Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chengdu, Sichuan

Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province, and it is one of the biggest cities in China. As you can see in the map below it is located in southwest China.

四川 (Sìchuān)

(sì): four

(chuān): river

四川 (Sìchuān) is an abbreviation for 川峡四路 (Chuānxiá Sìlù), which literally translates to “Four circuits of river and gorges”.

成都 (Chéngdū)

(chéng): become

(dū): capital

It is believed that a king gave Chengdu its names when he decided to move his capital there in the early 4th century BC.

While in China, I spent most of my time outside Shanghai in Sichuan province. One reason might be because they say that the Sichuan girls are the most beautiful. Another reason might be because Sichuan food it really tasty. Whatever the reason maybe, it is definitely one of my favorite places in China.

Apart from being famous for its girls and food, Sichuan province is also famous for Pandas.

熊猫 (xióngmāo): panda


Xióngmāo shēnghuó zài Sìchuān shěng

Pandas live in Sichuan province.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You are my rose

Today I will share with you all the first Chinese song I learned. I was hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge with some of my friends (I will write more about it later) and we met this Chinese girl on the way. She was a great entertainer indeed and taught this song to all of us. It is one of my favorite Chinese songs (maybe because it was the first I learned).

This song is You are my rose by Pang Long and below is the English translation of the chorus.


Nǐ shì wǒ de méiguī

You are my rose


Nǐ shì wǒ de huā

You are my flower


Nǐ shì wǒ de àirén

You are my love


Shì wǒ de qiānguà

You are the one I care about


Nǐ shì wǒ de méiguī

You are my rose


Nǐ shì wǒ de huā

You are my flower


Nǐ shì wǒ de àirén

You are my love


Shì wǒ yīshēng yǒngyuǎn àizhe de méiguī huā

You are the rose I will love forever

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The 还 (hái) words of Chinese language

Earlier we looked at the (hǎo) words of Chinese language. Now let us look at the (hái) words.

In one of the earlier posts, How to say Hello in Chinese?, we learned that one way of responding to the question “How are you?” is 还好 (hái hǎo). 还好 means Okay.

The adverb means “rather; fairly”, implying that something is neither too good, nor too bad. Let’s look at some other words of Chinese language:

还行 (hái xíng): not bad

还可以 (hái kěyǐ): Okay

还不错 (hái bùcuò): not bad

还凑合 (hái còuhé): not too bad

As you can see above, all of these (hái) words mean either Okay or not bad. Now you can also use one of the above instead of 还好 (hái hǎo) you have been using.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reduplication of verbs in Chinese language

You must have seen verbs being repeated in Chinese language, like the one below:

学习学习 (xuéxí xuéxí)

No, it’s not a mistake. Verbs are reduplicated as shown above to denote short duration of actions. It can also be used to express an attempt. Reduplication of verbs softens the tone of a sentence, making it more relaxed and informal.

The reduplicated form of monosyllabic verbs is AA, and the reduplicated form of disyllabic verbs is ABAB:

看一看(kàn yī kàn)

想一想(xiǎng yī xiǎng)

学习学习(xuéxí xuéxí)

认识认识(rènshi rènshi)

Let’s look at some examples of how they are used in sentences:


Wǒ kěyǐ kàn yī kàn ma?

Can I look at it quickly?


Wǒ xiǎng gēn tāmen rènshi rènshi

I want to meet them

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Being humble in Chinese language


Nǐ shuō zhōngwén shuō de hěn hǎo

You speak very good Chinese

How should you response if someone compliments you like above? You will probably say

谢谢 (xièxiè): Thank you

Next time try the following instead 哪里,哪里 (nǎlǐ, nǎlǐ)

哪里 (nǎlǐ): where

It literally translates to “Where? Where?”, and it is a polite way of responding to a compliment. It is also like saying “Where is my Chinese good?”

Using 哪里,哪里 instead of 谢谢 has two advantages. Firstly, people will think that your Chinese is actually really good. And more importantly, humility is valued highly in Chinese culture.

Another polite way to respond to a compliment is 不敢当 (bù gǎndāng)

(bù): no; not; do not

敢当 (gǎndāng): dare

It literally translates to “do not dare”, and it is like saying “I wouldn’t dare to accept such a compliment”.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Speak of the Chinese devil

You must have heard the English saying “Speak of the devil”, but what is its Chinese equivalent?


Shuō Cáo Cāo Cáo Cāo dào

Speak of Cao Cao and Cao Cao arrives

You don’t believe me? Check this comic below:

I got this comic from this website. Check it out for more Cao Cao and other Chinese comics.

So who exactly is Cao Cao? Here is the Wikipedia excerpt:

"Cao Cao was a warlord and the penultimate chancellor of the Eastern Han Dynasty who rose to great power during the dynasty's final years. As one of the central figures of the Three Kingdoms period, he laid the foundations for what was to become the state of Cao Wei and was posthumously titled Emperor Wu of Wei. Although often portrayed as a cruel and merciless tyrant, Cao Cao has also been praised as a brilliant ruler and military genius who treated his subordinates like his family."

The fact that Cao Cao is portrayed as a cunning and deceitful man in the Chinese opera has also helped his negative image. Below is the Cao Cao mask used in Chinese opera:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Some more Chinese expressions

Earlier we looked at Some daily Chinese expressions. That list was definitely not exhaustive, and today we will add few more to it. Let’s keep it simple this time around:

(ā) is used to express amazement


Ā! Zhège dìfāng zhème piàoliang!

Oh, This place is so beautiful!

(á) is used when you want an answer

啊? 你说什么?

Á? Nǐ shuō shénme?


(ǎ) is used to express surprise


Ǎ, Nǐ yǒu shénme wèntí?

Gosh, what’s your problem?

(à) is used to express sudden realization


À, Nǐ shì tā de nánpéngyǒu!

Ah, so you are her boyfriend.

Yes, I have been saying again and again: TONES ARE IMPORTANT.