(ㄓㄨㄣˇ ㄅㄟˋ) (ㄍㄨㄛˋ) (ㄍㄢˇ ㄣ ㄐㄧㄝˊ)
(zhun3 bei4) (guo4) (gan3 en1 jie2)
(to prepare) (to celebrate) (Thanksgiving)
Preparing for Thanksgiving❶
(ㄕㄤˋ) (ㄓㄡ) (ㄧㄣ ㄨㄟˋ) (ㄧㄠˋ) (ㄍㄨㄛˋ) (ㄍㄢˇ ㄣ ㄐㄧㄝˊ)， (ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙) [(ㄅㄨˊ) (ㄉㄨㄢˋ)] (ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄇㄤˊ) (ㄓㄜ˙)
(shang4) (zhou1) (yin1 wei4) (yao4) (guo4) (gan3 en1 jie2), (wo3 men.) [(bu2)(duan4)] (de.) (mang) (zhe.)
(last) (week) (because) (want to, need to) (to live, to celebrate) (to be grateful + gratitude + holiday = Thanksgiving Day), (we) [(not)(broken) = continuous)] (ly) (busy) (-ing/particle indicating action in progress)
Last week, because of Thanksgiving, we were constantly busy.
(ㄕㄤˋ) (ㄒㄧㄥ ㄑㄧˊ ㄙˋ) (ㄕˋ) (ㄍㄢˇ ㄣ ㄐㄧㄝˊ)
(shang4) (xing1 qi2 si4) (shi4) (gan3 en1 jie2)
(last) (week day four/Thursday) (is/to be) (Thanksgiving)
Last Thursday was❷ Thanksgiving.
(ㄓㄥˇ) (ㄒㄧㄥ ㄑㄧˊ) (ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙) (ㄉㄡ) (ㄗㄞˋ)
(zheng3) (xing1 qi2) (wo3 men.) (dou1) (zai4)
(whole) (week) (we) (all) (at)
……[(ㄓㄨˇ ㄈㄢˋ) (ㄓㄨㄛˋ) (ㄌㄧㄠˋ ㄌㄧˇ)]
……[(zhu3 fan4) (zuo4) (liao4 li3)]
……[(to cook meal) (to make) (cuisine, gourmet food)]
………(ㄏㄢˋ) (ㄑㄧㄥ ㄐㄧㄝˊ) (ㄑㄩㄢˊ ㄅㄨˋ) (ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄈㄤˊ ㄗ˙)
………(han4) (qing1 jie2) (quan2 bu4) (de.) (fang2 zi.)
………(and) (to clean) (whole, complete) (adjective marker) (house)
The whole week we all cooked special food and cleaned the whole house.
(ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙) (ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄌㄠˇ ㄙˋ) (ㄧㄠˋ)
(wo3 men.) (de.) (lao3 si4) (yao4)
(our) (adjective marker) (fourth child) (to want)
……(ㄗˋ ㄐㄧˇ) (ㄐㄧˋ ㄏㄨㄚˋ) (ㄍㄢˇ ㄣ ㄐㄧㄝˊ) (ㄉㄚˋ ㄊㄢ)
……(zi4 ji3) (ji4 hua4) (gan3 en1 jie2) (da4 can1)
……(oneself) (to plan) (Thanksgiving) (big meal)
Our number four child wanted to plan Thanksgiving dinner by herself.
(ㄅㄨˊ ㄍㄨㄛˋ) (ㄉㄚˋ ㄐㄧㄚ) (ㄉㄡ) (ㄅㄤ) (ㄊㄚ) (ㄓㄨㄣˇ ㄅㄟˋ) (ㄕˊ ㄨˋ)
(bu2 guo4) (da4 jia1) (dou1) (bang1) (ta1) (zhun3 bei4) (shi2 wu4)
(however) (whole family, everybody) (all) (to help) (her) (to prepare) (food)
……(ㄧㄝˋ) (ㄒㄧˇ) (ㄏㄣˇ) (ㄉㄨㄛ) (ㄨㄢˇ ㄆㄢˊ)
……(ye3) (xi3) (hen3) (duo1) (wan3 pan2)
……(also) (to wash) (very) (many) (bowl + plate = dishes)
However, the whole family helped her prepare the food and also wash the many dishes.
(ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙) (ㄏㄨㄟˋ) (ㄧ ㄓˊ) (ㄇㄤˊ) (ㄉㄠˋ) (ㄕㄥˋ ㄉㄢˋ ㄐㄧㄝˊ)
(wo3 men.) (hui4) (yi1 zhi2) (mang2) (dao4) (sheng4 dan4 jie2)
(we) (will) (straight through, continuously) (busy) (to arrive) (Christmas)
We will be busy continuously until Christmas.
(ㄗㄞˋ) (ㄧ ㄍㄜ˙) (ㄩㄝˋ) (ㄐㄧㄡˋ) (ㄕˋ) (ㄕㄥˋ ㄉㄢˋ ㄐㄧㄝˊ) (ㄌㄜ˙)
(zai4) (yi1 ge.) (yue4) (jiu4) (shi4) (sheng4 dan4 jie2) (le.)
(again, then) (one) (month) (exactly) (to be/is) (Christmas) (indicates completion)
In one month, it will be Christmas!
❶ The translation could be “Preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving” also, but what I asked my tutor about was saying “preparing for Thanksgiving” and this is what needs to be said in Chinese. Recall there are not prepositions in Chinese.
❷ This is translated as “was” because the time indicator in the Chinese sentence has stipulated “last week.” If the time indicator had been “today,” it would be translated “is”; or if it had read “next week” it would have been translated “will be” even though in Chinese the character 是 ㄕˋ (shi4) would be used in each instance.
❸ In this case, it would not be enough to say simply 煮飯 ㄓㄨˇ ㄈㄢˋ (zhu3 fan4), as that would imply indicate an ordinary, every day meal. Adding 做料理 ㄗㄨㄛˋ ㄌㄧㄠˋ ㄌㄧˇ (zuo4 liao4 li3) adds what is needed for preparing food for a festival or celebration.
❹ Like in English, we usually say we are going to someone’s “home,” but when we are cleaning, it is referred to as a “house.”
❺ Please see this blog about ordering things in Chinese to understand this term better.
❻ In Chinese, most meals are referred to by time of day, so in order to indicate the unique type of meal here, it is called a “big meal,” instead of dinner, because it is not dependent on time of day.
❼ Two other ways to say “continuously” are
ㄅㄨˊ ㄉㄨㄢˋ ㄉㄜ˙
(bu2 duan4 de.)