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Learn Mandarin Online Mini Story – 分手 Breakup [1] (Beginner to Elementary)

Posted by Grace Feng on September 20, 2012

This Learn Chinese short story is written for beginner to elementary level readers. Sentence patterns are simple. You can learn a few new words along your reading. No pressure, take your time. I assume most of my readers are adults or even older teenagers. You really don’t need to start with kids’ stories. I hope my short stories can give you some simple Chinese to read in adulthood.

To see how reading levels are rated, please click here.

Learn Mandarin Online Mini Chinese Novel – 分手 Breakup [1] (Beginner Level)

 

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[simplified Chinese and pinyin]

fēn shŏu
分 手 (1)

 

hěn wǎn le。

很晚了。

It was deep in the night.

 

tā, yīgèrén zuò zhe。

他,一个人坐着。

He was sitting all alone.

 

zhuō shàng shì kōng jiǔ píngzi。

桌上是空酒瓶子。

There were empty wine bottles on the table.

 

tā hé tā fēnshǒu yǒu shí gè xiǎoshí le。

他和她分手有十个小时了。

Ten hours had passed since the two of them broke up.

 

tā zhǐ juéde yè hěn cháng, yě hěn liáng。。。

他只觉得夜很长, 也很凉。。。

He only felt the night was too long, and too cold …

 

 

 

ér tā, zhèng zuò zài huǒchē shàng, xiǎng zhe tāmen

fēnshǒu de xiàwǔ。

而她,正坐在火车上,想着他们分手的下午。

And she, who was riding on a train, was thinking about the afternoon that they broke up.

 

bù jìde tāmen wèishénme zhēngchǎo。

不记得他们为什么争吵。

She couldn’t remember how the fight started.

 

kěshì tāmen dōu hăn chū le” fēnshǒu” liǎng gè zì。

可是他们都喊出了分手两个字。

However both of them tossed out the word “breakup”.

 

jiù zhè yàng, tā men yĭ fēn shŏu jié shù le sān nián de ài qíng。

就这样,他们以分手结束了三年的爱情。

Just like that, they broke up and ended their three years’ relationship.

 

[simplified Chinese without pinyin]

 

分 手 (1)

 

很晚了。

他,一个人坐着。

桌上是空酒瓶子。

他和她分手有十个小时了。

他只觉得夜很长, 也很凉。。。

 

而她,正坐在火车上,想着他们分手的下午。

不记得他们为什么争吵。

可是他们都喊出了”分手”两个字。

就这样,他 们 以 分 手 结 束 了 三 年 的爱 情。

 

[traditional Chinese]

分 手 (1)

 

很晚了。

他,一個人坐著。

桌上是空酒瓶子。

他和她分手有十個小時了。

他只覺得夜很長, 也很涼。。。

 

而她,正坐在火車上,想著他們分手的下午。

不記得他們為什麼爭吵。

可是他們都喊出了”分手”兩個字。

就這樣,他 們 以 分 手 結 束 了 叁 年 的 愛 情。

 

[vocabulary table]

Simplified Chinese Traditional Chinese Mandarin Pinyin English Definition
jiu3 wine
瓶子 瓶子 ping2 zi5 bottle
分手 分手 fen1 shou3 to split up; to break up;
小时 小時 xiao3 shi2 hour
觉得 覺得 jue2 de5 to think; to feel;
ye4 night;
liang2 cold; cool;
争吵 爭吵 zheng1chao3 dispute; strife;
jiu4 just (emphasis);
结束 結束 jie2 shu4 to finish; to end;
爱情 愛情 ai4 qing2 romance; love (romantic)

 

to be continued …

 

Related posts:

Learn Chinese Online Short Story – 我身后的眼睛 The Eyes Behind Me [5] (Elementary)
Best Micro Fiction Award from Sina: flash story 戒指 [The Ring] (Elementary)
Chinese online short story 罪恶有痕 Traces of Sin 6 (Intermediate to Advanced)

 

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23 Responses to “Learn Mandarin Online Mini Story – 分手 Breakup [1] (Beginner to Elementary)”

  1. nothing

    白睿:

    09-20-2012 1:40 pm

    Hello Grace. Such a sad story! It seems that there is a difference in the final sentence of the Simplified and the Traditional versions of the story: one has 他们以分手结束了三年的爱情、the other is 他們以分手告別. Looks like you originally wrote 2 versions!
    Also you did not mention in your vocab table that 凉 can also mean ‘cool’, ‘cold’ which is the most important meaning in the context of your tale.

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace:

      09-21-2012 1:49 am

      Thank you so much for your proofreading on my writing, 白睿! Yes, that was a mistake, I just corrected.

      I didn’t ran through each single word for the vocabulary table and trusted Purpleculture too much. From now on, I will run through vocabulary table more carefully.

      The second part will be posted soon tonight…

      Grace

      Reply

  2. nothing

    马吉雅:

    09-22-2012 12:16 am

    Dear Grace,
    first of all, I’m amazed what a wonderful teacher you are. Secondly, I count myself as having an intermediate level in reading Chinese. Reading your mini-novel didn’t provide me much difficulties. Just one or two hanzi (included the title, 哈哈)。 So, I guess this text is not to hard for someone who has a knowledge of about 500 hanzi or above. Great work!

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace:

      09-22-2012 2:41 am

      Thanks a lot, 马吉雅, for your quick check! I’m happy my “rating” looks right. I’m also happily surprised that intermediate level learners are not too rare to find nowadays :-D

      I will post more mini novels with different ratings moving forward, might need your help to check again. Much appreciated…

      Grace

      Reply

  3. nothing

    Shlomo:

    10-26-2012 2:29 am

    Grace,
    Yuo publish wonderful things. Can you publish your novel, with all Characters together not separated in line with the pinyin and English? I find it very distracting reading this way, as my eyes go automatically to the pinyin, which I want to avoid.

    Publishing it the way you did with the traditional characters would be great.
    Thanks,
    Shlomo

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      10-26-2012 2:49 am

      Shlomo,

      Thanks for your advice!

      I’ve also received different opinion that needs to have pinyin on top (for beginners especially).

      How about this? Let me put character together and place the excerpt under the block with pinyin. This way both groups of readers can read the way they want?

      For the other two mini novels, since they are elementary levels and above, I took the pinyin out.

      I will update this one with changes in the next hour.

      Feel free to let me know if you have any other suggestions…

      :-)

      Grace

      Reply

  4. nothing

    La Xi:

    09-16-2013 4:47 am

    wow,,,i cant believe it,,,i thought i was still at beginners level,,,but in fact,,,i didnt even had any problem reading this…thank u for this mini novel

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      09-16-2013 8:18 pm

      I’m happy for you, La Xi. Hope you can keep it up, move on to more advanced level day by day!

      Grace

      Reply

  5. nothing

    David Guajardo:

    04-14-2014 5:16 pm

    Wow, this is really amazing! I been looking for some way to learn Chinese through reading. This is what I am looking for! Thanks Grace!

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      04-14-2014 5:18 pm

      You’re welcome, David. :-)

      Reply

      • nothing

        yeshi:

        08-04-2014 6:08 pm

        Thank you so much for your kindly and highly appreciated works for every body. i am glad to see it is really helpful,
        thank you .

        Reply

  6. nothing

    millard waltz:

    11-18-2014 5:06 pm

    I found your short story quite well done. For me it is useful to be able to read the text with both simplified and traditional characters. Thank you so much

    Reply

  7. nothing

    nameMichael:

    06-28-2015 6:29 pm

    Finally, the promised land. For many years I had claimed that Chinese was a basically not very difficult language. Though it did have some intrinsic complications due to the script, that shouldn’t have been the huge obstacle that it was. There existed romanisation, in particular pinyin, a fabulous learning tool. There are of course other, structural, approaches to ease the learning of characters. But my claim was that, even in the absence of those, simply the availability of parallel hanzi-pinyin texts, at suitably graduated levels, would be sufficient to overcome the problem. I had searched for years to find such an obvious tool. But there seems to be a malaise connected with a more general malaise in adult L2 pedagogy, whcih I will call the myth of the power of authenticity, to the exclusion of other considerations. To take an example, I am also currently studying French. French is normally spoken fairly fast. For learners, it could be brought down to… say half speed. But no, that would violate the principle of authenticity! It’s a silly concept. If students can hear and understand speech, in the right rhythm, but slowly, they will quickly come to anticipate – fundamental to language – and naturally speed up. With pinyin and adult learners, there seems to be a universal idea that, beyond a very basic level, students are under practically a moral obligation to battle along reading only hanzi with no assistance. In any alphabetic language, if you don’t know a word, you often can guess at it, and usually more or less know what it should sound like. This is less so with hanzi by an order of magnitude. If you read a paragraph of, say, 100 characters, but can’t recognize, or quickly recognize, 25 or 30, that’s enough to destroy the continuity. It makes it not like “real” reading, and takes a student of iron will to push through that. Most students tail off, which is why Chinese is, absurdly, not the main world lingua franca today. What we need is volume in reading, which means being able to work through it a reasonable pace. Seven or eight years ago, in Melaka, I happened upon a Chinese bookstall in a shopping mall. I found there hundreds of parallel text books for, I would say, older children and teenagers. I supposed that that must be a phenomenon essentially confined to the expat Chinese communities. But no, a year or two later, I found essentially the same thing in China (I forget exactly where). So, for children growing up as native speakers of the language, all asistance is permitted, but adult learners have to do it by pushing a cannon ball uphill with their nose. Seriously, I had said to myself, if no-one else creates these parallel readings, when I get to a certain standard, I will do it myself, as my father used to say, “on my head with one hand tied behind my back.” Well, I don’t have to do that now. What else I don’t need to do is make any more excuses for not getting my command of this language to a more useful level. Thanks enormously.

    Reply

  8. nothing

    Charles:

    06-28-2015 6:55 pm

    I know I talk too much, but a couple of other things occurred to me. 1) the placement: pinyin shangbian haishi xiabian? When I first saw those books in Melaka (didn’t buy any, was short of cash at that moment), I was surprised to see the pinyin on top. Supposed, still suppose, it had something to do with L1 vs L2 learners. In the end, I think either way is fine. If I had to choose, I would say pinyin below, as I am looking first at the hanzi, referring to the pinyin (covered by my hand or whatever) only as necessary. 2) spacing. I think you’ve got it right with word-spaced pinyin, but the hanzi more or less as would appear in a standard Chinese reading. Somewhere, possibly that place in China, I did buy some parallel books – basically for very young children, fairly tails and so on. I found them somewhat difficult, partly because that is a special genre in any language, but mainly because of no spacing. If it had to be one or the other, I would say: spacing always. Similarly with the French-speed thing, the layout of text is a paralinguistic thing, which shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with fundamental learning. However, I think you can have the best of both worlds by confining the word-spacing to the pinyin text. That way, the student is learning to guess the probable structure, but is prevented by the pinyin spacing from getting too tangled up.

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      07-08-2015 12:15 am

      Hi Charles,

      First of all, thank you for your “very detailed” comment, you do have thoughtful points.

      I apologize for my late reply. I was on a trip and couldn’t find time for the blog.

      Parallel reading is indeed very helpful in the early learning phase. However, I’d also highly recommend to steer away from it once you’re able to read 80% of the text without pinyin and translation. It’s easy to become dependent on it. It works the same way for English learners using subtitle to watch movie in English. It’s my own experience. I used to turn on English subtitle for movie and TV. That way I can make sure I don’t misunderstand any plot at all. It did help me a lot at first. But then I became very dependent on it and didn’t feel comfortable if I turn it off. Guess what? One day I turned on a Chinese movie … I started to look for subtitle?!

      Your thoughts about the placement of pinyin and Chinese spacing are very interesting. Honestly I had thought about doing the same way as you suggested but was not sure wether it was a good idea. I’ll think about it in my next story.

      Thanks a lot for your suggestions, Charles. That was a very good discussion. :-)

      Grace

      Reply

  9. nothing

    Elise:

    01-18-2016 5:24 am

    Hi Grace,

    I am very excited to have just stumbled across your blog. Short stories in Chinese for an adult audience is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I’ve tried reading children’s Chinese books to improve my Chinese reading but I never sustain any interest in them. So a big thank you for writing these :)

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      01-20-2016 3:33 am

      Hi Elise,

      You’re welcome. I myself have more interest in writing stuff for adults too. So you just found the right place.

      Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I’ll try my best to answer in time.

      Again, a big warm WELCOME!

      :-)

      Grace

      Reply

  10. nothing

    姜维:

    10-14-2016 7:49 am

    多谢。很有意思。

    Reply

  11. nothing

    Abul:

    03-06-2017 9:13 am

    What a fantastic discovery this website has been for me!
    It has taken my Chinese language study into a new dimension.
    Thank you very much.

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      03-06-2017 11:32 pm

      Glad to hear that Abul, it’s my pleasure. :-)

      Grace

      Reply

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