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Eat a Midnight Snack 吃宵夜 in Chinese

 

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吃宵夜

(吃)(宵夜)

(ㄔ)(ㄒㄧㄠ ㄧㄝˋ)

(chī)(xiāo yè)

(to eat) (midnight snack)❾

Eat a midnight snack.

 

 

First, some vocabulary that is used in the sentences:

生字,生詞

ㄕㄥ ㄗˋ, ㄕㄥ ㄘˊ

(shēng zì), (shēng cí)

new character, new word

________________________________________________

 

宵夜

ㄒㄧㄠ ㄧㄝˋ

xiāo yè

dark/night/evening + night/a night trip = midnight or late night snack

 

嘗試

ㄔㄤˊ ㄕˋ

cháng shì

to try, to attempt

 

睡覺

ㄕㄨㄟˋ ㄐㄧㄠˋ

shuì jiào

sleep + conscious = to sleep, to go to bed

 

肚子

ㄉㄨˋ ㄗ˙

dù zi.

belly, stomach, abdomen

 

需要

ㄒㄩ ㄧㄠˋ

xū yào

to want, to demand, to require, need

 

找出

ㄓㄠˇ ㄔㄨ

zhǎo chū

to find, to search out

 

偷偷摸摸地

ㄊㄡ ㄊㄡ ㄇㄛ ㄇㄛ ㄉㄜ˙

tōu tōu mō mō de.

(to steal, thief)x2 (gently touch with hand)x2 (-ly)

stealthily, sneakily, surreptitiously

 

起床

ㄑㄧˇ ㄔㄨㄤˊ

qǐ chuáng

to get out of bed, to get up

 

大概

ㄉㄚˋ ㄍㄞˋ

dà gài

roughly, probably

 

ㄊㄡ

tōu

to steal, to snatch

 

跳舞

ㄊㄧㄠˋ ㄨˇ

tiào wǔ

to dance

 

直到

ㄓˊ ㄉㄠˋ

zhí dào

until, straight up to

 

半夜

ㄅㄢˋ ㄧㄝˋ

bàn yè

midnight, middle of the night

 

 

常常

ㄔㄤˊ ㄔㄤˊ

cháng cháng

frequently, often, usually

 

薯條

ㄕㄨˇ ㄊㄧㄠˊ

shǔ tiáo

potato + string = French fries

 

顧客

ㄍㄨˋ ㄎㄜˋ

gù kè

to look after + guest, customer = client, customer

 

總是

ㄗㄨㄥˇ ㄕˋ

zǒng shì

always

 

點心

ㄉㄧㄢˇ ㄒㄧㄣ

diǎn xīn

snack, light refreshment

 

隨時

ㄙㄨㄟˊ ㄕˊ

suí shí

at any time, at all times

 

準備好

ㄓㄨㄣˇ ㄅㄟˋ ㄏㄠˇ

zhǔn bèi hǎo

to prepare + complete = good and ready

 

ㄇㄞˋ

mài

to sell

 

Now for my little story:

 

It is something that is hard to ignore.

有時候我嘗試睡覺, 可是我的肚子在叫!

(有時候)(我)(嘗試)(睡覺),(可是)(我的)(肚子)[(在)(叫)]

(ㄧㄡˇ ㄕˊ ㄏㄡˋ)(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄔㄤˊ ㄕˋ)(ㄕㄨㄟˋ ㄐㄧㄠˋ),                                                        (ㄎㄜˇ ㄕˋ)(ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄉㄨˋ ㄗ˙)[(ㄗㄞˋ)(ㄐㄧㄠˋ)]

(yǒu shí hòu)(wǒ)(cháng shì)(shuì jiào), (kě shì)(wǒ de.)(dù zi.)[(zài)(jiào]

(sometimes)(I)(attempt to)(to sleep), (but)(my)(stomach)[(-ing)(shout, cry, call)]

Sometimes when I try to sleep, but my stomach is yelling.

 

There is only one solution if I want to sleep.

我需要找出一些宵夜來吃。

(我)(需要)(找出)(一些)(宵夜)(來)(吃)

(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄒㄩ ㄧㄠˋ)(ㄓㄠˇ ㄔㄨ)(ㄧˊ ㄒㄧㄝ)(ㄒㄧㄠ ㄧㄝˋ)(ㄌㄞˊ)(ㄔ)

(wǒ)(xū yào)(zhǎo chū)(yí xiē)(xiāo yè)(lái)(chī)

(I)(must)(find out)(some)(midnight snack)(to come)(to eat)

I must find a midnight snack.

 

It isn’t necessarily easy.

因為老公在睡覺,我得偷偷摸摸地起床。

(因為)(老公)[(在)(睡覺),(我)(得)[(偷偷摸摸)(地)](起床)

(ㄧㄣ ㄨㄟˋ)(ㄌㄠˇ ㄍㄨㄥ)[(ㄗㄞˋ)(ㄕㄨㄟˋ ㄐㄧㄠˋ)], (ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄉㄟˇ)[(ㄊㄡ ㄊㄡ ㄇㄛ ㄇㄛ)(ㄉㄜ˙)](ㄑㄧˇ ㄔㄨㄤˊ)

(yīn wèi)(lǎo gōng)[(zài)(shuì jiào)], (wǒ)(děi)[(tōu tōu mō mō)(de.)](qǐ chuáng)

(because)(old man)❷ [(-ing)(to sleep)], (I)(must)[(stealth)(ily)](get out of bed)

Because my husband is sleeping, I must sneak out of bed.

 

It is like I am a little child again.

大概每個孩子都偷吃過東西。。。

(大概)(每個)(孩子)(都)❸(偷吃)(過)(東西)

(ㄉㄚˋ ㄍㄞˋ)(ㄇㄟˊ ㄍㄜ˙)(ㄏㄞˊ ㄗ˙)(ㄉㄡ)(ㄊㄡ ㄔ)(ㄍㄨㄛˋ)(ㄉㄨㄥ ㄒㄧ)

(dà gài)(měi ge.)(hái zi.)(dōu)(tōu chī)(guò)(dōng xī)

(most probably)(every)(child)(all)(sneak food)❹ (indicating past tense of previous verb)(things)

Probably every child has snuck something to eat….

 

Sometimes, I am not trying to sleep.

有時候我們跳舞直到半夜。

(有時候)(我們)(跳舞)(直)(到)(半夜)

(ㄧㄡˇ ㄕˊ ㄏㄡˋ)(ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄊㄧㄠˋ ㄨˇ)[(ㄓˊ)(ㄉㄠˋ)](ㄅㄢˋ ㄧㄝˋ)

(yǒu shí hòu)(wǒ men.)(tiào wǔ)[(zhí)(dào)](bàn yè)

(sometimes)(we)(to dance)[(straight) + (to arrive) = until, up to](in the middle of the night)

Sometimes we dance until midnight.

 

That uses a lot of calories.

常常跳舞以後我們去麥當勞買薯條。

(常常)(跳舞)(以後)❺(我們)(去)(麥當勞)❻(買)(薯條)

(ㄔㄤˊ ㄔㄤˊ)(ㄊㄧㄠˊ ㄨˇ)(ㄧˇ ㄏㄡˋ)(ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄑㄩˋ)(ㄇㄞˋㄉㄤˋ ㄌㄠˊ)(ㄇㄞˇ)(ㄕㄨˇ ㄊㄧㄠˊ)

(cháng cháng)(tiào wǔ)(yǐ hòu)(wǒ men.)(qù)(mài dāng láo)(mǎi)(shǔ tiáo)

(often)(to dance)(after)(we)(to go)(McDonalds)(to buy)(potato strips)

Often after dancing, we go to McDonalds to by French fries.

 

When I order, they never ask me,

「為甚麼你們這麼晚吃!?」

(為甚麼)(你們)(這麼)(晚)(吃)

(ㄨㄟˋ ㄕㄣˊ ㄇㄜ˙)(ㄋㄧˇ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄓㄜˋ ㄇㄜ˙)(ㄨㄢˇ)(ㄔ)

(wèi shén me.)(nǐ men.)(zhè me.)(wǎn)(chī)

(why, for what reason)(you all)(this)(late)(to eat)

“Why are you eating this late?”

 

For some reason,

我覺得半夜的時候吃薯條最好吃!

(我)(覺得)(半夜)(的時侯)(吃)(薯條)(最)(好吃)

(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄐㄩㄝˊ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄅㄢˋ ㄧㄝˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙ㄕˊ ㄏㄡˋ)(ㄔ)(ㄕㄨˇ ㄊㄧㄠˊ)(ㄗㄨㄟˋ)(ㄏㄠˇ ㄔ)

(wǒ)(jué de.)(bàn yè)(de. shí hòu)(chī)(shǔ tiáo)(zuì)(hǎo chī)

(I)(think, feel)(midnight)(when)(to eat)(French fries)(most)(delicious)

I think that French fries eaten at midnight are the most delicious.

 

I think McDonald’s has the right idea.

顧客總是對的。

(顧客)(總是)[(對)(的)]

(ㄍㄨˋ ㄎㄜˋ)(ㄗㄨㄥˇ ㄕˋ)[(ㄉㄨㄟˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙)]

(gù kè)(zǒng shì)[(duì)(de.)]

(customer)(always)[(correct)(adjective marker)]

The customer is always right.

 

Their job is to be ready.

如果顧客需要點心,總是隨時準備好可以賣給顧客。

(如果)(顧客)(需要)(點心)❼,

…..(總是)(隨時)(準備好)(可以)(賣)(給)❽(顧客)

(ㄖㄨˊ ㄍㄨㄛˇ)(ㄍㄨˋ ㄎㄜˋ)(ㄒㄩ ㄧㄠˋ)(ㄉㄧㄢˇ ㄒㄧㄣ),

……(ㄗㄨㄥˇ ㄕˋ)(ㄙㄨㄟˊ ㄕˊ)(ㄓㄨㄣˇ ㄅㄟˋ ㄏㄠˇ)(ㄎㄜˇ ㄧˇ)(ㄇㄞˋ)( ㄍㄟˇ)(ㄍㄨˋ ㄎㄜˋ)

(rú2 guǒ)(gù kè)(xū yào)(diǎn xīn),

……(zǒng shì)(suí shí)(zhǔn bèi hǎo)(kě yǐ)(mài)(gěi)(gù kè)

(if) (customer) (want) (snack),

……(always) (at all times) (good and ready) (able) (to sell) (to give) (customer)

If the customer wants a snack, always be ready at any time to sell it to the customer.

 


Notes :

❶ In English, most of us think that saying we are going to find a midnight snack implies eating it, too, but apparently the structure of Chinese needs the additional confirmation that the plan is to eat it when found.

❷ (read here for a lesson in How to Talk About Your Husband in Chinese)

❸ Even though “every” has already been specified, it is common in Chinese to add the 都 ㄉㄡ (dōu) “all” for emphasis.

❹ Yes, in Chinese, there is a specific word that means “to sneak food.”

❺ After a while, you start to get used to the fact that positional words come after the noun or verb involved.

❻ One of the more difficult things for me in Chinese is the lack of capitalization, due to the nature of the written characters, to designate proper names.

❼ The Chinese word for “midnight snack” is very specific, 宵夜 ㄒㄧㄠ ㄧㄝˋ (xiāo yè), which literally means “to need or take in the darkness of night.” However, if you want a snack at other times of day, the word 點心  ㄉㄧㄢˇ ㄒㄧㄣ (diǎn xīn) is used, which is like saying “a little something to help you take heart.”

❽ The first time I wrote this sentence, I only used the 賣 ㄇㄞˋ (mài) “to sell”, and didn’t use the 給ㄍㄟˇ (gěi) “to give,” but instructed that without the adding the 給 ㄍㄟˇ (gěi) after the 賣ㄇㄞˋ (mài), one is speaking of “selling the customer”, not “selling TO the customer.” Oops.

❾ The Chinese 宵夜 ㄒㄧㄠ ㄧㄝˋ (xiāo yè) can be translated either “late night” or “midnight,” really meaning any snack that is well after normal evening meal times.