NOTE: There's a great bonus at the end of this article, be sure to check it out!
I decided to make a light hearted, fun video with my friend about sentences you don't want to hear from your recently acquired Chinese girlfriend. They're based very loosely on a mix of observations I've had, stories I've heard and just relationships in general :p
The video is not meant to be serious or culturally informative, so I hope it does not offend anyone!
My acting definitely needs some work but I'm really happy with how it turned out!
After you've watched the video (hope you liked it), let's try and learn something by having a look at the dialogues, then break down the vocabulary and grammar used.
Big thanks to Clover for letting me re-record the audio at a slower pace.
How Much Money Do You Make?
nǐ yígè yuè gōngzī duōshǎo qián?
Something not considered rude in China is to ask others about how much bacon they're bringing home. However, if a recent girlfriend asks this question to her very recent new boyfriend then some alarm bells should be ringing and caution advised!
- 你 (nǐ) = you
- 一 (yī) = one
- 个 (gè) = measure word
- 月 (yuè) = month
- 工资 (gōngzī) = wage
- 多少 (duōshǎo) = how much?
- 钱 (qián) = money
A pretty basic sentence, remember to put the duration of time (in this case a month) just after the subject (in this case 'you'). As you probably know, 多少 is the question part of the sentence so no 吗 is needed.
I Only Date Foreigners
wǒ zhǐ hé wàiguó rén yuēhuì
There's a small amount of Chinese girls that have a bit of an obsession with all things foreign, men included. Not necessarily a bad thing to hear, but something you'd rather she hadn't shared with you.
- 我 (wǒ) = I
- 只 (zhǐ) = only
- 和 (hé) = and/with
- 外国 (wàiguó) = foreign/outside country
- 人 (rén) = person
- 约会 (yuēhuì) = date
Note the literal translation here would be 'I only with foreigner date'. It's understandable but slightly different to English grammar. Here the action of 'date' is placed at the end.
只 and 和 are both really useful words to know. 和 can mean both 'and' and 'with', so when you say something like 'me and my sister' you can use either 和 or 跟 (gen) to express the 'with'
I Like Mixed Blood Children
wǒ xǐhuan hùnxiě xiǎohái
I've heard this one a lot from girls while living in China and it's usually a completely innocent statement. From a stranger it's ok, but hearing it from a new romantic interest is a little bit unnerving
- 喜欢 (xǐhuan) = like
- 混血 (hùnxiě) = mixed blood
- 小孩 (xiǎohái) = children
Can't think of much to say for this one. Interestingly the character 血 has two pronunciations; xiě and more formally xuè.
He's Really Super Super Handsome!
tā zhēn de chāojí chāojí shuài de!
Pretty universally annoying, I think all men would agree on that. Fortunately Chinese girls like to pay their boyfriends a lot of compliments too though!
- 他 (tā) = I
- 真的 (zhēn de) = like
- 超级 (chāojí) = super
- 帅(shuài) = handsome
When you really want to emphasis the degree of an adjective, in most cases you can just say the adverb (is that what they're called?) twice for effect, much like English speakers will sometimes do with "really really“ or "sooo sooo"
I Don't Want To Talk With You
wǒ bùxiǎng gēn nǐ jiǎnghuà le
Another one that's internationally recognised by men across the globe, though from my admittedly limited experience, I feel Chinese girls may be more likely to give their boyfriends the silent treatment over Western girls.
- 不 (bù) = no
- 想 (xiǎng) = want to/like to
- 跟 (gēn) = and/with
- 你 (nǐ) = you
- 讲话 (jiǎnghuà) = talk/address
There are plenty of ways to say the word 'talk' in Chinese, but 讲话 seems to be better suited in the context of this sentence.
You're Too ... (Insert Criticism Here)
nǐ tài shòu le nǐ yào duō chī diǎn
nǐ hǎo pàng a nǐ yào jiǎnféi le
Unless you're body is finely sculpted like a roman gladiator, expect your Chinese girlfriend to criticize your body or other shortcomings if related to your health. You may even experience this from strangers or on your first date with a girl. Takes some getting used to but keep in mind they're saying it not to nag but to show that they care about your well-being.
- 太 (tài) = too
- 好 (hǎo) = good/very
- 瘦 (shòu) = thin
- 胖 (pàng) = fat
- 要 (yào) = should (in this context)
- 多 (duō) = much/more
- 吃 (chī) = eat
- 点 (diǎn) =
- 减肥 (jiǎnféi) = lose weight
When you use 太 before an adjective it's pretty common to see 了 come after.
The second sentence here demonstrates what I talked about last week, where the meaning of 好 means 'very', instead of it's usual 'good'
Could You Hold My Bag?
nǐ kěyǐ bāng wǒ ná yíxià zhège bāo ma?
nǐ yīdiǎn yě bù shēnshì
If you go to China you'll likely witness Chinese men sometimes carrying their significant other's handbag while out in public. Now I'll happily carry groceries, suitcases, books or a rucksack, but unless that girly handbag weighs a ton, I cannot agree to carry it. If I'm asked this I use the old "People don't do this in the UK, it's too strange sorry"
- 可以 (kěyǐ) = can
- 帮 (bāng) = help
- 拿 (ná) = take
- 一下 (yíxià) = a little
- 这个 (zhège) = this
- 包 (bāo) = bag
- 吗 (ma) = (Question particle)
- 一点 (yīdiǎn) = a little
- 也 (yě) = also
- 绅士 (shēnshì) = gentleman
I hear 一下 used a lot in spoken everyday Chinese, you can tack it onto pretty much any verb to express a briefness or something, or in many cases just to make what you're saying sound more polite and friendly. It's quite tricky to explain so check out the Grammar Wiki for example sentences
一点也不 or 一点都不 can be put before a verb or adjective to imply the complete lack of the word following it, which can be quite tricky to catch when listening to it. In the video for example, what she says translates to "you are not a gentleman AT ALL"
Why Did You Not Reply To My Messages?
nǐ wèishéme bù gěi wǒ huí duǎnxìn？
Yep, this one is a pretty common cause of arguments for men and women of all nationalities. Quite a lot of Chinese girls expect their boyfriend to frequently keep in contact via texts or WeChat when not together. If you start a relationship doing this then be prepared to keep it up for the full duration of being an item, or expect drama to follow.
- 为什么 (wèishéme) = why
- 给 (gěi) = give
- 回 (huí) = return
- 短信 (duǎnxìn) = SMS/message
Easy-ish sentence. Remember to always put the subject before the question of why (为什么)
Do You Think She's Good Looking?
nǐ juédé tā zhǎng dé hǎokàn ma?
nǐ juédé tā zhǎng dé bǐ wǒ hǎokàn ma?
Two trick questions that have no right answer, pat yourself on the back if you escape this one unscathed.
- 觉得 (juédé) = think
- 长 (zhǎng) = grow/looks
- 比 (bǐ) = compared to
- 好看 (hǎokàn) = looks good
Using 长得+description is the correct way to describe the physical appearance of someone or something. For example, 我长的像我爸爸一样 = I look the same as my father.
I have covered 比 before
My Ex Boyfriend Did The Same Thing
wǒ qiánrèn zuòguò tóngyàng de shìqíng
nà yòu zěnyàng
Neither men nor women want to hear too many details about their partners previous lovers, so this one really takes the cake.
- 前任 (qiánrèn) = ex/predecessor
- 做过 (zuòguò) = done/did
- 同样 (tóngyàng) = same
- 事情 (shìqíng) = thing
- 那 (nà) = so
- 又 (yòu) = and/again
- 怎样 (zěnyàng) = how
My reply of 那又怎样 does not translate word for word very well, so it's best to just learn this phrase to mean 'so what'.
We Need To Talk
wǒ juédé wǒmen xūyào hǎohǎo tán yíxià
The infamous "we need to talk", delivered in a prepared, serious tone. Maybe you'd be relieved to hear this if your girlfriend was guilty of using all the previous 10 lines, so not such a bad thing eh?
- 我们 (wǒmen) = we
- 需要 (xūyào) = need
- 谈 (tán) = talk
Want to Learn More Dating Related Chinese?
After making this video I decided to create an Anki deck packed with a load of dating-related sentences. I think there's around 55 cards in total.
This is a handy deck to master for anyone as it's all colloquial, real-world dialogue that I had a lot of help with when putting it together. There's a slightly higher proportion of cards aimed at guys, but still plenty for female readers too!
Every card on the front side has the English sentence, then on the back the Chinese translation. Most importantly full native-speaking audio recordings are included (of the same quality as above), as well as pinyin in a click-to-reveal format, which is great for those that are working on their reading too.
Hope you enjoyed watching and reading, we had a lot of fun making this so stay tuned for more!