The Goose, the Goose, the Goose!

Written by Julen Madariaga on November 28th, 2008

Finally Friday. It’s been an exhausting week and I feel like I need a little break. Sometimes I wonder why I ever took up Crisis Watch as a hobby. Other China blogs watch cool things like Scandal, or even Shoes. But Crises are an awful thing to watch, believe me. You watch it for a few hours and numbers swim before you eyes like a Gaggle of Geese.

Fortunately, we still have the Learn Chinese post of the week to do. So here we go. Today’s tip is sponsored by Chinese uber-teacher Fu Ting.

It is called: The Goose, the Goose, the Goose!

Anyone brought up in China will be familiar with this little poem, but surprisingly few foreigners know about it. It has a very interesting story that you can read in detail here. The poet Luo Binwang wrote it about 1400 years ago, when he was only 7 years old. It goes like this:

Now, the essential thing to remember is the Rising Tone of the Goose: 鹅. You have to pronounce it stretching your neck and pulling your head back, just like a Gandle would do if he caught you messing with his Goslings.

It is very important to master the gaggling technique before we can proceed. Practice in front of the mirror or go to the Bird and Flower Market in Shanghai and find a professional Goose to coach you. Beware: a slight mispronounciation of the Rising Tone can have you saying extreme things such as: Hungry (饿), or Disgusting (恶), or just plain Crocodile (鳄).

OK, now we are ready, here are the INSTRUCTIONS. The Goose Trick can be used for the following purposes:

1- If you want to see how your Chinese friends looked at age 7.

Have them recite the Goose. This is a poem that many generations of Chinese children have learnt by heart, memorized in that childish singing way. You will be surprised with the results. I got some spectacular performance from the old flower lady down the road, she got carried away. Didn’t work so well with the bicycle repair man.

2- If you want to sound cocky and in control of the situation.

For example, when you are stuck in the Shanghai Taxi Comic Dialogue:

- Dai wo qu YuYuanLu!
- WuYuanlu?
- YuYuanLu!
- YueYangLu?
- YuyuanLu!!!
- Huh Huh huh ??
- 鹅, 鹅, 鹅!! -> Qu xiang xiang tian ge…etc.

3- When you are in the wild and you encounter an aggressive Goose, the kind that would snap at your picnic sandwich before you have the time to open your electronic Dictionary and Thesaurus.

Final tips: In case your mandarin mental age is under 7, you probably can’t figure out the quackings of a 7 year old poet. Here you have some rather creative tranlations from Baidu. I especially like the last one, by a blogger called wangwuming. It comes with rhyme and all:

Quack Quack, merrily sings the goose,
Raising its head a tune from its mouth pours.
Bule water moors the white feathers,
Its red palms ply the waves as oars.

So that’s all for today. Have a nice weekend and happy gagglings!

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Comments so far ↓

  1. Nov
  2. Nov

    Haha, thanks,

    I forgot to write the real title of the poem: Yong é.

    Note to the pinyin illiterate: The sound e in chinese is equivalent to the English “euaaarghhhh!!”

    [Reply to this comment]

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