References/Languages (cont.d)

Miscellaneous Notes on Languages


The Guardian

  • From freecycling to Fairphones: 24 ways to lead an anti-capitalist life in a capitalist world (John Harris and The Guardian readers)
    • haberdasher : a small shop selling sewing articles; its owner or worker
    • find stuff in skips : skip BrE, a dumpster
    • stained glasses : glasses like church window glasses; not referring to muddy spots studded dirty glasses
    • log burners vs central heating
    • the manufacture of smartphones often looks like a morass of appalling labour standards and toxic materials : !!!
    • Use your TV remote—there is no beating this pearl of wisdom: “Turn the sound down when the adverts are on.”
  • Revealed: Disney’s £35 Ariel doll earns a Chinese worker 1p
  • Underpaid and exhausted: the human cost of your Kindle
  • Apple under fire over reports students worked illegal overtime to build iPhone X
  • I’m happily married but can’t get someone I met out of my head (Mariella Frostrup)
    • turn a different corner and we never would have met
    • In real life we know what comes next: compromise, responsibility and the daily maintenance required to keep any relationship and later, a family afloat
    • transcendental moments vs. long term unions
    • wandering the ruins of ancient civilizations offers the chance to marvel at what they built but also offers a salutary reminder of what was lost
  • Country pride: what I learned growing up in rural America (Sarah Smarsh)
  • Why I came out as being poor (Stephanie Land)
  • The trouble with getting lost in your own world… (David Mitchell)
    • sciatica : pain in the back, hip and outer side of the leg, cf. sciatic nerve, ocular nerve
    • denying or warping reality
    • universities are becoming bastions of these trigger warnings : cf. bao lei
    • heretical viewpoints are the products of blinkered self-interest : blinkered, narrow-minded
  • Read this and you may never eat chicken again (Maryn McKenna)
    • a low hum of argument and chatter, punctuated by dollies thumping over the curbstones and vendors shouting deals : dolly, a low platform on wheels for moving heavy objects, cf. ban che
    • the funk of bruised cabbage leaves underfoot, the sharp sweetness of fruit sliced open for samples, the iodine tang of seaweed propping up rafts of scallops in broad rose-colored shells : funk, cold sweat, unpleasant smell; tang, flavor; scallop, a shellfish, cf. bei
    • spatchcocked outline : spatchcock, a chicken cut open and cooked under heat
    • skin shatters like mica : (lighting when a chicken is cooked) mica, a mineral that separates into transparent layers of rock, gleam
    • fricassee : a hot dish of meat and veggie served with thick white sauce
    • turn a skittish, active backyard bird into a fast-growing, slow-moving, docile block of protein, as muscle-bound and top-heavy as a bodybuilder in a kids’ cartoon : skittish, playful, lively
    • Tetracycline arrived in 1948, and resistance was nibbling at its effectiveness before the 1950s ended : nibble, erode with small bitings
    • unspooling of antibiotic resistance
    • not to forgo its chance : do without
    • it is additionally like climate change because any action taken in hopes of ameliorating the problem feels inadequate, like buying a fluorescent lightbulb while watching a polar bear drown
    • relinquish, relish, delinquency
    • (farming) chicken, cattle, hogs
    • to care for sick animals, but not to fatten or protect them
  • Is the writing on the wall for Theresa May and Britain? (David Mitchell)
    • … as giving speeches without croaking and phlegming is part of the job … : croak, make a rough low sound (like a frog)
    • … with coughing and spluttering thrown in … : splutter, make a series of short explosive sounds
    • titular head of the government … : titular head, figurehead
    • grisly aesthetic : grisly, gruesome
    • queasy : nauseous
    • risible : laughable
  • Losing my hair at the age of six shaped my life (Matt Lucas)
    • wheeze : breathe noisily, gasp, rasp, croak
    • Ventolin inhaler : a drug used in treatment of asthma, cf. Strepsils, throat sweet
    • this blotchy, dumpy vessel betrayed my boisterous, carefree spirit : blotchy, mottled, dappled, spotted, smudged, splotchy, splodgy
    • … was bent double at the kerb, gasping for air.
    • a source of amusement, sympathy and revulsion
    • traipse down to London : traipse, trudge
    • … was prodded, poked and gazed at …
    • jokey response when in good mood and withering retort when not
    • totter up the road : teeter, shamble, wobble
  • Everybody lies: how Google search reveals our darkest secrets (Seth Stephens-Davidowitz)
    • … they call in sick when they are not; they say they are happy while (down) in the dumps …
    • effective persuading rhetoric for protecting minorities : They are our collegues, our neighbours, our sport stars and men and women in uniform who are willing to sacrifice themselves to defend this country
  • How I caught a serial killer – and lost my career in the police (Tim Lewis)
    • … confession was elicited under duress : duress, coercion
    • I’ve more commendations than you can shake a large stick at : more than shake a stick at, abundantly
    • bears out : it proves true
    • writing (the book) has been cathartic : cathartic, clearing one’s name, emotional release
    • the urgency of his voice galvanised them into action
  • My best friend met the love of her life – and I can’t cope (Dear Mariella)
    • … The depth of a friendship can’t be judged by proximity, the regularity of your communication or occasional disappointments, but by your compatibility and the generosity with which you accept each other’s foibles : foibles, weakness
    • onerous connections : onerous, burdensome
    • battling Canute style against the tides : Canute, used to describe a person who tries to stop something from happening but will never succeed
    • a hamster on a wheel endlessly treading the same space is the definition of hell
    • It’s ironic that the defining feature of all our lives – the inevitability of nothing staying as it is – is what we battle hardest against
  • I’m deeply in love – but terrified of it ending (Mariella Frostrup)
    • … to zoom in on the vagaries of love, an emotional state defined by its ability to elicit moments of unadulterated happiness, or bring us to our knees in pain. Love is exalted because, at its best, it’s an emotion that shows human nature at its most attractive … : vagary, change, cf. variety is the spice of life and vaudeville.
    • Love makes us, however briefly, less self-centered and far more giving. It’s a rare opportunity to taste and understand the possibilities of such benign goodness … No matter what efforts you put in to prolong or police it, what will be will be, as the tune goes. It’s why the best and longest-surviving relationships involve partnership in the best sense, where two people pull together with each other’s best interests at the forefront of their minds, but their individual freedom intact.
    • That requires strength and the ability to walk the world with confidence knowing that on your own you’re a survivor and in partnership your potential may be even greater.
    • Partners will come and go, just as will friends and jobs. What seem like core beliefs to you today will evolve, alter and adapt. We are nourished in fluid during our earliest beginnings and it’s a state we do well to maintain – the ability to drift with life’s currents rather than continually trying to force a set path through unknown territory. The surest way to propel a relationship to its conclusion is to begin cementing it into a permanent, unalterable shape.
    • it’s hard to resist the compulsion to mount barriers around what is good
  • It’s not wrong to fall for someone, but shouldn’t it take years, not months? (Adam Golightly)
    • Jo raises her head from the Aga, raven hair sticking to her flushed face, blue eyes sparkling with the enthusiasm that so characterises her, “Fancy some homemade apple crumble, Adam?”. She’s wildly beautiful, fun and confident : raven hair, black hair
    • living testimony to
    • park the ramblings of emotionally stunted 12-year-old : stunted that has not been able to grow or develop as much as it should
  • Bonfire of the theories: Wolfe battles Chomsky over roots of language (Edward Helmore)
    • arcane study of languages has a new entrant
    • cavorting from one thing to another : cavort, skip, romp, leap
    • excoriation : abrade; to criticise severely
  • When is the right time for a widower’s libido to wake up? (Adam Golightly)
    • It was innocent, with much laughing, many nightcaps, no kissing : nightcap, a drink, usually containing alcohol, taken before going to bed
    • pucker up : pucker, wrinkle, she puckered her lips; pucker-up
    • a tonic to my spinning head : tonic, stimulant
  • Our baby was due in six months. Then my girlfriend said she’d met another man (Liam Blake)
    • whorls in the floorboards : whorl, loop
    • powder blue velour sweatshirt : velour, a plush woven fabric resembling velvet, used for soft furnishings, casual clothing, and hats
    • unconscionable : unethical
    • romper suits : a young child’s one-piece outer garment
    • editing the list of names we’d had percolating for years : percolate, filter as in water percolated through the soil; also as spread as in a few of these technological marvels began to slowly percolate into the countryside
    • periodic rows that pockmarked the end of the first trimester : cf. pockmarked face; scabrous
    • snot and tears
    • a chasm yawned between us
  • Lionel Shriver’s teenage diary: bad spelling and unreturned affections (Lionel Shriver)
    • I scrambled into my attic recently to dig up the damp, furry-cardboard covers of the journals
    • self-excoriating shame : excoriate, abrade
    • woe-mucking about a classmate
    • a girl who flitted from one crush to another : flit, dart
    • wayward leanings : wayward, wilful
    • divulge : disclose
    • of this coming to loggerheads with my parents : loggerhead, at odds with
    • I yearned to fall in love, and constructed a fetishistic, romantic ideal out of one real, perfectly nice, but probably rather ordinary boy
    • high flown histrionics : histrionic, very emotional
  • Harriet Harman, what were you thinking? (Victoria Coren Mitchell)
    • be squarely on my radar : squarely, directly, straight
    • missed a central plank of the story
    • a visible obsession with the trappings of wealth
    • slough off : get rid of
  • Why elected leaders ought to make the big decisions (David Mitchell)
    • a wondrous epiphany : wonderous is not a word
    • looking to MPs to display great intelligence, insight, fortitude or a cool head in a crisis
    • marinated in cynicism : marinate, souse, soak, drench, cf. yan zhi
    • lopsided friendship : lopsided, one-sided
    • this shrinkage is better thought of as a winnowing, as we zero in on those friendships that are actually reciprocated : winnow, separate (out), cf. minnow; zero in on, target at
  • Eric Cantona: I love José Mourinho but he is not Manchester United (Owen Gibson)
    • guff : foolish talks or ideas
    • to a tee : exactly
    • mercurial (of a person) : cf. shan bian
    • feeling never wavered : waver, flicker, glimmer
    • his imperial phase in England straddled the dawn of the Premier League era : straddle, place legs wide apart
    • … few are willing prod and probe on whether modern football has lost something along the way …
    • Looking back on his own football career, it doesn’t rankle that he never lit up the biggest stage for his country : rankle, cause resentment to
  • I have three seconds before she draws blood: life with extreme eczema (Maggie O’Farrell)
    • … she screams, she writhes, she tears at her skin, her handcoverings, her clothing: writhe, squirm, twist
    • sudden bouts of auto-scratching
    • lacerated skin : cf. pockmarked, scabrous
    • A week later, Astrid’s skin was peeling off in strips, like dried glue. The cuffs of jackets seemed too harsh for the petal delicacy of her; the circle backs of poppers and the undersides of zips were a metallic outrage, printing her with red, raw lesions : popper, BrE, snap, AmE, means press stud; lesion, wound
    • as if the eczema is a synecdoche for Astrid herself : synecdoche, a word or phrase in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa, as in England lost by six wickets (meaning “the English cricket team”).
    • (eczema) a fluid, febrile force : febrile, feverish
    • a constant presence, like tinnitus or background music: tinnitus, ringing or buzzing in the ears
    • (wounds) septic : inflected
    • miffed older sibling : miffed, annoyed
    • emollient : palliative
    • It is a long shot, I know, but we have to try it. At this point, I am the definition of desperate. I would hang upside down from a tree in the moonlight, chanting spells, if there was even the slightest chance it might work.
    • so solid, it bends a spoon
  • Kate Beckinsale: Our phones were tapped by spooks when we were growing up (John Patterson)
    • familiar whiff of “doomed bourgeois in love”
    • bristle, brittle
    • Lady Susan is the titular heroine of an Austen fragment, a 60-page epistolary novella that went unpublished in her lifetime
    • desperation to find good husbands for herself and her child is mixed with a beguiling slyness and cast-iron self-assurance
  • Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems (George Monbiot)
    • attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty : inimical, harmful
    • the inexorable rise of crime : inexorable, relentless, unstoppable
    • pike and minnows : big fish and little fish
    • charge iniquitous rates of interest : iniquitous, unfair
    • workers, job-seekers and public services of every kind are subject to pettifogging, stifling regime of assessment and monitoring : pettifogging, old-fashioned too concerned with details
    • The privatisation or marketisation of public services such as energy, water, trains, health, education, roads and prisons has enabled corporations to set up tollbooths in front of essential assets and charge rent, either to citizens or to government, for their use
    • privatised services make stupendous fortunes : stupendous, colossal
    • disparaged by: devalued by
    • cajoling : cajoling, threatening and ultimately coercing people to obey them
    • conceal more than elucidate
    • tax arrangements that bamboozle governments : bamboozle, to trick someone
    • if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident
  • Why the super-rich won’t live in a house fit for a king (David Mitchell)
    • you’re immediately basking in other people’s dislike
    • raise the hackle or hackle raising : hackle, erectile hair along the neck and back especially of a dog, cf. maogu songran
    • coppers : BrE coins of not much value
    • minstrel : a musician or a singer in the Middle Ages
    • onyx, granite and marble
    • I reflected as I wrung the snobbish spittle out of my beard : wring, twist, extract; spittle, spit
    • tacky : cheap bad made or lacking in taste, cf. gaudy
    • brim with rage : brim, full of
    • lichen tempers its frowning crenellations into a smile
    • brand new, as gleaming and modern as
  • From oddballs to Indiana Jones: my online search for love (Stella Grey)
    • roll up my sleeves
    • I trawled the sites for men to talk to : trawl, fish with a trawl net; search thoroughly
    • I bent over backwards to be liked
    • being guilty of ventriloquism, speaking out of puppet versions of ourselves
    • a paunchy, wild-haired academic : pot belly
    • I fell deep into a pit of infatuation
    • pillock : a stupid person
    • At times, online dating was just too hard. It rocked my confidence. It caused deep new wells of anxiety to be dug
    • twiddle your toes : twiddle, fiddle
    • a bistro : a small inexpensive restaurant
    • be pithy rather than gushing : succinct
  • Public ownership of Tata Steel could work–just look at Rolls-Royce (Larry Elliott)
    • bail out lame ducks
    • the peak period for intervention were between 1971 and 1977, straddling administrations headed by Heath, and Labour’s Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan
    • one-word rejoinder : rejoinder, answer

Travel and Fotografie


  • Denis Healey: Best Prime Minister Labour Never Had? originally aired on 7 Oct, 2015
  • Words
    • love is the currency you can give to anyone in the world while profound stupidity and outright falsehood is the only currency circulated by Fox News
    • Flake folded like a cheap suit on Kavanaugh vote : cf. cave in
    • by dint of : by means of
    • Democrats romp to a win in Guam : sail
    • a door left ajar : cf. ban yanzhe
    • marquee player fund : cf. jiechu jijin
    • public officials put on a public face in order to mask their intentions : cf. jia zhengjing
    • fiendishly clever : cf. dizzyingly smart
    • the scale of crimes began to outstrip the documentary’s ability to record them : outrun
    • (rocks) to skim across the water : cf. da shuipiao
    • a commuter wedged on a rail train : cf. ji gongjiao
    • a cornucopia of delights : cf. furao
    • it stirs not a single pang of envy : cf. yisi jidu
    • hair raising experience : cf. maogu songran, hackle raising
    • lynch somebody : lynch, (of a group of people) kill (someone) for an alleged offence without a legal trial, especially by hanging; cf. lingchi
    • accurst : archaic spelling of accursed
    • foreboding : foreboding, apprehension; forebode, foreshadow, something bad might happen
    • volition : of one’s own accord; related to voluntary
    • a tapestry of mendacity : outright falsehood
    • murky legal system : cf. hun’an fazhi
    • meet target in a canter : cf. baiju guoxi
    • paddle misbehaving children : cf. bian ta
    • buck passing : dodging responsibilities, cf. ti piqiu
    • grist to the mill : something that is useful in a particular situation
    • flaunt the law : cf. flout, zhifa fanfa
    • sultriness in the atmosphere : cf. fengsao
    • Latin doggerel : cf. dayou shi
    • a courteous host : cf. ketao
    • Australia get off the mark : to start scoring, especially in cricket
    • languid gait : walk, stride
    • May’s NHS pledge decried as sticking plaster : it refers the mess of austerity years that cannot mended by so called post-EU windfall
    • Travolta’s screen portrayal takes quite a pelting : hit by a bomb
    • wrecking ball Chris Chope vs up skirting bill : heavy metal ball that swings from a crane to knock a building down.
    • Xhaka ready to lock horns with Neymar : to get involved in an argument
    • a bevy of beauties : a group of beautiful young women
    • glamour outside, misdemeanor inside : cf. jinxu qiwai, baixu qizhong
    • someone ponders life beyond his profession
    • sweep up awards : cf. clear up below
    • even an olive branch cannot end the froideur : coolness or reserve between people
    • long, wavy, obsidian hair : dark, hard like volcanic rock
    • fiery red hair
    • they were given an inch and took 100 miles : cf. decun jinchi
    • remain foolishly frit of spectres of invading foreign hordes : frit, prepare by heat the materials for glass
    • Gove, and other reprobates, will do their best to undermine Labour’s change in policy : reprobate, rogue; cf. oafish
    • utterly sloshed : used for celebration
    • Team Norway clear up the traditional sports events in Winter Olympics in which Team America rarely catch a whiff of the podium : clear up, see sweep up above, here cf. hengsao
    • gentle billows of smoke : cf. niaoniao chuiyan; her dress billows out around her
    • the first tranche of Premier League TV packages : tranche, one part of a number of shares
    • enduring tendrils of the declining British empire : tendril, cf. teng; man
    • sling out vs. stamp out : stamp out, stop bad from happening
    • moral pygmies : little men
    • clutching at straws : out of desperation when drowning
    • a mixture of genuine antiquity, in manner and values, and confected confidence : confect, preserve; put together from varied material
    • a deftly spun yarn (rave review for the film Phantom Thread)
    • The sight of the PM grovelling around the world because the Brexit Britain is now secondary to the biggest players in the world, the EU, US and China, is not very edifying.
    • Wanwu Sangzhi : Toys in hands, ambition wanes
    • pedigree vs. perigee vs. pilgrimage
    • mosquito magnet: cf. zhao wenzi
    • frail in body but mentally alert
    • retained the sense of curiosity
    • Qing chuyu Lan, shengyu Lan : Aqua, grown out of Blue, excels more than Blue in its own right.
    • offhand remark : offhand, casual
    • (pasta) angel hair : cf. (mian) long xu
    • how Guy Fawkes ignited an explosive literary legacy
    • chalk it up to experience : informal to accept a failure or disappointment calmly and regard it as an experience that you can learn something from
    • dismissed as tripe : tripe, nonsense
    • flack : criticism
    • bandy : curved legs such that knees are far apart
    • inured to : accustomed to, newspapers so often bandy about the million unit that readers can get inured to its true significance
    • warts and all : idiom informal unvarnished, including features or qualities that are not appealing or attractive, Philip must learn to accept me, warts and all
    • demure : (of a woman or her behaviour) reserved, modest, and shy, a demure little wife who sits at home minding the house, cf. jin chi
    • the coach rails at scandalous penalty decision : rail, protest
    • comport : to behave in a particular way, she always comports herself with great dignity
    • adjudicate : to settle judicially
    • rube : AmE informal bumpkin
    • hick : cf. rube
    • the crumbling of old political shibboleths : shibboleth : formal an old idea
    • giddy : dizzy; too excited; old-fashioned not serious
    • dour : (of a person) not pleasant, unfriendly
    • thrice : three times
    • huckster : a person who uses aggressive or annoying methods to sell something; costermonger
    • dash the (lingering) hopes of the last minute compromise
    • intransigent : stubborn
    • by dint of : by means of
    • fulcrum : cf. zhi dian
    • leave in droves
    • doozy : AmE informal something that is very special and unusual
    • ruff : a ring of coloured or marked feathers or fur around the neck of a bird or an animal, cf. frill
    • beset by : plagued by
    • raffish, rakish : both mean (BrE) louche
    • the house teemed with ardent Trots
    • While your endeavours to put this into a logical narrative are appreciated, I keep thinking of a tornado that has swept up all the barnyard animals in its vortex, has them swirling around in the air, and we’re trying to predict which one will eventually land in the barn
    • Labour makes inroads : make inroads into/on, achieve something by reducing the power of something else, e.g., This deal is their first major inroad into the American market
    • no sooner inaugurated
    • left the world agog : agog, eager
    • glitz : the quality of appearing very attractive, exciting and impressive, in a way that is not always genuine
    • snooty reviews : snooty, arrogant
    • craven capering : caper, informal an activity, especially one that is illegal or dangerous
    • senile movie star : cf. senile dementia, a comment from Conte on Murinho
    • studiedly low profile : studied, deliberate
    • shire Tories vs. citizens of the world : shire Tories, cf. xiang shen
    • back at the cadet stage : younger
    • celebrate with a sherry : sherry, a strong brown wine
    • 596 entries were whittled down to five shortlists : whittle down, reduce to
    • fiendishly difficult puzzles
    • a milling crowd : milling, (of people) moving around in a large mass. no one is milling about in the lobby
    • teeming with : being full of, cf. seethe
    • seething with : boiling with, cf. teem
    • revel in : enjoy
    • swear off : renounce
    • Paddington bear pitches up today : pitch up, BrE turn up, show up
    • hit it off with someone : hit if off with informal be naturally friendly or well suited
    • beyond reproach : perfect, blameless
    • obstreperous : unruly; unruly hair but obstreperous customers
    • Bottled water companies have helped reinforce existing hydration misinformation through exaggerated health marketing, and we lap it up. The consumption of bottled water has shot up
    • cut into silt
    • broiler : AmE a broiler chicken


Gustav Mahler, Das Lied von der Erde

It is said there was a debate in 1988 when the performance was given to native Chinese audience their scholars doubted whether Hans Bethge derived the German verses from Tang Shi by Li Bai or Meng Haoran.

Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde

German text My English rendition
Schon winkt der Wein im gold’nen Pokale, The wine shimmers and swirls in the golden chalice already,
Doch trinkt noch nicht, erst sing’ ich euch ein Lied! but do not drink, first let me sing a song to you!
Das Lied vom Kummer soll auflachend in die Seele euch klingen. The song of grief will register with a good laugh in your soul.
Wenn der Kummer naht, liegen wüst die Gärten der Seele, When the sorrow looms closer, the garden of souls is left deserted,
Welkt hin und stirbt die Freude, der Gesang. wilts and dies the joy and the song.
Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod. Darkness is to live and is to die.
Herr dieses Hauses! The masters of the houses!
Dein Keller birgt die Fülle des goldenen Weins! Your cellar holds full of golden wines!
Hier, diese Laute nenn’ ich mein! Here, I call the lutes mine!
Die Laute schlagen und die Gläser leeren, The lutes striken and the glasses emptied,
Das sind die Dingen, die zusammen passen. all things too happen the same time.
Ein voller Becher Weins zur rechten Zeit A full cup of wine for the right time
Ist mehr wert, als alle Reiche dieser Erde! is worth more than the kingdoms on the planet combined!
Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod! Darkness is to live and is to die.
Das Firmament blaut ewig, und die Erde The sky is blue forever and the earth
Wird lange fest steh’n und aufblüh’n im Lenz. will stand firm for long and blossom in the spring.
Du aber, Mensch, wie lang lebst denn du? But you, man, how long will you live then?
Nicht hundert Jahre darfst du dich ergötzen Not for a hundred years can you enjoy
An all dem morschen Tande dieser Erde! with all the mortal trifles of the planet!
Seht dort hinab! Im Mondschein auf den Gräbern Look down there! In the graveyard under the moonlight
Hockt eine wild-gespenstische Gestalt -- crawls a wild ghost figure --
Ein Aff’ist’s! Hört ihr, wie sein Heulen It’s an ape! Hear you, how its howling
Hinausgellt in den süßen Duft des Lebens! ripples back and forth in the sweet scent of lives!
Jetzt nehmt den Wein! Jetzt ist es Zeit, Genossen! Now take the wine! Now it’s the time, mate!
Leert eure gold’nen Becher zu Grund! Empty your golden cup completely!
Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod! Darkness is to live and is to die!

The Chinese original based on which Hans Bethge used is probably Bei Ge Xing by Li Bai. Only the first two stanzas are used in Mahler. It is obvious that latter two stanzas are teemed with historic figures which would make the understanding of the text rather difficult.

  • Bei Ge Xing

  • Notes:
    • 三尺琴: 《博雅·释琴》 :“神农氏琴长三尺六寸六分。”
    • 千钧金:《诗文·金部》:“钧,三十斤也。”
    • 天虽长,地虽久:《老子》上篇第七章:“天长地久,天地所以能长且久者,以其不自生。”
    • “金玉”句:《老子》上篇第九章:“金玉满堂,莫之能守。富贵而骄,自遗其咎。”
    • “凤凰”句:《论语·子罕》:“凤鸟不至,河不出图,吾已矣夫。”《易经·系辞上》: “河出图,洛出书,圣人则之。”
    • “微子”句:微子,商纣王庶兄。箕子,商纣王诸父。当时的贤臣。《史记·殷本纪》: “纣愈淫乱不止,微子数谏不听,乃与太师少保谋,遂去。……箕子乃佯狂为奴。”《论 语·微子》:“微子去之,箕子为奴。”
    • 李将军:指李广。李广抗匈奴四十余年,大小七十余战,其下属多封侯,而李广终生 不得爵位。汉文帝叹曰:“惜乎!子不遇时,如令子当高帝世,万户侯岂足道哉!”事 见《史记》、《汉书》本传。
    • 屈大夫:指屈原。屈原为春秋时楚国人,曾任左徒、三闾大夫。爱国直谏,遭谗被逐, 投汨罗江而死。详见《史记·屈原列传》。
    • “秦家”句:李斯,楚上蔡人。战国末入秦为客卿,为秦王灭六国献策。秦始皇任为廷 尉。始皇死,与赵高合谋逼死太子扶苏,立少子胡亥为二世皇帝。后为赵高忌,“腰 斩咸阳市,斯出狱与其中子俱执。顾谓其中子曰:‘吾欲与若复牵黄犬,俱出上蔡东 门逐狡兔,岂可得乎?”事见《史记·李斯列传》。
    • 范子:即范蠡,春秋楚宛人,仕越为大夫,辅佐越王勾践灭吴。以勾践为人可与同患, 难与处安,乃辞勾践,曰:“王其勉之,臣从此辞。”乘扁舟出三江,入五湖,人莫知 其所适。见《吴越春秋》卷六《勾践伐吴外传》。
    • “剑是”二句,《史记·项羽本纪》:“项籍少时学书不成,去。学剑又不成。项梁怒之。 籍曰:‘书,足以记名姓而已。剑,一人敌,不足学。学万人敌。’”
    • 惠施:《吕氏春秋·审应览·淫辞》:“魏惠王谓惠子曰:‘上世之有国,必贤者也。今 寡人实不若先生,愿得传国。’惠子辞。王又固清曰:‘寡人莫有之国于此者也,而传 之贤者,民之贪争之心止矣。欲先生以此听寡人也。’惠子曰:‘若王之言,则施不可 而听矣。王固万乘之主也,以国与人犹尚可;今施布衣也,可以有万乘之国而辞之, 此其止贪争之心愈甚也。’……惠子易衣变冠,乘舆而走。”
    • 卜式:汉河阳人,以牧羊致富,不习文章。武帝与匈奴作战,卜式屡以私财捐助朝廷, 武帝任为中郎,后为御史大夫,终太子太傅。详见《汉书·卜式传》。
    • 方伯:《礼记·王制》:“千里之外设方伯。”《汉书·何武传》:“武曰:剌史,古之 方伯,上所委任,一卅表率也。”后泛指地方长官。谩,徒也,空也。

Der Einsame im Herbst

German text My English rendition
Herbstnebel wallen bläulich überm See; Blue autumn frog simmers over the sea;
Vom Reif bezogen stehen alle Gräser; The entire grassland is covered with frost;
Man meint, ein Künstler habe Staub von Jade One might think, an artist has the startdust made of jade
Über die feinen Blüten ausgestreut. spread over the delicate flowers.
Der süße Duft der Blumen ist verflogen; The fragrance of the flowers faded away;
Ein kalter Wind beugt ihre Stengel nieder. A chilling wind sways their stems below.
Bald werden die verwelkten, gold’nen Blätter Soon the withered golden leafs
Der Lotosblüten auf dem Wasser zieh’n. of the lotus will grow out of water.
Mein Herz ist müde. Meine kleine Lampe My heart is tired. My little lamp
Erlosch mit Knistern, es gemahnt mich an den Schlaf. has gone out with fizz, it urges me to sleep.
Ich komm’ zu dir, traute Ruhestätte! I come to you, the cozy resting place!
Ja, gib mir Ruh’, ich hab’ Erquickung Not! Yes, it gives me peace, I need a rest!
Ich weine viel in meinen Einsamkeiten. I weep often in my solitude.
Der Herbst in meinem Herzen währt zu lange. The autumn dawdles in my heart far too long.
Sonne der Liebe willst du nie mehr scheinen, Sun of love, will you shine no more,
Um meine bittern Tränen mild aufzutrocknen? to ease my bitter tears?

The Chinese original is probably Xiao Gu Qiuyechang by Qian Qi. Only the first half appeared in Mahler.

  • Xiao Gu Qiuyechang

  • Notes:
    • 秋夜长:乐府杂曲歌名,南齐时王融作。
    • 秋汉:即秋空。玉霜:白霜。
    • 漏:古时计时工具。
    • 鸳机:即绣具。
    • 白玉窗:犹白玉堂,为富贵人家所居的屋舍。

Von der Jugend

German text My English rendition
Mitten in dem kleinen Teiche In middle of the small pond
Steht ein Pavillon aus grünem stands a pavillion of green
Und aus weißem Porzellan. and white porcelain.
Wie der Rücken eines Tigers As if the back of a tiger
Wölbt die Brücke sich aus Jade bolsters the jade bridge
Zu dem Pavillon hinüber. overthere by the pavilion.
In dem Häuschen sitzen Freunde, Friends sit in the little houses,
Schön gekleidet, trinken, plaudern. well suited up, drink, and talk.
Manche schreiben Verse nieder. Some write verses down.
Ihre seidnen Ärmel gleiten Their silk sleeves slip
Rückwärts, ihre seidnen Mützen back, their silk hats
Hocken lustig tief im Nacken. rest funnily low around neck.
Auf des kleinen Teiches stiller Over the small pond, quiet
Wasserfläche zeigt sich alles water surface reflects everybody
Wunderlich im Spiegelbilde. raffishly in the mirror image.
Alles auf dem Kopfe stehend Everything stands over its head
In dem Pavillon aus grünem in the pavilion of green
Und aus weißem Porzellan; and white porcelain;
Wie ein Halbmond steht die Brücke, The bridge looks as if it is a half moon
Umgekehrt der Bogen. Freunde, the arch turned upside down. Friends,
Schön gekleidet, trinken, plaudern. well suited up, drink and talk.

The Chinese original is probably Yan Taojia Tingzi by Li Bai.

  • Yan Taojia Tingzi

  • Notes:
    • 破颜花:花怒放。
    • 金谷:谷名,晋代石崇曾在此建立园馆。

Von der Schönheit

German text My English rendition
Junge Mädchen pflücken Blumen, Young ladies pick flowers,
Pflücken Lotosblumen an dem Uferrande. pick the lotus on the riverbank.
Zwischen Büschen und Blättern sitzen sie, between the bushes and leaves they sit,
Sammeln Blüten in den Schoß und rufen gathering flowers in the laps and call
Sich einander Neckereien zu. one another to the teases.
Gold’ne Sonne webt um die Gestalten, Golden sunlight weaves around their bodies,
Spiegelt sich im blanken Wasser wider, that are mirrored in the clear water,
Sonne spiegelt ihre schlanken Glieder, Sun reflects their slender limbs,
Ihre süßen Augen wider, their cute eyes,
Und der Zephir hebt mit Schmeichelkosen das Gewebe and breeze raises up with gentle caress the fabric
Ihrer Ärmel auf, führt den Zauber of their sleeves, guiding the magic
Ihrer Wohlgerüche durch die Luft. of the aroma through the air.
O sieh, was tummeln sich für schöne Knaben O see, what a herd of attractive young men
Dort an dem Uferrand auf mut’gen Rossen? there riding charged horses over the riverbank.
Weithin glänzend wie die Sonnenstrahlen; The sunlight is beaming;
Schon zwischen dem Geäst der grünen Weiden amidst the green grass of the pasture
Trabt das jungfrische Volk einher! lively young folks are hopping along!
Das Roß des einen wiehert fröhlich auf One of the horses roars friskily
Und scheut und saust dahin, and shuns and rushes here and there,
Über Blumen, Gräser, wanken hin die Hufe, flowers and grass, swung under the hoofs,
Sie zerstampfen jäh im Sturm die hingesunk’nen Blüten, the horse trots around the fallen flowers all of a sudden.
Hei! Wie flattern im Taumel seine Mähnen, Hey! His flair flutters in frenzy,
Dampfen heiß die Nüstern! his nostrils steaming.
Gold’ne Sonne webt um die Gestalten, Golden sun weaves around their bodies,
Spiegelt sie im blanken Wasser wider. that are mirrored in the clear water.
Und die schönste von den Jungfrau’n sendet The most beautiful of the young girls sends
Lange Blicke ihm der Sehnsucht nach. her long stares at him in admiration.
Ihre stolze Haltung ist nur Verstellung. Her proud posture is just a pretence.
In dem Funkeln ihrer großen Augen, In the sparkling of her big eyes,
In dem Dunkel ihres heißen Blicks in her deep avid stares
Schwingt klagend noch die Erregung ihres Herzens nach. the wistful yearning resonates in her heart.

The Chinese original is probably Cailian Qu by Li Bai.

  • Cailian Qu

    若耶溪边采莲女, 笑隔荷花共人语。
    日照新妆水底明, 风飘香袖空中举。
    岸上谁家游冶郎, 三三五五映垂杨。
    紫骝嘶入落花去, 见此踟蹰空断肠。
  • Notes:
    • 采莲曲:属乐府清商曲辞。起于梁武帝萧衍父子,后人多拟之。
    • 若耶溪:在今浙江绍兴市南。
    • 游冶郎:出游寻乐的青年男子。
    • 紫骝:毛色枣红的良马。
    • 踟蹰:徘徊。

Der Trunkene im Frühling

German text My English rendition
Wenn nur ein Traum das Leben ist, If life is just a dream,
Warum denn Müh’ und Plag’!? why bother to work!?
Ich trinke, bis ich nicht mehr kann, I drink, until I cannot anymore,
Den ganzen, lieben Tag! all day long, what a lovely day!
Und wenn ich nicht mehr trinken kann, And if I cannot drink more,
Weil Kehl’ und Seele voll, that’s because I am full, body and soul.
So tauml’ ich bis zu meiner Tür so I teeter totter to my door,
Und schlafe wundervoll! and have a sleep of wonder!
Was hör’ ich beim Erwachen? Horch! What do I hear when waking up? Hear!
Ein Vogel singt im Baum. A bird is singing in the tree.
Ich frag’ ihn, ob schon Frühling sei, I asked him, is it spring already,
Mir ist als wie im Traum. as if in a dream to me.
Der Vogel zwitschert: Ja! The bird tweets back: Yes!
Der Lenz ist da, sei kommen über Nacht! Spring is here, it comes over night!
Aus tiefstem Schauen lauscht’ ich auf, With an intense look I listen
Der Vogel singt und lacht! The bird is singing and laughing!
Ich fülle mir den Becher neu I fill up for myself another cup
Und leer’ ihn bis zum Grund and empty it until the last drop
Und singe, bis der Mond erglänzt and sing, until the moon rises glistening
Am schwarzen Firmament! in the dark sky!
Und wenn ich nicht mehr singen kann, And if I cannot no longer sing,
So schlaf’ ich wieder ein. I go sleep again.
Was geht mich denn der Frühling an!? What is going on in the spring!?
Laßt mich betrunken sein! Let me be tipsy!

The Chinese original is probably Chunri Zuiqi Yanzhi by Li Bai.

  • Chunri Zuiqi Yanzhi

  • Notes:
    • 前楹:廳前的柱子。
    • 盼庭前:一作“眄庭前”。眄,斜視。

Der Abschied

German text My English rendition
Die Sonne scheidet hinter dem Gebirge. The sun retreats behind the mountains.
In alle Täler steigt der Abend nieder Down in the valley climbs up the night
Mit seinen Schatten, die voll Kühlung sind. with its shadow, bringing its full chill.
O sieh! Wie eine Silberbarke schwebt O see! Like a floating silver boat
Der Mond am blauen Himmelssee herauf. the moon hangs in the blue sea of sky.
Ich spüre eines feinen Windes Weh’n I feel a breeze blowing
Hinter den dunklen Fichten! through the dense forest of pine trees!
Der Bach singt voller Wohllaut durch das Dunkel. The brook is singing burbling through darkness.
Die Blumen blassen im Dämmerschein. The flowers have lost their lustre in the sunset.
Die Erde atmet voll von Ruh’ und Schlaf. The earth breathes completely in silence and in sleep.
Alle Sehnsucht will nun träumen, Desire begins to show in the dreams,
Die müden Menschen geh’n heimwärts, the worn off come home,
Um im Schlaf vergess’nes Glück and in their sleep their forgotten happiness
Und Jugend neu zu lernen! and youth they get to know!
Die Vögel hocken still in ihren Zweigen. The birds perch quietly on their twigs.
Die Welt schläft ein! The world falls asleep!
Es wehet kühl im Schatten meiner Fichten. Chilling wind blows in the shadow of my pine trees.
Ich stehe hier und harre meines Freundes; I stand here awaiting my friends.
Ich harre sein zum letzten Lebewohl. I wait to bid my last farewell.
Ich sehne mich, o Freund, an deiner Seite I see myself, my friend, on your side
Die Schönheit dieses Abends zu genießen. to enjoy so many wonderful nights.
Wo bleibst du? Du läßt mich lang allein! Where are you? You leave me alone for quite a while!
Ich wandle auf und nieder mit meiner Laute I step back and forth with my lute
Auf Wegen, die von weichem Grase schwellen. on the way, where soft grass rises.
O Schönheit! O ewigen Liebens – Lebens – trunk’ne Welt! O Wonder! O forever love – and life – sloshed world!
Er stieg vom Pferd und reichte ihm den Trunk He dismounted from his horse and grabbed the drink
Des Abschieds dar. Er fragte ihn, wohin of farewell to him. He was asked where
Er führe und auch warum es müßte sein. he was going and why he must be going.
Er sprach, seine Stimme war umflort: Du, mein Freund, He said, his voice tuned down: You, my friend,
Mir war auf dieser Welt das Glück nicht hold! in this world, luck is not in favour of me!
Wohin ich geh’? Ich geh’, ich wand’re in die Berge. Where do I go? I go, I wander in the mountains.
Ich suche Ruhe für mein einsam Herz. I search for peace for my lonely heart.
Ich wandle nach der Heimat! Meiner Stätte. I go back to my fatherland! My hometown.
Ich werde niemals in die Ferne schweifen. I will no longer wander off in the remote.
Still ist mein Herz und harret seiner Stunde! My heart is settling and waiting for its hour!
Die liebe Erde allüberall blüht auf im Lenz und grünt The lively earth will be in full blossom in spring and
Aufs neu! Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen! flourish again! Everywhere and ever blue light on the horizon!
Ewig… ewig… Forever … ever …

The first half is probably based on Su Yeshi Shanfang Dai Ding Da Buzhi by Meng Haoran. The Chinese original based on which the latter half was composed is probably Song Bie by Wang Wei.

  • Su Yeshi Shanfang Dai Ding Da Buzhi

  • Notes:
    • 之子:这个人。
    • 宿:隔夜。
  • Song Bie

    下马饮君酒, 问君何所之。
    君言不得意, 归卧南山陲。
    但去莫复问, 白云无尽时。
  • Notes:
    • 归卧:隐居。
    • 南山:终南山,即秦岭,在今陕西省西安市西南。
    • 陲:边缘。


It is a German text project created by Prof Bruce Duncan and his collegues based at Dartmouth College. See Annotext website for details.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Von Guten Mächten

Von guten Mächten treu und still umgeben,
Behütet und getröstet wunderbar,
So will ich diese Tage mit euch leben
Und mit euch gehen in ein neues Jahr.

Noch will das alte unsre Herzen quälen,
Noch drückt uns böser Tage schwere Last.
Ach, Herr, gib unsern aufgescheuchten Seelen
Das Heil, für das du uns bereitet hast.

Und reichst du uns den schweren Kelch, den bittern
Des Leids, gefüllt bis an den höchsten Rand,
So nehmen wir ihn dankbar ohne Zittern
Aus deiner guten und geliebten Hand.

Doch willst du uns noch einmal Freude schenken
An dieser Welt und ihrer Sonne Glanz,
Dann wolln wir des Vergangenen gedenken
Und dann gehört dir unser Leben ganz.

Lass warm und still die Kerzen heute flammen,
Die du in unsre Dunkelheit gebracht.
Führ, wenn es sein kann, wieder uns zusammen.
Wir wissen es, dein Licht scheint in der Nacht.

Wenn sich die Stille nun tief um uns breitet,
So lass uns hören jenen vollen Klang
Der Welt, die unsichtbar sich um uns weitet,
All deiner Kinder hohen Lobgesang.

Von guten Mächten wunderbar geborgen,
Erwarten wir getrost, was kommen mag.
Gott ist mit uns am Abend und am Morgen
Und ganz gewiss an jedem neuen Tag.

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Von Guten Mächten


Note: All videos belong to their respective copyright owners. Usage here is personal and for language study only.

  • Bernardo Bertolucci dies aged 77 Der Tag by DW.


  • A Bavarian working as a trainee in a Swiss publisher shortly before her Abmeldung (clip from SRF Doku).


Note: Mouse over kanji to show its kana.

  • 金閣 (三島 由紀夫)」
  • (安部 公房)」

    The sophistication of a civilization is proportionate to how people take care of their velvety skin…

  • インターネットの電子図書館青空文庫.
    • (芥川 龍之介)」
    • 地獄 (芥川 龍之介)」
    • (森 鴎外)」
  • 『川端康成氏囲んで』 aired by NHK.
  • Grammar book for English speaking beginners by Michiel Kamermans
  • 勇み」, literally means in Sumo wrestling, one wrestler on the verge of victory, in order to bring the match to an end sooner he applies too much force resulting in his own foot out of the wrestling ring. The English equivalent is probably “a rash decision”.
  • Miyazaki Hayao interviewed Kurosawa Akira on 8 April 1993. The original broadcast was on 5 May that year. A Japanese YouTuber uploaded it in 10 pieces. However the complete footage was not available on YouTube possibly due to copyright strikes. Parts 5, 8, 9 are missing. I did research and assembled the video as complete as it could be. This effort was personal and for language learning only. Any comments on the subtitles are very welcome.
  • This is a line from Kagemusha (1980). Also it was thought Oda Nobunaga liked this line of Noh play and often performed this piece himself.



  • Several songs used in Ghibli animations
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  • Sommaire
    • haro : outcry
    • corps de nombres : number fields
    • bilan : appraisal
    • enseignant : teacher
    • renvoient : 3 p.p. prés. renvoyer, reflect
    • bas : foot, low; cf. les Pays-Bas, Netherlands
    • rajouter : add, supplement
    • ultérieurement : later
    • réunir : gather
  • 1.
    • conjoncture : conditions
    • consacrer : devote
    • devient : 3 p.s. prés. devenir
    • dont il devient clair : from which it becomes clear
    • aucun élève : no pupils
    • ni même : not even
    • semble-t-il : apparently
    • en guise de : by way of
    • trouvera : 3 p.s. fut. trouver
    • également : also
    • aperçu : outline, survey
    • au moins : at least
    • depuis lors : thereafter
    • difficilement déchiffrables sans doute à tout autre qu’à moi-même : without doubt (it bears) interpreting difficulty for anyone else except myself
    • attendent : 3 p.p. prés. attendre, cf. wait, waitor, flying attendant
    • décantation : decanting, siphon off, drain
    • peut-être : perhaps
    • provisoire : tentative
    • quelque : somehow
    • il s’agit de : it a matter of
    • amorcées : amorcer, initiate, to begin
    • approfondissant : part. prés. approfondir, deepen, make furter
    • rebondissement : new development
    • imprévu : unexpected
    • laisser :


  • 王维《过香积寺》,诗曰“泉声咽危石,日色冷青松”。
  • Rare footage of Xiangsheng performer Hou Baolin interviewed by China state TV. Chinese subtitle included. Any comments on the subtitles are very welcome.

    What he said about starving in the early days of his career as a Jingxi singer and his later personal encounters with statesmen says a lot about that country.

  • Pre-modern Chinese texts Chinese Text Project.
  • 元好問讚五臺山南臺錦繡峰,詩曰


Author: Yün Han

Emacs 26.1.90 (Org mode 9.1.14)