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偶成 - A Zhu Xi Poem

weather: cloudy
outside: 9.3°C
mood: ...
I'm in awe of Zhu Xi's profoundness.


shào

nián


lǎo

xué

nán

chéng
 


cùn

guāng

yīn



qīng
 

wèi

jué

chí

táng

chūn

cǎo

mèng
 

jiē

qián




qiū

shēng

朱熹

As youth ages, so learning decels.
An inch of precious time is not to be ignored.
In an unawakened pond, Spring grass dreams,
Before the front steps, the parasol tree leaves already signal Autumn.

— Zhu Xi

階 is a terrace or a flight of steps, in the physical sense, but this character is also used for "rank" and "class". The Chinese have always associated education with social stratum.

The parasol tree. If you've ever seen one, a firmiana simplex, they're usually very dense with leaves and they really block sunlight.

And of course, life is but one cycle of the seasons.

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
pne
Apr. 20th, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
Mandarin vs Cantonese
I'm curious.

You almost always[*] use Mandarin when you transcribe Chinese, yet as far as I know, your first language is Cantonese and you learned Mandarin later.

Do you now think equally fluently in Mandarin and Cantonese? Do you have the same emotional response to hearing something in either language? What language would you read a poem out loud in if you saw it written down? What language would you memorise a new poem in?

When did you start learning Mandarin?

[*] The only time I can remember off-hand where you specifically used Cantonese was in the voicepost where you recited Mulan, but that was spoken, rather than written; I'm not sure whether you've written much Cantonese transcription at all.
bride
Apr. 20th, 2006 08:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Mandarin vs Cantonese
You almost always[*] use Mandarin when you transcribe Chinese, yet as far as I know, your first language is Cantonese and you learned Mandarin later.

I transcribe in Mandarin PinYin because NJStar has an autoconversion tool =D But also because I still have the attitude that Mandarin is the Chinese standard and Cantonese is not.

Do you now think equally fluently in Mandarin and Cantonese?

I consider myself equally inarticulate in both XD

I've noticed that my Cantonese has regressed a lot. Cantonese diction and word usage has now become an occassional struggle.

And there are times when I can't even pronounce things in Cantonese properly without REALLY making an effort. If I just let it come out naturally, I have a Taiwan Mandarin accent now =O

Do you have the same emotional response to hearing something in either language? What language would you read a poem out loud in if you saw it written down? What language would you memorise a new poem in?

Depending on what it is, I will usually prefer hearing one or the other. For example, the Ballad of Mulan, I clearly prefer it in Cantonese over Mandarin. I actually think it was written for Cantonese because the end-rhymes, metre and flow are much more apparent in Cantonese.

But I can't tell if this is just because I learned it in Cantonese first... I've noticed that all the poems and things I learned in Cantonese first, I prefer hearing in Cantonese. There are exceptions, but very few.

But most of the time, I'd learn the Mandarin first (and usually only the Mandarin), just because PinYin is more accessible to me.

When did you start learning Mandarin?

I grew up with Cantonese and I still speak Cantonese with my parents. For most of my youth, I was in evening or weekend Cantonese Chinese schools where I learned lots, tested well but retained almost nothing =) But the written component was all Traditional characters. A romanization/transcription system for Cantonese didn't even exist to us. The only transcription system(s) we used were the non-standard one used by immigrants from Hong Kong when they needed something (like their last names or when we wanted to do pronunciations).

I hadn't heard of Wade-Giles until my early teens and I didn't know about JyutPing until a few years ago. Neither of them are ideal, IMHO, and I don't use them.

I was enrolled in Mandarin school for one year when I was 5, but I didn't speak much and didn't really learn a whole lot. I took Mandarin again as one of my electives in 10th grade, but I didn't really start speaking until about 12th grade when I met my husband's family.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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