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Learn Chinese Through Songs #8 – Hill

Today’s Chinese song is Hill (山丘) by Jonathan Lee (李宗盛). Lee made his name in the 1980s and 1990s, writing music and lyrics for many top Mandarin pop performers, and was a successful producer in the 2000s. He also sings himself, and this is his most successful recent hit, released in 2013. It has appeared on popular Chinese TV shows, and it’s also a popular choice at karaoke!

The poetic and soulful lyrics and Lee’s distinctive voice make this a really interesting pop song to learn. The original video has the lyrics handwritten across the screen, and they are a bit hard to read if you’re learning to read printed characters, so I found this version with the lyrics on the screen.

On the video you’ll see the lyrics in traditional Chinese characters, plus the Pinyin and the English translation. I’ve put the simplified character lyrics below.

xiǎng shuō què hái méi shuō de hái hěn duō
想说却还没说的 还很多
There’s so much I still have to say

zǎnzhe shì yīnwèi xiǎng xiěchéng gē
攒着是因为想写成歌
I’ve been saving my thoughts to write into songs

ràngrén qīngqīng de chàngzhe dàndàn de jìzhe
让人轻轻地唱着 淡淡地记着
So that people can sing them softly and slowly remember them

jiùsuàn zhōngyú wàngle yě zhíle
就算终于忘了 也值了
It’s still worth it, even if they forget the song in the end

shuōbudìng wǒ yī̠shēng juāndī yìniàn
说不定我一生涓滴意念
Perhaps it’s the trickling thoughts over my lifetime

jiǎoxìng huìchéng hé
侥幸汇成河
Converge into a river

ránhòu wọ̌ liǎ gèzì yīduān
然后我俩各自一端
Then we will stand on opposite banks

wàngzhe dàhé wānwān zhōngyú gǎn fàngdǎn
望着大河弯弯 终于敢放胆
And only after looking at the bends of the river will we have the strength

xī pí xiàoliǎn miànduì rénshēng de nán
嘻皮笑脸 面对 人生的难
To put on a smile and face life’s challenges

yẹ̌xǔ wǒmen cóngwèi chéngshóu
也许我们从未成熟
Perhaps we have not really grown up

hái méi néng xiǎode jiù kuàiyào lǎole
还没能晓得 就快要老了
But before we know it, we’re growing old

jị̌nguǎn xīnli huózhe de háishi nèige niánqīngrén
尽管心里活着的还是那个年轻人
Although we are still young in our hearts

yīnwèi bù’ān ér pínpín huíshǒu
因为不安而频频回首
Often thinking back on the past because we are insecure

wúzhī de suǒqiú xiūchǐ yú qiújiù
无知地索求 羞耻于求救
Ignorantly seeking but ashamed to ask for help

bùzhī píjuàn de fānyuè měi yī gè shānqiū
不知疲倦地翻越 每一个山丘
As we tirelessly climb every hill

yuèguò shānqiū suīrán yǐ báile tóu
越过山丘 虽然已白了头
I’ve finally climbed the hill, even though my hair is now grey

diédiébùxiū shí bù wǒ yǔ de āichóu
喋喋不休 时不我予的哀愁
Chattering away the sorry of missed opportunities

hái wèi rúyuàn jiànzhe bùxiǔ
还未如愿见着不朽
Before I had the chance to see greatness

jiù bǎ zìjǐ xiān gǎo diū
就把自己先搞丢
I lost myself first

yuèguò shānqiū cái fāxiàn wúrén děnghòu
越过山丘 才发现无人等候
I climbed over the hill, only to find nobody waiting

diédiébùxiū zài yě huàn bù huí wēnróu
喋喋不休 再也唤不回温柔
I chatter away, but it cannot bring back her tenderness

wèihé jìbude shàng yị̄cì shì shuí gěi de yōngbào
为何记不得上一次是谁给的拥抱
Why can I not remember who embraced me last

zài shénme shíhou
在什么时候
And when it was?

wǒ méiyǒu kèyì yǐncáng yě wúyì ràng nǐ gǎnshāng
我没有刻意隐藏 也无意让你感伤
I’m not trying to hide and I don’t mean to bring you sorrow

duōshao cì wǒmen wú zuì bù huān
多少次我们无醉不欢
How many times have we drunk to be happy

zhòumà rénshēng tài duǎn xīxū xiāngjiànhènwǎn
咒骂人生太短 唏嘘相见恨晚
Cursing life for being too short, and sighing that we met too late

ràng nǚrén bǎ zhuāng kū huāle yě bù guǎn
让女人把妆哭花了 也不管
While we ignore our women crying for attention

yíhàn wǒmen cóngwèi chéngshóu
遗憾我们从未成熟
Regretting that we have not matured

hái méi néng xiǎode jiù yǐjing lǎole
还没能晓得 就已经老了
But before we knew it, we are old

jìnlì què réng bù míngbai
尽力却仍不明白
We gave it our best, but can’t understand

shēnbiān de niánqīngrén
身边的年轻人
The young people inside us

gěi zìjǐ suíbiàn zhǎo gè lǐyóu
给自己随便找个理由
We casually make excuses

xiàng qíng’ài de tiǎodòu mìngyùn de zuǒyòu
向情爱的挑逗 命运的左右
Flirting with love, playing with fate

bùzìliànglì de huánshǒu zhí zhìsǐfāngxiū
不自量力地还手 直至死方休
Overconfident in our ability to fight until we die

yuèguò shānqiū suīrán yǐ báile tóu
越过山丘 虽然已白了头
I’ve finally climbed the hill, even though my hair is now grey

diédiébùxiū shí bù wǒ yǔ de āichóu
喋喋不休 时不我予的哀愁
Chattering away the sorry of missed opportunities

hái wèi rúyuàn jiànzhe bùxiǔ
还未如愿见着不朽
Before I had the chance to see greatness

jiù bǎ zìjǐ xiān gǎo diū
就把自己先搞丢
I lost myself first

yuèguò shānqiū cái fāxiàn wúrén děnghòu
越过山丘 才发现无人等候
I climbed over the hill, only to find nobody waiting

diédiébùxiū zài yě huàn bù huí wēnróu
喋喋不休 再也唤不回温柔
I chatter away, but it cannot bring back her tenderness

wèihé jìbude shàng yị̄cì shì shuí gěi de yōngbào
为何记不得上一次是谁给的拥抱
Why can I not remember who embraced me last

zài shénme shíhou
在什么时候
And when it was?