Blogtober Challenge – Day 17 – Learn Chinese Vocabulary: Halloween

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!

The Chinese Mandarin Tones
Source: https://chinesepod.com/tools/pronunciation/section/17

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.

Blogtober Challenge - Day 17 -Learn Chinese Vocabulary - Halloween

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!

 

  • Neha T

    This post is so useful in Halloween …. I am learning a bit of Chinese now many thanks to you because I always thought its impossible for me to learn it .

    • Tyra Skinner

      I’m a till trying to figure out why I started learning it! Their language is so interesting and has many stories behind the choice of characters. YOU GOT THIS!

  • Helene Choo

    Awesome post once again:D Love all the Chinese vocab stuff:D Sorry if I’m wrong, but I think xue should be third tone? Learnt lots of new creepy crawly phrases this time:D

    • Tyra Skinner

      Hehe thanks. Actually blood can be said in two ways. Xue is fourth tone and Xie is third tone! So completely different pronunciations. I think Xue is of the human flesh and Xie is anything else?

  • Alexi R

    Lovely, I love learning new words especially that zhi zhu that’s my favorite, I reckoned playing those spiders with my friends and keeping 6 spiders on a match box 😀

    • Tyra Skinner

      Hahaha spider in Chinese sounds cute. Oh my goodness, I’ll probably scream if I was your friend

  • This is such a useful series for people who love learning new languages around festivities (at least a few words or phrases). Wonder what’s next on your list <3 Cheers!!

    • Tyra Skinner

      Yea I enjoyed doing this post, it was easier to write than some of my others! Hopefully in winter I’ll do one about that!

  • Digital Travel Guru

    Such a fun post to read and I really tried to pronounce the words correctly lol
    Great post for trying to learn Chinese – looking forward to more