This excerpt is one of the Tiger Team supernatural mystery novels for adolescents. The Tiger Team series was originally created in German by author Thomas C. Brezina, and features a band of young detectives: Jupiter Katz, son of a supernatural researcher Erasmus Katz, Jupiter’s cousin Vicky and Vicky’s little brother Nick. This is listed as “advanced” not necessarily because of the vocabulary – which isn’t terribly difficult – but also because some of the sentence structures aren’t very straightforward. This is the easy end of the advanced spectrum, so if you think you might be an advanced reader, try this.

Learn to Read Beginner, Advanced and Intermediate Chinese: Exercises for Advanced LearnersI found this Chinese translation of the Tiger Team novel “Ghost Hotel” in my local bookstore, and I’ve manually typed in the first few paragraphs of the book, which describe a dilapidated, mostly-abandoned hotel, where most of the novel takes place. This is interesting practice in reading longer descriptions, and includes many words that are strictly book-language: you’re not likely to run into them in daily conversation. There’s probably an actual English version of this book, but I can’t easily get my hands on this, so bear in mind you’re not reading the official English translation. Here’s the Chinese version on Amazon China.

There are a couple of difficult passages here that don’t quite mean what they seem to mean. One is 木条都不知下落了. Originally, I read this as “wooden slats scattered here and there”, or literally “wooden slats fallen down in who knows how many places”. But thanks to my Chinese friend Anna, I learned that 下落, in this case, doesn’t mean “fall down”. It means “where is it?” (the same as 在哪儿). So 不知下落 actually means “to be missing”, or “to be gone to who knows where”.

Another phrase I should note is 数目远远大于实际需要, “an amount (数目) far (远远) greater (大于) than actually (实际) needed (需要)”. 大于 was a new word for me, and I didn’t know that 远远 – meaning “far away” – can also sometimes be used the same way in Chinese as in English, to mean “very” (example: far above the normal amount).

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狭窄 – xiá zhǎi – Narrow
穹顶 – qióng dǐng – Domed / vaulted roof
尖塔 – jiān tǎ – Minaret
灰蒙蒙 – huī mēng mēng – Dusky
戳 – chuō – poke, stab
矗立 – chù lì – To tower (of buildings)
孤零零 – gū líng líng – Solitary
山丘 – shān qiū – Hill
光秃秃 – guāng tū tū – Bare, bald
杂草 – zá cǎo – Weeds
掩埋 – yǎn mái – Bury

那栋房子是木质结构的, 看起来就像是婚礼蛋糕。 它总共有四层,越向上越狭窄,所以最高的那层就只是一座带有小小玻璃穹顶的尖塔了。

灰蒙蒙的木头外墙已经腐朽不堪, 黑色的穹顶上好像也被了好几个窟窿。



如果谁在夏天的时候走近这栋房子,就会发现这里奇特现象:房子周围为数不多的那几棵树都是光秃秃的。 树枝如同黝黑的手臂, 高高地指向天空。

这块地被低矮的木栅栏圈在当中, 有几处已经被人损坏, 木条都不知下落了。 甚至, 有的地方已经完全被杂草掩埋

The building was constructed of wood, and looked like a wedding cake. Altogether, it had four floors, each narrower than the one below, so the topmost floor was just a small minaret topped with a glass dome.

The gloomy outer wall was already in a state of extreme disrepair, and the dark and the vaulted roof looked as if it had been stabbed full of holes.

The windows were all arched, there were far more of them than actually necessary, and they had wooden boards nailed over them.

The house had towered atop this isolated hill since 1911. Sometimes, the nearby villagers would find that the building was like a magnet, attracting dark clouds, lightening, hail, wind and rain.

If anyone walked near the house during summer, they would discover a strange phenomenon: the few surrounding trees were all bare. The tree branches were like dark arms, pointing tall towards the sky.

The land was encircled by a low fence, which had been broken in several places, and the wooden slats were missing. It was in such a state that some parts of it had even been completely buried by weeds.

3 comments to "Excerpt from Tiger Team: Ghost Hotel"

  1. I’m ready to

    And thanks for pointing to the Amazon page. I’m looking to buy some books but hard to know what to choose… I’m not normally a fan of supernatural, to be honest… Any other series you can recommend?
    Thanks :)

    • Hmm… I have the Chinese version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which is pretty kickass because they have a full English translation in the back. That one’s pretty good.

  2. Can you please add for the definitions whenever two words in one pops out give definition for seperate words? You migh want to add a dictionary. It would be helpful if you add a meaning for Plushie in chinese. 谢谢您,走红运。

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