This segment brilliantly illustrates how to practice sentence building!! I alluded to that in my article on how to practice speaking Chinese alone. I will surely talk about it over and over again in the future. There are natural repeats and similar sentence structures used with slight variations. It’ll really drill the key sentence structures into your head.
I thought I had to cover this episode because it’s so relevant to today’s world in a pandemic! If you are working from home and have young children, I am sure you can relate to this episode.
Mandarin transcript (in pinyin and characters) for Peppa Pig S01E07 “Mummy Pig at Work” Part 1:
- zhū māma zài gōngzuò
- zhū māma zài diànnǎo qián gōngzuò
- zhū bàba zài zuò wǔcān yào hē de tāng
- bàba, wǒ hé qiáozhì kěyǐ qù kàn māma gōngzuò ma
- kěyǐ, dànshì nǐmen bùnéng dǎrǎo tā
- tā jīntiān yǒu hěnduō zhòngyào de gōngzuò
- xièxie nǐ, bàba
- zhū māma jīntiān yǒu hěnduō zhòngyào de gōngzuò
- māma, qiáozhì hé wǒ kěyǐ zuòzài nǐ tuǐ shàng kàn nǐ gōngzuò ma
- néng ā, dàn nǐmen yào bǎochí ānjìng
- pèiqí hé qiáozhì zuì xǐhuan kàn māma zài diànnǎo qián gōngzuò le
Show Notes for Learn Chinese with Peppa Pig Season 01 Episode 07 Part 1
zhū māma zài gōngzuò
猪 妈妈 在 工作
Mummy Pig at Work
- 猪妈妈 = zhū māma, Mummy Pig
- 在 = zài, indicating currently doing
- 工作 = gōngzuò, to work. Note that another common word to say “at work” or “working”, referring to office jobs is 上班 = shàngbān
- 在工作 can also be more directly translated to “is working”
zhū māma zài diànnǎo qián gōngzuò
猪 妈妈 在 电脑 前 工作
Mummy Pig is working at the computer
- 电脑 = diànnǎo, computer
- 前 = qián, literally in front of. In English it’s closer to “at” in the context of sitting in front of a computer.
- Pay attention to the use of 在 in this sentence. In this sentence, 在 is used in front of a location which is “电脑前”. When used with a location, 在 is essentially on/at/in. For example,
- 我喜欢在公园散步 = Wǒ xǐhuān zài gōngyuán sànbù. I like to take a walk in the park. Note that in this sentence, it doesn’t say I am currently taking a walk, just I like to, and “at” the park.
- Also consider the following sentences:
- 猪妈妈在电脑前 would mean Mummy Pig is at the computer.
- 猪妈妈在工作 would mean Mummy Pig is working
- In Chinese, there is no explicit tense, so this can be pretty confusing. This sentence can be interpreted both as “Mummy Pig is working at the computer” (slight more emphasis on activity) or “Mummy Pig works at the computer” (slight more emphasis on location). Our video clearly shows she is currently working!
zhū bàba zài zuò wǔcān yào hē de tāng
猪 爸爸 在 做 午餐 要 喝 的 汤
Daddy Pig is making soup for lunch
- 猪爸爸 = zhū bàba, Daddy Pig
- 做 = zuò, to make
- 午餐 = wǔcān, lunch, I think the more common way to say “lunch” is 午饭 = wǔfàn
- 汤 = tāng, soup
- 要喝的 = yào hē de, to be drank, or more simply “for”. This is a very colloquial phrase. Let’s look at some other examples:
- 装好在学校要用的书 Zhuāng hǎo zài xuéxiào yào yòng de shū. Pack the books that you’d use at school.
- 带着要交的钱, dàizhe yào jiāo de qián. Take the money you’d pay. (交 is used with 钱 usually in the context of handing the money over to somebody to cover some fees)
- In all the examples, 要 + verb + 的 is an adjective that describe the object where the object is to be used in the future, typically in the case that the action of using the object is about to happen with certainty.
- You can simplify the sentence to be 猪爸爸在做午饭的汤 which sounds just fine. You see “要喝” is technically unnecessary. It’s still used in spoken language though, so if you hear 要 + verb + 的, don’t get confused.
bàba, wǒ hé qiáozhì kěyǐ qù kàn māma gōngzuò ma
爸爸 ， 我 和 乔治 可以 去 看 妈妈 工作 吗
Daddy, can George and I go see mom working?
- 我 = wǒ, I
- 和 = hé, and / together
- 乔治 = qiáozhì, George Pig
- 可以 = kěyǐ, can
- 去 = qù, to go
- 看 = kàn, to visit or to see
- 吗 = ma, turns a statement into a question
- 可以去 + verb + 吗 is a common structure to ask for permission
kěyǐ, dànshì nǐmen bùnéng dǎrǎo tā
可以 ， 但是 你们 不能 打扰 她
You can, but you can’t disturb her
- 但是 = dànshì, but
- 你们 = nǐmen, you (plural)
- 不能 = bùnéng, can’t. It’s the same as 不可以.
- 打扰 = dǎrǎo, to disturb
- 她 = tā, her
tā jīntiān yǒu hěnduō zhòngyào de gōngzuò
她 今天 有 很多 重要 的 工作
She has a lot of important work today
- 今天 = jīntiān, today. Note that the time is not added at the end of the sentence, but rather at the beginning right after the subject 她. This is generally the case, for example:
- 我今天去了超市 = wǒ jīntiān qùle chāoshì, I went to the supermarket today.
- 我明年要去中国 = wǒ míngnián yào qù zhōngguó, I am going to China next year.
- 有 = yǒu, to have
- 很多 = hěnduō, a lot of, plenty of
- 重要的 = zhòngyào de, important
- 工作 is a noun here for work.
xièxie nǐ, bàba
谢谢 你 ， 爸爸
Thank you, dad
- 谢谢 = xièxie, thank you.
- 你 = nǐ, you.
- I think this expression sounds too formal in this context. But perhaps it’s just that Peppa is very polite!
zhū māma jīntiān yǒu hěnduō zhòngyào de gōngzuò
猪 妈妈 今天 有 很多 重要 的 工作
Mummy Pig has a lot of important work today.
- Nice repeat exercise here.
māma, qiáozhì hé wǒ kěyǐ zuòzài nǐ tuǐ shàng kàn nǐ gōngzuò ma
妈妈 ， 乔治 和 我 可以 坐在 你 腿 上 看 你 工作 吗
Mom, can George and I sit on your lap to watch you work?
- 坐 = zuò, to sit
- 腿 = tuǐ, legs
- 上 = shàng, on top of
- 坐在你腿上 = tuǐ shàng, literally on top of your legs, or better translated as ”on your lap“
- 坐在 … 上 is a set phrase of sitting on top of something. For example,
- 坐在床上 = Zuò zài chuángshàng, sitting on the bed
- 坐在沙发上 = zuò zài shāfā shàng, sitting on the couch
- 看 + person/people + verb, to watch somebody do something.
néng ā, dàn nǐmen yào bǎochí ānjìng
能 啊 ， 但 你们 要 保持 安静
Okay, but you have to keep quiet
- 能 = néng, able to
- 能啊 = néng ā, 啊 make it a pretty lighthearted “okay!” You can also say 行啊 in a similar way
- 但 is virtually the same as 但是
- 要 = yào, have to, you can read more about examples of 要 in my post on 想 vs 想要 vs 要
- 保持 = bǎochí, to maintain
- 安静 = ānjìng, quiet
pèiqí hé qiáozhì zuì xǐhuan kàn māma zài diànnǎo qián gōngzuò le
佩奇 和 乔治 最 喜欢 看 妈妈 在 电脑 前 工作 了
Peppa and George love watching mom work at the computer.
- 佩奇 = pèiqí, Peppa Pig
- 乔治 = qiáozhì, George Pig
- 最喜欢…了 = zuì xǐhuan…le, love doing something. The same structure is also seen in S01E43 Part 4.