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Three meanings of “人家”


Tony recently fell in love with his classmate Minna, a beautiful Chinese girl. One day, Minna whispered to him, "人家担心你啦 (rénjiɑ dānxīn nǐla)." He was very confused by this expression. Why would she randomly say that others care about him? Did 人家 (rénjiɑ/rénjiā) mean something different in Chinese? 

最近,托尼和他的同班同学明娜相爱了。明娜是一位漂亮的中国女孩,有一天她在他耳边呢喃:“人家担心你啦(rénjiɑ dānxīn nǐlā)”。听到这句话,托尼感到很困惑,她怎么会随便说别人担心他呢?难道中文里“人家(rénjiɑ)”还有其他的意思?

The word 人家 (rénjiɑ/rénjiā) has three meanings. The literal meaning of 人家 in the above example is "that person," "someone," or "other people." For example, in a library, a mom may say to her son, "小点声,别吵到人家"(xiǎo diǎn shēnɡ, bié chǎodào rénjiɑ). Here 人家 means "other people."

“人家(rén jiɑ)”一词有三种意思。上述例句中“人家”的字面意思为“他人”,英文意思为that person, someone 或other people。例如,在图书馆,母亲可能会对儿子说“小点声,别吵到人家(xiǎo diǎn shēnɡ,bié chǎo dào rénjiɑ)。在这句话中,人家的意思就是指“他人(other people)”。

In children's shows, movies or TV shows, one phrase you could hear is, "人家只是担心……" (rénjiɑ zhǐshì dānxīn…) or "人家沒有烦心工作的话就不会……" (rénjiɑ méiyǒu fánxīnɡōnɡzuò de huà jiù búhuì…). In these scenarios, 人家 means "me." It's used by young girls and ladies to address themselves in a cute, innocent or flirtatious tone. It also can used in conversations between best friends and lovers. For example, a girl can tell her boyfriend who is going abroad, "人家会想你的" (rénjiɑ huì xiǎnɡ nǐde). It means, "I will miss you." It's considered an extremely feminine phrase and it's inappropriate for a male to use it in any occasion. It's not acceptable even little boys to use it.

在儿童节目、电影或电视节目中,你可能会听到像“人家只是担心……" (rénjiɑ zhǐshì dānxīn…) 或 “人家沒有烦心工作的话就不会……" (rénjiɑ méiyǒu fánxīnɡōnɡzuò de huà jiù búhuì…) 等类似的句子。在这种语境中,“人家”都是指“我”,通常是女性在撒娇、扮可爱时使用。亲密的朋友或情人之间也会用到这个词。例如,男朋友出国,女生会说“人家会想你的 (rénjiɑ huì xiǎnɡ nǐde),I will miss you.”。这个词只限女性使用。男性甚至小男孩都不适合使用该词。

The third meaning of 人家 is house or home. Here is the first line of a poem in which 人家 means home: "远上寒山石径斜,白云生处有人家。" (yuǎnshànɡhánshānshíjìnɡxié, báiyúnshēnɡchùyǒu rénjiā.)

“人家”的第三种意思是指“房子”或“住宅”(house or home)。在诗句“远上寒山石径斜,白云生处有人家(yuǎn shànɡ hán shān shí jìnɡ xié,bái yún shēnɡ chù yǒu rénjiɑ)中,人家的意思就是指“住宅”(home)。

Here 人家 has the meaning of house/home/family. The whole sentence means "Far up on the cold mountain path, where white clouds are born , are a few houses."

在该句诗中,“人家”指房子、住宅或家庭。整句诗的英文意思为:Far up on the cold mountain path, where white clouds are born , are a few houses.

All in all, there are three main meanings of 人家 in Chinese. It can mean "other person/people;" it can be a very feminine "me;" and it can mean "house/home/family." 


Translated from: chineseforkids


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