A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers

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9780099501473: A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers

Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction Twenty-three-year-old Zhuang (or Z as she calls herself - Westerners cannot pronounce her name) arrives in London to spend a year learning English. Struggling to find her way in the city, and through the puzzles of tense, verb and adverb; she falls for an older Englishman and begins to realise that the landscape of love is an even trickier terrain... Xiaolu Guo was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists

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About the Author:

Xiaolu Guo was born in south China. She studied film at the Beijing Film Academy and published six books in China before she moved to London in 2002. Her books include Village of Stone which was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth which was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize, and I Am China which was longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. In 2013 she was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. Xiaolu has also directed several award-winning films including She, A Chinese and a documentary about London, Late at Night. She lives in London and Berlin.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

alien (’ei.li.En) adj. 1. foreign; 2. repugnant (to);  3. from another world – n. 1. foreigner; 2. being from another world.
alien

Is unbelievabal, I arriving London, “Heathlow Airport.” Every single name very difficult remembering, because just not “London Airport” simple way like we simple way call “Beijing Airport.” Everything very confuse way here, passengers is separating in two queues.

Sign in front of queue say: ALIEN and NON ALIEN.

I am alien, like Hollywood film Alien, I live in another planet, with funny looking and strange language.

I standing in most longly and slowly queue with all aliens waiting for visa checking. I feel little criminal but I doing nothing wrong so far. My English so bad. How to do?

In my text book I study back China, it says English peoples talk like this:

“How are you?”

“I am very well. How are you?”

“I am very well.”


Question and answer exactly the same!

Old saying in China: “Birds have their bird language, beasts have their beast talk”. English they totally another species.

Immigration officer holding my passport behind his accounter, my heart hanging on high sky. Finally he stamping on my visa. My heart touching down like air plane. Ah. Wo. Ho. Ha. Picking up my luggage, now I a legal foreigner. Because legal foreigner from Communism region, I must re–educate, must match this capitalism freedom and Western democracy.

All I know is: I not understanding what people say to me at all. From now on, I go with Concise Chinese–English Dictionary at all times. It is red cover, look just like Little Red Book. I carrying important book, even go to the toilet, in case I not knowing the words for some advanced machine and need checking out in dictionary. Dictionary is most important thing from China. Concise meaning simple and clean.
hostel (’hos.tel) n. a building providing accommodation at a low cost for a specific group of people such as students, travellers, homeless people, etc.
hostel

First night in “hostel.” Little Concise ChineseEnglish Dictionary hostel explaining: a place for “people such as students, travellers and homeless people” to stay. Sometimes my dictionary absolute right. I am student and I am homeless looking for place to stay. How they knowing my situation precisely?
Thousands of additional words and phrases reflect scientific and technological innovations, as well as changes in politics, culture, and society. In particular, many new words and expressions as well as new usages and meanings which have entered the Chinese language as a result of Chinas open-door policy over the last decade have been included in the ChineseEnglish section of the dictionary.


That is sentence in Preface. All sentence in preface long like this, very in–understandable. But I must learning this stylish English because it high–standard English from authority. Is parents’ command on me: studying how speak and write English in England, then coming back China, leaving job in government work unit and making lots money for their shoes factory by big international business relations. Parents belief their life is dog’s life, but with money they save from last several years, I make better life through Western education.

Anyway, hostel called “Nuttington House” in Brown Street, nearby Edward Road and Baker Street. I write all the names careful in notebook. No lost. Brown Street seem really brown with brick buildings everywhere. Prison looking. Sixteen pounds for per bed per day. With sixteen pounds, I live in top hotel in China with private bathroom. Now I must learn counting the money and being mean to myself and others.
First night in England is headache.

Pulling large man–made–in–China–suitcase into hostel, second wheel fall off by time I open the door. (First wheel already fall off when I get suitcase from airport's luggage bell.) Is typical suitcase produced by any factory in Wen Zhou, my hometown. My hometown China’s biggest home–products industry town, our government says. Coat hangers, plastic washbasins, clothes, leather belts and nearly–leather bags, computer components etc, we make there. Every family in my town is factory. Big factories export their products to everywhere in the world, just like my parents get order from Japan, Singapore and Israel. But anyway, one over–the–sea trip and I lost all the wheels. I swear I never buy any products made from home town again.

Standing middle of the room, I feeling strange. This is The West. By window, there hanging old red curtain with holes. Under feet, old blood-red carpet has suspicions dirty spots. Beddings, they covering by old red blanket too. Everything is dirty blood red.

Room smelling old, rotten. Suddenly my body feeling old too. “English people respect history, not like us,” teachers say to us in schools. Is true. In China now, all buildings is no more than ten years old and they already old enough to be demolished.

With my enormous curiosity, walking down to the night street. First night I away home in my entirely twenty–three years life, everything scare me. Is cold, late winter. Windy and chilli. I feeling I can die for all kinds of situation in every second. No safety in this country, I think unsafe feeling come from I knowing nothing about this country. I scared I in a big danger.

I scared by cars because they seems coming from any possible directing. I scared by long hair black man passing because I think he beating me up just like in films. I scared by a dog. Actually chained with old lady but I thinking dog maybe have mad–dog–illness and it suddenly bite me and then I in hospital then I have no money to pay and then I sent back to China.

Walking around like a ghost, I see two rough mans in corner suspicionly smoke and exchange something. Ill–legal, I have to run—maybe they desperate drug addictors robbing my money. Even when I see a beggar sleeping in a sleep bag I am scared. Eyes wide open in darkness staring at me like angry cat. What he doing here? I am taught everybody in West has social security and medical insurance, so, why he needs begging?

I going back quickly to Nuttington House. Red old carpet, red old curtain, red old blanket. Better switch off light.

Night long and lonely, staying nervously in tacky room. London should be like emperor’s city. But I cannot feel it. Noise coming from other room. Laughing in drunkenly way. Upstairs TV news speaking intensely nonsense. Often the man shouting like mad in the street. I worry. I worry I getting lost and nobody in China can find me anymore. How I finding important places including Buckingham Palace, or Big Stupid Clock? I looking everywhere but not seeing big posters of David Beckham, Spicy Girls or President Margaret Thatcher. In China we hanging them everywhere. English person not respect their heroes or what?

No sleeping. Switching on the light again. Everything turning red. Bloody new world. I study little red dictionary. English words made only from twenty–six characters? Are English a bit lazy or what? We have fifty thousand characters in Chinese.

Starting at page one:
A
Abacus: (meaning a wooden machine used for counting)
Abandon: (meaning to leave or throw away)
Abashed: (meaning to feel embrassed or regretful)
Abattoir: (meaning a place to kill the animals)
Abbess: (meaning the boss of woman monk's house)
Abbey: (meaning a temple)
Abbot: (meaning the boss of a temple)
Abbreviate: (meaning to write a word quickly)
Abduct: (meaning to tie somebody up and take away to somewhere)
Words becoming blurred and no meaning. The first night I falling into darkness with the jet–lag tiredness.
1. Builders Super Platter:
double egg, beans, bacon, sausage, bubble, mushroom, tomato, 2 toast, tea or coffee included.

2. Vegetarian Breakfast:
double egg, bubble, mushroom, beans, veggie sausage, hash browns, tea or coffee included.
full english breakfast

Talk doesn’t cook rice,” say Chinese. Only thing I care in life is eating. And I learning English by food first, of course. Is most practical way.

Getting up early, I have free Full English Breakfast from my hostel. English so proud they not just say hotel, they say Bed and Breakfast, because breakfast so importantly to English situation. Even say “B and B” everyone know what thinking about. Breakfast more important than Bed.

I never seeing a breakfast like that. Is big lunch for construction worker! I not believe every morning, my hostel offering everybody this meal, lasting three hours, from 7 clock to 10 clock. Food like messy scrumpled eggs, very salty bacons, burned bread, very thick milk, sweet bean in orange sauce, coffee, tea, milk, juice. Church or temple should be like this, giving the generosity to normal people. But 8:30 in the morning I refuse accepting two oily sausage, whatever it made by pork or by vegetables, is just too fat for a little Chinese.

What is this “baked beans”? White colour beans, in orange sticky sweet sauce. I see some baked bean tins in shop when I arrive to London yesterday. Tin food is very expensive to China. Also we not knowing how to open it. So I never ever try tin food. Here, right in front of me, this baked beans must be very expensive. Delicacy is baked beans. Only problem is, tastes like somebody put beans into mouth but spit out and back into plate.

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Xiaolu Guo
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Descrizione libro Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction Twenty-three-year-old Zhuang (or Z as she calls herself - Westerners cannot pronounce her name) arrives in London to spend a year learning English. Struggling to find her way in the city, and through the puzzles of tense, verb and adverb; she falls for an older Englishman and begins to realise that the landscape of love is an even trickier terrain. Xiaolu Guo was named as one of Granta s Best of Young British Novelists. Codice libro della libreria AAZ9780099501473

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Descrizione libro Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction Twenty-three-year-old Zhuang (or Z as she calls herself - Westerners cannot pronounce her name) arrives in London to spend a year learning English. Struggling to find her way in the city, and through the puzzles of tense, verb and adverb; she falls for an older Englishman and begins to realise that the landscape of love is an even trickier terrain. Xiaolu Guo was named as one of Granta s Best of Young British Novelists. Codice libro della libreria AAZ9780099501473

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Descrizione libro Vintage Publishing. Paperback. Condizione libro: new. BRAND NEW, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, Xiaolu Guo, Twenty-three-year-old Zhuang (or Z as she calls herself - Westerners cannot pronounce her name) arrives in London to spend a year learning English. Struggling to find her way in the city, and through the puzzles of tense, verb and adverb; she falls for an older Englishman and begins to realise that the landscape of love is an even trickier terrain.Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2007. Codice libro della libreria B9780099501473

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