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Say It Right Series

One-Way Street Scuffle

Posted by flibberdie November 9, 2010 in the Group Transcripts with Tal.

Hello, again. Here's my work on the recent Intermediate Level lesson, One-Way Street Scuffle

I'll paste the content of the transcript as a reply to this post; I'm still trying to find my way around in zoho, but I've hopefully got the document up there as well.  Look for it at


Any and all suggestions or corrections are most welcome. I do think it is harder to do the proofreading end of this exercise; the transcribing isn't as daunting.


Here, hopefully, is an rtf version of the transcript with corrections. (If it shows up, Paul gets credit for helping me figure out how to post it.)

One-Way Street Scuffle

Corrections by paulinurus on 11/7/10 appear in blue

Questionable transcriptions appear in red

A 你们两个怎么回事?













JZ:大家好,这里是Chinesepod. I'm Jenny.

JPHey, guys, I'm John and this is an Intermediate Lesson.


JPAlright, so we're on the street, and we're talking about a one way street scuffle here.

JZ:哦,对。那你刚刚说的one way street 中文叫做单行道,单行道。

JPOkay, so that's almost a word for character translation, isn't it




JPYeah, like to move, to proceed. Okay, and then...


JPOkay, so it's the street. So, one-way street is...


JPAlright, first, second, fourth tone, right?


JPAnd today a lot of the dialogue is not about the one-way street itself, but about what happened on the one-way street.


JPYeah, so people are getting kind of angry at each other and saying some not nice things.

JZ 对。

JPAlright, here we go. Dialogue coming up.


DIALOGUE 1:09 to 1:53


JPSo, Jenny, when we first start we hear someone inquiring into the situation, right?


JPOkay, so police.


JPOkay, so he sees two people are arguing, 吵架,right?


JPAnd he asks them....


JPOkay, now this phrase, 怎么回事,um, the words seem pretty simple, like 'how' , 'return', 'thing' or 'affair';  how do we understand this phrase?


JPOkay, so 'what happened'?


JPNow, I might expect the police to ask, "怎么了", like "what happened", "what's wrong?"

JZ:那怎么了 怎么回事比一起来,呢,怎么回事更加强调到底发现了什么事。

JPOkay, so if you compare the two, "怎么回事" emphasizes what happened.


JPSo asking "怎么了" is more like "what's the matter", explaining how you feel, you're own view point..


JPOk, I see. So "怎么回事", "what's the situation", "what's the deal", "what's going on".


JPOkay, so he's driving, but he's not just driving, he's ...


JPOkay, 乱,fourth tone. Now this word by itself can mean "messy", "chaotic", right?


JPIt can be an adjective.

347JZ:那么这个当它和动词放在一起用的时候,呢,意思就是你ignore rules

JPAlright, so you put it before a verb, it means you're doing something without regard for the rules, maybe without regard for safety, or other people.  The dictionary might say "indiscriminately doing something."


JPOkay, so "reckless driving" is 乱开车And what is the result of this kind of driving?


JPAlright, let's look at the end of the sentence first. It is...


JPSo, hit and kill me.

424JZ:对,那撞死就是很清楚的告诉你这个结果。这个结果有可能是把人别人撞死了, 对吧,造成他们死亡。

JPOkay, so we have the verb, 撞,which is fourth tone, followed by the result which is 死,so 撞死  means to hit someone and kill them.

JZ:对的。那么差点儿撞死我,差点儿,其实是"fortunately" , 对吧。你刚刚很有可能差一点儿就撞死我。

JPYeah, 差一点儿literally means 'lacking a little bit.'


JPLike you were just short of hitting me and killing me.  So, in English we would  normally say "You almost hit and killed me."

JZ:嗯,对,那中文,呢, 这个almost就是差点儿你差点儿撞死我

JPNow the question is, is it "you almost hit me" or "you almost hit me (that) which led to my death"?


JPOkay, so "I didn't hit you".  Now here we have another result indicated by...


JPOkay, so 撞到  means successfully hit, or hit to completion.

JZ:对,是的。这个其实就是说你有没有碰到,有没有come into contact.

JPOkay, so 撞到means a hit, made contact.


JPNot just almost hit, tried to hit, but hit and made contact.  So, in this case...


JPOkay, so "I didn't hit you".  Notice he didn't deny driving like a maniac.


JPBut I didn't hit you.  Now, can you just say "我没撞你


JPIt's not as clear?


JPSo it's almost like he's admitting he "almost" hit him, but he didn't touch him.


JPGot it.

634JZ我没撞到你。那么 碰到 这样的事情另外一个人,她肯定是很害怕了,她说当时吓死我了,当时吓死我了

JPOkay, so 吓死我了scared me to death?


JPSo it's a time.  So this "当时 that " refers to "that", like "at that time".


JPOkay, so "at the time, you almost scared me to death."


JPSo, to have a car, just wonderful?

JZ:这个了不起就是你觉得你自己是big deal, big shot

JPSo, the translation in natural English would be something like, "You think you're so great just because you have a car?"

JZ:对,有车就了不起吗? 那这个我们北美,特别是北美的,听众听起来可能觉得很好笑,啊,有一个车有什么了不起,但是在中国有很多人没有车,那有车可能是代表你比较有钱。

JPOkay, so in China, as opposed to North America, having a car is kind of a status symbol. A lot of people don't have cars.


JPSo, someone without a car could accuse someone with a car of thinking they're hot stuff because they have a car.


JPAlright, so we're omitting "you think that"...


JPOkay, just because you have a car, emphasizes the result: you're so amazing, you're so great.


JPSo, 开车, like, when you're driving, and then when you're driving, what?


JPSo you don't grow eyes.


JPOkay, so this one it's best not to look at too literally; it's more like in English, when you're driving you're not looking where you're going.


JPSo, you can't translate "not looking where you're going" literally into Chinese. You have to translate it as...

JZ:开车不长眼睛。不长眼睛。但是其实 John 你刚刚说那个英文not looking where you're driving"; 这个听起来就是还是比较  neutral, 对吧,不是很  offensive,应该不是骂 人的话。

JPIt's not offensive in English but I would say it is pretty accusatory, like "you're in the wrong."

JZ:哦,在中文里面这个不长眼睛,呢,就是比较  offensive; 有一点骂人。所以说开车的人觉得,哦,你说话怎么这么难听,呢,然后就说,这个走路的人, 


JPOkay, so we're walking on some kind of a line, right?

JZ:对,zebra lines.

JPThe zebra lines!

JZ:斑马线,斑马就是那个动物  zebra.

JPfirst tone, third tone, and then 线 is fourth tone, so of course we're talking about a crosswalk. So, to use the crosswalk we say...


JPSo, walk on the crosswalk. Can I say 用斑马线?


JPOkay, so you have to say, "Walk on the zebra lines."

JZ:对,走斑马线。 很重要,啊,要注意安全,走斑马线。

JPOkay, but we're still in an argument here.


JPOkay, 有理 what is that?

10:29JZ 你有没有听过一个说法叫有道理

JPAh, okay, 道理 meaning reason...

JZ:对。然后有理 有道理,意思就是你是对的。

JPOkay, we have the word "真理 as well, right?  A truth...


JPSo,  , third tone.. So, 有理,you have your reasons and you're in the right.


JPSo, what is the tone of voice here, can you tell us?

JZ 就是在指责他,在说其实你没有理。

JPSo, accusing him, saying "you almost hit me and yet you still think you're in the right?"

JZ:对,其实这里也省略了一个你觉得 你还觉得自己有理了

JPYeah, I added that in there for you.  So, meaning 'still', "even in this kind of situation you still think you're in the right."


JPOkay, but there's one part you haven't explained which is why is there a little on the end?

1143JZ:啊,这个,呢,其实就是语气, 因为这句话你上说的就是你一点都没有理, 但是你还觉得自己有理。  那你想  突出你试这种有点rhetoric question,对吧,反问他。

JPSo, it's an accusatory, rhetorical question. You'll notice when people are upset and they're arguing, the ''s get dropped in here and there and it's hard to explain exactly why it's there but , um, study these patterns and it'll start to feel more natural.


JPOkay,  吵,so that's what we said before, 吵架,right? To argue?


JPAlright, so that's third tone...


JPOkay, so "make a record", is that right?

JZ:对,不是那个 music record.  这个记录就是警察要写一下来发现了什么事。

JPOkay, 记录。Two fourth tones. We know this 记录 is a noun because we have 做记录。


JPAlright. Got it. But 记录   can also be a verb sometimes.

JZ: 也可以的。

JP: Alright.

JZ: 好,那这两个人,呢,就开始 一个一个说。走路的人说这是单行道,他从这边就开过来了,这个车从这边就开过来了。

JPOkay, so the word for one-way street again, is...

JZ:单行道,单行道。好,那么最后警察怎么说,呢,警察说,这条单行道上只能从东往西开, 这条单行道上只能从东往西开

JPOkay, so on this one-way street we have a measure word for a street, right?


JPAlright, that's second tone.  And you can only from what direction to what direction, how do you say that?


JPSo, from east towards west, drive.


JPOkay, and then he says..


JP: Alright, so the first word is the word for driver's license, right?

JZ: 对,叫做驾照,两个第四声。

JPAlright, two fourth tones, and note the initials here. 


JPSo that's jia, fourth tone, zhao, fourth tone. If you confuse those, people aren't gonna understand you so make sure you get them right.

JZ: 驾照,驾照。

JPOkay, so what about the driver's license?


JP:  Alright, "pull it out", and this is a little bit gruff, right?

JZ:对,就是听起来是一个命令,一个command, 一个order.

JPAlright, so the cop being a cop.  Alright, I think we're ready to listen to the dialogue one more time.


DIALOGUE 14:30 to 15:17


JP: So, Jenny, I've got a question for you.

JZ ,嗯,什么问题?

JPThis dialogue, like all of our dialogues, are written by Chinese people, right?


JPSo, 真实,realistic. So, can you tell me why, exactly, this dialogue is realistic?


JPOkay, so people get hit a lot on the roads in China, whether they're walking or riding their bike.

JZ:对对对。有的时候可能不是很严重的, 啊。

JPAlright, so sometimes it's a light tap.

JZ:对,就上今天对话里面。那,很多时候,呢,其实开车的人和走路的人,他们都错了,they're both in the wrong.

JPAlright, so you think that's pretty common, that they're both in the wrong.

JZ:对,其实上我们对话里面就是的那个走路的人,呢,没有走斑马线, 对吧,然后开车的人,单行道,他方向开错了。两个人都错了。

JPSo, would you say the person crossing the street was 乱过马路?


JPOkay, and the driver, of course, is...


JPOkay, so the direction was wrong.

1639JZ:嗯,所以这样的情况(((di xia))),呢,警察一般就会看谁更wrong.  谁错的更严重,就是。

JPSo, who is more seriously wrong.  It's not a matter of who "有理", because no one is really totally in the right.

JZ: 对对对,所以警察就会看哪个错误更严重。然后经常就是说开车的人,我觉得,开车的人被会有一点被discriminate against

JPOkay, so the drivers are discriminated against by  the police? The police stick up for the little man?


JPOh, that's kind of good.

1721JZ:嗯,也是。可能很多人觉得 (((ze ma))) 有车,就了不起吗?

JPThe cops also think this way, huh?  Alright, well anyway, if you have any questions about all this material, especially if you have any stories about traffic in China, please come to Chinesepod dot com, and ask us.


JPYeah, zebra lines, guys, zebra lines.  See you next time.







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