Chinese Words That Should Be Used in Other Languages As Well
Since I moved back to China, my Chinese has gotten better and better. Being the only foreigner in my company and almost only hanging out with Chinese people made me speak the language on a different level than before.
When I speak English or German again, though, I sometimes like to use certain Chinese words or expressions because they are just bringing things more to the point than my native languages sometimes. Here’s a list of Chinese words I think are useful for people to use in their native languages as well.
1. Máfan 麻烦
Máfan is one of the favorite Chinese word for a lot of foreigners. It actually means something like “trouble” so you can say “This is so troublesome!” (“Tai mafan le! 太麻烦了！). But it describes so much more than the English word “trouble”. It can be used for almost anything that you find “sucks”. It doesn’t only sounds fun it also is fairly easy to pronounce! That’s why we need to use mafan in other languages as well!
2. … Ba 吧
Ba 吧 is used all the time in everyday speech and is an awesome addition to your sentence! There are two main functions to use 吧: to mark and soften commands, requests and suggestions or as a tag question to ask for agreement or confirmation with what is being said.
我们去唱K吧！Let’s go to KTV (karaoke)!
你是中国人是吧？You are Chinese, right?
Ba is great for almost everything to emphasize something or also express a little bit of anger like: 那你不用帮我吧！(Well, don’t help me then…)
This particle is so important and great to use that we should really add it in other languages as well! Like: Can you send me this file? – Later ba. Awesome right?
3. … Ah 啊
Similar to Ba 吧, Ah 啊 is another great little word to emphasize what you are saying and you can but it anywhere!
我要吃饭啊！ I want to eat (ah) !
It basically just means that you really want to eat or it can also be kind of “defensive”, like 我就这样子啊！(That’s just how I am (ah))!
Chinese people put ah 啊 after almost anything and it’s suuuuuper common in everyday speech. And it’s so convenient too and makes you get used to saying it very fast ah.
4. Gànma？ 干嘛？
Gànma？ Is also one of my favorite words that we should use in other languages as well. It can be used to express “What do you want?”, “What is it?” or simply “Why?”.
Sombody calls your name. Respond: Gànma？ 干嘛？ or somebody does something to you for no reason, scream : Gànma？ 干嘛？
Gànma is definitely great to use at all times. That’s why I would love to use it in other languages as well. It’s short and easy to pronouce. Gànma？
5. Āiyā！ 哎呀！
The exclamation Āiyā！ 哎呀！has lots of different meanings. Use it for when something you want to do, fails.
You are grocery shopping and bought too much you can’t carry it and it falls down: Āiyā！ 哎呀！
You can even use it if someone annoys you simply say Āiyā！ 哎呀！in a very annoyed voice.
Is your computer not doing as you want, Āiyā！ 哎呀！ Mosquito bite? Āiyā！ 哎呀！You get what I’m saying…
Sometimes there are just words in other languages that express something much more detailed than in your native language. Or sometimes Chinese words or expressions just sound much more funny than English or another language. Do you think we can convince other foreigners to use these words when speaking their native languages?
What are your favorite Chinese words/expressions you want to use all the time?
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