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(jue2 ding4) (zao3 can1) (chi1) (shen2 me.)
(to decide) (breakfast) (to eat) (what)
Deciding what to eat for breakfast.
My tutor often asks me,
(chi1) (guo4) (zao3 can1) (le.) (ma.)
(to eat) (indicates something has passed or happened) (early meal) (expletive emphasizing completion of action) (question sound)
Have you eaten breakfast?
We sometimes compare breakfast foods.
(ta1) (hen3) (xi3 huan1) (chi1) (chao3) (dan4)
(she) (very) (to like) (to eat) (stir fried) (egg)
She likes fried eggs.
She thinks my choices are healthy.
(wo3) (chang2 chang2) [(kao3)(tu3 si1)] (mo3) (nai3 you2) (han4) (feng1 mi4), (ye3) (he1) (ban4) (bei1) (cheng2 zhi1)
(I) (often, usually) [(to bake, to toast) (toast)] (to spread, to smear) (butter, cream) (and) (honey), (also) (to drink) (half) (cup, glass) (orange juice)
I often have toast with butter and honey on it, plus half a glass of orange juice.
When she asked,
(yi4 ban1) (mei3 guo2) (ren2) (de.) (zao3 can1) (chi1) (shen2 me.)
(in general) (American) (people) (adjective marker) (early meal) (to eat) (what)
What do most American’s eat for breakfast?
I told her people are in a big hurry in the mornings.
(tai4) (duo1) (mei3 guo2) (ren2) (chi1) (xian4 cheng) (de.) (mai4 pian4)
(too) (many) (American) (people) (to eat) (ready complete) (adjective marker) (wheat + piece = cereal, oatmeal)
Too many Americans eat cold cereal.
She wonders if Americans really eat the way shown on TV.
(ke3 neng2) (yi4 ban1) (mei3 guo2 ren2)(de.) (zao3 can1) (shi4) (liang3 ge.) (dan4), (liang3) (pian4) (kao3 tu3 si1), (san1) (tiao1) (yan1 xun1) (xian2) (zhu1 rou4) (pian4), (han4) (yi4) (bei1) (ka1 fei1)
(maybe) (in general) (American)(‘s) (breakfast) (to be/is) (two) (egg), (two) (piece) (cooked toast), (three) (lengths) (smoked) (salt) (pork meat) (pieces), (and) (one) (cup) (coffee)
Maybe most American’s breakfast is 2 eggs, 2 pieces of toast, 3 pieces of bacon, and one cup of coffee.
Everyone at my house eats different things for breakfast.
(wo3 de.) (lao3 gong1) (hen3) (xi3 huan1) (jian1) (dan4), (ke3 shi4) (ru2 guo3) (wo3) (chi1) (re4) (mai2 pian4) (wo3) (jue2 de.) (bi3 jiao4) (hao3)
(my) (husband) (very) (to like) (to fry) (egg), (but) (if) (I) (to eat) (hot) (cereal) (I) (feel)(comparatively) (better, good)
My husband likes fried eggs, but I feel better if I eat hot cereal.
It depends on my planned activities.
(zai4) (wo3) (pao3 bu4) (yi3 qian2), (wo3) (zui4 hao3) (bu4) (chi1) (you2 zha4) (de.) (shi2 wu4)
(at) (I) (to run) (before), (I) (best) (not) (to eat) (oil fried, greasy) (adjective marker) (food)
Before I run, it is best that I not eat greasy foods.
Americans might have trouble asking for cold cereal in Taiwan.
(tai2 wan1) (ren2) (bu4) (xi3 huan1) (leng3)(de.) (shi2 wu4), (suo3 yi3) (zhe4) (yang4)(de.) (mai4 pian4) (jiao4) (su4 shi) (mai4 pian4)
(Taiwan) (people) (not) (like) (cold) (adjective marker) (food), (so) (this) (kind, sort)(adjective marker) (cereal) (known as, called) (instant food) (cereal)
Taiwanese people don’t like cold food, so this kind of cereal is called instant cereal.
I do admit to buying cold cereal sometimes, though.
(you3 shi2 hou4) (wo3) (ye3) (chi1) (su4 shi2) (mai4 pian4), (su4 shi2) (mai4 pian4) (shi4) (hen3) (hao3)(de.) (xiao1 ye4)
(sometimes) (I) (also) (to eat) (instant/cold) (cereal), (instant/cold) (cereal) (is/to be) (very) (good) (adjective marker) (midnight snack)
Sometimes I also eat cold cereal; cold cereal is a very good midnight snack.
It’s kind of funny.
(xia4) (yi4) (can1) (jing4 ran2) (shi4) (zao3 can1)
(next) (one) (meal) (actually) (is/to be) (breakfast)
The next meal is actually breakfast!
The audio of the above sentences, with my tutor reading the Chinese and me reading the English is below:
Notes on things I reviewed or learned:
❶ 過 (guo4) is a common character/word with several related meanings that I learned a lot about when discussing people meddling in your life in this blog post.
❷ What the Chinese language is lacking in words for oven cooking, it makes up for in variety of words for “to fry.” I have now learned you can “stir fry” 炒 (chao3), fry without a lot of oil 煎 (jian1), or fry with lots of oil 炸 (zha2 or zha4).
❸ Toast and bread are foods introduced by more western cultures. Because of certain original misunderstandings, in Chinese it must be specified that the toast is actually toasted, using the word 烤 (kao3), which sounds repetitive to most native English speakers.
❹ My tutor explains that toast is basically considered synonymous with sliced bread in Taiwan. They speak of buying a loaf of toast, because the idea of bread was originally so completely associated with toast when it was introduced to their culture. Also, you may have noticed that the Chinese word for toast is trying to sound like the English word “toast.” There are other “breads,” but a loaf is a specific kind of bread called “toast.”
❺ 蜂蜜 (feng1 mi4) is a fun word for me because it is fun to say and has much in common with our use of the words “honey” and “bee.” In English, we have the implied switch of order in the compound word “honeybee” to “bee honey.” We don’t usually say “bee honey” in English, but that is what we mean. Similarly, in Chinese, 蜜蜂 ? (mi4 feng1) means “bee” or “honey bee,” while 蜂蜜 (feng1 mi4) means “honey.”
❻ I discuss ways to refer to my husband in this blog: How to Talk About Your Husband in Chinese
❼ I reviewed an important grammar structure here. If the 以前 (yi3 qian2), meaning “before,” is placed in front of the action, it means “I went running before or previously.” But I wanted it to say “before I go running, I had better…” So you can see that is opposite of the common English order.
❽ Learn more about what is involved in getting a midnight snack here:How to Eat a Midnight Snack in Chinese