I recently learned how to be a Chinese 家庭主婦 [(jia1 ting2 zhu3 fu4), (house hall master wife), (housewife)]。 It didn’t take long,
(yin1 wei4) (zai4) (mei3 guo2) [(jia1 ting2 zhu3 fu2) (de.)] (gong1 zuo4) (ye3) (yi1 yang4)
(because) (in) (United States, America) [(housewife) (‘s)] (work, duty, job) (also) (alike)
because in the US a housewife’s work is the same.
It seems that
[(shi4 jie4) (ge4 di4) (de.)] (jia1 ting2 zhu3 fu4) (mei3 tian1) (dou1) (yao4) (zhu3) (san1) (can1)
[(world)(various place) (ending creating adjective)] (housewife) (every day) (all) (must) (ccok) (three) (meal)
All over the world, housewives must cook three meals a day.
For housewives everywhere
(zhe4 ge.) [(bu2 bian4)(de.)] [(ji1 ben3)(xu1 yao4)] (ke3 neng2) (rang4) (ta1 men.) (hen) (tou2 tong4)
(this) [(unchange)(ing)] [(basic) (need)] (can) (make) (them) (very) (headache)
This unchanging basic need can give them a headache.
[(hen3 duo1) (shi2 hou4)] (jia1 ting2 zhu3 fu4) (dou1) (jue2 de.) (fan2 nao3)
[(very many) (times)] (housewife)(all) (feel) (vexed)
Many times all housewives feel harassed.
Shopping must be done.
(shi2 chang2) (ta1 men.) (dei3) (mai3) (shi2 wu4) (han4) [(ge4 zhong3) (jia1 ting2)] (yong4 pin3), (suo3 yi3) (hui4) (zhao3 yi1 zhao3) (you3 mei2 you3) (lian2 jia4) (huo4) (da3 zhe2)
(often) (they) (must) (buy) (foodstuffs, provisions) (and) [(all kinds) (household)] (use) (articles), (s0) (will) (find) (have or not have) (bargain price) (or) (discount)
Often they must buy food and household supplies, so they will look around for bargain prices or discounts.
(bu2 guo4) (you3 shi2 hou4) (mei2 you3) (zu2 gou4) (shi2 jian1) (zuo4) (wan2) (suo3 you3 de.) (shi4 qing2)
(however) (sometimes) (not have) (enough) (time) (do) (finish) (that which have = all) (affairs)
However, sometimes there is not enough time to get everything done.
Not only that, but
(da4 ban4) (jia1 ting2 zhu3 fu4) (dou1) (you3) (hai2 zi.), (suo3 yi3) (hui4) (dan1 xin1) [(hai2 zi.) (de.)] (an1 quan2)
(much larger than half) (housewife) (already) (have) (child), (so) (have) (worry) [(child) (‘s)] (safety)
For the most part, housewives have children, so they worry the children are safe.
They may not have the same religion as many Americans, but
(ta1 men.) (dou1) (wei4) (hai2 zi.) (qi2 dao3)
(they) (all) (for) (child) (pray)
They all pray for their children!
(ta1 men.) (kan4 dao4) (hai2 zi.) (ban4 zui3) (han4) (chao3 jia4), (jia1 ting2 zhu3 fu4) (da4 gai4) (hui4) (xiang3) (dei3) (wei4) [(shi4 jie4) (he2 ping2)] (qi2 dao3)
(they) (see) (children) (bicker) (and) (quarrel), (housewife) (probably) (will) (think) (must) (for) [(world) (peace)] (pray).
When they see their children quarrel, the housewives probably think they must pray for world peace.
Those children will one day be the adults in the world….
However, they probably also tell their children,
” (wo3) (wei4) (ni3) (gan3 dao4) (jiao1 ao4).”
“(I) (for) (you) (feel) (proud).”
“I am proud of you.”
The Chinese word for “housewife” seems to give greater esteem to the position, as you can see in the translations above. There is at least the verbal recognition of being “master” of running the house. However,
(ru2 guo3) (ren2) (you3) (bi3 jiao4) (duo1 de.) (quan2 li4), (ye3) (hui4) (you3) (bi3 jiao4) (da4 de.) (ze2 ren4)
(if) (person) (have) (comparative) (much) (power), (also) (will) (have) (comparative) (great) (responsibility)
If a person has more power, (that person) also has greater responsibility.
I am inclined to think that the “cultural differences” around the world, that are so often treated like they are so important, are really surface issues.
(zhi3) (yao4) (wen2) (ren4 he2) (jia1 ting2 zhu3 fu4) (jiu4) [(zhi1 dao4) (le.)].
(only) (need) (ask) (any) (housewife) (right away, exactly) [(know) (indicated completed action)].
(You) only need to ask any housewife and (you) will know.
Notes on helpful things I learned or was reminded of while writing these sentences:
❶ Just like in English, it is more pleasant to vary word patterns. The phrases 有時候 (you3 shi2 hou4 = sometimes) and 很多時候 (hen3 duo1 shi2 hou4 = many times) are similar enough to be used interchangeably.
❷ There is no all encompassing word like “groceries” in Chinese, hence the listing food stuffs and useful articles above. But there is a distinction between the common Chinese word for “things” 東西 (dong1 xi1) and 用品 (yong4 pin3) indicating that “things that have utility.” Thus, 用品 is more appropriated when speaking of sundry household items that are not food.
❸ 所有的 (suo3 you3 de. ＝ all) and 全部的 (quan2 bu4 de. ＝ whole) are similar for every day use. But if I go around saying 諸事 (zhu1 shi4), it is a bit like speaking Shakespeare’s English.
❹ The ending 們（men.) is typically used to make words plural, as in 他們 (ta1 men. = them), 你們 (ni3 men. = all of you), 我們 (wo3 men. = us, we) However, for 孩子 (hai2 zi. = child), it is often left off, the plural of children being implied in every day use.
❺ The sentence structure here can be used for many things. It is basically, “only ask (subject, person), then you will know.” The verb can also be changed for more variety. “Only (verb), then you will know.” For example,
(zhi3) (yao4) (shi4 shi4 kan4) ( _______), (jiu4) (zhi1 dao4 le.)!
(only) (need) (try) ( _______ ), (right away, exactly) (know)
Just need to try ______, then (you) will know!