Five Beautiful Chinese Words That Cannot Be Translated Into English

Every language holds an essence in itself which can never be translated. And when it comes for Chinese language, it is all the more truthful. Even if you don’t have any hint about Chinese language, you must be aware how different it is from English and other Western languages. A completely different grammar, a unique tone, and an inimitable writing system make this language poles apart from any other language in the world. Due to China’s outlandishly ancient culture, Mandarin (standard Chinese) preserves a number of untranslatable collection of beautiful words that cannot be deciphered even with the help of professional Chinese translation.

Let us learn a few of them.

Literally, this word means regarding somebody as an outsider or to act like an outsider. However, in authentic Chinese, it denotes the act of treating someone as an outsider who is supposed to be your friend, especially by being too courteous. Have we any exact word for this act in English?

Xiǎo chī
If you will search the meaning of this Chinese term in dictionary, you will find results as ‘snacks’ or ‘refreshment.’ However, this word is something more than that. Xiǎo chī refers to small portions of meal, means something between a snack and a complete meal. For example a large bowl of noodles or a platter full of dumplings which is neither too small to be called snacks nor too large in portions to be called a meal. See how many words we need to describe the meaning of Xiǎo chī in English!

The literal meaning of Xīnkǔ is ‘with much toil,’ ‘laborious.’ But when you delve deeper for the authentic meaning of this word, it is used to refer to somebody’s hard work for the purpose of thanking them.

Téng has been derived from téngtòng which is a fixed phrase that means both hurt and pain. If suffixed with certain Chinese terms, they produce different meanings like xīntòng which refers to something that makes you sad or take pity on something.

Sā jiāo
‘To act like a spoiled child’ or ‘to throw tantrums’ are the meanings you get while looking for the meaning of sā jiāo. But the word is encapsulated with something deeper and requires some more words to describe the exact connotation. It is especially used to delineate a grown up woman pouting in anger and tramping her feet in order to get her demands fulfilled. Next time you see such a woman, you have an exact Chinese word to describe her action.

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