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(to eat) (midnight snack)❾
Eat a midnight snack.
First, some vocabulary that is used in the sentences:
ㄕㄥ ㄗˋ, ㄕㄥ ㄘˊ
(shēng zì), (shēng cí)
new character, new word
dark/night/evening + night/a night trip = midnight or late night snack
to try, to attempt
sleep + conscious = to sleep, to go to bed
belly, stomach, abdomen
to want, to demand, to require, need
to find, to search out
ㄊㄡ ㄊㄡ ㄇㄛ ㄇㄛ ㄉㄜ˙
tōu tōu mō mō de.
(to steal, thief)x2 (gently touch with hand)x2 (-ly)
stealthily, sneakily, surreptitiously
to get out of bed, to get up
to steal, to snatch
until, straight up to
midnight, middle of the night
frequently, often, usually
potato + string = French fries
to look after + guest, customer = client, customer
snack, light refreshment
at any time, at all times
ㄓㄨㄣˇ ㄅㄟˋ ㄏㄠˇ
zhǔn bèi hǎo
to prepare + complete = good and ready
Now for my little story:
It is something that is hard to ignore.
(ㄧㄡˇ ㄕˊ ㄏㄡˋ)(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄔㄤˊ ㄕˋ)(ㄕㄨㄟˋ ㄐㄧㄠˋ), (ㄎㄜˇ ㄕˋ)(ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄉㄨˋ ㄗ˙)[(ㄗㄞˋ)(ㄐㄧㄠˋ)]
(yǒu shí hòu)(wǒ)(cháng shì)(shuì jiào), (kě shì)(wǒ de.)(dù zi.)[(zài)(jiào]
(sometimes)(I)(attempt to)(to sleep), (but)(my)(stomach)[(-ing)(shout, cry, call)]
Sometimes when I try to sleep, but my stomach is yelling.
There is only one solution if I want to sleep.
(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄒㄩ ㄧㄠˋ)(ㄓㄠˇ ㄔㄨ)(ㄧˊ ㄒㄧㄝ)(ㄒㄧㄠ ㄧㄝˋ)(ㄌㄞˊ)(ㄔ)
(wǒ)(xū yào)(zhǎo chū)(yí xiē)(xiāo yè)(lái)(chī)
(I)(must)(find out)(some)(midnight snack)(to come)(to eat)
I must find a midnight snack.❶
It isn’t necessarily easy.
(ㄧㄣ ㄨㄟˋ)(ㄌㄠˇ ㄍㄨㄥ)[(ㄗㄞˋ)(ㄕㄨㄟˋ ㄐㄧㄠˋ)], (ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄉㄟˇ)[(ㄊㄡ ㄊㄡ ㄇㄛ ㄇㄛ)(ㄉㄜ˙)](ㄑㄧˇ ㄔㄨㄤˊ)
(yīn wèi)(lǎo gōng)[(zài)(shuì jiào)], (wǒ)(děi)[(tōu tōu mō mō)(de.)](qǐ chuáng)
(because)(old man)❷ [(-ing)(to sleep)], (I)(must)[(stealth)(ily)](get out of bed)
Because my husband is sleeping, I must sneak out of bed.
It is like I am a little child again.
(ㄉㄚˋ ㄍㄞˋ)(ㄇㄟˊ ㄍㄜ˙)(ㄏㄞˊ ㄗ˙)(ㄉㄡ)(ㄊㄡ ㄔ)(ㄍㄨㄛˋ)(ㄉㄨㄥ ㄒㄧ)
(dà gài)(měi ge.)(hái zi.)(dōu)(tōu chī)(guò)(dōng xī)
(most probably)(every)(child)(all)(sneak food)❹ (indicating past tense of previous verb)(things)
Probably every child has snuck something to eat….
Sometimes, I am not trying to sleep.
(ㄧㄡˇ ㄕˊ ㄏㄡˋ)(ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄊㄧㄠˋ ㄨˇ)[(ㄓˊ)(ㄉㄠˋ)](ㄅㄢˋ ㄧㄝˋ)
(yǒu shí hòu)(wǒ men.)(tiào wǔ)[(zhí)(dào)](bàn yè)
(sometimes)(we)(to dance)[(straight) + (to arrive) = until, up to](in the middle of the night)
Sometimes we dance until midnight.
That uses a lot of calories.
(ㄔㄤˊ ㄔㄤˊ)(ㄊㄧㄠˊ ㄨˇ)(ㄧˇ ㄏㄡˋ)(ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄑㄩˋ)(ㄇㄞˋㄉㄤˋ ㄌㄠˊ)(ㄇㄞˇ)(ㄕㄨˇ ㄊㄧㄠˊ)
(cháng cháng)(tiào wǔ)(yǐ hòu)(wǒ men.)(qù)(mài dāng láo)(mǎi)(shǔ tiáo)
(often)(to dance)(after)(we)(to go)(McDonalds)(to buy)(potato strips)
Often after dancing, we go to McDonalds to by French fries.
When I order, they never ask me,
(ㄨㄟˋ ㄕㄣˊ ㄇㄜ˙)(ㄋㄧˇ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄓㄜˋ ㄇㄜ˙)(ㄨㄢˇ)(ㄔ)
(wèi shén me.)(nǐ men.)(zhè me.)(wǎn)(chī)
(why, for what reason)(you all)(this)(late)(to eat)
“Why are you eating this late?”
For some reason,
(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄐㄩㄝˊ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄅㄢˋ ㄧㄝˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙ㄕˊ ㄏㄡˋ)(ㄔ)(ㄕㄨˇ ㄊㄧㄠˊ)(ㄗㄨㄟˋ)(ㄏㄠˇ ㄔ)
(wǒ)(jué de.)(bàn yè)(de. shí hòu)(chī)(shǔ tiáo)(zuì)(hǎo chī)
(I)(think, feel)(midnight)(when)(to eat)(French fries)(most)(delicious)
I think that French fries eaten at midnight are the most delicious.
I think McDonald’s has the right idea.
(ㄍㄨˋ ㄎㄜˋ)(ㄗㄨㄥˇ ㄕˋ)[(ㄉㄨㄟˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙)]
(gù kè)(zǒng shì)[(duì)(de.)]
The customer is always right.
Their job is to be ready.
(ㄖㄨˊ ㄍㄨㄛˇ)(ㄍㄨˋ ㄎㄜˋ)(ㄒㄩ ㄧㄠˋ)(ㄉㄧㄢˇ ㄒㄧㄣ),
……(ㄗㄨㄥˇ ㄕˋ)(ㄙㄨㄟˊ ㄕˊ)(ㄓㄨㄣˇ ㄅㄟˋ ㄏㄠˇ)(ㄎㄜˇ ㄧˇ)(ㄇㄞˋ)( ㄍㄟˇ)(ㄍㄨˋ ㄎㄜˋ)
(rú2 guǒ)(gù kè)(xū yào)(diǎn xīn),
……(zǒng shì)(suí shí)(zhǔn bèi hǎo)(kě yǐ)(mài)(gěi)(gù kè)
(if) (customer) (want) (snack),
……(always) (at all times) (good and ready) (able) (to sell) (to give) (customer)
If the customer wants a snack, always be ready at any time to sell it to the customer.
❶ In English, most of us think that saying we are going to find a midnight snack implies eating it, too, but apparently the structure of Chinese needs the additional confirmation that the plan is to eat it when found.
❸ Even though “every” has already been specified, it is common in Chinese to add the 都 ㄉㄡ (dōu) “all” for emphasis.
❹ Yes, in Chinese, there is a specific word that means “to sneak food.”
❺ After a while, you start to get used to the fact that positional words come after the noun or verb involved.
❻ One of the more difficult things for me in Chinese is the lack of capitalization, due to the nature of the written characters, to designate proper names.
❼ The Chinese word for “midnight snack” is very specific, 宵夜 ㄒㄧㄠ ㄧㄝˋ (xiāo yè), which literally means “to need or take in the darkness of night.” However, if you want a snack at other times of day, the word 點心 ㄉㄧㄢˇ ㄒㄧㄣ (diǎn xīn) is used, which is like saying “a little something to help you take heart.”
❽ The first time I wrote this sentence, I only used the 賣 ㄇㄞˋ (mài) “to sell”, and didn’t use the 給ㄍㄟˇ (gěi) “to give,” but instructed that without the adding the 給 ㄍㄟˇ (gěi) after the 賣ㄇㄞˋ (mài), one is speaking of “selling the customer”, not “selling TO the customer.” Oops.
❾ The Chinese 宵夜 ㄒㄧㄠ ㄧㄝˋ (xiāo yè) can be translated either “late night” or “midnight,” really meaning any snack that is well after normal evening meal times.