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How I Began to 唱快樂的光腳丫歌 Sing the Happy Barefoot Song in Chinese



(wo3) (zen2 me.) (kai1 shi3) (chang4) [(wo3) (de.)] (zhong1 wen2) [(kuai4 le4) (de.)] (guang1 jiao3 ya1) (ge1)

(I) (how) (begin) (to sing) [(I) +(modifier) = my] (Chinese) [(happy) +(modifier indicating it is an adjective)] (bare foot) (song)

How I began to sing my Happy Barefoot Song in Chinese.


When you are reciting


(一閃一閃)❶ (小) (星星)

(yi1 shan3 yi1 shan3) (xiao3) (xing1 xing1)

(one flash, one flash) (little) (star)

Twinkle, twinkle little star (you can find that song in Chinese here.)


Silently in your head while running,



(you3 shi2 hou4) (ni3) [(yi4 wai4) (de.)] (lian2 xiang3 qi2) [(xin1) (de.)] (ci2 ju4)

(sometimes) (you) [(accident)+(modifier like the English “ly”) = accidentally] (connect, to think of) [(new) (modifier makes it an adjective)] (words, phrases)

Sometimes you accidentally find yourself singing new words or phrases.


Next thing you know,



(ni3) [(chang4) (zhe.)] (kuai4 le4 de.) (guang1 jiao3 ya1) (ge1)

(you) [(to sing) (modifier similar to “ing”)] (happy) (bare foot) (song)

you are singing the happy bare feet song!


But you did it in English and



(ni3) (xian4 zai4) (yao4) (fan1 yi4) (cheng2) (zhong1 wen2).

(you) (now) (to want) (to translate) (to become) (Chinese).

you now want to translate it to Chinese.


Your tutor figures out the translation



[(zai4) (yong4)] (ni3) (yi3 jing1) (ming2 bai2) [(zhi1 dao4)(de)] (ci2 hui4)

[(Another “ing” type modified, but one that is put in front of the verb) + (to use) = using] (you) (already) (clear, understand) [(to know) + (modifier making it an adjective) = known] (vocabulary).

using vocabulary you know clearly.



比起 英文, 中文用更多字在音節裡。

(比起) (英文), (中文)(用)(更多)(字)(在)(音節)(裡)。

(bi3 qi2) (ying1 wen2), (zhong1 wen2) (yong4) (geng4 duo1) (zi4) (zai4) (yin1 jie2) (li3)

(compare to) (English), (Chinese) (to use) (even more) (characters, words) (for) (lyrics) (in)

compared to English, Chinese uses more words in the lyrics.


So, you decide



(ni3) (ying1 gai1) (zuo4) (xin1 de.) (qu3 diao4)

(you) (should) (to make) (new) (melody, tune)

you should write a new tune.





(jin1 tian1) (ni3) (zhi3 you3) (xie3) [(ge1) (ci2)]

(today) (you) (only) (to write) [(song) + (words) = lyrics]

today you will just write down the lyrics:





(guang1 jiao ya1) (pao3 bu4) (zhen1) (you3 qu4)!

(Bare foot) (to run) (really) (interesting, fun, fascinating)

Running barefoot is so fun!




(zai4) (yu3) (zhong1) (huo4) (zai4) (yang2 guang1) (xia4)!

(in) (rain) (middle) (or) (in) (sunshine) (under)!

In the rain and in the sun!


跳過水窪, 閃過枝條

(跳過)(水窪), (閃過)❶(枝條)

(tiao4 guo4) (shui3 wa1), (shan3 guo4) (zhi1 tiao2)

(jump over) (water hollow or hole), (to dodge over or past) (stick)

Jumping puddles, dodging sticks




(kuai4 le4 de.) (jiao3 ya1) (qiang2 zhuang4) (you4) (xun4 su4)

(happy) (feet) (strong) (also) (quick, swift)

Happy feet are strong and quick!




(wan1 yi4 wan1), (yao2 yi4 yao2), (gan3 shou4) (ta1 men.) [(beng4 chu1) (de.)(jian4 kang1),

(bend a little), (wiggle a little), (to feel) (them) [(spring, pop, jump, burst out) (makes word an adjective describing the word “health”)](health),

Bend and wiggle, feel them spring (“with health” needs to be tacked on to the Chinese phrase here, but not the English)




(han4) (wo3 de.) (guang1 jiao3 ya1 zi.) (dai4 lai2 de.) (xi3 le4)

(and) (my) (bare feet) (bring here) (joy)!

(health) and joy my bare feet bring.



Notes on helpful things I learned or was reminded of while writing these sentences:

❶ 閃 (shan3) is the same verb used for both “flash” and “dodge”

❷ There is more than one way to indicate the “ing” in Chinese. Some characters for this go in front of the verb, as with 在 (zai4), and some characters go behind the verb, as with 者 (zhe.)

❸ Whereas in English we say “translate into” another language, in Chinese you say “translate to become” another language.

❹ This 丫 (ya1) is one of those sounds/characters that is just used in Chinese speaking for the sound and rhythm of it, with no real meaning.

❺ In Chinese, they don’t say “in the sun.” They would think this inappropriate for it’s obvious literal impossibility. It is necessary to specify that a person is only “under the sunshine.”