(如何) (獲得)❶ (男) (朋友)
(ㄖㄨˊ ㄏㄜˊ) (ㄏㄨㄛˋ ㄉㄜˊ) (ㄋㄢˊ) (ㄆㄥˊ ㄧㄡˇ)
(ru2 he2) (huo4 de2) (nan2) (peng2 you3)
(how to) (obtain, get) (boy) (friend)
How to get a boyfriend.
The photo below showed up on my FB feed, so I thought I’d see how well I could read and verify the translation. I recognized over half of the characters, was able to write several of them on my KTdict Chinese-English dictionary app, and then asked my tutor for help with a few others. It was encouraging and it stimulated learning.
As you can see from the translation breakdown, it is not word for word. This is partly because a word for word translation is usually impossible from Chinese to English. It is also because the translator used implied cultural meanings, such as “crush,” to convey the overall tone of the playful advertisement.
My Chinese tutor reads the sign once slowly, then she reads some of the specific vocabulary. Finally, she reads the sign again faster, like native-speaking passersby might read it to each other.
(來) (本) (店) (買) (一份) (蛋糕)
(ㄌㄞˊ) (ㄅㄣˇ) (ㄉㄧㄢˋ) (ㄇㄞˇ) (ㄧ ㄈㄣˋ） (ㄉㄢˋ ㄍㄠ)
(lai2) (ben3) (dian4) (mai3) (yi1 fen4) (dan4 gao1)
(to come) (this our) (store) (to buy) (a portion) (cake)
Come to this our store to buy some cake.
送給喜歡的男子，告訴他如果好吃，我們就在一起。 (就 here means then)
(送給) [(喜歡)(的)] (男子)，
(ㄙㄨㄥˋ ㄍㄟˇ) [(ㄒㄧˇ ㄏㄨㄢ) (ㄉㄜ˙)] (ㄋㄢˊ ㄗ˙) ，
(song4 gei3) [(xi3 huan1)(de.)] (nan2 zi.),
(present give) [(like)(adjective marker)] (boy)
(告訴) (他) (如果) (好吃)，
(ㄍㄠˋ ㄙㄨˋ) (ㄊㄚ) (ㄖㄨˊ ㄍㄨㄛˇ) (ㄏㄠˇ ㄔ) ，
(gao4 su4) (ta1) (ru2 guo3) (hao3 chi1)
(tell) (him) (if) (delicious)
(我們) (就) (在) (一起)
(ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙) (ㄐㄧㄡˋ) (ㄗㄞˋ) (ㄧ ㄑㄧˇ)
(wo3 men.) (jiu4) (zai4) (yi1 qi3)
(we) (then, just) (at/on/exist) (together)
Give it to the boy you like, tell him, “If it is delicious, then we can go steady.”
(本) (店) (蛋糕) (很) (好吃)，
(ㄅㄣˇ) (ㄉㄧㄢˋ) (ㄉㄢˋ ㄍㄠ) (ㄏㄣˇ) (ㄏㄠˇ ㄔ) ，
(ben3) (dian4) (dan4 gao1) (hen3) (hao3 chi1)
(this our) (store) (cake) (very) (delicious)
(ㄙㄨㄛˇ ㄧˇ) (ㄧ ㄉㄧㄥˋ) (ㄏㄟˋ) (ㄔㄥˊ ㄍㄨㄥ)
(suo3 yi3) (yi1 ding4) (hui4) (cheng2 gong1)
(so) (certainly) (will) (succeed)
The cake from this our store is very delicious, so you certainly will succeed.
(如果) (被) (拒絕)，
(ㄖㄨˊ ㄍㄨㄛˇ) (ㄅㄟˋ) (ㄐㄩˋ ㄐㄩㄝˊ)
(ru2 guo3) (bei4) (ju4 jue2)
(if) (by) (to refuse, to reject)
(請) (再) (光臨)，
(ㄑㄧㄥˇ) (ㄗㄞˋ) (ㄍㄨㄤ ㄌㄧㄣˊ)
(qing3) (zai4) (guang1 lin2)
(please) (again) (honor us with your presence)
(我們) (提供)❷ (一杯) (熱) (咖啡)，
(ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙) (ㄊㄧˊ ㄍㄨㄥˋ) (ㄧ ㄅㄟ) (ㄖㄜˋ) (ㄎㄚ ㄈㄟ)
(wo3 men.) (ti2 gong4) (yi1 bei1) (re4) (ka1 fei1)
(we) (to offer, to provide) (one cup) (hot) (coffee)
(妳) (帶) (回去) (潑) (他) (臉) (上)
(ㄋㄧˇ) (ㄉㄞˋ) (ㄏㄟˊ ㄑㄩˋ) (ㄆㄛ) (ㄊㄚ) (ㄌㄧㄢˇ) (ㄕㄤˋ)
(ni3) (dai4) (hui2 lai2) (po1) (ta1) (lian3) (shang4)
(you) (to bring along) (to return) (to splash) (him) (face) (on)
If (you) are refused by (him), please come to the store again and we will give you a cup of hot coffee to splash on his face.
(huo4 de2) (to obtain, to recieve, to get) This is a more formal word meaning “to get,” which gives a mockingly serious tone to the ad.
(ben3) （this our）Both the “this” and the “our” are important aspects of this Chinese word. The “this” of this character emphasizes that they are referring to the store that is right there, and the “our” speaks of ownership. It is a different kind of “this” from saying “I heard this song,” because in that case, there is no ownership.
fen4 (MW for a portion of cake) This measure word implies an allotment that is due.
(cheng2 gong1) (success)
(bei4) (indicates passive voice) The use of this character is very similar to using the English word “by.”
(ju4 jue2) (to refuse, to decline, to reject)
(po1) (to splash)
(ti2 gong4) (to supply)
Here is what is written on the sign (same as above) if you want to try to follow the characters along in the audio without all of the translation and pronunciation in between:
❶ This is a case of same character, different pronunciation and meaning, known as 破音字 (po4 yin1 zi4) or 多音字 (duo1 yin1 zi4)If you look up (de2) in a dictionary, you will find it has 3 possible distinct uses.
❷ The tone for the second character, (gong) could be first or fourth tone, because there are two characters with very similar meanings, but different tones.