A little Chinese story

From Create Your Own Story

I will be making this using the Chinese vocabulary I know, and going through the vocabulary that will make up each page prior to the use.

This will probably be very boring as a stand alone story, since it is aimed at learning Chinese and learning to read it.

Lets start with the title of the story:中國短篇小說

The title translates directly into English as: Chinese short stories.

To read the title, I will translate it into pinyin and explain each piece.


To properly pronounce the words, you need to understand that Chinese is a tonal language. For best example, you can look at this picture: web.mit.edu/~jinzhang/www/pinyin/tones/images/4tones2.jpg

We will have 5 tones. Imagine them like 5 different speech pitches, from low to high. Don't overdo it, you are not an anime girl, and you are not Barry Manilow.

  • 1. A first tone, like Zhōng, is said while pitching your voice slightly higher (5 on the photo) and saying it without changing the pitch.
  • 2. A second tone, like guó, will go from the middle pitch (3 on the photo), to the high pitch (5 on the photo), rising as you say the word.
  • 3. A third tone, like duǎn, starts from the 2nd lowest (2 on the photo), falls to the lowest pitch (1 on the photo), then rises to the second highest pitch (4 on the photo).
  • 4. A fourth tone, like 不(bù), starts from the highest pitch (5 on the photo), falling to the lowest pitch (1 on the photo). In this case, 不(bù) = no, or not.
  • 5. A fifth tone, like 嗎(ma), has no tone at all. In this case, 嗎(ma), is said to create a question, so when you say it, "Do you like green eggs and ham嗎" it turns it into a question. Not all 5th tones are questions though.
  • For more, I apologize, but since this is a text site, not an audio site, your best bet to learn how to pronounce pinyin and the proper tones would be to go, well, somewhere that has those learning features. I will just be teaching words and making little stories.

So, lets start learning by learning what the title means, why it means it, and how to say it.

First, we have the character 中 (zhōng). 中 means middle in English. It can also mean in.

The second character, 國(guó), means country.

Now, not only is Chinese a tonal language, it is also a monosyllabic language. So, there are only so many words one could say just using a single character. How Chinese get around this is by combining characters together to give a certain word. In this case, we combine 中 (zhōng) + 國(guó) to get Middle Nation. This is what the Chinese call their country, the "Middle Nation", which we know as "China". Again, I am not teaching why, so if you want to know why they call it that, you will need to Google it.

The next word we have is 短篇.

短(duǎn), is "Short" in English. Not short like "How tall is he," but short like "Keep it short", or brief. 篇(piān) is a paragraph.

When we put these together, we get 短(duǎn)篇(piān), which is still short, as in a "short, brief" something.

The next word we have is 小(xiǎo)說(shuō).

小(xiǎo) is small, or something that it little. For example, elementary school students here are called 小, while middle school students are called 中. We will leave high school students alone for now.

說(shuō) is to say, or to speak. When we put these words together, we get 小說, which would directly translate as "small say". The English equivalent is "Story".

Now, when we put together the last 4 characters, 短(duǎn)篇(piān)小(xiǎo)說(shuō), we get a brief, or short, story.

So, in this case, 中國短篇小說 is "A Chinese Short Story", or just a short story in Chinese.

Hopefully I haven't lost you so far. Or scared you away.

Anyways, if you want, you can move on to the story:

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