Lesson Transcript

Welcome to Fun and Easy Chinese by ChineseClass101.com!
嗨大家好,我是李殷如. Hài dàjiā hǎo, Wǒ shì Lǐ Yīnrú.
Hi everyone, Yinru Li here.
Do you know how to congratulate someone in Chinese? And do you know how to express your condolences in Chinese?
Life is filled with exciting and happy events that are worth celebrating; in the meantime, we have to witness and experience the heartbreaking moments of losing loved ones in our lives.
There are certain etiquette phrases we use in those events.
In this lesson, you’re going to learn the Chinese phrases for “congratulations” and “my condolences”.
There are two common ways to say “congratulations” in Chinese.
The first one is 恭喜 gōng xǐ。
恭 gōng means “respectful” 恭, and 喜 xǐ means “happy” or “joy”.
Together 恭喜 literally means “to respect the joy”, but it is a fixed expression that is the equivalent of “congratulations”.
[slow] 恭喜.
We say 恭喜 on events like weddings, engagements, pregnancies or the birth of a baby. These are considered the most happy events in one’s life.
In everyday conversations, 恭喜 is often said twice. 恭喜恭喜 gōng xǐ gōng xǐ.
For example, suppose your friend sends you a text telling you that she is going to have a baby, you can text her back:
太好了!恭喜恭喜!Tài hǎo le! Gōng xǐ gōng xǐ!
“It’s so great! Congratulations!”
[slow] 太好了!恭喜恭喜!
You arrive at a wedding reception, and the bride and groom are greeting guests at the hotel door. That is the perfect time to use the congratulating phrases.
You can say: 恭喜你们!百年好合!Gōng xǐ nǐ men ! Bǎi nián hǎo hé!
Which literally means “Congratulations you guys! Wish you a harmonious union that lasts a hundred years!”
百年好合 Bǎi nián hǎo hé is a typical fixed expression or idiom used on weddings.
It literally is “hundred” 百 “years” 年 “good” 好 “union” 合, but is equivalent to something like “happily married, for years to come”.
[slow] 百年好合。
Together 恭喜你们!百年好合!
The other common way to say “congratulations” is 祝贺 zhù hè.
祝 zhù means “to wish” . 贺 hè means “to celebrate”.
Together 祝贺 literally means “to send wishes and to celebrate”, but it is often translated also as “congratulations”.
[slow] 祝贺.
Examples:
Your colleague got promoted to a management position. In this case, you could say to him:
祝贺你!Zhù hè nǐ!
“Congratulations to you!”
[slow] 祝贺你!
Your cousin got admitted to a college. During a family dinner, you give her a toast and say to her:
祝贺你成为大学生!Zhù hè nǐ chéng wéi dà xué shēng!
“Congratulations on becoming a college student!”
成为 chéng wéi means “to become” 成为,大学生 dà xué shēng means “college student” 大学生。
Together [slow] 祝贺你成为大学生。
Here are the subtle differences between the two “congratulations” 恭喜 and 祝贺:
Number 1, 祝贺 is more likely to be used for achievements and milestones in life that are the result of hard work, such as being admitted to college, getting a new job, getting a promotion, getting a new house, opening up a new business, etc.
恭喜 is used more on happy life events, like we mentioned earlier, getting engaged, getting married, having a baby, etc.
2, 祝贺 sounds more formal than 恭喜 in everyday conversations.
Condolences
When it comes to the etiquette phrases that are used to comfort the family during a funeral, this is the one you should know: 节哀顺变 jié āi shùn biàn.
It’s another fixed expression, which literally means “to restrain the sadness and accept the change in life”.
[slow] 节哀顺变.
It could be shortened to 节哀 jié āi. [slow] 节哀.
Other than this fixed expression, you can add other things to show your sympathy and concern, such as “please take good care of yourself.'' 请多保重 Qǐng duō bǎo zhòng.
请 qǐng means “please”, 多duō literally means “a lot”, but is often used to kindly urge someone “please do ..”. And 保重 bǎo zhòng means “to take care” 保重。
Together 请多保重. Qǐng duō bǎo zhòng. “Please do take care.”
[slow] 请多保重.
A cultural note:
you will see a lot of white color being used in Chinese funerals, and people attending the funeral are expected to wear black or plain dark colors;
whereas in the happy events and celebrations such as weddings, there’s always the color red.
In this lesson, we learned three etiquette phrases 恭喜,祝贺,and 节哀顺变 for major life events. Let’s see which of the three phrases you would choose to use in the following scenarios:
You were on vacation for two weeks. When you return to the office,
One of your colleagues shares the news that she is engaged. Which phrase would you choose to say to her?
恭喜 恭喜
Another colleague shares the news that he finally got his MBA diploma. What would you say to him?
祝贺 祝贺
One more colleague tells you the sad news that her grandmother passed away 3 days ago. To express your condolences, you would say:
节哀顺变 节哀顺变
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Thank you for watching. I’ll see you next time! 再见!

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