Is love the universal language? Maybe – but deep gazes and long sighs only go so far. Eventually the need for practical communication kicks in.
This list of Mandarin Chinese love vocabulary will help. But love vocabulary only covers part of the complicated spectrum of falling in love.
This is especially true of Western or Asian love matches because of the many cultural differences concerning love, sex and marriage.
Although Asians are becoming more westernized in attitudes about love, there are still strong traditional values that guide behavior.
This traditionalism is due in a large part to relatively recent freedoms concerning love and marriage. Arranged marriages are still within living memory, and it has only been within the last 10 years that public displays of affection have become acceptable.
Western holidays such as Christmas and Halloween have gained popularity in Asian countries, and this also extends to Valentine's Day. Gifts of roses and chocolates are the common ways of saying “I love you” in Mandarin-speaking countries.
But there is also a traditional Chinese Lover's Day which falls on July 7th of the lunar calendar (August in the Western calendar).
July in the lunar calendar happens to be “Ghost Month” – the time of year when spirits wander the earth. According to legend, the 7th day of the 7th month is the time when the goddess Zhi Nu can be re-united with her earthly lover.
Modern day lovers celebrate Lover's Day with gifts of flowers. The number of flowers is significant: one red rose means "you are my only love," eleven roses means "you are a favorite," ninety-nine roses means "I will love you forever," and 108 roses means "marry me."
Mandarin Love Vocabulary
|boyfriend||nán péng you||男朋友|
|girlfriend||nǚ péng you||女朋友|
|I love you.||wǒ ài nǐ.||我爱你|
|Will you marry me?||Jià gěi wǒ hǎo ma?||嫁给我好吗?|
|wedding anniversary||jié hūn zhōu nián jì niàn rì||结婚周年纪念日|
|Valentine's Day||qíng rén jié||情人节|
|Valentine's Day present||qíng rén jié lǐwù||情人节礼物|
|chocolate||qiǎo kè lì||巧克力|
|candlelit dinner||zhú guāng wǎn cān||蠋光晚餐|