About KTV小姐

KTV小姐

When I moved to Taiwan in 2005, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with KTV. Unlike American-style karaoke, when you go to KTV, you control the fun. You can sing all of the songs you love without the wait or the embarrassment of singing in front of strangers. If you’re not happy with how you sound, you can end the song and add it to the playlist once more to try again later.

After a few months in Taiwan, I began to study Chinese, and I became attracted to the idea of learning Chinese songs to a) improve my Chinese skills, b) expand my selection at KTV, c) impress others with my ability to sing in Chinese, even if only a few songs, and d) increase my awareness of Taiwanese pop culture so I’d know what people were talking about when they were discussing Jay Chou’s latest album or the most recent rumor about Wang Lee Hom. What’s more, I feel that I’m musically inclined, and find it easy to remember songs. I’m one of those people who can sing an entire song, word for word, but couldn’t tell you the artist or title.
Remembering Chinese songs, however, is much more difficult. For me, it’s nearly impossible to sing a Chinese song from memory simply from having heard it over and over. And although these days I can read a lot of Chinese characters, enough to get me by at KTV, I need to visualize the lyrics in pinyin if I want to sing a song to myself while driving my scooter through Taipei.

That’s where the Internet has made the biggest contribution to my learning. It’s easy to find song lyrics via KKBOX, and easy to translate them to pinyin using the annotation tool at MDBG. After getting down the melody and most of the lyrics, a search over on YouTube will usually yield a KTV version of the song’s music video. Then, practice makes perfect.

A few words about this site:

I hope others will find this site useful. Certainly, I’m open to any comments or suggestions, and of course please notify me if you notice any errors in my pinyin. While I do use a dictionary to check for accuracy, the pinyin is not machine translated, and therefore might contain a typo here and there.

Regarding my method of using pinyin without tones, I have made this choice for a few reasons. For one thing, the text looks slightly messy with the tones included, and the inclusion of tones would increase the likelihood of errors on my part. More importantly, Chinese songs do not make use of tones, so they are unnecessary for the purpose of learning the songs. I have included the characters and KKBOX lyrics link for each song, so if you really want to know the tone of a certain character, you’ll be able to paste the character into any of the numerous Chinese dictionaries out there and find a result right away.

About requests:

I have no plan to take requests at this time. This site is updated at my leisure because I enjoy Chinese music, but it should not be treated as a lyrics request service.

If you have an urgent need for song lyrics, please visit the “About Requests” page for a brief tutorial on romanizing your own lyrics.

18 Comments

  1. Carrie said,

    Holly,

    You’re absolutely brilliant! I was just talking to my Chinese teacher about translating songs into pinyin. I love KTV, but this is especially helpful for the band I sing with. You’ve definitely made my week. Terrific blog. Way to go!

  2. ktvxiaojie said,

    Thanks, Carrie! Music is one of my favorite ways to learn – I can still remember the year I learned the word “copacetic” because I heard it in a song (it was 1996, by the way), I will never forget the names of all the states because I performed a song about them with the school chorus in third grade, and I can still sing the entire “Yakko’s World” song from Animaniacs* (even though the world has changed a lot since that song was published in 1993!).

    Now, I’m glad there is so much great Chinese music out there that I can learn from. The Taiwanese love for sappy pop songs makes my life that much easier, since they often take their lyrics from the same pool of common words, and don’t usually get so metaphorical that I miss the point. 對面的女孩看過來 is a good example of this… very straightforward, with easy lyrics! Hopefully I’ll continue to find more singable songs and can use this blog to force myself to learn them. 🙂 Thanks again!

    *I just checked this for myself to make sure I wasn’t lying: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakko's_World

  3. Joe said,

    Yeap, shan hu hai is a very nice song, touching lyrics 😉

  4. Anna said,

    Thank you so much for these =) i love your taste in music!

  5. rachel said,

    Hey there KTV 小姐!
    two things

    (1) 我愛你的blog! Thanks for sharing your love of KTV w/ all of us, I myself am a HUGE fan of Taiwanese KTV.

    (2) A while ago, I found a blog just like this one when I was searching for KTV lyrics online, since then my computer has crashed and I lost the tag in my favorites. Unfortunately, I can’t find the link anywhere now. Do you happen to know of another blog like yours?

    Thanks again for sharing ur blog w/ all of your fellow KTV lovers!

    • ktvxiaojie said,

      Hi Rachel – Sorry I didn’t notice your question sooner! I’m not sure of any blogs, aside from an occasional lyrics post from someone on their personal blog, but I do know there are a few sites out there that specialize in pinyin lyrics. If you click the tags “Chinese lyrics” or “Pinyin lyrics” in the sidebar, you might find some other WordPress blogs on this topic!

  6. Sika said,

    Wow. This is such an awesome blog. I’m so checking this site every once and a while from now on. I think it’s awesome that you had the interest and took initiative to go to KTV to learn about Chinese language and pop culture. 加油!

    • ktvxiaojie said,

      Thanks, Sika! Hope you find it useful!

  7. Arum Lily said,

    ho ho i learned most of my mandarin through pop music, so i really appreciate your blog posting the lyrics up here. Just did not have all the time to look up new words. Thanks a bunch for the effort!

  8. Steve C said,

    Hi Holly,

    In 2007 I started reading your other blog (Far from Frostburg) when I was considering coming to Taiwan. I ended up moving here in 2008 but, believe it or not, I went to KTV for the first time last month. Sad, I know.

    Anyway, I loved it, and now my goal is to learn Wang Leehom’s 改變自己. I’m so glad that I was able to locate your KTV-themed blog, which I’m sure I’ll make great use of now that I’ve (finally!) discovered KTV for myself.

    Thanks for your diligence with this blog, and take care.

    • ktvxiaojie said,

      Hi Steve – I remember that! And it’s a shame it took so long to get to KTV, but at least now you know its joys. It certainly is much better to go when you have an arsenal of Chinese songs, so you don’t get stuck with the same old limited English selection every time. Good luck with 改變自己!

  9. Lex said,

    Wow KTV小姐, I wouldn’t have thunk that there were other KTV-inclined Chinese language learners out there, and so as I sat down to spend several hours of my day memorizing 無樂不作 from 海角七號 I was delighted to say the least when I came across your fantabulous blog. Not only did the pinyin save me from having to look up about two dozen characters in the dictionary, but your lyrics were actually more accurate then those on the movie’s official website. Anyway, keep doing what your doing.

    Peace out

    • ktvxiaojie said,

      Thanks a lot! The lyrics all come from KKBOX (an online music streaming service), so you can always search for lyrics there if you’re having trouble getting accurate ones. Oh, and if you feel like you’re always looking up characters, you can find a lot of browser plugins for Chinese, or try the Lingoes popup dictionary. They can make you lazier, for sure, but are pretty convenient so you don’t have to look things up so often!

  10. xinapray said,

    KTV妹妹 (I’m oooold!),

    I stumbled upon your blog while searching for the lyrics to 別說對不起. This (your blog, that is) is just awesome! I have bookmarked it, and will pop in regularly!

    -Ray

  11. misswings said,

    KTV小姐!!

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    Greets from Holland

    • ktvxiaojie said,

      You’re very welcome!

  12. Dan Richards said,

    你好! 我也学习中文. I’ve been listening to Mandarin music from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia for a while and I do find that it has helped me with my pronunciation and has slightly increased my knowledge while trying to understand the meaning to the music.
    I’m still at a beginners level (just over 1 year of learning at 2 hours per week) but hope to be in China in September 2012 for a 1 year scholarship for learning Chinese.
    I’ll be visiting friends in Taiwan as I’ll be (hopefully) studying in 厦门。
    Respect to you for putting time into this, something you enjoy and can allow others to enjoy!
    谢谢!

  13. vgag said,

    KTV is totally a great way to learn to read traditional characters. Even though I have very little voice and can only carry the tune if the lead vocal track is on, I still love singing both here in Melbourne and when I’m in TW.
    My favourite song to annoy my listeners with: 是我的海 by Sodagreen.

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