What Elephants Are in the Room? 房间里有什么大象?

A: 房间里有什么大象?
Fángjiān li yǒu shénme dàxiàng?
What elephants are in the room?

What elephants are in the room?

B: 你的意思是什么?
Nǐ de yìsi shì shénme?
What do you mean?

A: 我们都看到一些事情是真的 ,但是我们不讨论它.
Wǒmen dōu kàn dào yīxiē shìqíng shì zhēn de, dànshì wǒmen bù tǎolùn tā.
We both see a matter is true but we don’t discuss it.

B: 你的意思是我们看到它但我们回避它?
Nǐ de yìsi shì wǒmen kàn dào tā dàn wǒmen huíbì tā?
You mean we see it but avoid it?

A: 是的.
Shì de.
Yes.

B: 如果我们讨论大象,我们可能会打架!
Rúguǒ wǒmen tǎolùn dà xiàng, wǒmen kěnéng huì dǎjià!
If we talk about the elephants, we may fight!

A: 如果房间里有大象,我们已经在打架了,所以只是沉默.
Rúguǒ fángjiān li yǒu dà xiàng, wǒmen yǐjīng zài dǎjiàle, suǒyǐ zhǐshì chénmò.
If elephants are in the room, we are already fighting, just silently.

B: 好吧.
Hǎo ba.
Okay.

A: 我对你是好意。你对我是好意。加油,我们可以做到. 告诉我. 我们的最大的大象是什么?
A: Wǒ duì nǐ shì hǎoyì. Nǐ duì wǒ shì hǎoyì. Jiāyóu wǒmen kěyǐ zuò dào! Gàosù wǒ. Wǒmen de zuì dà de dàxiàng shì shénme?
I have good intentions towards you. You have good intentions towards me. Come on, we can do this. Tell me. What is our biggest elephant?

B: 好啊. 我非常欣赏你. 你知道我们有时候…
Hǎo a! Wǒ fēicháng xīnshǎng nǐ. Nǐ zhīdào wǒmen yǒu shíhòu…
Okay! I appreciate you so much. You know when you and I sometimes…

Author: Anne Giles

Tian Gan contributed to writing and editing this post.

This post includes 对 duì  and 知道 zhīdào, meaningful words on our list of universal human concepts.

If you are a user of Mandarin Blueprint, this post’s content may be helpful in learning these characters:

Phase 1 Level 1 Character #11 什 shén
Phase 3 Level 15 Character #161 大 dà
Phase 4 Level 22 Character #305: 道 dào
Phase 5 Level 33 Character #518 知 zhī

This post is part of our Meaningful Words 有意义的词 yǒu yìyì de cí series. In hopes of fostering empathy and understanding, the series features dialogues about universal human concepts in simplified Chinese characters, pinyin, and English. Posts in the Meaningful Words series are here. If you are interested in writing for the Meaningful Words series, please see these submission requirements.

Submissions are read and edited by people proficient in Mandarin Chinese before publishing. Since the publisher is a beginning student of Mandarin Chinese, changes made may introduce new, undetected errors. Since posts use simple vocabulary to convey complex ideas, ambiguity may result. Posts are estimated to be 95% correct in terms of typography, vocabulary, grammar, and clarity.

Image: iStock

This content is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional advice. Consult a qualified health care professional for personalized medical and professional advice.

Might Both Be True? 可能两者都是真的

这一部分的我: 我要和我不要. 两者都是真的.
Zhè yībùfèn de wǒ: Wǒ yào hé wǒ bùyào. Liǎng zhě dōu shì zhēn de.
>>This part of me: I want and I don’t want. Both are true.

In both may be synergy那一方的我: 是真实的。这就是做人的辩证法。
Nǎ yībùfèn de wǒ: Shì zhēnshí de. Zhè jiùshì zuòrén de biànzhèngfǎ.
>>That part of me: True. This is the dialectic of being human.

这一部分的我: 我想跟人待在一起和我想一个人. 我害怕亲密的关系, 我也渴望亲密的关系.
Zhè yībùfèn de wǒ: Wǒ xiǎng gēn rén dài zài yīqǐ hé wǒ xiǎng yīgè rén. Wǒ hàipà qīnmì de guānxì, wǒ yě kěwàng qīnmì de guānxì.
>>This part of me: I want to be with people and I want to be alone. I fear intimacy (to be close) and I long for intimacy.

这一部分的我: 我想跟人待在一起和我想一个人. 我害怕亲密的关系, 我也渴望亲密的关系.

那一部分的我: 如果一个人和另一个人都知道他们的这些部分, 他们可以一起用辩证法  谈判.
Nà yībùfèn de wǒ: Rúguǒ yīgè rén hé lìng yīgè rén dōu zhīdào tāmen de zhèxiē bùfèn, tāmen kěyǐ yīqǐ yòng biànzhèngfǎ  tánpàn.
>>That part of me: If one person and the other person both know these parts of themselves, together, they can negotiate the dialectic.

这一部分:当我想要一些东西的时候, 我现在就要! 我不要谈判!
Zhè yībùfèn: Dāng wǒ xiǎng yào yīxiē dōngxī de shíhòu, wǒ xiànzài jiù yào! Wǒ bùyào tánpàn!
>>This part: When I want something, I want it now! I don’t want to negotiate!

那一部分: (笑着) 当然! 另一个人也一样的!
Nà yībùfèn: (Xiàozhe) Dāngrán! Lìng yīgè rén yě yīyàng!
>>That part: (Laughing) Of course! The other person is the same!

这一部分: 哦. (笑着) 好吧.
Zhè yībùfèn: Ó. (Xiàozhe) Hǎo ba.
>>This part: Oh. (Laughing) Okay.

那一部分: 我觉得你在想,”是我还是他们.” 如果两者都有呢?
Nà yībùfèn: Wǒ juédé nǐ zài xiǎng,”Shì wǒ háishì tāmen.” Rúguǒ liǎng zhě dōu yǒu ne?
>>That part: I think you are thinking, “It’s me or them.” What if it’s both?

这一部分: 两个都是?
Zhè yībùfèn: Liǎng gè dōu shi?
>>This part: Both?

那一部分: 你知道 “协同作用” 吗? 整体比所有的部分更大?
Nà yībùfèn: Nǐ zhīdào “xiétóng zuòyòng” ma? Zhěngtǐ bǐ suǒyǒu de bùfèn gèng dà?
>>That part: You know “synergy”? The whole is greater than the sum of the parts?

这一部分: 我知道这个.
Zhè yībùfèn: Wǒ zhīdào zhège.
>>This part: I know this.

那一部分: 所有的一个东西不总是真的. 所有的另外的东西不总是真的.两个东西有的时候都是真的. 他们重叠的地方可能有协同作用. 关于你想要的, 可能你从谈判得到的比自己一个人更多.
Nà yībùfèn: Suǒyǒu de yīgè dōngxī bù zǒng shì zhēn de. Suǒyǒu de lìngwài de dōngxī bù zǒng shì zhēn de. Liǎng gè dōngxī yǒu de shíhòu dōu shì zhēn de. Tāmen chóngdié dì dìfāng kěnéng yǒu xiétóng zuòyòng. Guānyú nǐ xiǎng yào de, kěnéng nǐ cóng tánpàn dédào de bǐ zìjǐ yīgè rén gèng duō.
>>That part: All of one thing is not always true. All of the other thing is not always true. Both are true sometimes in some ways. Where they overlap lives the possibility for synergy! About what you want, perhaps from negotiating you can receive more than from being alone.

这一部分: 我没想到那个
Zhè yībùfèn: Wǒ méi xiǎngdào nàgè.
>>This part: I didn’t think of that.

你和我一起谈判这件事情. 我们一起明白. 可能你和另一个人可以做一样的事情.
Nǐ hé wǒ yīqǐ tánpàn zhè jiàn shìqíng. Wǒmen yīqǐ míngbái. Kěnéng nǐ hé lìng yīgè rén kěyǐ zuò yīyàng de shìqíng.
>>That part: You and I, together, negotiated this matter. We, ourselves, together understand. Perhaps, you and the other person can do the same!

这一部分: 好啊! 现在, 我明白了. 我会尝试的!
Zhè yībùfèn: Hǎo a! Xiànzài, wǒ míngbáile. Wǒ huì chángshì de!
>>This part: Okay! Now, I understand. I will try!

. . . . .

这是一个人的 内在智慧进行内在对话的例子.
Zhè shì yīgè rén de nèizài zhìhuì jìnxíng nèizài duìhuà de lìzi.
>>This is an example of an inner dialogue with one’s inner wisdom.

Author: Anne Giles

Depeng, Benfang Wang, and Tian Gan contributed to writing and editing this post.

This post includes 知道 zhīdào, a meaningful word on our list of universal human concepts.

If you are a user of Mandarin Blueprint, this post’s content may be helpful in learning these characters:

Phase 4 Level 22 Character #305: 道 dào
Phase 5 Level 33 Character #518 知 zhī

This post is part of our Meaningful Words 有意义的词 yǒu yìyì de cí series. In hopes of fostering empathy and understanding, the series features dialogues about universal human concepts in simplified Chinese characters, pinyin, and English. Posts in the Meaningful Words series are here. If you are interested in writing for the Meaningful Words series, please see these submission requirements.

Submissions are read and edited by people proficient in Mandarin Chinese before publishing. Since the publisher is a beginning student of Mandarin Chinese, changes made may introduce new, undetected errors. Since posts use simple vocabulary to convey complex ideas, ambiguity may result. Posts are estimated to be 95% correct in terms of typography, vocabulary, grammar, and clarity.

Image: iStock

This content is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional advice. Consult a qualified health care professional for personalized medical and professional advice.

What Do You See? 你看到什么?

老师问:你看到什么?
Lǎoshī wèn: Nǐ kàn dào shénme?
Teacher: What do you see?

Do you see the fish or the fish tank?

美国学生:不同颜色,不同大小,不同种类的鱼在游玩.
Měiguó xuéshēng: Bùtóng yánsè, bùtóng dàxiǎo, bùtóng zhǒnglèi de yú zài yóuwán.
American student: Fish of different colors, different sizes and different kinds are swimming.

中国学生:珊瑚,水草,沙石,鱼在游.
Zhōngguó xuéshēng: Shānhú, shuǐcǎo, shā shí, yú zài yóu.
Chinese student: Reef, water grass, sand and fishes swimming.

我们看事情的角度不一样.
Wǒmen kàn shìqíng de jiǎodù bù yīyàng.
We see things from different angles.

研究表明,亚州人尤其是东亚人和欧美人看问题角度很不同,美国人比较注意个体,东亚人比较注意群体和整体.
Yánjiū biǎomíng, yà zhōu rén yóuqí shì dōng yǎ rén hé ōuměi rén kàn wèntí jiǎodù hěn bùtóng, měiguó rén bǐjiào zhùyì gètǐ, dōng yǎ rén bǐjiào zhùyì qúntǐ hé zhěngtǐ.
Research shows that Asians, especially East Asians, see things differently from Euro-Americans. Americans pay more attention to individuals and east Asians pay more attention to the whole group and the big picture.

知道了这一点,我们在交流的时候就应该多从注意站在对方的角度上看问题。
Zhīdàole zhè yīdiǎn, wǒmen zài jiāoliú de shíhòu jiù yīnggāi duō cóng zhùyì zhàn zài duìfāng de jiǎodù shàng kàn wèntí.
Knowing this, we can improve our communications by thinking more from the other’s perspective.

Author: Sofia Zhang-Midkiff, M.B.A.

Sofia Zhang-Midkiff brought to our awareness the research on ways of seeing using the metaphors of fish and fish tanks. We contributed to this dialogue about this idea here.

This post includes 知道 zhīdào, a meaningful word on our list of universal human concepts.

If you are a user of Mandarin Blueprint, this post’s content may be helpful in learning these characters:

Phase 4 Level 22 Character #305: 道 dào
Phase 4 Level 25 Character #368 鱼 yú
Phase 5 Level 33 Character #518 知 zhī

This post is part of our Meaningful Words 有意义的词 yǒu yìyì de cí series. In hopes of fostering empathy and understanding, the series features dialogues about universal human concepts in simplified Chinese characters, pinyin, and English. Posts in the Meaningful Words series are here. If you are interested in writing for the Meaningful Words series, please see these submission requirements.

Submissions are read and edited by people proficient in Mandarin Chinese before publishing. Since the publisher is a beginning student of Mandarin Chinese, changes made may introduce new, undetected errors. Since posts use simple vocabulary to convey complex ideas, ambiguity may result. Posts are estimated to be 95% correct in terms of typography, vocabulary, grammar, and clarity.

Image: iStock

This content is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional advice. Consult a qualified health care professional for personalized medical and professional advice.

What Answers Help? 什么样的回答有帮助?

A: 当你问你的父母, 宝宝从哪里来? , 他们回答什么?
Dāng nǐ wèn nǐ de fùmǔ bǎobǎo cóng nǎlǐ lái, tāmen huídá shénme?

When you asked your parents where babies come from, what did they answer?

What answers help?B: 我的父母是中国人. 他们说, “我们走自路上, 在路边我们看见了你. 然后, 我们把你带回了家.”
B: Wǒ de fùmǔ shì zhōngguó rén. Tāmen shuō, “Wǒmen zǒu zì lùshàng, zài lù biān wǒmen kànjiànle nǐ. Ránhòu, wǒmen bǎ nǐ dài huíle jiā.”

My parents are Chinese. They said, “We were walking down a road. On the side of the road, we saw you. Then, we picked you up and took you home.”

C: 我的父母是美国人。他们说, “母亲的一颗蛋和父亲的一颗种子结合在一起.  这是怎么做了宝宝.” 我还是孩子 . 我想, “做饭, 做宝宝, 好的. 但是, 一个鸡蛋?!”
Wǒ de fùmǔ shì měiguó rén. Tāmen shuō, “Mǔqīn de yī kē dàn hé fùqīn de yī kē zhǒngzǐ jiéhé zài yīqǐ.  Zhè shì zenme zuò de bǎobǎo.” Wǒ hái shì háizi. Wǒ xiǎng, “Zuò fàn, zuò bǎobǎo, hǎo de. Dànshì, yīgè jīdàn?!”

My parents are American. They said, “An egg from the mother and a seed from the father come together. That is what makes a baby.” I was still a child. I thought, “Cook food, make a baby, okay. But a chicken egg?!”

A: (笑) 这些答案都不是很有帮助!我想知道他们为什么不告诉我们事实?
(Xiào) Zhèxiē dá’àn dōu bùshì hěn yǒu bāngzhù! Wǒ xiǎng zhīdào tāmen wèishénme bù gàosù wǒmen shìshí?

(Laughing) Neither of those answers is very helpful. I wonder why they didn’t tell us the facts?

读者 朋友,你的父母是怎么回答的?什么样的答案会更有帮助、更真实呢?
Dúzhě Pengyou, nǐ de fùmǔ shì zěnme huídá de? Shénme yàng de dá’àn huì gèng yǒu bāngzhù, gèng zhēnshí ne?

Dear Reader, what did your parents answer? What would have been a more helpful and true answer?

Authors: Tian Gan and Anne Giles

This post was inspired by discussions of the cartoon 中国人和外国人
zhōngguó rén hé wàiguó rén.

Benfang Wang and Amy contributed to translating this post.

This post includes 想 xiǎng, 知道 zhīdào, and 事实 shìshí, meaningful words on our list of universal human concepts. The word  想 xiǎng is also featured here.

If you are a user of Mandarin Blueprint, the content may be helpful in learning these characters:

Phase 3 Level 13 Character #117 想 xiǎng
Phase 4 Level 22 Character #305: 道 dào
Phase 4 Level 29 Character #438 实 shí
Phase 4 Level 29 Character #452: 事 shì
Phase 5 Level 33 Character #518 知 zhī

This post is part of our Meaningful Words 有意义的词 yǒu yìyì de cí series. In hopes of fostering empathy and understanding, the series features dialogues about universal human concepts in simplified Chinese characters, pinyin, and English. Posts in the Meaningful Words series are here. If you are interested in writing for the Meaningful Words series, please see these submission requirements.

Submissions are run by people proficient in Mandarin Chinese before publishing. Since the publisher is a beginning student of Mandarin Chinese, changes made may introduce new, undetected errors. Since posts use simple vocabulary to convey complex ideas, ambiguity may result. Posts are estimated to be 95% correct in terms of typography, vocabulary, grammar, and clarity.

Image: iStock

This content is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional advice. Consult a qualified health care professional for personalized medical and professional advice.

Fish or Fish Tank? 鱼还是鱼缸?

学生说:
Xuéshēng shuō:
The student says:

老师, 我听说美国人和中国人想的方式不一样.
Lǎoshī, wǒ tīng shuō měiguó rén hé zhōngguó rén xiǎng de fāngshì bù yīyàng.
Teacher, I have heard that American people and Chinese people think differently.

Do you see the fish or the fish tank?

据研究,当两人看到鱼缸里鱼的照片时,美国人看鱼,中国人看鱼缸。
Jù yánjiū, dāng liǎng rén kàn dào yúgāng lǐ yú de zhàopiàn shí, měiguó rén kàn yú, zhōngguó rén kàn yúgāng.
According to research, when both people see a photo of a fish tank with fish, American people see the fish and Chinese people see the fish tank.

如果我们看见 的不一样,我们怎么能 建立有意义的联系?
Rúguǒ wǒmen kànjiàn de bù yīyàng, wǒmen zěnme néng jiànlì yǒu yìyì de liánxì?
If we don’t see the same, how can we make meaningful connections?

老师说:
Lǎoshī shuō:
The teacher says:

我们既要看见鱼也要看见鱼缸。
Wǒmen jì yào kànjiàn yú yě yào kànjiàn yúgāng.
We need to see not only the fish but also the fish tank.

我们要看见每个人的情况而不是只看见一个群体.
Wǒmen yào kànjiàn měi gèrén de qíngkuàng ér bùshì zhǐ kànjiàn yīgè qúntǐ.
Rather than only see a group, we need to see each person’s situation.

Authors: Depeng and Anne Giles

Research on seeing fish and fish tanks, thanks to Sofia Zhang-Midkoff:

This post includes 想 xiǎng, a meaningful word on our list of universal human concepts. The word  想 xiǎng is also featured here.

If you are a user of Mandarin Blueprint, the content may be helpful in learning these characters:

Phase 3 Level 13 Character #117 想 xiǎng
Phase 4 Level 25 Character #368 鱼 yú

This post is part of our Meaningful Words 有意义的词 yǒu yìyì de cí series. The series features dialogues about universal human concepts in Mandarin Chinese and in English. Posts in the Meaningful Words series are here and posts related to Mandarin Chinese are here. If you are interested in writing for the Meaningful Words series, please see these submission requirements.

Image: iStock

Anne Giles, M.A., M.S., L.P.C., is a student of Mandarin Chinese and also a mental health counselor, able to provide counseling services only to residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia, U.S.A. This content is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional advice. Consult a qualified health care professional for personalized medical and professional advice.

What Do You Think? 你怎么想?

This video by Benfang Wang features 想 xiǎng, a meaningful word on our list of universal human concepts.

Benfang Wang’s Mandarin Chinese learning materials include artificial intelligence technology. To access Benfang’s “All about 想 xiǎng” AI materials, register for a free account through Benfang’s Edugo.ai portal. Then follow this link to Benfang’s Edugo.ai materials, log in, and scroll down to Lesson 10.

Please find Benfang Wang on italki, YouTube, and Facebook.

If you are a user of Mandarin Blueprint, the video’s content may be helpful in learning these characters:

Phase 3 Level 13 Character #105 来 lái
Phase 3 Level 13 Character #117: 想 xiǎng
Phase 3 Level 14 Character #131: 起 qǐ
Phase 4 Level 25 Character #359: 出 chū

This post is part of our Meaningful Words 有意义的词 yǒu yìyì de cí series. The series features dialogues about universal human concepts in Mandarin Chinese and in English. Posts in the Meaningful Words series are here and posts related to Mandarin Chinese are here. If you are interested in writing for the Meaningful Words series, please see these submission requirements.

This content is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional advice. Consult a qualified health care professional for personalized medical and professional advice.

How About You? 你呢?

如果没有什么是违法的,你会做什么?
Rúguǒ méiyǒu shén me shì wéifǎ de, nǐ huì zuò shénme?
If nothing were illegal, what would you do?

How about you? 你呢?

善良的人说:我会毫不犹豫地去帮助摔倒的老太太。
Shànliáng de rén shuō: Wǒ huì háo bù yóuyù de qù bāngzhù shuāi dǎo de lǎo tàitai.
A kind-hearted person would say: I would help the old lady who fell down without hesitation.

强盗说:我会正大光明地去洗劫银行。
Qiángdào shuō: Wǒ huì zhèngdà guāngmíng de qù xǐjié yínháng.
A robber would say: I would openly rob a bank.*

司机会说:我可能会把车开得更快些.
Sījī huì shuō: Wǒ kěnéng huì bǎ chē kāi dé gèng kuài xiē.
A driver would say: I would drive the car faster.

我说:我会继续留在美国学习。
Wǒ shuō: Wǒ huì jìxù liú zài měiguó xuéxí.
I say: I would continue staying in the United States to study.

你呢?
Nĭ ne?
How about you?

Author: Tian Gan

 

“Ni Ne?”, the video accompanying this post, was created by Benfang Wang. Please find Benfang Wang on italkiYouTube, and Facebook.

Benfang Wang’s Mandarin Chinese learning materials include artificial intelligence technology. To access Benfang’s “All about 想 xiǎng” AI materials, register for a free account through Benfang’s Edugo.ai portal. Then follow this link to Benfang’s Edugo.ai materials, log in, and scroll down to Lesson 10.

*正大光明 zhèngdà guāngmíng is a phrase that can be translated into English as “conscientious, frank, upright, and open-minded.”

If you are a user of Mandarin Blueprint, the content may be helpful in learning these characters:

Level 38 Character # 639 良 liáng
Level 44 Character # 864 善 shàn

Included in this post is 善良 shànliáng, a concept on our universal human concepts list.

This post is part of our Meaningful Words 有意义的词 yǒu yìyì de cí series. The series features expression of universal human concepts in Mandarin Chinese and in English in hopes of helping people make meaningful connections 建立有意义的联系 jiànlì yǒu yìyì de liánxì. Posts in the Meaningful Words series are here and posts related to Mandarin Chinese are here. If you are interested in writing a Meaningful Words post, please see these submission requirements.

Image: iStock

This content is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional advice. Consult a qualified health care professional for personalized medical and professional advice.