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President Trump’s Granddaughter Sings Traditional Chinese Song for China’s President

Nov. 24, 2017

Recently, U.S. president Donald Trump made his first trip to Asia. This trip included a visit to Beijing, where President Trump was greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping with the friendly meeting over tea and a lavish dinner in the Forbidden City. However, even among the most powerful people in the world, the biggest star of the evening was Arabella Kushner, granddaughter of President Trump. Arabella is six years old in the video, but she’s not new to Chinese. Ever since she was just 16 months old, Arabella has been studying Mandarin Chinese with a native Chinese tutor and nanny. President Trump presented a prerecorded video of Arabella greeting and singing in Mandarin Chinese as a reminder of the “shared humanity” between China and the U.S.

Arabella’s prerecorded video included a Mandarin greeting to President Xi and the first lady:

“习爷爷,你好. 彭奶奶,你好. (Xíyéye, nǐ hǎo. Péng nǎinai, nǐ hǎo.) Hello, Grandpa Xi. Hello, Grandma Peng.”

Then, she sang a traditional song titled “我们的田野 (Wǒmen de tiányě)” which is thought to date back to the 1200s and was traditionally part of a child’s education in China.

The lyrics are evocative and poetic, describing some of the most famous images of the traditional Chinese landscape, such as rice fields and lotus flowers in lakes.

You can read the lyrics below and learn to sing along with Arabella!

Wǒmen de tiányě,
我们      的  田野,
Our fields,

Měilì de tiányě.
美丽 的   田野。
Beautiful fields.

Bìlǜ de héshuǐ, liú guò wúbiān de dàotián.
碧绿 的 河水,流   过    无边  的   稻田。
The jade-green river flows past sweeping rice fields;

Wúbiān de dàotián, hǎoxiàng qǐfú de hǎimiàn.
无边     的     稻田,  好像    起伏  的   海面。
The sweeping rice fields are like a swinging ocean.

Píngjìng de hú zhōng, kāi mǎn le héhuā.
平静      的  湖   中,开    满   了  荷花。
The quiet lake is studded with lotus flowers.

Jīn sè de lǐyú, zhǎng dé duōme de féidà.
金 色 的  鲤鱼,长  得   多么   的  肥大。
Golden carps are so big and fat.

Húbiān de lúwěi zhōng, cáng zhe wúshù de yěyā.
湖边    的   芦苇    中, 藏     着   无数   的  野鸭。
Flocks of wild ducks are hiding in the reeds.

Some important vocabulary from the song:

1. 田野 (tiányě) = a field or open countryside (n)

Nóngmínmen zhèng zài tiányě lǐ shōu dàozi.
农民们            正  在      田野   里  收   稻子。
The peasants are harvesting rice in the field.

Wǒ xǐhuān xiāngcūn de tiányě.
我  喜欢    乡村         的   田野。
I like the fields in the country.

2. 碧绿 (bìlǜ) = an adjective meaning dark green or jade green.

Bìlǜ de húshuǐ zhēn měi!
碧绿 的  湖水   真   美!
How beautiful the jade green lake water is!

3. 起伏 (qǐfú) = a verb meaning to rise and fall, have ups and downs, to fluctuate.

Huángjīn de jiàgé qǐfú bú dìng.
黄金       的  价格 起伏 不  定.
The value of gold is fluctuating.

Zài wēifēng zhōng qǐfú zhe yípiàn màilàng.
在    微风    中      起伏  着  一片    麦浪。
Fields of wheat are undulating in the breeze.

See if you can master the song and send us a video of your effort!

Chinese people are generally very excited and honored when foreigners speak in Chinese, especially if you are a six-year-old girl from New York. It’s not the most obvious choice for a second language! If you can learn a famous poem or song such as “我们的田野 (Wǒmen de tiányě)”, your Chinese friends will be very impressed that you took the time and effort to not only learn the language, but also the culture.

Who knows, you may even be practicing your Chinese with Arabella Kushner on the streets of Beijing one day!

Quiz:

1. The ancient Chinese song sang by Arabella, titled “我们的田野 (Wǒmen de tiányě)” mentions all of the following Chinese landscape characteristics except:

A. 田野 (tiányě)

B. 荷花 (héhuā)

C. 湖 ()

D. 喀斯特地形 (kāsītè dìxíng)

See Answer

— Written by Jennifer Zhu —
Jennifer Zhu is a professional Chinese teacher from eChineseLearning. She has many years of Chinese language teaching experience and received her B.A. and M.A. in “Teaching Chinese as a Second Language.”

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