Mandarin Chinese Love Vocabulary

Is love the universal language? Maybe – but deep gazes and long sighs only go so far. Eventually the need for practical communication kicks in.

This list of Mandarin Chinese love vocabulary will help. But love vocabulary only covers part of the complicated spectrum of falling in love.

This is especially true of Western / Asian love matches because of the many cultural differences concerning love, sex and marriage.



Although Asians are becoming more westernized in attitudes about love, there are still strong traditional values that guide behavior.

This traditionalism is due in a large part to relatively recent freedoms concerning love and marriage. Arranged marriages are still within living memory, and it has only been within the last 10 years that public displays of affection have become acceptable.

Western holidays such as Christmas and Halloween have gained popularity in Asian countries, and this also extends to Valentine’s Day. Gifts of roses and chocolates are the common ways of saying “I love you” in Mandarin-speaking countries.

But there is also a traditional Chinese Lover’s Day which falls on July 7th of the lunar calendar (August in the Western calendar).

July in the lunar calendar happens to be “Ghost Month” – the time of year when spirits wander the earth. According to legend, the 7th day of the 7th month is the time when the goddess Zhi Nu can be re-united with her earthly lover.

Modern day lovers celebrate Lover’s Day with gifts of flowers. The number of flowers is significant: one red rose means "you are my only love," eleven roses means "you are a favorite," ninety-nine roses means "I will love you forever," and 108 roses means "marry me."

Audio files are marked with ►


English Pinyin Traditional Simplified
love ► ài qíng 愛情 爱情
boyfriend ►nán péng you 男朋友 男朋友
girlfriend ►nǚ péng you 女朋友 女朋友
beautiful ►měi lì 美麗 美丽
I love you. ►Wǒ ài nǐ. 我愛你。 我爱你
dating ►yuē huì 約會 约会
Will you marry me? ►Jià gěi wǒ hǎo ma? 嫁給我好嗎? 嫁给我好吗?
engaged ►ding hūn 訂婚 订婚
marriage ►jié hūn 結婚 结婚
wedding ►hūn lǐ 婚禮 婚礼
wedding anniversary ►jié hūn zhōu nián jì niàn rì 結婚周年紀念日 结婚周年纪念日
husband ►xiān sheng 先生 先生
wife ►tàitai 太太 太太
lovers ►qíng lǚ 情侶 情侣
Valentine’s Day ►qíng rén jié 情人節 情人节
Valentine’s Day present ►qíng rén jié lǐwù 情人節禮物 情人节礼物
flowers ►xiān huā 鮮花 鲜花
chocolate ►qiǎo kè lì 巧克力 巧克力
candlelit dinner ►zhú guāng wǎn cān 蠋光晚餐 蠋光晚餐
romantic ►làng màn 浪漫 浪漫
happiness ► xìngfú 幸福 幸福

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