(zen3 me.) (liu4) (ni3 de.) (gou3)
(how) ) (to stroll, to walk slowly) (your) (dog)
How to walk your dog.
Having dogs as pets is a fairly recent phenomena in Taiwan.
(wu3 shi2) (nian2) (yi3 qian2) (tai2 wan1 de.) (ren2) (bi3 jiao4) (pin2 qiong2)
(fifty) (year) (before, ago) (Taiwanese) (people) (comparatively, relatively) (poor)
50 years ago, people in Taiwan were comparatively poor.
There was no extra time or money.
(bu2) (shi4) (hen3) (duo1) (ren2) (you3) (chong3 wu4)
(not) ) (to be) (very) (many) (people) (to have) (to dote on, to favor + a thing, a being = a pet)
Not many people had pets.
In the country, some of them had cows.
(you3 shi2 hou4) (ta1 men.) (dei3) (qian1) (niu2) (chu1 qu4) (chi1) (cao1)
(sometimes) (they) (must) (to lead as with a rope) (cow) (go out) (to eat) (grass)
Sometimes they needed to lead the cows to eat grass.
Naturally, when they began to talk of caring for their pet dogs,
(ta1 men.) (ke3 yi3) (shuo1), 「(wo3) (hui4) (qian1) (gou) (chu1 qu4) (zou3 yi1 zou3)。」
(they) (can, able) (to say), “(I) (will) (to lead as with a rope) dog (go out) (walk a little walk)
They could say, “I will lead the dog out to walk.”
However, during the Qing dynasty,
(一些) [(有錢)(的)] (人) (會)(遛鳥)。
(yi2 xie1) [(you3 qian2)(de.)] (ren2) (hui4) (liu4 niao3)
(Some) [(to have money)(adjective marker)] (people) (will) (stroll + bird = parade around with their birds in cages)
some wealthy people would stroll displaying their birds in cages.
When dogs as pets became popular,
(xian4 zai4) (ren2 men.) (ke3 yi3) (shuo1) (yi2 xie1) (shi4 qing4) ((xiang4), 「(wo3) (jin1 tian1) (wan3 shang4) (hui4) (liu4 gou3).」
(now) (people) (can) (to say) (some) (things) (like), “(I) (today) (evening) (will) (stroll + dog = walk dog)
now people could say things like, “I will walk the dog this evening.”
That is, of course, if the dog is big enough.
(wo3 men.) (zhu4) (zai4) (de. shi2 hou4), (wo) (kan4 dao4) (hen3 duo1) (hen3 xiao3 de.) (gou3) (zai4) (bao1 bao1) (li3)
(we) (to live) (at) (Taiwan) (when), (I) (saw) (very many) (very small) (dog) (at) (purse) (in).
When we lived in Taiwan, I saw many small dogs in purses!
So it seems that, in these cases,
(liu4 gou3) (huo4) (liu4 niao3) (qi2 shi2) (shi4) (yi1 yang4 de.)
(walk dog) (or) (walk bird) (actually, in fact) (to be/is) (the same).
strolling about with the dog or strolling about with the bird really are actually are the same.
It makes me wonder,
(dao4 di3) (shi4) (shei2) (liu4) (shei2)?
(after all, actually, bottom line) (is) (who) (walk) (who)
Who is actually walking whom?
Here is an audio reading of the above story. My native speaker Chinese tutor reads the Chinese, while I read the English:
Notes on helpful things I learned or was reminded of while writing these sentences:
❶ The two characters 遛 and 溜 (liu4 in pinyin) are used interchangeably to mean “walk the dog or bird” in this way, both using the 4th tone.
❷ The English word “things” is translated as 東西 (dong1 xi1) when speaking of concrete objects, but as 事情 (shi4 qing2) when referring to activities or tasks.
❸ The 的 (de.) has to be added after 小 (xiao3), meaning “small,” describing the dogs, because without it the sentence would say “a lot of puppies” instead of “a lot of small dogs.”
❹ In Chinese, there is no distinction between pronouns used as the subject and those used as the object in the sentence; hence, 我 (wo3) is translated both I and me，他 (ta1) means both he and him，and 誰 (shei2) is used for who and whom.