How beautiful in Chinese

Rhododendrons in Bloom

Rhododendrons in Bloom

To help celebrate the joy of spring before it is outshone by the glory of summer, I’ll call on a delightful old song written by the talented 黎锦光 (Lí Jǐn Guāng):

The first verse is presented below in simplified Chinese.

少年的我 (Shàonián de Wǒ) Me in My Youth

Chūntiān de huā
Flowers in the spring –

shì duōme de xiāng.
How fragrant they are!

Qiūtiān de yuè
The moon in the fall –

shì duōme de liàng.
How bright it is!

Shàonián de wǒ
Me in my youth –

shì duōme de kuàilè.
How happy I’m feeling!

Měilì de tā
Beautiful she –

bùzhī zěnmeyàng?
I wonder how she is doing?

This song is full of exclamatory sentences that start with the word “how”. Used in this sense, the Chinese equivalent is 是多么的 (shì duōme de), 是多么 (shì duōme), or simply 多么 (duōme), which is often shortened to just (duō).

Tā duìdài nǐ shì duōme de hǎo!
How nice he treats you!

妳看, 她的男朋友多么英俊!
Nǐ kàn, tā de duōme yīngjùn!
See, how handsome her boyfriend is!

啊! 多美丽!
Ā! Duō měilì
Oh! How beautiful!

As for the other meaning of “how”, as in asking a question, the commonly used Chinese equivalent is 怎么 (zěnme). In a more formal context, we use 如何 (rúhé). For example:

Zhèzhǒng yú yào zěnme zhǔ?
How do you cook this kind of fish?

To verbally inquire about an acquaintance, I might ask:

Tā zuìjìn zěnmeyàng?
How is he doing lately?

In a letter, I might write:

Tā de jìnkuàng rúhé?
How has he been recently?

Your challenge for this lesson is to use the same syntax and form as the above song to make a short rhyme about a subject of your choice. If you would like to share your limerick, please post it in a comment to this post. Thanks.

What is Qi? (1)

Qi is the vital energy that circulates in our body. It is the life force, the stamina, that propels our actions. It is the impetus that powers our thoughts and feelings. It is the aura around us that affects how we appear to other people. It also stands for the gases found in the atmosphere as well as the scents and vibes of our surroundings. (qì) is all-pervasive and therefore deserves our special attention.

Physical Qi

As a tangible physical substance, (qì) refers to gases, smells, odours and breaths.

氧气 (yǎngqì) is oxygen, and 氮气 (dànqì) is nitrogen.
体操 (tǐcāo) are physical exercises. Therefore, 有氧体操 (yǒu yǎn tǐcāo) are aerobic exercises.

毒气 (dúqì) means a poisonous gas.
蒸气 (zhēngqì) is steam.
气缸 (qìgāng) is an air cylinder.
气动 (qìdòng) means air-powered.

Do not confuse (qì gas) with (qì), which has the water radical on the left side and refers to a fluid, such as 汽水 (qìshuǐ soda drink) and 汽油 (qìyóu gasoline). Cars, being gasoline-powered, are called 汽车 (qìchē).

So, which character would you fill this blank with? ____球 (qìqiú) balloon.

Our sensation of the gases is called 气味 (qìwèi), which are smells, odors or flavors.
香气 (xiāngqì) means good smell, aroma, or fragrance. 臭气 (chòuqì) is a bad smell or a stench.

When you come across an adjective, such as (xiāng fragrant), you will naturally wonder what the opposite word is. In the book, “Learn chinese through Songs and Rhymes”, many commonly used adjectives are presented alongside their antonyms.

Ambient Qi

(qì) also refers to the air, the atmosphere, the weather and the environment.

空气 (kōngqì) is the air we breathe.
大气 (dàqì) is the atmosphere.
天气 (tiānqì) means the weather.
冷气 (lěngqì) means cold air, or air conditioning. Cold air is construed as unfavorable.
冷气机 (lěngqì jī) is an air conditioner.

Tā dào chōu yī kǒu lěngqì.
He gasped.

景气 (jǐngqì) refers to the economic environment. There are no gases or steams involved here. 景气好 (jǐngqì hǎo) describes prosperity and boom. 景气不好 (jǐngqì bù hǎo) describes poor economy.

Physiological Qi

元气 (yuánqì) means vitality or stamina. The Chinese believe that vital energy circulates in the human body along paths called meridians. Think of the acupuncture points as waypoints on a route, at which one could attempt to influence the flow of vital energy via stimulation. Where there is a deficiency, we seek to augment the energy; where there is an excess, we seek to release it; where there is a blockage, we seek to remove it.

气色 (qìsè) refers to one’s facial appearance, which is believed to reflect one’s health or emotional status.

Nǐ jīntiān qìsè hěn hǎo.
You look great (in the sense of being healthy and vigorous) today.

Niánqīngrén xiěqìfānggāng.
Young people are full of fresh vigor.

力气 (lìqi) is one’s physical strength.

Tā de lìqi hěn dà.
He has great muscular strength.

气功 (qìgōng) is a system of exercises that emphasizes deep breathing techniques.

气管 (qìguǎn) is the windpipe. 气喘 (qìchuǎn) is asthma, but 喘气 (chuǎnqì) means to pant, as when one runs out of air.

嗳气 (ǎiqì) or 打嗝 (dǎgé) means to belch.

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