|糊塗||ㄏㄨˊ ㄊㄨˊ||hú tú||muddled, confused|
|是否||ㄕˋ ㄈㄡˇ||shì fǒu||whether or not|
|弄||ㄋㄨㄥˋ||nòng||to do, to handle|
|辦||ㄅㄢˋ||bàn||to do, to manage|
|幹||ㄍㄢˋ||gàn||to do, the F- word|
|從事||ㄘㄨㄥˊ ㄕˋ||cóng shì||to go for, to engage in|
|鬼||ㄍㄨㄟˇ||guǐ||ghost, clever, sly|
|電視||ㄉㄧㄢˋ ㄕˋ||diàn shì||television|
|搞壞||ㄍㄠˇ ㄏㄨㄞˋ||gǎo huài||to break|
|明白||ㄇㄧㄥˊ ㄅㄞˊ||míng bái||clear, to understand|
|搞對||ㄍㄠˇ ㄉㄨㄟˋ||gǎo duì||to get it correct|
|搞錯||ㄍㄠˇ ㄘㄨㄛˋ||gǎo cuò||to get it wrong, a mistake|
|承認||ㄔㄥˊ ㄖㄣˋ||chéng rèn||to admit, to recognize|
|大部分||ㄉㄚˋ ㄅㄨˋ ㄈㄣˋ||dà bù fèn||in large part, the majority|
|全部||ㄑㄩㄢˊ ㄅㄨˋ||quán bù||whole, entire, complete|
|糊裡糊塗||ㄏㄨˊ ㄌㄧˇ ㄏㄨˊ ㄊㄨˊ||hú lǐ hú tú||confused, mixed up|
|腦袋||ㄋㄠˇ ㄉㄞˋ||nǎo dài||head, brain, skull, mental capacity|
(ㄖㄨˊ ㄏㄜˊ)(ㄓ ㄉㄠˋ)(ㄗˋ ㄐㄧˇ)(ㄕˋ ㄈㄡˇ)(ㄏㄨˊ ㄊㄨˊ)(ㄌㄜ˙)
(rú hé)(zhī dào)(zì jǐ)(shì fǒu)(hú tú)(le.)
(how to)(to know)(oneself)(whether or not)(confused)(completed action)
How to know if you are confused.
Vesta, my tutor, has been teaching me about the word 搞 ㄍㄠˇ (gǎo). It is a lot like the English word get, which is, in fact, one of its definitions. It is also another “to do” type of word, like the Chinese 做 ㄗㄨㄛˋ (zuò), which is very common. Common “to do” words are:
- 弄 ㄋㄨㄥˋ (nòng)
- 做 ㄗㄨㄛˋ (zuò)
- 辦 ㄅㄢˋ (bàn)
- 幹 ㄍㄢˋ (gàn) (which I discuss the delicacies of here)
- 從事 ㄘㄨㄥˊ ㄕˋ (cóng shì)
There are other Chinese combinations that mean “to do” a certain thing, but these are the more general ones.
Other definitions for 搞 are:
- to stir up, cause trouble
- to carry on, to be engaged in
- to secure
- to set up, to start, to organize
When 搞 is combined with other words, it takes on certain implications specific to the attached word. Although, you might use it by itself to ask something like:
(you)(adds -ing to following word)(engaged in)(what)(ghost, sly, crafty)
What are you up to?
(you)(what, why, how)(to do)(adjective marker)
What have you done？
There are clearly negative uses, such as:
(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄅㄚˇ)(ㄋㄧˇ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄉㄧㄢˋ ㄕˋ)(ㄍㄠˇ ㄏㄨㄞˋ)(ㄌㄜ˙)
(wǒ)(bǎ)(nǐ de.)(diàn shì)(gǎo huài)(le.)
(I)(indicates that direct object of action will be mentioned next)(your)(television)(made broken)(emphasizes completion)
I broke your TV…
There are some more positive uses of the word, such as:
(you)(to get)(to understand)(emphasize completion)(question marker)
Do you understand now?
While you can substitute 弄 in the place of 搞 in either of the previous two sentences, you would never use 做 instead.
Another interesting variation is that if you just leave out 搞 in the last sentence and simply ask 你明白了嗎？the question is about understanding from first exposure to the idea. Adding 搞 makes the sentence mean that some effort had to be engaged in to get understanding that was not there at first.
(you)(to get)(correct)(emphasize completion)
You got it right! (or “you fixed it”)
If you got confused or made a mistake, you might say:
(ㄉㄨㄟˋ ㄅㄨˊ ㄑㄧˇ), (ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄍㄠˇ)(ㄘㄨㄛˋ)(ㄌㄜ˙)
(duì bú qǐ), (wǒ)(gǎo)(cuò)(le.)
(I’m sorry, excuse me, pardon me), (I)(to do, to get)(wrong, mistake)
I’m sorry, I got that wrong.
If someone uses the combination 做錯, it usually means that something was done wrong without the implication of having made a mistake. To avoid meaning that more words would have to be used, so 搞錯 is better.
Partly because I think the Chinese word for being confused is just fun to say, I had fun when talking about being confused and that generated the sentences below:
(ㄇㄟˇ ㄍㄜ˙)(ㄖㄣˊ)(ㄉㄡ)(ㄏㄨㄟˋ)(ㄧㄡˇ)(ㄍㄠˇ ㄘㄨㄛˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙ ㄕˊ ㄏㄡˋ)
(měi ge.)(rén)(dōu)(huì)(yǒu)(gǎo cuò)(de. shi2 hou4)
(every)(person)(all)(will)(to have)(make mistake)(when)
Every person will have times when they make mistakes.
(ㄧˋ ㄒㄧㄝ)(ㄖㄣˊ)(ㄊㄚ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄍㄠˇ ㄘㄨㄛˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙ ㄕˊ ㄏㄡˋ)
(yì xiē)(rén)(tā men.)(gǎo cuò)(de. shí hòu)
…..(ㄗˋ ㄐㄧˇ)(ㄏㄨㄟˋ)(ㄔㄥˊ ㄖㄣˋ)
…..(zì jǐ)(huì)(chéng rèn)
Some people will admit when they make a mistake.
(ㄧˋ ㄒㄧㄝ)(ㄖㄣˊ)(ㄅㄨˊ)(ㄏㄨㄟˋ)(ㄕㄨㄛ)(ㄓㄨ ㄌㄞˊ)
(yì xiē)(rén)(bú huì)(shuō)(chū lái)
(some)(people)(won’t)(to speak)(to come out, to appear)
Some people won’t talk about it.
(ㄅㄨˊ ㄍㄨㄛˋ)(ㄊㄚ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄉㄡ)(ㄓ ㄉㄠˋ)(ㄗˋ ㄐㄧˇ)(ㄍㄠˇ ㄘㄨㄛˋ)(ㄌㄜ˙)
(bú guò)(tā men.)(dōu)(zhī dào)(zì jǐ)(gǎo cuò)(le.)
(however)(they)(all)(to know)(oneself)(make mistake)(emphasize completion)
However, they all know they have made mistakes.
(ㄉㄚˋ ㄅㄨˊ ㄈㄣˋ)(ㄖㄣˊ)(ㄅㄨˊ)(ㄕˋ)(ㄑㄩㄢˊ ㄅㄨˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙)
(dà bú fèn)(rén)(bú)(shì)(quán bù)(de.)
(most)(people)(not)(at be)(whole, entire)(adjective marker)
…..(ㄕˊ ㄐㄧㄢ)(ㄉㄡ)(ㄏㄨˊ ㄌㄞˇ ㄏㄨˊ ㄊㄨˊ)(ㄉㄜ˙)
…..(shí jiān)(dōu)(hú lǐ hú tú)(de.)
…..(time)(all)(confused, mixed up)(adjective marker)
Most people are not confused all the time.
(ㄖㄨˊ ㄍㄨㄛˇ)(ㄧㄡˇ)(ㄖㄣˊ)(ㄑㄩㄢˊ ㄅㄨˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄕˊ ㄐㄧㄢ)
(rú guǒ)(yǒu)(rén)(quán bù)(de.)(shí jiān)
(if)(to have)(person)(whole)(adjective marker)(time)
…..(ㄏㄨˊ ㄌㄧˇ ㄏㄨˊ ㄊㄨˊ)(ㄉㄜ˙)
…..(hú lǐ hú tú)(de.)
……….(ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄎㄜˇ ㄋㄥˊ)(ㄕㄨㄛ)
……….(wǒ men.)(kě néng)(shuō)
If someone is confused all of the time, we can probably say:
(ㄊㄚ)(ㄎㄜˇ ㄋㄥˊ)(ㄉㄧㄡ ㄉㄧㄠˋ)(ㄌㄜ˙)(ㄊㄚ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄋㄠˇ ㄉㄞˋ)
(tā)(kě néng)(diū diào)(le.)(tā de.)(nǎo dài)
He has probably lost his mind.
(ㄑㄧˊ ㄕˊ)(ㄉㄧㄡ ㄉㄧㄠˋ)(ㄋㄠˇ ㄉㄞˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄖㄣˊ)
(qí shí)(diū diào)(nǎo dài)(de.)(rén)
(actually, in fact)(to lose)(mind)(adjective marker)(person)
…..(ㄊㄚ)(ㄗˋ ㄐㄧˇ)(ㄅㄨˋ)(ㄓ ㄉㄠˋ)
…..(tā)(zì jǐ)(bù)(zhī dào)
……….(ㄗˋ ㄐㄧˇ)(ㄏㄨˊ ㄊㄨˊ)(ㄌㄜ˙)
……….(zì jǐ)(hú tú)(le.)
In fact, a person who has lost his mind does not know he is confused.
❶ Notice the similar structure of these two words, which have to do with how much of something. The character 部 is in both, meaning part. 大部分 means a big part of the pieces and 全部 means the whole of the pieces.
❷ 糊塗 and 糊裡糊塗 can pretty much be used interchangeably. They both humorously use the characters for paste and smear, so it is easy to get a visual of a confused mind being all stuck together in a smeared glob.
❸ 丟掉 has a sense of finality to it. You the 丟掉 trash. Thus, even though one of the definitions is to lose, to 丟掉 your mind implies never getting it back.
❹ The word 腦袋 literally means sack of brains. In ancient times it was the word was used when someone lost favor with the ruler and had his head cut off. Thus, it is used both metaphorically for losing one’s mind and it became associated with losing one’s position. It is still sometimes used when someone, particularly in government, loses their position.