Since I have to teach my students some Autumn vocabulary this month in English, I think I ought to study more vocabulary in Chinese.This post will be a three part series. Part One will be mainly about Autumn and the holidays that are celebrated in China during this season. Part Two will be about Halloween and Part Three will be about food, of course!
Let’s Begin! 那我们开始吧！nà wǒmén kàishǐ ba!
Learn Chinese Halloween Vocabulary
I planned to design cute flashcards using Canva, but they don’t support Chinese characters! If I had more time I would have used a Chinese app. For now, a list will suffice.
There are 4 tones and 1 neutral tone in Mandarin Chinese that are needed to clarify the meanings of words. Reference the photo and link below to learn about Chinese Phonics!
1. Pumpkin – 南瓜 – nán guā
This word can also mean squash. Normally in order to differentiate between the two, I had to add an adjective. For example I’ll add round or short for pumpkin and long for squash.
南 means south 瓜 is melon, gourd 南 + 瓜 = Melon from the South = Pumpkin/Squash
2. Halloween – 万圣节 – wàn shèng jiē
万圣节 actually means “All Saints Day”- which is a Christian Holiday celebrated on Nov 1. It’s meant to recognize the saints and highlight the spiritual bond between the living and the dead who reside in Heaven. Actually the proper Chinese translation is 万圣节 前夕 wàn shèng jiē qián xī which means “All Saints Day Eve” aka Halloween. However, China is a huge fan of abbreviation, so now in most dictionaries you will just find 万圣节.
Happy Halloween – 万圣节快乐 – wàn shèng jiē kuài lè
万 means ten thousand, a great number 圣 means saint, etc 节 indicates this day is a holiday, festival 快乐 means happy, merry
万 + 圣 + 节 + 快乐 = Happy All Saint’s Day = Happy Halloween
3. Ghost – 鬼 – guǐ
4. Witch – 巫婆 – wū pó
巫 is witch, shaman, wizard 婆 means old woman, also used to indicate mother – in -law (HA!)
巫 + 婆 = old witch = witch
5. Bat – 蝙蝠 – biān fú
蝙蝠 – these characters both mean bat. The first character is a meaningless bound form. When reading and speaking Chinese, there is a rhythm. Sometimes when you say a sentence, it may sound better and prettier if you have two words together versus one.
6. Trick or Treat – 不给糖就捣蛋 – bù gĕi táng jiù dăo dàn
不 means no, don’t 给 is to give 糖 means sugar, candy, sweets 就 in this sentence means then, just 捣蛋 to cause trouble
不 + 给 + 糖 +就 + 捣蛋 = If you don’t give me candy, then I’ll just cause trouble = Trick or Treat
This one has different translations because this concept of Halloween is not widely practiced in China. It’s quite new to them. However this Chinese translation is the closest to the meaning behind Trick or Treat.
7. Blood – 血 – xuè
8. Spider – 蜘蛛 – zhī zhū
蜘蛛 means spider. Similarly to Bat, both these characters mean the same thing.
* Did you see that Bat and Spider’s characters start off with the same radical on the left ( 虫 chóng) ?
虫 means insects, worms. Anything that is in this family will have this radical on the left! The more you learn Chinese, you will see that it’s not as difficult as you think! It gets easier over time!
9. Graveyard – 墓地 – mù dì
墓 means grave, tomb 地 is earth, land, floor, etc. 墓 + 地 = Graveyard
10. Monster – 怪物 – guài wù
怪 as a noun means monster, demon 物 thing, matter, etc. 怪 + 物 = Monster Thing = Monster
11. Costumes – 服装 – fú zhuāng
服 means clothes 装 means outfit, can also mean stage outfit 服 + 装 = Costume
There are more Halloween words that I could have included, but 11 is a nice number considering November is coming along! Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments below if I should do more Chinese lessons!