For my class on the structure of Chinese, I wanted to give my students some accessible resources so they can make their own observations. To that end, I translated and glossed some texts. Among them are the lyrics to one song, as described here earlier. In addition, I processed two literary texts this way (with translations to German, glosses in English). One is the beginning of Lu Xun’s “Diary of a Madman”, a paranoid, Kafkaesque and brilliant text. For this one, I took the time to add two levels of glosses, one with literal morpheme-by-morpheme translations, one with the lexicalized meanings of multi-character words. The other one is the beginning of “Brothers” by Yu Hua.
This text triggers several conflicting memories for me. It’s the first and only novel I’ve read from beginning to end in Chinese. I had a copy with tons of notes in the margins. I gave it to a fellow student and never got it back. Of all the things I never got back, this might be the only one I’m still sorry about. The other ambiguous memory I have is that one time a lecturer of mine was in Beijing the same time as me, and he got an interview with Yu Hua, and I offered to record it and transcribe the recording. So, that interview happened, and I was very excited to meet the guy. But the audio quality wasn’t great (we met in a cafe full of hard, flat surfaces), and I couldn’t make out a word Yu Hua said. It might have been the first of a great collection of never-to-be-transcribed recordings I have made in my life. Anyway, feel free to use those texts in your classes and please get back to me if you find any errors!