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The Other End of the Quill

"I demand that you conclude and sign all of the market development department's contracts"

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It's five o clock on a Saturday morning and I'm at university studying, as I have been for the past six hours, along with two other people in a four storey building that can probably fit thousands. Do I have any pressing assignments due in? No. I'm just a night owl with a few week's worth of work to catch up on. It's very tranquil though and I love the feeling of being awake and active when everyone else is asleep.

From my textbook, I just learnt the Chinese for 'market development department', which is 市场开发部, or shchǎngkāifāb. Don't ask me why I need to learn this, I just do. This morning I also learnt how to say 'demand' (要求 yāoqi), 'all' (一切 yīqi), 'conclude and sign' (签订 qiāndng) and 'contract' (合同 htng). So I can now say:

Wǒ yāoqi nǐ qiāndng yīqi shchǎngkāifāb de htng
"I demand that you conclude and sign all of the market development department's contracts"

The grammar is probably all wrong (Google Translate doesn't agree with it at least), but I'm sure I'd be able to get my point across, if one day I married a wealthy CEO and then one Autumn afternoon I came to see her on her lunch break, but out of nowhere she fell horrendously ill, and, just as I was about to rush her to hospital, the market development department suddenly came up with some brilliant, but also very urgent ideas that needed to be vetted before the end of the day, so I had to tell my wife's personal assistant to sort it out, since, in terms of next-of-kin, I'm the company's legal successor until such a time that our son is born. Otherwise I have absolutely no idea when I would ever need to use that sentence.

Thankfully that's one of the only unnecessary things in my textbook. Hopefully I can finish learning about all this market development stuff and move on to the topic of the next chapter:

Wǒ yǒu kěnng zu zhōnggu fēichun do tikōng
"I'm likely to take a space trip by a Chinese spacecraft"

Updated April 10, 2015 at 11:35 PM by Hitai de Bodemloze



  1. Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar
    Thankfully not the worst thing you can encounter in my textbook. Chapter 39 saw an American exchange student try to kidnap a Chinese waitress and bring her back to the States to work as a slave in a kitchen. No wonder people want to go to outer space.
  2. PikeStance's Avatar
    If Google Translate is telling you are wrong, then you may be right. If it says it is right, then you most assuredly wrong. To give you an idea, some of my unscrupulous would use Chinese sites, then translate them to English, then copy and paste it.
    I take it you are not in China? Or are you?
  3. Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar
    I copied and pasted the pinyin from Google, since it was too much effort to do it myself, and I just noticed how much it got wrong Even using reputable dictionaries has gotten me in trouble before, so it's tough trusting anything other than a native speaker - and even then people's opinions conflict a lot. Trial and error at the end of the day I guess

    Not quite yet. Definitely heading to Nanjing in August, but I hope to spend some time in Zhejiang before - just waiting to hear back from some folks about a potential scheme I've applied for.
  4. PikeStance's Avatar
    Yeah, I live with a native speaker. She teases my Chinese which is admittedly awful. I don't even try to pronounce it clearly anymore. The quicker you say it the better they understand you. I lived in Shanghai. The people down there are nice. People in Changchun are southern nice though. I have a teacher friend that lived in Nanjing. Last I heard, she loved it there. I don't hear much from her since she was my ex- wife's friend. I lived in China for 4 years (more than any other country), however, my time here is coming to close. I am moving to Indonesia . I will blog about China, but it will be after the other countries I lived in.