I Love You Truly in Chinese



While attending college, I once found myself in a classroom with just one other classmate in it. He suddenly asked me, “If you like a girl and don’t know what to say to her, what should you do?” Not knowing where he was coming from, and not knowing better, I offered the logical answer, “Just don’t say anything.” Now that I am older and wiser, albeit still having miles ahead to catch up with Ann Landers, I think I should have advised him to try to strike up a simple conversation about something innocuous. While there are people who are naturally sociable and make friends easily, there are just as many who find it hard to take the first step to break the ice. Thus, regrets for missed opportunities. You could compare this with a job application. If you don’t send out the application letter, the chance of getting that job is nil. If you sent in your application but didn’t land the job, it means this job is not meant for you. Try another one. Having a life companion does not guarantee happiness, but if you wish to share your life with someone, then by all means find someone compatible to love and cherish. As the song “Some Enchanted Evening” goes, “Once you have found her, never let her go.” Otherwise, “all through your life, you may dream all alone.”

The Chinese word for love as a noun is (àiqíng) or  (ài) .  (ài) can also be used as a verb. “我爱你. (Wǒ ài nǐ.)” is likely one of the first Chinese sentences you’ve learned. If you truly love someone, then you could add the word 真心 (zhēnxīn), which means wholehearted or wholeheartedly. To profess your unwavering love to someone far away, you could write:

天長地久, 此情不渝.
Tiānchángdìjiǔ cǐ qíng bù yú.
Like the everlasting heaven and earth, this love will never change.

When talking about length, the Chinese word for “long” is (cháng); when talking about duration in time, the Chinese word for “long” is (jiǔ). However, (cháng) can be used as an adjective to describe the length of a time period.

Wǒ děng le hěn jiǔ
I waited for quite a while.

Wǒ děng le yī duàn hěn cháng de shíjiān.
I waited for a long period of time.

Following are the lyrics to the sentimental song “I Love You Truly”.

I love you truly, truly, dear.
Life with its sorrow, life with its tears
Fades into dream when I feel you are near,
For I love you truly, truly, dear.

我真心爱你, 此情不渝.
Wǒ zhēnxīn ài nǐ, cǐ qíng bù yú.
I love you truly, this heart will never change.

Rénshēng de tòngkǔ hé bēi qī
The pain and cares of life

Mèng zhōng xiānghuì shí jiù dōu xiāoqù.
All disappear when we meet in dreams.

我是真心爱你, 此情不渝.
Wǒ zhēnxīn ài nǐ, cǐ qíng bù yú.
I do love you truly, this heart will never change.

At this link is a video featuring another love song “Down in the Valley” in Chinese. The lyrics are discussed in Chapter 13 of the book “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes”.

Qíngrénjié kuàilè!
Happy Valentines Day!

Chinese word for pain or hardship

The bitter taste is called 苦味 (kǔwèi). Once in a while, you may come across a cucumber that tastes bitter. That’s nothing compared to the profound bitter taste of 苦瓜 (kǔguā bitter gourd). Chinese herb medicine literature cites anti-inflammatory properties of bitter substances, such as bile and bitter gourds, which are sometimes used to bring down fevers.

(kǔ) also means pain or hardship. Therefore, when someone says “好苦啊! (Hǎo kǔ a)”, it could refer to something bitter being ingested, or it could refer to an experience of hardship and suffering.

痛苦 (tòngkǔ) could be physical pain or emotional pain. To make it clear that it is an emotional agony, you could say 心里的痛苦 (xīnli de tòngkǔ).

(kǔ) also means laborious, as in 辛苦 (xīnkǔ toilsome, working hard, taking pains). 差事 (chāishi) is an errand or a task assignment. The mailman is called 邮差 (yóuchāi). A hard and/or unprofitable job or mission is called 苦差 (kǔchāi).

Tā nòng diū le wǒ xīnxīnkǔkǔ xiě hǎo de bàogào.
He lost the report that I had taken a lot of trouble to write.
(There you go – another Chinese idiom in the AABB format.)

Although both (zhōng) and (xīn) refer to one’s inner feelings, 苦衷 (kǔzhōng) and 苦心 (kǔxīn) have different meanings. 苦衷 (kǔzhōng) means a predicament that one is reluctant to mention, while 苦心 (kǔxīn) means painstaking effort.

Wǒ yǒu wǒ de kǔzhōng.
I have my difficulties (or reasons that I cannot share with you).

Instead of the above sentence, you could use the expression “有苦难说. (Yǒu kǔ Nánshōu)” to convey the same meaning.

Wǒ míngbai tā de kǔxīn.
I know very well the trouble he is taking.

苦难 (kǔnàn) is misery or suffering.
苦闷 (kǔmèn) is a feeling of dejection.
苦恼 (kǔnǎo) is feeling vexed or worried.

When you feel miserable, you might frown and show a sad face.

Tā wèishénme chóuméikǔliǎn?
Why is he making a sad face?

If you have family or friends, you might pour out your woes to them. This is called 诉苦 (sùkǔ complain or vent). Or, you might just force a grin. A sad, helpless smile is called 苦笑 (kǔxiào).

苦力 (kǔlì) is the original Chinese word for coolies, or unskilled Asian laborers.

吃苦 (chīkǔ) means to endure hardship. 受苦 (shòukǔ) means to suffer hardship or have a rough time.

Can you guess at the meaning of the following Chinese saying?

吃得苦中苦, 方为人上人.
Chī de kǔ zhōng kǔ, fāng wéi rén shàng rén.

Life offers a mixture of joys and sorrows. It is a blessing if you have someone to share your weal and woe. In a previous article we mentioned a few ways of popping the question. The following favorable response incorporates the phrase 同甘共苦 (tónggāngòngkǔ to share weal and woe).

Wǒ yuànyì hé nǐ tónggāngòngkǔ.
I want to be with you for better or for worse.

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