Since I returned to France at the end of 2017, I miss hearing Chinese spoken in various accents. As a result, I do what I have rarely done, I watch Chinese series, which is a real linguistic delight. Following a discussion with several readers, I open a spoken language section. I will point out expressions, phrases, or words that are very “spoken” that I come across in the episodes I watch, and that you don’t necessarily learn in class. I will not give a language course. I will just give some indications that will help you.
Let’s start with one of the only series I watched when I lived in China, 蜗居, Dwelling Narrowness. The story begins when a couple moves to a city that looks like Shanghai. They clean their house, and after long hours, Sun, the husband, has had enough and says: 差不多就行了 chàbùduō jiùxíngle.When we know that 差不多 means ”almost” and 行 “it’s okay, it works,” ，one can quickly understand. On the other hand, 就 allows us to link the two verbs and to translate 就行了 as, “and it will be fine.” 了 indicates the change here.
We will translate it as “ It’s good enough this way ! ” The context shows that Su Chun is talking about cleaning the house. It implies that we have cleaned up pretty much, and we will be fine! Note the very “elliptical” nature of Chinese. In six characters, the message is very clear.
Related articles :
Articles on the Chinese language in general
Spoken Language Articles
Episode 1 of the series :
9 October 2020