Learning Mandarin: Six – smooth or slick

This is the seventh in a series of posts where I'm looking at how the Chinese view numbers, often from a superstitious basis.


The Chinese character for six (Liù) is shown on the right hand side of the main image above.

The number six is usually placed into the more lucky than not category in Chinese. Once again, that's because it sounds like another word. The word 流 (Liú) is usually translated as "flow". Mostly it's in relation to things like streams.

However, it's considered lucky in terms of good things flowing to you.

In Cantonese, the word lok is similar to another word lok that means happiness or good fortune, so it's even more positive there.

Curiously, sixes are treated quite differently in Chinese to how they're treated in the West. 666 would be very lucky in Chinese, but is "the sign of the beast" in Western (largely Christian) cultures.

Learning Mandarin

I'll write more soon on the best methods for learning. If you want to get a taste for it in the meantime though, my current favorite site is iTalki, and my favorite teacher by far is Amy He. If you decide to try it, click here and it's cheaper for both you and me.

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