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A how to for “picking up” in Chinese


Stop sniggering at the back! When you saw the title, did you think we were learning about how to pick up a man or woman in Chinese class today? We are strictly talking about the Chinese translations of the English phrase “to pick up”! For example, “to pick up a book”, “…your parents” or “…a little Mandarin”. This is a little less easy in Mandarin, as the word will change depending on the situation.

1. 学会 xué huì

pick up

1)xué huì hànyǔ bù tài nán

     学会汉语不太难

     It’s not hard to pick up Chinese


学会(xué huì) means “to pick up a skill”. 学(xué) means “to learn, to study” and 会(huì) means “master a skill”. So you learn + master = “pick up”. The object in this structure could be either a verb phrase or a noun.

1)xué huì zuòfàn

     学会做饭

     pick up cookery (skills)


2)xué huì yīngyǔ

     学会英语

     pick up English


2. 接 jiē

pick up


接(jiē) itself has a lot of meanings itself, but here we are talking about 接电话(jiē diànhuà) which means to pick up a phone.

1)Tā de gōngzuò shì jiē diànhuà

     她的工作是接电话

     Her job is to pick up phones


If you need to pick someone up, as in, from the airport, work or school perhaps (not at a bar!!) you also use 接(jiē). The structure is: 接(jiē) + someone.


1)Wǒ měitiān dōu qù xuéxiào jiē wǒ de érzi

     我每天都去学校接我的儿子

     I pick my son up from school every day


3. 鸡汤 jī tāng

pick-me-up


Nope, I didn’t make a mistake here. The equivalent phrase for “pick-me-up” in Chinese is “鸡汤(jī tāng)”, literally “chicken soup”. I guess chicken soup is something you drink when you are sick and it makes you feel better. So the Chinese think of expressions and kind words which pick you up in spirit as鸡汤(jī tāng) as well! Here is a “鸡汤(jī tāng)”

1)Míngtiān huì gèng hǎo

     明天会更好

     Tomorrow will be better


4. 皮卡 píkǎ

pickup truck


I have a hunch that this word is a word is lent from English. 皮卡(píkǎ) just sounds like “pickup”, doesn’t it? In China, few people drive a “pickup truck”, especially in cities. Chinese think the only reason you would drive a皮卡(píkǎ) is because your job is a truck driver.

1)Zhōngguórén bù kāi píkǎ

     中国人不开皮卡

     Chinese don’t drive pickup truck


5. 搭讪 dāshàn

pick up


Finally, the one you’ve been waiting for! 搭讪(dāshàn) is used when you pick up a man or a woman. It’s a verb but you can’t use any object directly in most cases.

 

So “I picked her up” IS NOT 我搭讪她 (Wǒ dāshàn tā). No, no, no. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

 

The right way to use it should be

1)Tā xǐhuan zài jiǔbā dāshàn

     他喜欢在酒吧搭讪

     He likes to pick up in the bars

 

2)tā xiàng tā dāshàn

     他向她搭讪

     He picked her up


Source:Dig Mandarin

2017-04-28

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