Have you ever heard the saying ‘15 minutes of fame’? Andy Warhol is credited with these memorable lines, but what he actually said was: ‘In the future, everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes’.

That was in 1968, before the internet arrived in our pockets and celebrity culture, reality TV shows, and viral videos became so prevalent. Andy Warhol’s words have predicted some of the major features of our current society. ‘15 minutes of fame’ has become a popular English idiom. Do you ever use it? Have you had your 15 minutes of fame yet? 

‘15 minutes’ in Chinese is 十五分. 十五 means ‘15’ and 分 is ‘minute’. In our previous post for 分 (http://on.fb.me/16RKf5n), we mentioned that 分 means ‘to divide’. However, when we use 分 as a noun, the definition changes to ‘minute’, ‘fraction’, or ‘mark’ (as in a mark given for an exam). Let’s summarise the usages of 分:

分 as a verb: to divide, to separate, e.g. 分手 (fen1 shou3; break-up, split-up)
分 as a noun: minute*, fraction, mark, e.g. 15分 (shi2 wu3 fen1;15 minutes) or (15 marks on the exam)

*One side note here, ‘minute’ can also be translated as ‘分鐘/分钟’ (fen1 zhong1) which is the full-expression of ‘分’.

So, what do you think about 十五分 of fame? Do you think it’s the norm of our modern society? Do you agree with Warhol?

Pinyin: shi2 wu3 fen1
(Traditional and Simplified)
Pronunciation/Stroke Order:
十: http://bit.ly/1BrnMHo
五: http://bit.ly/1ANqpSM
分: http://bit.ly/1DZoMD0

Source: Chineasy


Illustration: Hua Zhong Wen


未來 means “future” in Chinese. Notice how both of the characters in this phrase use 木 (tree) as a component. What a great reminder of the important role nature will play in our planet’s 未來 (future)!

未來 = 未 (Not Yet) + 來 (To Come) = Future

Pinyin: wei4 lai2
Pronunciation/Stroke Order:
未: http://bit.ly/1qVNT2A
來: http://bit.ly/1sfKbBK

P.S. The popular American TV show Futurama is called 飛出個未來 (fei1 chu1 ge wei4 lai2) in Chinese!

Source: Chineasy




日 rì = sun; day of the month



In Chinese, we use the phrase 明天 to refer to ‘tomorrow’; another interchangeable phrase for ‘tomorrow’ is 明日 (ming2 ri4).
明天 = 明 (bright) + 天 (day) = [literally] (bright day); (tomorrow)


 In different contexts, 天 can have different meanings such as sky, heaven, god, nature, weather, and day. When 天 means day, it has the same meaning as 日 (the sun), which we’ve already learned.

Chinese people write every single day as 天天 or 日日.

In Chinese, the phrase for ‘every day’ is 天天. Besides meaning ‘every day’, 天天 can also mean ‘everyday’.

A side note: For anyone with English as a second language, do you know the difference between ‘everyday’ and ‘every day’? ‘Everyday’ is used as an adjective that describes something that happens or is used every day (or regularly). The phrase ‘every day’ also describes something that happens each day, but it’s more precise than ‘everyday’. For example, you could write ‘every third day…’, or ‘every day I read the paper’. This is much more specific than ‘everyday’, which you might use to say something like, ‘work is an everyday grind’, or ‘that’s his everyday outfit’.

That may be a little confusing, but fortunately the Chinese phrase 天天 can be used both ways. Sometimes Chinese is much easier than English!

By the way, there’s one popular Chinese pop song called 天天想你 (tian1 tian1 xiang3 ni3; miss you every day). It’s sung by Zhang Yusheng (張雨生). Check it out and see if you can recognise the phrase 天天 from the Chinese subtitles in the music video here: bit.ly/1uuz5rO!

Pinyin: tian1 tian1
(Traditional, Simplified and Kanji)
Pronunciation/Stroke Order:
天: http://bit.ly/1rjKclM

P.S. So how do you know if the phrase 天天 is being used as an adjective or an adverb in a Chinese sentence? It’s actually pretty easy! If 天天 is followed by a noun, e.g. 聖誕節 (shen4 dan4 jie2; Christmas), it’s just like ‘everyday’. On the other hand, if 天天 is followed by a verb, e.g. 回家 (hui2 jia1; go home), it’s like ‘every day’. Got it?

Source: Chineasy





Source: Chineasy