Lesson Transcript

Welcome to Fun and Easy Chinese by ChineseClass101.com!
嗨大家好,我是李殷如. Hài dà jiā hǎo, Wǒ shì Lǐ Yīnrú.
Hi everyone, Yinru Li here.
Do you know any Chinese words or phrases with no English equivalent?
As your Chinese vocabulary expands and your understanding of the Chinese language deepens, you will come across some expressions in Chinese that don’t translate to other languages.
Words and phrases with no English equivalent are often associated with certain unique cultural background.
In this lesson, you’ll learn the meanings and usages of these Chinese phrases:
加油 jiā yóu
辛苦了xīn kǔ le
缘份 yuán fèn
热闹 rè nao
撒娇 sā jiāo
见外 jiàn wài
If you’re trying to encourage someone and boost their confidence, this is the phrase to use: 加油 jiā yóu [slow] 加油
This phrase literally means “to add gas” or “to add oil”. It’s used to encourage someone to try hard and go for it.
The most typical place to use 加油 is at sports events. The audience yells 加油 to fire up their teams and contestants. In Olympics, you’ll hear: 中国队加油! Zhōng guó duì jiā yóu! meaning “Team China, go, go, go!” [slow] 中国队加油!
You can also say it to your friend who is going to have a big day, to encourage them to try their best.
Amy has a speech competition at her Chinese school this weekend. She’s feeling nervous. Xiao Wu learns about it and tells Amy to 加油 and believe in herself.
艾米:怎么办?我好紧张。
àimǐ: Zěn me bàn? Wǒ hǎo jǐn zhāng.
“Amy: What should I do? I’m so nervous.”
小吴:加油加油!相信自己!
Xiǎo Wú: Jiā yóu jiā yóu! Xiān gxìn zì jǐ!
“Xiao Wu: Go for it! Believe in yourself!”
Another frequently used everyday phrase that doesn’t have an exact English equivalent is: 辛苦了xīn kǔ le [slow]辛苦了
This phrase literally means “to have worked hard”. It is often used to acknowledge and appreciate someone for their hard work, when the job is done.
When your subordinate hands in a project, you can say “辛苦了“ to show your appreciation for their work. When your friend drives you all the way to the airport, you can tell them “辛苦了” to thank them for their kindness. When your mom has spent hours making a delicious meal and finally gets to sit down and eat with you, it’d be nice for her to hear “辛苦了” from you.
Next is a noun called 缘份 yuán fèn [slow] 缘份.
It is often translated as “fate” in dictionaries. But it is something more than just fate. Originated from Buddhism, 缘份 refers to the wonderful but mysterious, predetermined force that make two people cross ways in their lives.
For example, out of so many resources you can find on the internet, you’re watching me teach Chinese on ChineseClass 101.com, this is a kind of 缘份.
For a couple to meet each other, among billions of other men or women on earth, it is because of 缘份.
Suppose you visited China when you were 10 years old with your parents, and 20 years later you are sent to work and live in China, we say you and China have 缘份. 你和中国很有缘份。Nǐ hé Zhōng guó hěn yǒu yuán fèn. [slow] 你和中国很有缘份。
The next one is to used to describe a scene or an atmosphere that is hustling and bustling but fun and lively. 热闹 rè nao [slow] 热闹.
This word literally means “hot and noisy”. 热,闹.
The immediate association of this word is the scene at Chinese New Year, when the red lanterns are hung on the streets, loud drums and gongs are played, and lion dances are seen everywhere, of course with people walking through with festive spirit.
Generally, it is used to describe events with lots of people and noises such as a holiday parade, or a big party. When you see such a scene, you can say: 这里好热闹. Zhè li hǎo rè nao. “It’s so 热闹 here”. 这里好热闹。
Chinese people sure do love the atmosphere of 热闹.
The next word is a certain behavior that is not seen a lot in the western countries. 撒娇 sā jiāo [slow] 撒娇.
It is a way of acting spoiled in a cute and childish way, often in order to disagree or get what one wants. It usually involves some sort of whining, pouting and swinging the other person’s arm.
If a girl likes to do that to her boyfriend, and it works every time, we can say 她很会撒娇。Tā hěn huì sā jiāo. “she’s good at 撒娇“ 她很会撒娇.
Xiao Wu really wanted to see a fashion show that her boyfriend Yang Hao wasn’t interested in. She was trying to use her 撒娇 skills to get him go with her, but it wasn’t really working. Let’s see how their conversation went.
小吴:你陪我一起去吧,好不好?
Xiǎo Wú: Nǐ péi wǒ yì qǐ qù ba, hǎo bu hǎo?
“Xiao Wu: Come with me, would you?”
杨昊:你撒娇也没用,我不去。
Yáng Hào: Nǐ sā jiāo yě méi yòng, Wǒ bú qù.
“Yang Hao: It’s no using acting this way, I’m not going.”
The last untranslatable word is called 见外 jiàn wài [slow] 见外. It literally means “to see outside”, but the more accurate meaning is “to see or treat someone as an outsider, instead of one of their own”.
见外 is the kind of behavior or attitude that is being too polite and too formal therefore distancing the relationship.
Chinese don’t often say “thank you” to close family and friends for small favors such as being handed a glass of water, because saying so would be considered 见外.
Therefore family and friends will often tell you to let them know if you need anything, and don’t be 见外 with them:别跟我见外. Bié gēn wǒ jiàn wài. 别跟我见外。
Time to recap.
What would you say to your friend who is going to have a piano recital, before she gets on the stage?
加油 加油
What would you say to your colleagues before they go home at the end of a long day?
辛苦了 辛苦了
What word would you use to describe the busy streets full of people waiting for the New Year’s Eve countdown?
热闹 热闹
And when a little girl is trying to get her daddy buy a doll with a pitiful, pouty face, it is called...
撒娇 撒娇
When you keep saying 谢谢 or 对不起 to your best friend, he or she probably would be offended because you are being too…
见外 见外
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See you next time! 再见!Zài jiàn!

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