At the beginning of this year I bought a small book ‘Making out in Chinese’ by Ray Daniels and as I leafed through it I found a section that dealt with Chinese zodiac signs and blood groups and how these two things are believed by some to “define personality”. It is certainly a well-known belief that Chinese Zodiac / animal signs “define personality”. Blood however – the precious critical fluid that flows through our veins and the belief that it might affect personality – is certainly lesser known. Considering that there are only four blood groups (and apparently two more that were discovered recently) – it’s still only half-way to twelve so perhaps blood groups won’t offer enough variety in its personality analysis I reckon…
What does this have to do with Mandarin you ask – this is a Mandarin blog right?? 有耐心吧!
Just for fun – take a look at the image below – a screenshot from my little book ‘Making Out in Chinese’ by Ray Daniels and tell me what you think? (Just for fun, ok?). I agree that these descriptions are general enough to apply a little bit to everyone and by no means am I saying I believe in this type of personality classification by blood group and neither do I suggest do you, ok?
I’m here for the Mandarin remember?
Whether you find the above mentioned extract amusing or not – it is still good to learn some blood related words and phrases so I simply raise the idea here for you to ponder – or not.
Maybe after reading this post you’d be slightly better prepared for some conversations if you were travelling through Asia and if you encountered some Mandarin speaking individuals who wanted to know about your blood type:) (If it’s a vampire enquiring though – I suggest you skip the chat and run, ok?)
Also, I did ask a Chinese native today if she thought foreigners would ever be asked about their blood group and she said that it could happen. Not a big big chance she said – but at least a reasonable chance because there are some people in China who takes this stuff seriously as seen from her perspective.
Secondly, perhaps one or two things in this post might be useful elsewhere in your Mandarin life e.g. visiting a Chinese hospital (which by the way could be a scary experience especially if you were only able to speak just a little Mandarin.).
Some bloody basics:
At least consider the following phrases and vocabulary:
What is your blood group?
Nǐ de xiěxíng shì shénme?
Nǐ de xue4xíng shì shénme?
It seems that yes there are two ways to refer to blood – either xiě or xue4. I really don’t think there is any difference at all but if anyone could point out what I don’t know that would be perfect. Please.
He is a very passionate person.
Tā shì yīgè rèxuè de rén.
Blood is thicker than water.
Xuè nóng yú shuǐ.
This one literally ‘blood is concentrated (compared to) water’.
People with blood type O are universal donors.
O xíng xuè de rén shì wànnéng de xiàn xiě zhě.
Xiàn xiě zhě
And finally, did some Googling and found some phrases on TeachMeChinese.com’s website (http://teachmechinese.wordpress.com/tag/whats-blood-sweat-and-tears-in-chinese/):
“血汗 (xuèhàn) is the equivalent of “blood, sweat and tears”, and 血肉 (xuèròu) means the same as flesh and blood, but in the reverse order.”
And a fantastic sentence is provided on that blog:
“This is his hard-earned money.”
Zhè shì tā de xuèhàn qián.”
And offcourse the one I wanted to find but couldn’t would be an expression that matches this English sentence “Blue blood flows through his vains” referring to the blood “which flows in the veins of old and aristocratic families.” (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/69200.html) Any feedback or ideas welcome here
Another one I’d be interested is ‘You can’t get blood from a stone’.
Bloody thruths – I kid you not.
And now that you’ve done some very serious learning about blood groups – take a look at some of these fun articles that show *just how big* this blood group thing is in Japan. It seems it is so significant in Japan that it can even be a defining factor for placement during job interviews or the assignment of projects in the work place. It can also be useful or a defining factor during speed dating – Dating by blood type in Japan and it seems you can even blame your failings on your blood group. I should try that I think.
Happy reading! And as always – if you have a bloody phrase or two do share – don’t be shy – bloody hell.