Listen to Mama by Jay Chou: lyrics, pinyin, translation | 聽媽媽的話 by 周杰倫 (Ting Mama de Hua) 歌詞翻譯14 min read

See below for Listen to Mama / Listen to Mother’s Words by Jay Chou: lyrics, pinyin and English translation! (aka 聽媽媽的話 Ting Mama de Hua by 周杰倫 Zhou Jie Lun)

  • Lyrics by Jay Chou
  • Music by Jay Chou
  • Sung by Jay Chou

Taiwanese singer-songwriter Jay Chou is arguably the most influential Mandarin-language singer in Asia, and perhaps the world. As a classically trained musician, Chou is versatile in many forms of popular songs, and writes songs not only for himself but many other Mandopop stars as well.

In this well-known song, “Listen to Mama,” Jay honors his mother, who raised him as a single parent. A mix of rap with a childlike melody introduces an older Jay advising his younger self to “listen to your mother” because her advice will help him to become the international superstar he is today.

Original Lyrics / Pinyin / Translation

小朋友, 你是否有很多問號
Xiǎopéngyǒu nǐ shìfǒu yǒu hěnduō wènhào
Little kid, you have a lot of questions, right?
為什麼 別人在那看漫畫
wèishéme biérén zài nà kàn mànhuà
(You ask) Why does everyone else get to read mangas
我卻在學畫畫 對著鋼琴說話
wǒ què zài xué huà huà duìzhe gāngqín shuōhuà
While I have to learn how to draw and talk to the piano 
別人在玩遊戲, 我卻靠在牆壁背我的ABC
biérén zài wán yóuxì wǒ què kào zài qiángbì bèi wǒ de ABC
While everyone else is playing games, I’m leaning against the wall, memorizing my ABCs
 
我說我要一台大大的飛機
wǒ shuō wǒ yào yī táidà dà de fēijī
I said I wanted a big (toy) plane
我卻得到一台舊舊錄音機
wǒ què dédào yī tái jiù jiù lùyīnjī
But all I got was an old tape recorder
為什麼要聽媽媽的話?
wèishéme yào tīng māmā dehuà?
Why should I listen to my Mama?
長大後你就會開始懂得這種話
zhǎngdà hòu nǐ jiù huì kāishǐ dǒngdé zhè zhǒng huà
When you grow up, you will understand this phrase
 
長大後我開始明白
zhǎngdà hòu wǒ kāishǐ míngbái
After I  grew up, I came to realize
為什麼我跑的比別人快,飛的比別人高
wèishéme wǒ pǎo de bǐ biérén kuài, fēi de bǐ biérén gāo
Why I ran faster than others, flew higher than others
將來大家看的都是我畫的漫畫
jiānglái dàjiā kàn de dōu shì wǒ huà de mànhuà
In the future, everyone will be reading my mangas
大家唱的都是我寫的歌
dàjiā chàng de dōu shì wǒ xiě de gē
Everyone will be singing the songs I wrote
 
媽媽的辛苦不讓你看見

māmā de xīnkǔ bù ràng nǐ kànjiàn
You can’t see Mom’s hard work
溫暖的食譜在她心裡面
wēnnuǎn de shípǔ zài tā xīn lǐmiàn
Her recipes full of warmth are hidden in her heart
有空就多多握握她的手
yǒu kòng jiù duōduō wò wò tā de shǒu
When you have time, hold her hand more often
把手牽著一起夢遊
bǎ shǒu qiānzhe yīqǐ mèngyóu
Dreamwalking hand-in-hand

CHORUS

聽媽媽的話, 別讓她受傷
tīng māmā dehuà, bié ràng tā shòushāng
Listen to (your) Mama, don’t let her get hurt
想快快長大, 才能保護她
xiǎng kuài kuài zhǎngdà, cáinéng bǎohù tā
You want to grow up quickly so you can protect her
美麗的白髮, 幸福中發芽
měilì de bái fà, xìngfú zhōng fāyá
Beautiful white hair sprouts in happiness
天使的魔法, 溫暖中慈祥
tiānshǐ de mófǎ, wēnnuǎn zhōng cíxiáng
The magic of angels is kind in the midst of (her) warmth

在你的未來, 音樂是你的王牌
Zài nǐ de wèilái, yīnyuè shì nǐ de wángpái
In your future, music will be your trump card
拿王牌談個戀愛,唉,我不想把你教壞
ná wángpái tán gè liàn’ài, āi, wǒ bùxiǎng bǎ nǐ jiào huài
Use that trump card to get dates, Ah, perhaps I’d better not teach you the wrong thing
還是聽媽媽的話吧,晚點在戀愛吧
háishì tīng māmā dehuà ba, wǎndiǎn zài liàn’ài ba
Just listen to your Mama, date later
我知道你未來的路,但媽比我更清楚
wǒ zhīdào nǐ wèilái de lù, dàn mā bǐ wǒ gèng qīngchǔ
I know your future path, but Mom knows better 

你會開始學其他同學在書包寫東寫西
nǐ huì kāishǐ xué qítā tóngxué zài shūbāo xiě dōng xiě xī
You will start to imitate your classmates who are writing random things on their backpacks
但我建議你最好寫: 媽媽我會用功讀書
dàn wǒ jiànyì nǐ zuì hǎo xiě: Māmā wǒ huì yònggōng dúshū
But I advise you to write: “Mom, I will study hard.”
用功讀書 怎麼會從我嘴巴說出
yònggōng dúshū zěnme huì cóng wǒ zuǐbā shuō chū
“I will study hard,” I can’t believe I’m saying that!
不想你輸所以要教你 用功讀書
bùxiǎng nǐ shū suǒyǐ yào jiào nǐ yònggōng dúshū
But I don’t want you to fail, so you had better study hard anyway.

媽媽織給你的毛衣你要好好收著
māmā zhī gěi nǐ de máoyī nǐ yào hǎohǎo shōuzhe
That sweater Mom knit for you, you better keep it
因為母親節到時我要告訴她 我還留著
yīnwèi mǔqīn jié dào shí wǒ yào gàosù tā wǒ hái liúzhe
So that on Mother’s Day, I can tell her I still have it
對了,我會遇到了周潤發
duìle, wǒ huì yù dàole zhōurùnfā
Oh right, I will meet Zhou Run Fa (* a famous actor)
所以你可以跟同學炫耀
suǒyǐ nǐ kěyǐ gēn tóngxué xuànyào
So you can tell all your classmates
賭神未來是你爸爸
dǔ shén wèilái shì nǐ bàba
“The God of Gambling” is your father (* a famous movie Zhou Run Fa acted in)

我找不到童年寫的情書
wǒ zhǎo bù dào tóngnián xiě de qíngshū
I can’t find that old love letter I wrote
你寫完不要送人
nǐ xiě wán bùyào sòng rén
When you finish writing it, don’t give it to anyone
因為過兩天你會在操場上撿到
yīnwéiguò liǎng tiān nǐ huì zài cāochǎng shàng jiǎn dào
Otherwise you’ll find it on the playground, two days later
你會開始喜歡上流行歌
nǐ huì kāishǐ xǐhuān shàng liúxíng gē
You will start to like pop songs
因為張學友開始準備唱吻別
yīnwèi zhāngxuéyǒu kāishǐ zhǔnbèi chàng wěnbié
Because Jacky Chang is about to release “Kiss Goodbye” (* a popular 90s Mandopop song)

[Repeat CHORUS]


Lyrics in Colloquial English

(In this song, the singer is speaking to his younger self, hence the specific references–sweater, letter, Jackie Cheung, Zhou Run Fa, etc)

Little boy, you probably have a lot of questions for me, right? You want to know why other kids can read mangas but you have to learn art and piano–why other kids can play games, while you have to stand aside and memorize your ABC’s while leaning against the wall.

You wanted a toy plane for a (birthday?) present, but you only got an old tape recorder. So you ask, “Why should I listen to my Mom?” You’ll understand when you grow up.

When I grew up I realized why I was able to run faster than everyone else, fly higher than everyone else. In the future everyone will be reading the mangas I drew and singing the songs I wrote.

You can’t see how hard Mom works behind the scenes, her warm recipes are hidden in her heart. But when you have the time, hold on to her hand more often, and walk hand in hand toward your dreams.

CHORUS

Listen to your mother, don’t let her get hurt. Grow up quickly so you can protect her. (Her) beautiful white hair is a result of her joy(fully loving you). (Her) kindness and warmth is like the magic of angels.

In the future, music will be your trump card. You can use it to get a girlfriend. Actually, never mind, I don’t want to teach you the wrong thing. Better just listen to your mother, think about dating later. I know your future, but your mom knows better (than I do what is good for you).

You will start to imitate your classmates who are scribbling all over their book bags. But let me tell you, you should write: “Mom, I promise I will study hard.”

(OMG, I can’t believe I am telling you to study hard.)

Well, I don’t want you to fail, so you really should study hard.

That sweater Mom knit for you–you better save it so that on Mother’s Day I can tell her I still have it.

Oh yeah, I will meet Zhou Run Fa in the future. So you can brag to all your classmates that the “God of Gambling” is your “dad.”

I can’t find that old love letter I wrote. When you’ve written it, do not give it to anyone–you’ll just find it thrown away on the playground two days later. You will start to fall in love with pop music because Jackie Cheung is about to sing his “Kiss Goodbye.”


Lyrics Explained

小朋友, 你是否有很多問號
Xiǎopéngyǒu nǐ shìfǒu yǒu hěnduō wènhào
Little kid, you have a lot of questions, right?
  • 小朋友 / 你 / 是否 / 有 / 很多 / 問號 = little+friend = kid / you / yes or no / have / many / problems
為什麼 別人在那看漫畫
wèishéme biérén zài nà kàn mànhuà
(You ask) Why does everyone else get to read mangas
  • 為什麼 / 別人 / 在 / 那 / 看 / 漫畫 = Why / other people / are / there / watching / mangas

我卻在學畫畫 對著鋼琴說話
wǒ què zài xué huà huà duìzhe gāngqín shuōhuà
While I have to learn how to draw and talk to the piano (*Chou’s unique way of describing practicing piano)

  • 我 / 卻 / 在 / 學 / 畫畫 / 對著 / 鋼琴 / 說話 = I / yet / am / learning / drawing, art / facing / piano / talking

別人在玩遊戲, 我卻靠在牆壁背我的ABC
biérén zài wán yóuxì wǒ què kào zài qiángbì bèi wǒ de ABC
While everyone else is playing games, I’m leaning against the wall, memorizing my ABCs

  • 別人 / 在 / 玩 / 遊戲 / 我 / 卻 / 靠在 / 牆壁 / 背 / 我的 / ABC = other people / are / playing / games / I / yet / lean against / the wall / memorizing / my / ABCs

我說我要一台大大的飛機
wǒ shuō wǒ yào yī táidà dà de fēijī
I said I wanted a big (toy) plane

  • 我說 / 我要 / 一台 / 大大的 / 飛機 = I said / I want / a / big / airplane

我卻得到一台舊舊錄音機
wǒ què dédào yī tái jiù jiù lùyīnjī
But all I got was an old tape recorder

  • 我 / 卻 / 得到 / 一台 / 舊舊 / 錄音機 = I / yet / got / an / old / tape recorder

為什麼要聽媽媽的話?
wèishéme yào tīng māmā dehuà?
Why should I listen to my Mama?

  • 為什麼 / 要 / 聽 / 媽媽 / 的 / 話? = Why / want to / listen (to) / Mama / ‘s / words?

長大後你就會開始懂得這種話
zhǎngdà hòu nǐ jiù huì kāishǐ dǒngdé zhè zhǒng huà
When you grow up, you will understand this phrase

  • 長大 / 後 / 你 / 就會 / 開始 / 懂得 / 這 / 種 / 話 = Grow up / after / you / will / start (to) / understand / this / type of / talk

長大後我開始明白
zhǎngdà hòu wǒ kāishǐ míngbái
After I  grew up, I came to realize

  • 長大後 / 我 / 開始 / 明白 = Grow up+after = after (I) grew up / I / started to / understand

為什麼我跑的比別人快,飛的比別人高
wèishéme wǒ pǎo de bǐ biérén kuài, fēi de bǐ biérén gāo
Why I ran faster than others, flew higher than others

  • 為什麼 / 我 / 跑的 / 比 / 別人 / 快 / 飛的 / 比 / 別人 / 高 = Why / I / run /  compared (to) / other people / fast / fly / compared to / other people / high

將來大家看的都是我畫的漫畫
jiānglái dàjiā kàn de dōu shì wǒ huà de mànhuà
In the future, everyone will be reading my mangas

  • 將來 / 大家 / 看的 / 都是 / 我畫的 / 漫畫 = In the future / everyone / reads / will be / I drew, my drawn / mangas

大家唱的都是我寫的歌
dàjiā chàng de dōu shì wǒ xiě de gē
Everyone will be singing the songs I wrote

  • 大家 / 唱的 / 都是 / 我寫的 / 歌 = Everyone / sings / will be / I wrote / songs

媽媽的辛苦不讓你看見
māmā de xīnkǔ bù ràng nǐ kànjiàn
You can’t see Mom’s hard work

  • 媽媽的 / 辛苦 / 不讓 / 你 / 看見 = Mama’s / hard work / not let / you / see

溫暖的食譜在她心裡面
wēnnuǎn de shípǔ zài tā xīn lǐmiàn
Her recipes full of warmth are hidden in her heart

  • 溫暖的 / 食譜 / 在 / 她 / 心 / 裡面 = Warm / recipes / in / her / heart / inside

有空就多多握握她的手
yǒu kòng jiù duōduō wò wò tā de shǒu
When you have time, hold her hand more often

  • 有空 / 就 /多多 / 握握 / 她的手 = When (you have) time / then / more often / hold / her hand

把手牽著一起夢遊
bǎ shǒu qiānzhe yīqǐ mèngyóu
Dreamwalking hand-in-hand

  • 把手牽著 / 一起 / 夢遊 = hold onto the hand / together / dreamwalk

CHORUS:
聽媽媽的話, 別讓她受傷
tīng māmā dehuà, bié ràng tā shòushāng
Listen to (your) Mama, don’t let her get hurt

  • 聽 / 媽媽的 / 話 / 別 / 讓她 / 受傷 = Listen / Mama’s / words / don’t / let her / (get) hurt

想快快長大, 才能保護她
xiǎng kuài kuài zhǎngdà, cáinéng bǎohù tā
You want to grow up quickly so you can protect her

  • 想 / 快快 / 長大 / 才 / 能 / 保護 / 她 = want / hurry / grow up / then / can / protect / her

美麗的白髮, 幸福中發芽
měilì de bái fà, xìngfú zhōng fāyá
Beautiful white hair sprouts in happiness

  • 美麗的 / 白 / 髮 / 幸福 / 中 / 發芽 = beautiful / white / hair / happiness / midst / sprout

天使的魔法, 溫暖中慈祥
tiānshǐ de mófǎ, wēnnuǎn zhōng cíxiáng
The magic of angels is kind in the midst of (her) warmth

  • 天使的 / 魔法 / 溫暖 / 中 / 慈祥 = angel’s / magic / warmth / midst / kindness

在你的未來, 音樂是你的王牌
Zài nǐ de wèilái, yīnyuè shì nǐ de wángpái
In your future, music will be your trump card

  • 在 / 你的 / 未來 / 音樂 / 是 / 你的 / 王牌 = In / your / future / music / will be / your / trump card

拿王牌談個戀愛,唉,我不想把你教壞
ná wángpái tán gè liàn’ài, āi, wǒ bùxiǎng bǎ nǐ jiào huài
Use that trump card to get dates, Ah, perhaps I’d better not teach you the wrong thing

  • 拿 / 王牌 / 談個戀愛 / 唉 / 我 / 不想把 / 你 / 教 / 壞 = Take / trump card / date, fall in love, have a romantic relationship / Ai, Ah / I / don’t want / you / teach / badly

還是聽媽媽的話吧,晚點在戀愛吧
háishì tīng māmā dehuà ba, wǎndiǎn zài liàn’ài ba
Just listen to your Mama, date later

  • 還是 / 聽 / 媽媽的 / 話吧 / 晚點在 / 戀愛吧 = Still (better to) / listen (to) / Mama’s / words / later / get into a relationship

我知道你未來的路,但媽比我更清楚
wǒ zhīdào nǐ wèilái de lù, dàn mā bǐ wǒ gèng qīngchǔ
I know your future path, but Mom knows better 

  • 我 / 知道 / 你 / 未來的路 / 但 / 媽 / 比我 / 更 / 清楚 = I / know / your / future path / but / Mom / compared to me / more / clear

你會開始學其他同學在書包寫東寫西
nǐ huì kāishǐ xué qítā tóngxué zài shūbāo xiě dōng xiě xī
You will start to imitate your classmates who are writing random things on their backpacks

  • 你 / 會 / 開始 / 學 / 其他 / 同學 / 在 / 書包 / 寫東寫西 = you / will / start to / learn from /  other / students / on / backpacks / write+east+write+west = idiom meaning “scribbling random stuff.” Dongxi also means “things”

但我建議你最好寫: 媽媽我會用功讀書
dàn wǒ jiànyì nǐ zuì hǎo xiě: Māmā wǒ huì yònggōng dúshū
But I advise you to write: “Mom, I will study hard.”

  • 但 / 我 / 建議 / 你 / 最好 / 寫: 媽媽 / 我會 / 用功 / 讀書 = But / I /  advise / you / better to / write: Mama / I will / work hard / studying

用功讀書 怎麼會從我嘴巴說出
yònggōng dúshū zěnme huì cóng wǒ zuǐbā shuō chū
“I will study hard,” I can’t believe I’m saying that!

  • 用功讀書 / 怎麼會 / 從 / 我 / 嘴巴 / 說出 = “Study hard” / how come / from / my / mouth / say out?

不想你輸所以要教你 用功讀書
bùxiǎng nǐ shū suǒyǐ yào jiào nǐ yònggōng dúshū
But I don’t want you to fail, so you had better study hard anyway.

  • 不想 / 你 / 輸 / 所以 / 要 / 教你 / 用功讀書 = Don’t want / you / to lose / so / want to / teach you / to study hard

媽媽織給你的毛衣你要好好收著
māmā zhī gěi nǐ de máoyī nǐ yào hǎohǎo shōuzhe
That sweater Mom knit for you, you better keep it

  • 媽媽 / 織 / 給你 / 的 / 毛衣 / 你要 / 好好 / 收著 = Mama / knit / for you / ‘s / sweater / you better / well / keep

因為母親節到時我要告訴她 我還留著
yīnwèi mǔqīn jié dào shí wǒ yào gàosù tā wǒ hái liúzhe
So that on Mother’s Day, I can tell her I still have it

  • 因為 / 母親節 / 到 / 時 / 我要 / 告訴 /她 / 我 / 還 / 留著 = Because / Mother’s Day / arrive / time / I want / tell / her / I / still / saved (it)

對了,我會遇到了周潤發
duìle, wǒ huì yù dàole zhōurùnfā
Oh right, I will meet Zhou Run Fa (* aka Chow Yun-fat, a famous actor

  • 對了 / 我 / 會 / 遇到了 / 周潤發 = Oh right / I / will / meet / Chow Yun-fat

所以你可以跟同學炫耀
suǒyǐ nǐ kěyǐ gēn tóngxué xuànyào
So you can tell all your classmates

  • 所以 / 你 / 可以 / 跟 / 同學 / 炫耀 = so / you / can / to / classmates / announce

賭神未來是你爸爸
dǔ shén wèilái shì nǐ bàba
“The God of Gambling” is your father (* a famous movie Zhou Run Fa acted in)

  • 賭神 / 未來 / 是 / 你 / 爸爸 = “The God of Gambling” / in the future / will be / your / Dad (*In the 2006 movie, Curse of the Golden Flower, Chow Yun Fat played the emperor, and Jay Chou played one of the emperor’s sons)

我找不到童年寫的情書
wǒ zhǎo bù dào tóngnián xiě de qíngshū
I can’t find that old love letter I wrote

  • 我 / 找不到 / 童年 / 寫的 / 情書 = I / cannot find / childhood / written / love letter

你寫完不要送人
nǐ xiě wán bùyào sòng rén
When you finish writing it, don’t give it to anyone

  • 你 / 寫完 / 不要 / 送人 = You / write+finish = finished writing / don’t / give+person = give (it) away

因為過兩天你會在操場上撿到
yīnwéiguò liǎng tiān nǐ huì zài cāochǎng shàng jiǎn dào
Otherwise you’ll find it on the playground, two days later

  • 因為 / 過 / 兩天 / 你會 / 在操場上 / 撿到 = Because / after / two days / you will / on the playground / find it

你會開始喜歡上流行歌
nǐ huì kāishǐ xǐhuān shàng liúxíng gē
You will start to like pop songs

  • 你會 / 開始 / 喜歡上 / 流行 / 歌 = you will / start to / like / popular / songs

因為張學友開始準備唱吻別
yīnwèi zhāngxuéyǒu kāishǐ zhǔnbèi chàng wěnbié
Because Jacky Cheung is about to release “Kiss Goodbye” (* a popular 90s Mandopop song)

  • 因為 / 張學友 / 開始 / 準備 / 唱吻別 = Because / Jacky Cheung / start / preparing / “Kiss Goodbye”
[Repeat CHORUS]

 


Singable English Lyrics

Little boy, you have a lot of questions, right?
You ask why other kids read manga all night
But you must learn to draw and practice piano
When other folks play games you’re being lame and memorizing ABCs

I said “I want a big toy plane of my own
Instead I just got an ugly radio
Why should I listen to my Mama?”
I promise you you’ll understand why after you grow up

When I grew up then I realized
The reason why I’m better than the guys, and I’m able to fly
In the future everyone is reading my mangas
Everyone is singing the songs I wrote

Mama’s sacrifice you can’t always see
But you taste the love in her recipes
When you get the chance, hold on to her hand
Because it’s together you stand

CHORUS
Listen to Mama, don’t let her get hurt
When you have grown up, you can protect her
Beautiful white hair, emblem of her love
And her tender care, like angels above

So let me say now: Music will be your way out
Use it to win a girlfriend. Ah, well I can be mistaken
You just listen to your mother, for now do not bother
Looking for a lover, ‘cause your mother knows what you must do

You will start to see other students write all sorts of random things
But you had better write, “Mom, I promise that I will study,”
“I will study,” how could this be what I am saying?
Don’t want you to fail so that’s why you must study well

And that handmade sweater your mom gave you—you gotta save it
So on Mother’s Day I can honestly tell her that I have it
Oh yeah, someday I’ll meet Zhou Run Fa
So you can tell all of your classmates “The God of Gamblers” is your Papa

I cannot find the love letter I wrote
When you have written it don’t
Give it to anyone, you’ll find it on the playground
You’ll start to fall in love with pop songs. Why?
Because Jacky Cheung’s about to sing “Kiss Goodbye”

CHORUS

CHORUS

When I grew up then I realized
The reason why I’m better than the guys, and I’m able to fly
In the future everyone is reading my mangas
Everyone is singing the songs I wrote

Mama’s sacrifice you can’t always see
But you taste the love in her recipes
When you get the chance, hold on to her hand
Because it’s together you stand

 


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