2016-01-16elementary

Learn Chinese With Star Wars

Alright, we might be a bit late to the Star Wars party, but even though “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” premiered last year in the US and other countries, in China it premiered on January 9th this year.
This time, we will learn how to say some classic lines from Star Wars in Chinese, and also take a look at a few common Chinese grammar patterns.

First, let's see what “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is called in Chinese, so that you can ask your Chinese friends what they thought about it.

Hover over any word to show translation
xīng qiú
星球
星球
celestial body (e.g. planet, satellite etc)
dà zhàn
大战
大戰
great war
 
yuán lì
原力
原力
the force
jué xǐng
觉醒
覺醒
to awaken

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Character set
Pinyin

虽然...但是... Although…but…

In “The Force Awakens”, there is a sweet conversation between Leia and Han Solo when they reunited after having been apart for a long time.

Hover over any word to show translation
 
-
you (informal)
zhī dào
知道
知道
to know
 
suī rán
虽然
雖然
although, even though
wǒ men
我们
我們
we, us
zǒng shì
总是
總是
always
chǎo jià
吵架
吵架
to quarrel, to fight
 
dàn shì
但是
但是
however
I, me
hái shi
还是
還是
still, nevertheless
tǎo yàn
讨厌
討厭
to dislike, to loathe
you (informal)
de
(used after an attribute)
bù cí ér bié
不辞而别
不辭而別
to leave without saying good-bye
 
。 -
suǒ yǐ
所以
所以
therefore, the reason why
I, me
cái
only then, used for emphasis
zhè me
这么
這麼
this much, this way
zuò
to do
 
zhè yàng
这样
這樣
this way, like this
you (informal)
jiù
just (emphasis)
huì
will
xiǎng
to miss
I, me
le
(completed action marker)
 
。 -
I, me
xiǎng
to miss
you (informal)
le
(completed action marker)
 

- You know, as much as we fought, I always hated it when you left.
- That's why I did it, so that you'd miss me.
- I do miss you.

Character set
Pinyin

In this sentence, we see the common Chinese grammar pattern “虽然...但是...(suīrán ... dànshì ... )”. It is often used to first bring up a point, and then show that there is a contradicting reaction. Let’s see one more example.

Hover over any word to show translation
suī rán
虽然
雖然
although, even though
I, me
hěn
very
xǐ huan
喜欢
喜歡
to like, to be fond of
you (informal)
 
dàn shì
但是
但是
but, however
wǒ men
我们
我們
we, us
(negative prefix), not
néng
to be able to, can
zài
(located) at, (to be) in
yì qǐ
一起
一起
together
 

Even though I really like you, we cannot be together.

Character set
Pinyin

You can see more examples on the Chinese Grammar Wiki.

A+或者(或)+B A or B

Next, let's take a look at one of Yoda's famous lines, which he utters when Luke attempts to lift his spaceship out of the swamp using the Force.

Hover over any word to show translation
zuò
to do
huò zhě
或者
或者
or
(negative prefix), not
zuò
to do
 
méi yǒu
没有
沒有
to not have
shì shì
试试
試試
to try
kàn
(after verb) to give it a try
 

Do or do not. There is no try.

Character set
Pinyin

In this sentence, “或者(huò zhě)” is used to list different options, similar to how “or” is used in English. The grammar pattern is “A+或者+B”. A and B can be nouns, verbs, or clauses. You may also shorten “或者” to “或(huò)”. Let's look at another example.

Hover over any word to show translation
jīn tiān
今天
今天
today
to go
huò zhě
或者
或者
or
míng tiān
明天
明天
tomorrow
to go
dōu
all, both
kě yǐ
可以
可以
can, possible
 

We can go today or tomorrow, it doesn't matter.

Character set
Pinyin

See more about this pattern on the Chinese Grammar Wiki.

~与你同在 ~to be with you

Finally, we will learn perhaps the most famous quote form Star Wars which appears throughout the entire series.

Hover over any word to show translation
yuán lì
原力
原力
the Force
together with
you (informal)
tóng zài
同在
同在
to be with
 

May the Force be with you.

Character set
Pinyin

“与你同在(yǔ nǐ tóng zài)” is a set phrase which means “to be with you”. It is most often used when blessing someone, as in the following example.

Hover over any word to show translation
yuàn
to hope, to wish
xìng fú
幸福
幸福
happiness
together with
you (informal)
tóng zài
同在
同在
to be with
 

I wish you all the happiness.

Character set
Pinyin

That's it for this time!