Learning Mandarin: Boyfriend – Girlfriend – Characteristics that matter – Part 1

I've found over the years that you can learn a lot about a culture, based on which things the people in that culture think matter. I had a quiet chuckle when I saw the quiz in the main image above.

The heading says:

你理想中的男/女朋友是什么样的?为什么?
(Nǐ lǐxiǎng zhōng de nán/nǚ péngyǒu shì shénme yàng de? Wèishéme?)
which means "What is your ideal type of boy/girlfriend? Why?"

First Column (Easy)

The first column is likely obvious:

身高 (Shēngāo) which means "height" (literally "body tall") and the choices are as expected.

Second Column (Also easy)

The second column is obvious from the English as well:

体重 (Tǐzhòng) which means "weight" (literally "body weight") and again the choices are obvious, if not just a little on the light side for many Westerners 🙂

Third Column (Fair enough)

The third column is 头发 (Tóufǎ) which means "hair" (literally "head hair"). The choices are:

长发 (Chǎng fā) – which Google Translate unfortunately translates as (Zhǎng fā) – same first character but different meaning. It means "long hair".

短发 (Duǎnfǎ) for "short hair".

直发 (Zhí fā) for "straight hair".

卷发 (Juǎnfǎ) for "curly hair".

Fourth Column (Surprising)

The fourth column is 眼睛 (Yǎnjīng) for "eyes". You might have guessed that eyes would come into it, but in Western countries, you'd guess the choices were colours like "Blue", "Green", "Brown", etc.

Not in this quiz. The choices are:

大眼睛 (Dà yǎnjīng) for "big eyes".

小眼睛 (Xiǎo yǎnjīng) for "small eyes".

单眼皮 (Dānyǎnpí) for "single eyelid".

双眼皮 (Shuāng yǎnpí) for "double eyelids" (literally "pair eye skin").

In the next post, I'll continue with the other two columns. See if you can guess what they'll be.

Learning Mandarin

I'll write more soon on the best methods for learning Mandarin. 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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