As the year draws to a close, it’s time to check and see if we owe anybody (such as the income tax authority) any money. Equally important, you might want to see if there is any money to be collected from your debtors or customers. In other words, it’s time to do some counting and accounting.
The Chinese word for counting is 算 (suàn). You might want to review the Chinese numerals and the “Counting the Frogs” rhyme in Chapter 5 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes”.
计算 (jìsuàn) means to calculate. Simple calculations can be accomplished using 算术 (suànshù arithmetic). Some people can do it quickly in their head. They are said to be good with 心算 (xīnsuàn mental arithmetic). Others need the help of a 计算机 (jìsuànjī calculator) or a 电脑 (diànnǎo computer).
Do you know how to use an abacus, or 算盘 (suànpan)? In Chinese, wishful thinking is called 如意算盘 (rúyìsuànpan).
Nǐ bié dǎ rúyìsuànpan le.
Forget about your wishful thinking.
会计 (kuàijì) means bookkeeping or accounting, and 预算 (yùsuàn) means budget.
Míngnián de yùsuàn zuò hào le ma?
Is the buget for next year ready?
算 (suàn) also means “to count as” or “can be considered as”. In fact, it takes on quite a few other meanings when used in various words.
那不算. (Nà bù suàn.) means “That doesn’t count.”
Zhèi jiā fànguǎn kěyǐ suàn shì Xīyǎtú zuìhào de le.
This restaurant can be considered the best in Seattle.
算帐 (suànzhàng) could mean to tally the bills or to settle scores with someone.
Míngtiān wǒ qù zhǎo tā suànzhàng!
I’ll go reckon with him tomorrow!
While 计算 (jìsuàn) means to calculate, 算计 (suànji) usually is construed as plotting against someone.
打算 (dǎsuàn) is to think about doing something.
Nǐ dǎsuàn zěnme bàn?
What are you going to do about it?
For “Never mind.” or “Let it be.”, you could say 算了. (Suàn le.) or 算啦. (Suàn lā.). When uttered in an angry tone, 算了! (Suàn le!) or 算了吧! (Suàn le ba!) means “Forget it!” In a sarcastic tone, it’s equivalent to: “Don’t give me that!”
合算 (hésuàn), 划算 (huásuàn) and 上算 (shàngsuàn) all mean “to one’s gains”.
Zhème zuò bǐjiào huásuàn.
This way it will be more to our profit.
失算 (shīsuàn) means to miscalculate and suffer a loss or be disappointed.
暗算 (ànsuàn) is to secretly plot against someone.
算命 (suànmìng) means fortune-telling.
Nǐ xiāngxìn suànmìng de rén shuō de huà ma?
Do you believe what the fortune-tellers say?
Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year (with plenty of your own money to count)!