Did you guess right? This dialogue is very funny once you understand, but pretty tricky! That is because the character “包(bāo)” in Chinese has many different meanings. Here are the two meanings that are relevant to the dialogue: The first meaning of “包(bāo)” relevant here is “bag.” When the woman asks for her “包包 (bāobāo)” she means bag. It is a noun.
Bǎ bǐ fàngjìn bāobāo lǐ.
把 笔 放进 包包 里。
Put the pen in your bag.
Wǒ zuótiān mǎile yígè xīnbāo.
我 昨天 买了 一个 新包。
I bought a new bag yesterday.
The second meaning of “包(bāo)” is “take responsibility” or “make a promise”. It is used as a verb. So, when the policeman responds to the woman, the “包(bāo)” he uses means he will take responsibility for that.
Yíqiè bāo zài wǒ shēnshàng.
一切 包 在 我 身上。
You can count on me for anything.
Fàngxīn ba, bāo nǐ mǎnyì.
放心 吧，包 你 满意。
Relax, I promise you will be satisfied.
Reread the dialogue with the translation so you can understand the funny misunderstanding the policeman and woman had:
Nǚháier: Jǐngchá xiānsheng, wǒde bāobāo diào le.
女孩儿： 警察 先生， 我的 包包 掉 了。
The girl: Sir, my bag was missing.
Jǐngchá: Fàngxīn ba, bāo zài wǒ shēnshàng.
警察：放心 吧，包 在 我 身上。
The policeman: Take it easy! Leave it to me.
Nǚháier: Bāo zài nǐ shēnshàng?
女孩儿：包 在 你 身上？
The girl: You have my bag?
(The girl misunderstood the “包(take responsibility)” the policeman said to mean bag.)
Jǐngchá: Méicuò méicuò, bāo zài wǒ shēnshàng.
警察：没错 没错， 包 在 我 身上。
The policeman: Right, I will responsible for that.
Nǚháier: Nànǐ háibù huángěi wǒ?
女孩儿：那你 还不 还给 我？
The girl: You give it back to me now!
(The girl still thinks that the policeman has her bag.)
<<Back to “A Great Misunderstanding Caused the Missing ‘Bag(bāo)'”