The new movie Zootopia has recently come out, and already everyone is talking about it. It’s gotten some great reviews, and it’s very clear that this movie is going to be one of the hottest films around for quite some time. So, how about we check out some fun quotes and excerpts from Zootopia and use them to learn Mandarin? Come on, let’s take a look...
Judy Hopps: Life's a little bit messy. We all make mistakes. No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.
- Make a mistake
- fàn cuò(wù)
- We all make mistakes.
- Wǒmen dōu huì fàn cuò 。
There is also an old Chinese saying that has a very similar meaning:
- Nobody’s perfect.
- Rén wú wán rén 。
Nick Wilde: Hey, Flash, wanna hear a joke?
Judy Hopps: NO!
Nick Wilde: OK. What do you call a three humped camel?
Flash: I don't... know.
Nick Wilde: Pregnant!
- I don't know.
- Wǒ bù zhīdào 。
However, for Flash I suppose it should be:
- Wǒ… bù… zhī…dào…
Judy Hopps: Wait, uh, wait... listen! I know you'll never forgive me. And I don't blame you. I wouldn't forgive me either.
- zébèi /zéguài /guài
- I know you'll never forgive me.
- Wǒ zhīdào nǐ yǒngyuǎn yě bú huì yuánliàng wǒ le 。
- I don't blame you.
- Wǒ bú guài nǐ 。
- I wouldn't forgive me either.
- Wǒ yě bù huì yuánliàng wǒ zìjǐ de 。
Here 自己（zìjǐ）means “oneself”:
- Myself: 我自己（wǒ zìjǐ）
- Yourself: 你自己（nǐ zìjǐ）
- Himself: 他自己（tā zìjǐ）
- Herself: 她自己（tā zìjǐ）
Nick Wilde: You know you love me.
- You know you love me.
This can be directly translated as:
- Nǐ zhīdào nǐ ài wǒ 。
However, we can also translate it in the following way, which sounds more like what a native speaker would say:
- Nǐ zhīdào nǐ shì ài wǒ de 。
In this second translation, we use the 是……的(shì ……de) pattern for emphasis.
So, how do we use this pattern? Well, here is an example sentence for us to analyze:
- Tā zuótiān cóng Niǔyuē zuò fēijī lái Shànghǎi xuéxí Hànyǔ 。
The literal translation of this sentence would be:
- He yesterday from New York take airplane come Shanghai study Chinese.
So, if we wanted to emphasize something in the sentence above using the 是……的(shì ……de) pattern, the actual wording would depend on what we wanted to emphasize. For example, if we wanted to...
emphasize the time “yesterday,” we would write:
- Tā shì zuótiān cóng Niǔyuē zuò fēijī lái Shànghǎi xuéxí Hànyǔ de。
emphasize the place “New York,” we would write:
- Tā zuótiān shì cóng Niǔyuē zuò fēijī lái Shànghǎi xuéxí Hànyǔ de。
emphasize how you would do something like “take airplane,” we would write:
- Tā zuótiān cóng Niǔyuē shì zuò fēijī lái Shànghǎi xuéxí Hànyǔ de。
emphasize the destination “Shanghai,” we would write:
- Tā zuótiān cóng Niǔyuē zuò fēijī shì lái Shànghǎi xuéxí Hànyǔ de。
emphasize the action “study Chinese,” we would write:
- Tā zuótiān cóng Niǔyuē zuò fēijī lái Shànghǎi shì xuéxí Hànyǔ de。
All in all, this 是……的(shì ……de) pattern is not particularly easy to learn because you can’t really translate it directly and you probably can’t find a similar pattern in your native language. Just keep in mind that we generally use the 是……的(shì ……de) pattern for emphasis and that we usually put 是(shì) in front of the part we want to emphasize and 的(de) at the end of the sentence.
Judy Hopps: Tomorrow's another day.
Bucky Oryx-Antlerson: Yeah, but it might be worse!
- Tomorrow's another day.
- Míngtiān yòu shì xīn de yī tiān le 。
- But it might be worse!
- dàn yě kěnéng gèng zāo 。
Nick Wilde: (about Bellwether) Do you think when she goes to sleep, she counts herself?
- Do you think when she goes to sleep, she counts herself?
- Nǐ juéde tā shuìjiào de shíhou huì shǔ zìjǐ mǎ ？
Some people count sheep when they can’t sleep, and in Mandarin we count them like this:
- yì zhī yáng ，liǎng zhī yáng ，sān zhī yáng ……
Here the 只(zhī) serves as the measure word for sheep (as well as some other small animals). This kind of thing is called 数羊（shǔ yáng）.
And that’s it! While, analyzing quotes from Zootopia might be fun, these phrases can also be commonly used in your daily life. I hope you have enjoyed learning about the movie and Mandarin at the same time!
Hero Image by Anthony J (CC BY 2.0)