had the time to really study this story, but would like to butt in just long enough to say I think this 总算 is "just barely managed to ~", not really "at long last". 捡回--same thing I guess Orangina's saying. The two were as good as dead, but they recovered what they'd lost = their lives. We have in Japanese this expression 命拾いをする inochi-biroi wo suru, which means being in danger of death (both lit. and fig.) but to then have a narrow escape, or "miss being killed by a hairsbreadth". 捡 and 拾 both mean picking up something that was dropped or lost, but looking in my dictionary this 捡 seems to really have the sense of acquiring something you didn't work for, that you're maybe not necessarily deserving of.
Was this tale originally written in Chinese?
zhenlijiang, thanks for the Japanese expression. I was relying on a dictionary-based parsing which, as you just demonstrated, suffers from a lack of context.
The book was published in Taiwan and has an 1980's copyright. Both the Chinese and the English translation that I included came from the book. According to the advertising copy it's a Chinese legend, but I don't really know.
This web site still carries the book. http://www.childbook.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=A135
@zhenlijiang, actually, I just got home from work to the actual book. Per the cover, the Chinese version was first published in 1988 in Taiwan, then ported over to the U.S. for overseas Chinese in 1991.
The U.S. version includes an English-language parental guide. I won't repeat it all, but its gist is "'The Blind Man and the Cripple' makes it easy for children to readily grasp the importance of cooperation." Also, that it helps children "understand the hardships of those who are handicapped." A bit heavy-handed for us adults, but I used to read this story to my children in both Chinese and English.
TalMay 18, 2010, 02:44 AM
Great work tvan, thanks very much. I greatly admire your presentation, (except for the 繁体字 - lol,) I might just have to steal... err I mean use it for my own future efforts. ;)
oh I love that group mate....love the soundtrack of 漂亮在粉红色..didn't know they were studying 中文 though...well if it's good enough for them,then it's good enough for me. Hope they pump out some new material in 中文。
@tal, 哈哈，Yeah, and she was blonde and born in the famous Chinese town of Ghent!
@barbardwan, actually, it seems that I have heard brown-haired ( to my eyes) Chinese describe themselves as 红发. However, this is just one of my recollections from a conversation, nothing authoritative.
I had to ask an infinitely more Chinese person than I for the answer...conversation went something like this:
我：How would you call my hair color in Chinese? not 红色？丹色？
Finally, grudgingly, she let me call it 栗子色.
酒红色 was also a suggestion, which I overruled.