Return to the 36th Chamber

June 11, 2010, 12:42 PM posted in General Discussion
Okay so I've been re watching those movies I enjoy so much but my mandarin must be improving as I'm picking more out, though still not enough to follow the plot (if only I could get Star wars in mandarin!) During the end of the film he claims to only be using only 40% of his skills and then rapidly increased them. At one point he said (I think) 现在是八十功夫啊 translated as now I'm using 80% of my Kung fu. I thought it would have been something like 现在是百分之八十功夫啊。 Is this a recognised way of shortening percentages when the context is understood? Or did I hear it completely wrong?
Profile picture
June 11, 2010, 01:08 PM


Profile picture
June 11, 2010, 08:21 PM




Profile picture
June 11, 2010, 08:35 PM

Hi Trevorb where was this in the film, the end--? I don't recall. If I have time later I'll see if I can review it.

Profile picture
June 12, 2010, 08:08 AM

It was at the end of the film where he is fighting the ultimate 老板, he looses for a bit then starts to win again when he introduces scaffolding into the fight.  Just before the end of the fight scene is when he starts increasing it by percentages.

I am hearing more nowadays but my interpretation often lags the actual speech!

Profile picture
June 15, 2010, 10:13 AM

Hi Trevorb, I haven't revisited this movie in a while; thanks for the opportunity. Finding that I too am hearing much more than I used to--yay.
Those lines I think go like this (not sure about the name Wang laoban):

Wáng lǎobǎn, wǒ chū de lì--hǎoxiàng nǐ kòu gōngrén de gōngqian yīyàng--zhǐ chūle liùchéng a!

Ho, 现在不过用了七成功力! * might be ?
xiànzài jiù bùguò yòngle qīchéng gōnglì!

xiànzài shì bāchéng gōnglì le!

王老板! 现在……是九成
Wáng lǎobǎn! xiànzài……shì jiǔchéng!

and finally, his last line:

jìzhù a, yào gěizú gōngrén shíchéng de gōngqian!

So in this sequence 周仁杰 starts with 60 percent then quickly ups it to 70, 80 then 90 percent (the implication being that 100 percent would kill his opponent).

Percent to me seems very much "Roman", and I would guess (pls let me stress here, I don't know) the Chinese 百分之~ to be a pretty modern translation-import of the concept. It would have no place in a period piece then. 成 is a unit meaning one-tenth. 八成 is 80 percent of course, but really like "eight parts (out of ten, ten being the whole)".
功力 we could translate as "strength" or maybe even "ability". I understand it to refer to skill and strength, as opposed to just sheer brawn.

I hope if anyone finds I'm misleading you here they'll set me straight!

Profile picture
June 15, 2010, 03:09 PM

That sounds logical xiaoyaoyou above said 成 too but I had never encountered that before so I guess I let logic turn it into 80 (八十) Didn't really think about the age in which the film was set.

It does go to show just a little thing wrong will make you sound a world away from chinese!  Not that I ever expect to make fluent....  I am reading gradually more but there always seems to be another 90% of the sentence I've not yet learnt.

三十六房是一部真好电影,我很喜欢。 I wish the one I recently got would transfer to the ipod but alas will not so I'm going to try Three Kingdoms. 我从来不盗版电影但是如果有蝶那我觉得可以放在ipod。

 (I'm about 1/4 through Curse of the golden flower).


Gives me a bit more of "the music" of chinese though.

Profile picture

Yes I think I might have said before, these period pieces (esp. the older gongfu ones) are good for us to try hearing the spoken lines because the characters don't mumble. Everybody is speaking (or dubbed over as speaking) quite clearly. 我们坚持下去吧。一步一步往上爬!