The new movie Zootopia has recently come out, and already everyone is talking about it. It’s gotten some great reviews, and it’s very clear that this movie is going to be one of the hottest films around for quite some time. So, how about we check out some fun quotes and excerpts from Zootopia and use them to learn Mandarin? Come on, let’s take a look…
Judy Hopps: Life’s a little bit messy. We all make mistakes. No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.
There is also an old Chinese saying that has a very similar meaning:
Nick Wilde: Hey, Flash, wanna hear a joke?
Judy Hopps: NO!
Nick Wilde: OK. What do you call a three humped camel?
Flash: I don’t… know.
Nick Wilde: Pregnant!
However, for Flash I suppose it should be:
Judy Hopps: Wait, uh, wait… listen! I know you’ll never forgive me. And I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t forgive me either.
Here 自己（zìjǐ）means “oneself”:
Nick Wilde: You know you love me.
This can be directly translated as:
However, we can also translate it in the following way, which sounds more like what a native speaker would say:
In this second translation, we use the 是……的(shì ……de) pattern for emphasis.
So, how do we use this pattern? Well, here is an example sentence for us to analyze:
The literal translation of this sentence would be:
So, if we wanted to emphasize something in the sentence above using the 是……的(shì ……de) pattern, the actual wording would depend on what we wanted to emphasize. For example, if we wanted to…
emphasize the time “yesterday,” we would write:
emphasize the place “New York,” we would write:
emphasize how you would do something like “take airplane,” we would write:
emphasize the destination “Shanghai,” we would write:
emphasize the action “study Chinese,” we would write:
All in all, this 是……的(shì ……de) pattern is not particularly easy to learn because you can’t really translate it directly and you probably can’t find a similar pattern in your native language. Just keep in mind that we generally use the 是……的(shì ……de) pattern for emphasis and that we usually put 是(shì) in front of the part we want to emphasize and 的(de) at the end of the sentence.
Judy Hopps: Tomorrow’s another day.
Bucky Oryx-Antlerson: Yeah, but it might be worse!
Nick Wilde: (about Bellwether) Do you think when she goes to sleep, she counts herself?
Some people count sheep when they can’t sleep, and in Mandarin we count them like this:
Here the 只(zhī) serves as the measure word for sheep (as well as some other small animals). This kind of thing is called 数羊（shǔ yáng）.
And that’s it! While, analyzing quotes from Zootopia might be fun, these phrases can also be commonly used in your daily life. I hope you have enjoyed learning about the movie and Mandarin at the same time!