一封家书

In class today we listened to a song called 一封家书 (A Letter Home) by 李春波 (Li Chunbo). It’s from 1993 and is quite well known (in China). Because I’m bored and because I think the song says something about Chinese culture, I’ll try translating the lyrics. Our teacher already did part of the job, of course. Also, thanks to Jess for helping out. Pinyin in brackets.

亲爱的爸爸妈妈 (qīnài de bàba māma)
你们好吗 (nǐmen hǎo ma)
现在工作很忙吧 (xiànzài gōngzuò hěn máng ba)
身体好吧 (shēntǐ hǎo ba)

Dear dad and mom.
How are you?
Have you been busy at work?
Do you have your health?

我现在广州挺好的 (wǒ xiànzài Guǎngzhōu tǐng hǎo de)
爸爸妈妈不要太牵挂 (bàba māma bú yào tài qiānguà)
虽然我很少写信 (suīrán wǒ hěnshǎo xiě xìn)
其实我很想家 (qíshí wǒ hěn xiǎngjiā)

I’m doing very well in Guangzhou now.
Dad and mom don’t need to worry.
Although I don’t write very often,
I’m actually very homesick.

爸爸每天都上班吗 (bàba měitiān dōu shàngbān ma)
管得不严就不要去了 (guǎndé bù yán jiù bú yào qù le)
干了一辈子革命工作 (gàn le yíbèizi gémìng gōngzuò)
也该歇歇了 (yě gāi xiē xiē le)

Does dad go to work every day?
If the manager isn’t too strict, he doesn’t need to go.
Having done revolutionary work for a lifetime,
he too deserves to rest.

我买了一件毛衣给妈妈 (wǒ mǎi le yí jiàn máoyī gěi māma)
别舍不得穿上吧 (bié shěbudé chuānshàng ba)
以前儿子不太听话 (yǐqián érzi bù tài tīnghuà)
现在懂事他长大了 (xiànzài dǒngshì tā zhǎngdà le)

I bought a sweater for mom,
please don’t be afraid to use it.
Before your son wasn’t very obedient,
but he’s sensible and grown up now.

哥哥姐姐常回来吗 (gēge jiějie cháng huí lái ma)
替我问候他们吧 (tì wǒ wènhòu tāmen ba)
有什么活儿就让他们干 (yǒu shénme huór jiù ràng tāmen gàn)
自己孩子有什么客气的 (zìjǐ háizi yǒu shénme kèqì de)

Do brother and sister come home to visit often?
Please give them my greetings.
If you have any housework, let them do it.
You’re own children should pay their respect.

爸爸妈妈多保重身体 (bàba māma duō bǎozhòng shēntǐ)
不要让儿子放心不下 (bú yào ràng érzi fàngxīnbúxià)
今年春节我一定回家 (jīnnián chūnjié wǒ yídìng huí jiā)
好了先写到这儿吧 (hǎo le xiān xiě dào zhèr ba)

Dad and mom, take good care of your health,
don’t let your son worry about you.
This Spring Festival I’m coming home for sure.
I should stop writing now.

此致敬礼 (cǐzhì jìnglǐ)
此致那个敬礼 (cǐzhì nàgè jìnglǐ)
一九九三年十月十八号 (yī jiǔ jiǔ sān nián shí yuè shí bā hào)

Regards.
October 18, 1993.

As a service to my readers, here’s the song for you to download. I’m sorry I can only provide it in mp3-format, but I found it on Baidu (Chinas biggest search engine). Copyright 李春波 1993. Used without permission, of course.

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2 thoughts on “一封家书

  1. hi, could you tell me how to input PINYIN characters like this ‘qīnài de bàba māma’? thanks. 🙂

  2. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any IME to input pinyin directly. Instead, I go to adsotrans and click on “advanced” to show all the fine tools they have available. Select “Pintone” and write the pinyin with the tones as numbers, e.g. “qin1ai4 de ba4ba”. That’s it. I don’t very often write pinyin, this method is far to inconvenient to use in daily work. If you find out some more convenient way, please tell me!

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