Temporary audio below
(zen2 me.) (fu4 zhi4) (mou3 ren2)
(how) (to copy/to clone) (someone)
(click on photo to enlarge)
Photography by Natalie Blodgett
It sounds good in theory.
(you3 shi2 hou4) (ni3) (xu1 yao4) (geng4 duo1) (bang1 mang2)
(sometimes) (you) (to want) (more) (help)
Sometimes you really want more help.
Like my daughter’s boss the other day.
(ta1) (kan4 dao4) (ta1) (zuo4) [(gao1 xiao4 lü4)(de.)] (gong1 zuo4)
(he) (saw) (her) (to act/to make) [(high effectiveness rate)(adjective marker)] (work)
He saw she works efficiently.
She didn’t know he was so impressed and was completely surprised when he said,
(wo3) (yao4) (jian3) (yi1 dian3) (ni3 de.) (tou2 fa4), (yin1 wei4) (wo3) (yao4) (fu zhi4) (ni3)
(I) (to want) (to cut) (a little) (your) (head hair), (because) (I) (to want) (to copy/to clone) (you)
“I want to cut a little of your hair, because I want to clone you.”
Apparently, being of the thorough sort,
(ta1) (ye3) (wen2) (wo3 de.) (nü3 er2), “(qing2) (gei3) (wo3) (yi1 dian3) (ni3 de.) [(xue4 jiang1) (yang4 ben3)]
(he) (also) (to ask) (my) (daughter), “(please) (to give) (me) (a little) (your) [(plasma) (sample/specimen)]
He also asked my daughter, “Please, give me a sample of your plasma.”
She has very good kitchen skills.
(ta1) (qie1)❸ (dong1 xi1) (hen3) (kuai4), (xiang4) (ren3 zhe3) (yi1 yang4)
(she) (cuts) (things) (very) (fast), (like) (ninja) (the same)
She cuts everything very fast, like a ninja.
You can’t hold it against him.
(shei2) (bu4) (xi3 huan1) (fu4 zhi4) (yi1 ge.) [(chu2 fang2)(de.)] (ren3 zhe3)
(who) (not) (like) (to clone/to copy) (one/a) [(kitchen) (adjective marker)] (ninja)
Who wouldn’t like to clone a kitchen ninja?
I could claim some of the credit.
(ke2 neng2) (ta1) (you3) [(zui4 hao3)(de.)] (ji1 yin1)
(perhaps/maybe) (she) (to have) [(best)(adjective marker)] (genes)
Maybe she has really good genes.
Not that I am good with knives.
(dang1) (wo3) (kan4) (ta1) (qie1) (dong1 xi1) (de. shi2 hou4), (wo3) (you3 shi2) (hui4) (xia4 yi1 tiao4)
(just at) (I) (to see) (her) (to cut) (things) (when), (I) (sometimes) (will) (a little jump = startled).
When she cuts things, sometimes I am startled.
(ta1) (yi2 chuan2) (yi1 xie) (wo3 de.) (hen3 hao3 de.) (ji1 yin1)
(she) (to inherit) (some) (my) (very good) (genes).
she inherited some of my good genes.
One thing I know for sure:
(ta1) (zuo4 fan4) (bi3) (duo1 shu4) (ren2) (hao)
(she) (make meal/prepare food) (compared to) (most/majority) (person/people) (good/wonderful)
She cooks a lot better than most people!
Below is an audio of the blog to help practice the correct Chinese pronunciation. I read the English, but my native speaker tutor reads the Chinese:
❶ The dictionary also shows that 克隆人 (ke4 long2 ren2) can also be used for the word “clone,” but it is more of a sound approximation of the English word, whereas the other word actually means “to copy.”
❷ A variation for saying “efficiently” is 高效能 (gao1 xiao4 neng2), which is the same first two characters, but a different third one which means “capable.” My tutor told me that both are correct, but the way I used in the blog is more common, probably because the fourth tone of the ending character gives it a more emphatic sound.
❸ 剪 (jian3) is specifically the word for “to cut” that is used when two opposing blades are used for the action, like with scissors. When using a single blade, such as knife, the verb is 切 (qie1). To help me remember this, my tutor told me,
(yong4) (jian3 dao1) (jian3), (yong4) (dao1 zi.) (qie1)
(use) (scissors) (to cut), (use) (knife) (to cut).
❹ Here I originally tried to use a classifier of “one,” similar to how in English we say “a sample.” However, it was explained to me that whereas in Chinese a person could ask for 一個細胞 (yi1 ge. xi4 bao1) “one cell” to clone someone, because it is a distinct unit. Getting just one would be hard, so probably 幾個 (ji3 ge.) “a few” would be asked for. The choices for a portion of plasma are “some” or “a little.”
❺ There don’t seem to be prepositions or prepositional phrases in Chinese. Instead, the descriptor that would be part of the preposition in English becomes part of the noun in Chinese.
❻ The history of the word for “ninja” is intriguing. The concept of a ninja is Japanese, but the Japanese language uses a lot of the same characters as Chinese, which is the case for this word. Our English pronunciation comes from the Japanese word. The Chinese characters, however, are very descriptive, meaning “those who endure,” although the word order sounds backward to me as 忍 (ren3) is the word for “endure,” and 者 (zhe3) the one for “those who.”
❼ This Chinese word is created to sound like the original “gene” as much as possible, although it is my experience that such words usually sound very Chinese when spoken by native speakers! It may also be a pun, since 基 (ji1) means “basic, foundation” and 因 (yin1) means “cause.”