Hú is foolish and reckless?


胡 “reckless” can be used to make many Chinese phrases referring to recklessness or foolishness.  We often use them to joke with close friends, not acquaintances or people we don’t know very well.  (1)* húshuōbādào 胡说八道  “Idiom used to criticize. Talk lies and nonsense,”  (2)*  hútú  胡涂 “adj. confused,muddled,” (3)* húsīluànxiǎng 胡思乱想  “Idiom to mean  foolish thinking,”  (4)* húhuāluànyòng 胡化乱用 “Idiom to mean spend and use money recklessly,”    (5) húshuōluàndào   胡说乱道  “Idiom to mean talk wildly and foolishly,”  (6) húyán  胡言  “noun to refer to foolish talk,” (7) húchuī 胡 吹 ” verb phrase meaning to brag or talk big,” (8) húzhi 胡支 “verb phrase meaning to hem and haw or make excuses,” (9) húrìnòng 胡日弄 “colloquial verb phrase to mean to act recklessly,”  and (10)  húlái  胡来  “verb phrase meaning to bungle, cause mischief, proceed recklessly.”






Qian Ren Qing and Social Obligation

Chinese relationships can get very complicated, especially when they teeter on who owes who?  Accepting help, favors, gifts, and even compliments can mean that you qiàn rénqíng  ( 欠 人 清 ) “owe someone something (e.g. a favor).”   Asking for favors can put you in debt to someone, and sooner or later you may be expected to reciprocate.  Fulfilling your “social obligations” is important. It maintains “your face.” Doing favors, giving gifts, or even paying compliments, on the other hand, can in debt someone to you. In business, it similar to “building goodwill.”

You can avoid owing too much to others by restricting your requests for help, reciprocating with gifts of equal value, and deflecting compliments using na3 li3 “where” or other humble, self-depreciating, or compliment-passing techniques.  However, be careful.  If someone truly does owe you a big favor or wants to put on a big show, then it might cause him to “lose face” if you refuse help or refuse a gift. A gift is always pondered very carefully–”how much it is worth, what is it expressing, what are they re-paying me for, is it an appropriate gift considering my relationship with them, and even what do they want in return?”  It may sound very shallow to you, but it is, in fact, easier to handle because keeping a list is easier than trying to ascertain how deep allegiances and friendships are.

Therefore, this giving and receiving helps maintain “face” and “validates friendships.”

Introducing yourself: jiào, guó, rén, zhēndema


To introduce yourself in Mandarin Chinese, you need to know how to greet someone first:  ni hao.  However, you will also find the following Chinese words useful:  jiào (am name/called), guó (country), (which), rén (people,citizen), and zhēndema (really? to show surprise).

Read this dialog aloud if you know hanyu pinyin.

  • Nǐhǎo?  (Hi. How are you?)
  • Hǎo. Nǐ ne? (Fine. And you?)
  • Hén hǎo. Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén?  (Very well.  Which country are you from?)
  • Wǒ shì Měiguórén.  Wǒ jiào Lee.  (I’m American.  I’m called Lee.)
  • Zhēndema?   Wǒyé shì Měiguóren. Wǒ jiào John.   (Really?  I’m also American.  I’m called John.)

For more intensive practice of this language, you can click here.

Here is a video for further explanation by Teacher Benny.

Here is a video for your entertainment with this language–wo shi meiguoren, starring Bruce Lee. Enjoy.


Míngbái, Bù míngbái, Bù míng bù bái


If you have studied Chinese for 4 or 5 months, you probably know míngbái ( 明 白 ), a Chinese word meaning ‘clearly understood.’  Bù míngbái ( 不 明 白) is what you say when you aren’t  quite sure or you are confused about the meaning of something. Wǒ bù míngbái (我 不 明 白) (I’m not clear).

When you are not clear about what your are hearing or reading, you can either apologize (Duìbuqǐ) (对不起) (which also means ‘excuse me’) and  say “Wǒ bù míngbái“  (我 不 明 白) and/or politely ask him to explain a little (Qǐng nǐ jiěshì jiěshì) (请 你 解 释 解 释). However, you would NOT want to ask someone to speak míngbái yīdiǎnr (speak it out a little clearer), because it would imply he is hiding something or lying.

A fun idiom is bù míng bù bái (neither clear nor white) ( 不 明 不 白 ) , used to refer to  hazy written or spoken ideas, speeches, talk, rules, or even behavior.  Laws are sometimes bù míng bù bái so that power can overrule law, when convenient.

One song shows you another way to use míngbái. The lyrics are written out in pinyin and translated into English in the notes.

A Song by Della Ding 丁噹 – Ming Bai 明白

There is another song called Ming Ming Bai Bai Wo de Xin. You can Youtube it, if you want. See how it’s translated.

Mandarin Chinese Expressions with Màn (Slow)


The #Mandarin #Chinese word for ‘slow’ is màn (慢). It is used in many #Chinese #expressions, many introduced at Mandarin Click by Click.

Mànmànlái  (慢慢来) means ‘take your time’, (a polite phrase used to calm people down when they are nervous about doing something correctly).   Mànzǒu (慢走) means ‘leave slowly’ (a polite phrase to say good-bye to guests who are leaving, similar to English ‘Don’t be in such a hurry.’).

Mànmantēngtēng (慢慢藤藤) means unhurriedly.  Mànmantūntūn (慢慢吞吞) means unbearably slow. Both are usually used as adverbs with a ‘de’ before a verb.

#James #Steed