Qualities of a Great Father in Chinese

爸爸 (bàba) or 爹 (diē) is to 父亲 (fùqin) as papa or dad is to father. 父 (fù) is one of the radicals of Chinese characters, but there aren’t many characters in this group.

It used to be that being a good father meant being a good provider for the family. Nowadays that has become the minimum requirement. A great deal more is expected of a father in modern days. Let’s see how we can phrase it in Chinese. Please pay special attention to the four-character idioms that I’ve highlighted below.

他努力工作以确保一家的温饱.
Tā nǔlì gōngzuò yǐ quèbǎo yījiā de wēnbǎo.
He works hard to ensure the food and clothing of the family.

他爱他的妻子和孩子们.
Tā ài tā de qīzi hé háizi men.
He loves his wife and children.

他不重男轻女.
Tā bù chóng nán qīng nǚ.
He does not favor his sons over his daughters.

他的思想开明,有同理心.
Tā de sīxiǎng kāimíng, yǒu tóng lǐ xīn.
He is open-minded and shows empathy.

他是孩子们的良師益友.
Tā shì háizimen de liángshīyìyǒu.
He is a good teacher and a helpful friend to his children.

他乐意花时间教导儿女, 同他们游戏与沟通.
Tā lèyì huā shíjiān jiàodǎo érnǚ, tóng tāmen yóuxì yǔ gōutōng.
He is willing to spend time teaching his children, playing and communicating with them.

以身作则, 并且耐心矫正儿女的过错.
Tā yǐshēnzuòzé, bìngqiě nàixīn jiǎozhèng er nǚ de guòcuò.
He leads by example, and patiently corrects the faults of his children.

他注重健康, 奉公守法, 热心助人.
Tā zhùzhòng jiànkāng, fènggōngshǒufǎ, rèxīn zhùrén.
He pays attention to health, obeys the law, and is enthusiastic about helping others.

他诚恳, 正直, 值得信赖.
Tā chéngkěn, zhengzhi, zhide xinlai.
HHe is sincere, upright and trustworthy.

他尊重儿女对于宗教, 职业以及配偶的选择.
Tā zūnzhòng érnǚ duìyú zōngjiào,zhíyè yǐjí pèi’ǒu de xuǎnzé.
He respects his children’s choice of religion, career and spouse.

Thinking back, I feel truly grateful to have been blessed with a wonderful father. How I miss him!

祝父亲节快乐!
Zhù fùqīn jié kuàilè!
Have a Happy Father’s Day!

As it happens to be Dragon Boat Festival 端午节 (duānwǔjié) today, you might be interested in watching how the special glutinous rice dumpling is prepared in this video. You can read the associated blog post here.

A joke retold in Chinese

Laughing

Today I will tell you a modified version of a joke that I once read in the Reader’s Digest. I will provide just the Chinese text and let you figure out the joke by referring to the associated vocabulary list below.

有一对夫妻因为吵架,已经

两天没有同对方讲话了。

有必要的时候,他们用电邮

把话传给对方。

这一天,那位先生传电邮给太太:

“明天早上八点钟我得去公司开会。

请你七点叫我起来。”

第二天,那位先生起床时,已经八点钟了。

他非常生气,正要写电邮去责备太太时,

看到了太太的电邮:

“起来吧。现在七点了。”

一对 (yīduì) a couple, a pair
夫妻 (fūqī) man and wife.
因为 (yīnwei) because
吵架 (chǎojià) quarrel
已经 (yǐjīng) already
两天 (liǎng tiān) two
没有 (méiyǒu) have not (done something)
同 (tóng) with
对方 (duìfāng) the other party
讲话 (jiǎnghuà) speak, talk
必要 (bìyào) necessary
时候 (shíhòu) a point in time
他们 (tāmen) they
電郵 (diànyóu) or 電子郵件 (diànzǐyóujiàn) electronic mail (email)
话 (huà) words
传 (chuán) transmit
先生 (xiānsheng) husband
太太 (tàitài) wife
明天 (míngtiān) tomorrow
早上 (zǎoshàng) morning.
八 (bā) eight
点钟 (diǎnzhōng) o’clock
得 (děi) must, have to
去 (qù) go
公司 (gōngsī) company
开会 (kāihuì) attend a meeting
请 (qǐng) please
叫 (jiào) call
起来(qǐlái) or 起床 (qǐchuáng) get up, rise or get out of bed
第二天(dì’èr tiān ) the following day
已经 (yǐjīng) already.
非常 (fēicháng) very
生气 (shēngqì) angry
正要 (zhèng yào) just about to
责备 (zébèi) reproach
看到 (kàndào) see
现在 (xiànzài) now
七 (qī) seven

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Chinese word for praising someone

Everybody likes to receive a pat on the back from time to time for a job well done.

音乐老师夸奖莉莉的歌喉好.
Yīnyuè lǎoshī kuājiǎng Lìlì de gēhóugē hǎo.
The music teacher praises Lily’s nice singing voice.

人人称赞他是个好丈夫.
Rénrén chēngzàn tā shì gè hǎo zhàngfū.
Everyone commends him as a good husband.

夸奖 (kuājiǎng) and 称赞 (chēngzàn) both mean to praise or to commend someone.

Today we will take a look at the two characters that make up the word 称赞 (chēngzàn).

(chēng) has multiple meanings. In 称赞 (chēngzàn), it serves as the verb “to call” or “to state”. (zàn) is the approval that is issued.

称呼 (chēnghu) and 称谓 (chēngwèi) are forms of address. 称呼 (chēnghu) can also be used as a verb.

叔叔的妻子应当怎么称呼?
Shūshu de qīzi yīngdāng zěnme chēnghu?
How should one address the wife of an uncle?

名称 (míngchēng) is the name of an item or an organization, and 别称 (biéchēng) is an alternative name or an alias.

称病 (chēngbìng) is to claim to be ill. 称霸 (chēngbà) is to claim control or hegemony.

(chèng) is a balance or a steelyard. As a verb, it means to weigh something. This word is pronounced in the fourth tone. 对称 (duìchèng) means balanced and symmetrical.

When pronounced as (chèn), this word means to befit or to suit. Therefore, 称职 (chènzhí) means to have abilities that match a job post. 称心 (chènxīn) describes something that is satisfactory and pleases one’s mind.

(zàn) means to agree with, to favor, to support or to commend.

赞成 (zànchéng) and 赞同 (zàntóng) mean to approve of, to agree with or to endorse.

她不赞成今天去钓鱼.
Tā bùzànchéng jīntiān qù diàoyú.
She disapproves of going fishing today.

赞许 (zànxǔ) and 赞扬 (zànyáng) both mean to commend or speak favorably of someone.

赞佩 (zànpèi) and 赞赏 (zànshǎng) mean to admire and appreciate someone.

赞美 (zànměi) and 赞颂 (zànsòng) mean to praise or to eulogize. Hymns are called 赞美诗 (zànměishī) or 赞美歌 (zànměigē).

赞不绝口 (zànbùjuěkǒu) is a Chinese idiom that means to be full of praise.

老板对于这位新职员赞不绝口.
Lǎobǎn duìyú zhèi wèi xīn zhíyuán zànbùjuěkǒu.
The boss has nothing but praises for this new employee.

By the way, the sound of (zàn) in the Taiwanese dialect means “Great!” or “Wonderful!”.

Man, a radical? (continued)

Here are a few more simple characters that take (rén person) as the root.

(nèi inside, internal)
(ròu meat)
(qiū imprison, prisoner)
(liǎng two)
(zuò sit)
(jiá sandwiched between )
(lái come)

It makes sense to call one’s own wife 內人 (nèirén my wife), which, word for word, translates to “inside person”. The general term for “wife” is 妻子 (qīzi). So, 內人 (nèirén), 我的妻子 (wǒ de qīzi), and 我太太 (wǒ tàitai), all mean “my wife”. Some people refer to their wives as 我老婆 (wǒ lǎopo my old woman), which may reflect the speaker’s modesty but does not sound that great when translated to English.

Strictly speaking, some of the above characters contain the character (rù enter) rather than (rén person). With (rù enter), the slanted stroke on the right side extends beyond the slanted stroke on the left side. The printed font exaggerates the difference between these two characters. In reality, (rù enter) is simply the mirror image of (rén person).

Add another (rù) to the character (nèi inside, internal), and you’ll get the word for “meat”, (ròu).

Put a person inside a box, and you’ll get the word for confinement or imprisonment, (qiū).

You know that (èr) means “two”. (liǎng two) is also used to indicate “two”. It appropriately contains a pair of the character (rù).

Similarly, (zuò sit) contains a pair of the character (rén person). It represents two people sitting on the ground. The character for the ground or soil is (tǔ).

(jiá sandwiched between ) contains a person sandwiched between two other persons. 夾子 (jiázi) is a small tweezer. When you use your chopsticks to pick up food, the action is represented by the word (jiá).

The traditional Chinese character for the word “come” contains a pair of (rén). In the corresponding simplified character, (lái come), the two (rén) characters are reduced to a pair of tick marks.

来了 (lái le) can mean “to be coming” or “to have come”. Now, you can add one of the nouns you have learned, and form a sentence. For example, 爸爸来了 (bàba lái le).

While serving a meal to a friend, you could say:
(Lái)! 夾一塊肉吃 (Jiá yī kuài ròu chī).
Come! Help yourself to a piece of meat.

The umbrella is called: (sǎn). Doesn’t this character resemble an umbrella? Please look in your dictionary or textbook for other characters that feature a (rén) at the top.

Many Chinese characters contain the the radical (rén) on the left side. As we mentioned before, in this case, the radical takes on a squished shape to make room for the other parts of the character. You have learned that (nĭ) means “you”. The word for “he” is (tā). This word stands for “she” as well, although nowadays people often use (tā she) instead to avoid the ambiguity.

When two people are together, kindness is called for; hence the word (rén), which means kindness or benevolence.

(shí) is the number ten. A popular hand gesture among the Chinese is to cross the index fingers to represent this character.

Add (shí) to the radical (rén), and you’ll get (shí), which means “assorted” or “miscellaneous”. Understandably, if you get ten persons together, there would be an assortment of physical characteristics as well as personalities. 什么? (Shénme?) means “What?”. So, 什么人? (Shénme rén?) translates to “Who?”

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