Intro to Mandarin Song Composition

For around 45 members of the class, our MBA experience began with a week long intensive Mandarin language course. We had arrived on campus only the night before the start of class and most of us had only a few weeks or months of Mandarin training under our belts. For our final project we were required to make a presentation about travelling and my group decided to turn our topic into a song. Please enjoy our original composition about our favourite part of travelling in Asia - food! The song is titled 我不知道 (Wǒ bù zhīdào) - a very helpful phrase if you are a foreigner in China. 

Learning Mandarin is both challenging and fun! I have found it helpfull for understanding Chinese society and culture, plus it is essential for working or travelling in China.

Here are the lyrics in Mandarin, English and Pinyin (romanization system for Standard Chinese).

CHORUS

我不知道, 不知道, 在哪里,在哪里

Wǒ bù zhīdào bù zhīdào, Zài nǎlǐ Zài nǎlǐ

I don’t know, I don’t know, Where I am, Where I am

我在香港, 今天下雨。

Wǒ zài xiānggǎng, Jīntiān xià yǔ

I am in Hong Kong, today it’s raining.

先生! 先生!请问!请问!请问!

Xiānshēng! Xiānshēng! Qǐngwèn! Qǐngwèn! Qǐngwèn!

Mister! Mister! Please! Please! Please!

吃饭在哪里? 吃饭在哪里?

Chīfàn zài nǎlǐ? Chīfàn zài nǎlǐ?

Where is the food? Where is the food?

Verse 1

你是美国人吗?

Nǐ shì měiguó rén ma?

Are you American?

麦当劳在那边。

Màidāngláo zài nà biān.

Mcdonald’s is over there.

肯德基在后面。

Kěndéjī zài hòumiàn.

KFC is behind.

(pause)

如果要吃甜,星巴克在对边。

Rúguǒ yào chī tián, Xīngbākè zài duì biān.

If you want sweet, Starbucks is opposite.

我不是美国人。

Wǒ bù shì měiguó rén.

I am not American.

我想吃中国菜。

Wǒ xiǎng chī zhōngguó cài

I want to eat Chinese food.

(CHORUS)

Verse 2

你是意大利人吗?

Nǐ shì yìdàlì rén ma?

Are you Italian?

必胜客在左边。 

Bìshèngkè zài zuǒbiān.

Pizza Hut is on the left. 

意大利面在右边。

Yìdàlì miàn zài yòubiān.

Pasta is on the right. 

如果要冰淇淋, 冰淇淋店在前面。

Rúguǒ yào bīngqílín, Bīngqílín diàn zài qiánmiàn

If you eat Gelato, The Gelato store is in front.

我不是意大利人。

Wǒ bùshì yìdàlì rén.

I am not Italian. 

我想吃中国菜。

Wǒ xiǎng chī zhōngguó cài

I want to eat Chinese food.

(CHORUS)

Verse 3

你是日本人吗?

Nǐ shì rìběn rén ma?

Are you Japanese?

寿司店在北边, 拉面店在南边。

Shòusī diàn zài běibian ,  lāmiàn diàn zài nánbian

The Sushi shop is on the north side. The Ramen shop is on the South Side   

如果你喜欢米酒,有一个酒吧在西边。

Rúguǒ nǐ xǐhuān mǐjiǔ, yǒu yīgè jiǔbā zài xībian.

If you want Sake , there is a bar on the west side.

我不是日本人。我想吃中国菜。

Wo bùshì rìběn rén. Wó xiàng chī zhōngguó cài.

I am not Japanese. I (just) want to eat Chinese food

(CHORUS)

BRIDGE

我不是美国人。我不是意大利人。我不是日本人。

Wǒ bùshì měiguó rén. Wǒ bùshì yìdàlì rén. Wǒ bùshì rìběn rén

 I am not American.  I am not Italian. I am not Japanese

(pause)

我是饥饿的人。我想吃中国菜。

Wǒ shì jī'è de rén. wǒ xiǎng chī zhōngguó cài

I am ( just ) a hungry person. I ( just ) want to eat Chinese food  

我想吃中国菜。

wǒ xiǎng chī zhōngguó cài

I want to eat Chinese food