9 minutes reading time (1816 words)

New Mandarin Chinese Lesson: Cultural Differences: About Losing Face

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We're excited to announce that 席爱娜 Xi Aina (Diana) has just published "Cultural Differences: About Losing Face", a new Intermediate level Mandarin Chinese lesson, on Language Mentor! 

Lesson Script

About Losing Face
Guānyú Diū Miànzi
关于丢面子

A:

What's up? You look - it seems - unhappy.
Zěnme le? Nǐ kànqǐlái hǎoxiàng bù kāixīn.
怎么了?你看起来好像不开心。

B:

Yesterday evening, I and my roomate ...
Zuótiān wǎnshàng, wǒ hé wǒde shìyǒu ...
昨天晚上,我和我的室友……

somewhat unhappy thing happened ...
fāshēng le yìdiǎnr bù kāixīn de shìqíng, ...
发生了一点儿不开心的事情,……

he asked me if I could talk with him or not.
tā wèn wǒ néngbùnéng hé tā tántán.
他问我能不能和他谈谈。

It looks like I - it seems - did something ...
Kànqǐlái wǒ hǎoxiang zuò le shénme ...
看起来我好像做了什么……

thing - made him feel uncomfortable.
ràng tā juéde bù shūfū de shì.
让他觉得不舒服的事。

A:

What on earth - is what thing?
Dàodǐ shì shénme shìr a?
到底是什么事儿啊?

B:

Oh, one week ago, ...
Ō, yí gè xīngqī yǐqián, ...
噢,一个星期以前,……

he had some friends come - to house - as guests, ...
tā yǒu yìxiē péngyǒu lái jiālǐ zuòkè, ...
他有一些朋友来家里做客,……

A:

Oh, then after that... ?
O, nà ránhòu ne?
噢,那然后呢?

B:

they use - stereo to play music, ...
tāmēn yòng yīnxiǎng fàng yīnyuè, ...
他们用音响放音乐,……

a bit noisy.
yǒudiǎnr chǎo.
有点儿吵。

I asked him - could put the stereo a little lower - or not.
Wǒ wèn tā kěbùkěyǐ bǎ yīnxiǎng fàng xiǎo yìdiǎnr.
我问他可不可以把音响放小一点儿。

About this matter - I actually didn't feel upset, ...
Guānyú zhè jiàn shì, wǒ bìng méiyǒu juéde fán, ...
关于这件事,我并没有觉得烦,……

I felt that to ask him to put the stereo down a bit ...
wǒ juéde ràng tā bǎ yīnxiǎng fàng xiǎo yìdiǎnr, ...
我觉得让他把音响放小一点儿,……

this - very ordinary - not anything serious ...
zhè hěn píngcháng, méishénme dàbùliǎo de, ...
这很平常,没什么大不了的,……

but it seems I did something - not good thing.
dànshì hǎoxiàng wǒ zuòle shénme bùhǎo de shì.
但是好像我做了什么不好的事。

His unhappiness was because ...
Tā bù kāixīn shì yīnwéi ...
他不开心是因为……

I - in front of his friends' faces ...
wǒ zài tā péngyǒu de miànqián ...
我在他朋友的面前……

ask him to set the stereo a little lower.
ràng tā bǎ yīnxiǎng kāi xiǎo yìdiǎnr.
让他把音响开小一点儿。

He told me if I could talk with him alone, ...
Tā gàosù wǒ rúguǒ wǒ néng dāndú hé tā tántán, ...
他告诉我如果我能单独和他谈谈,……

ask him to adjust the music down a little - then good.
ràng tā bǎ yīnyuè tiáo xiǎo yìdiǎnr jiù hǎole.
让他把音乐调小一点儿就好了。

He said - in front of his friends faces ...
Tā shuō zài tā péngyǒu miànqián ...
他说在他朋友面前……

ask him to close the music down a little, ...
ràng tā bǎ yīnyuè guān xiǎo yìdiǎnr, ...
让他把音乐关小一点儿,……

this let him lose face a little.
zhè ràng tā yǒudiǎnr diūliǎn.
这让他有点儿丢脸。

Of course I told him - about that thing - I - very sorry ...
Dāngrán, wǒ gàosù tā, guānyú nà jiàn shì wǒ hěn bàoqiàn, ...
当然,我告诉他,关于那件事我很抱歉,……

but as far as I'm concerned, ...
dànshì duìwǒláishuō, ...
但是对我来说,……

to really understand this matter - a little difficult.
yào zhēnzhèng nòngdǒng zhè jiàn shì yǒudiǎnr nán.
要真正弄懂这件事有点儿难。

If someone - in front of my friends' faces ...
Rúguǒ yǒurén zài wǒde péngyǒu miànqián ...
如果有人在我的朋友面前……

asked me - close down music a little, ...
ràng wǒ bǎ yīnyuè guān xiǎo yìdiǎnr, ...
让我把音乐关小一点儿,……

I will not feel - it is anything.
wǒ búhuì juéde yǒu shénme de.
我不会觉得有什么的。

A:

Yes, this is just where the problem is ...
Shì de, zhè jiùshì wèntí suǒzài, ...
是的,这就是问题所在,……

because - our lives' environment and culture - different.
yīnwéi wǒmēn shēnghuó de huánjìng hé wénhuà bùtóng.
因为我们生活的环境和文化不同。

In China - this way - not too polite ...
Zài Zhōngguó, zhèyàng bútài lǐmào, ...
在中国,这样不太礼貌,……

you do this way - will let him feel - very without face.
nǐ zhèyàng zuò huì ràng tā juéde hěn méiyǒu miànzi.
你这样做会让他觉得很没有面子。

Because his friends will feel ...
Yīnwéi tāde péngyǒu huì juéde ...
因为他的朋友会觉得……

the relationship between you and him - not good.
nǐ hé tā de guānxì bùhǎo.
你和他的关系不好。

In China, if you're good buddies, ...
Zài Zhōngguó, rúguǒ nǐmēn shì hǎo gēmenr, ...
在中国,如果你们是好哥们儿,……
Note: "gēmēner" is a colloquial expression used for male friends.

in front of his friends faces - no matter what thing he did, ...
zài tā péngyǒu de miànqián, wúlùn tā zuò shénme shì, ...
在他朋友的面前,无论他做什么事,……

you always should say "okay" or don't speak - don't oppose him.
nǐ dōu yào shuō hǎo huòzhě bù shuōhuà, búyào fǎnduì tā.
你都要说好或者不说话,不要反对他。

If he really did something ...
Rúguǒ tā zhēnde zuò le shénme ...
如果他真的做了什么……

something - let you feel uncomfortable, ...
ràng nǐ juéde bù shūfu de shìr, ...
让你觉得不舒服的事儿,……

you also want to wait - after friends go - then consult with him, ...
nǐ yě yào děng péngyǒu zǒule yǐhòu zài hé tā shāngliang, ...
你也要等朋友走了以后再和他商量,……

don't - towards friends' faces - say.
búyào dāngzhe péngyǒu de miàn shuō.
不要当着朋友的面说。

B:

So I shouldn't - towards his friends' faces ...
Suǒyǐ, wǒ bù yīnggāi dāngzhe tā péngyǒu de miàn ...
所以,我不应该当着他朋友的面……

ask him to close sound down a little?
ràng tā bǎ shēngyīn guān xiǎo yìdiǎnr?
让他把声音关小一点儿?

A:

Right. After his friends have gone, you can talk with him.
Duì. Tāde péngyǒu zǒule zhihòu, nǐ kěyǐ hé tā tántan.
对。他的朋友走了之后,你可以和他谈谈。

B:

Why? I'm really a little perplexed.
Wèishénme? Wǒ zhēnde yǒudiǎnr kùnhuò.
为什么?我真的有点儿困惑。

A:

Because he would like to - in front of friends faces ...
Yīnwéi tā xiǎng zài péngyǒu miànqián ...
因为他想在朋友面前……

display self's best aspect.
zhǎnshì zìjǐ zuìhǎo de yímiàn.
展示自己最好的一面。

He would like to - let friends know, ...
Tā xiǎng ràng péngyǒu zhīdào, ...
他想让朋友知道,……

as a roommate - he does very well ...
zuòwéi yígè shìyǒu, tā zuò de hěnhǎo, ...
作为一个室友,他做得很好,……

You - with regards to his every aspect - all very satisfied.
nǐ duì tāde měigè fāngmiàn dōu hěn mǎnyì.
你对他的每个方面都很满意。

B:

Um, I feel I need to think again, ...
Ng, wǒ juéde wǒ xūyào zài xiǎngxiǎng, ...
嗯,我觉得我需要再想想,……

This - with my habitual thinking - too different ...
Zhè hé wǒde xíguàn sīwéi tài bù yíyàng le ...
这和我的习惯思维太不一样了……

I need time to digest ...
Wǒ xūyào shíjiān xiāohuà ...
我需要时间消化……

Note: "xiāohuà" means "digest" or "absorb". Both Chinese and English use the analogy of physical digestion to describe the psychological process of absorbing new ways of thinking. 


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Creative Commons License

​This article and the lesson that it presents are both licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

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Friday, 30 October 2020
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