The cougar (a.k.a. catamount, panther or mountain lion) is a large, solitary beast found throughout the Americas. Exhibiting the greatest range of any mammal in the Western Hemisphere, the cougar is fiercely independent and an unmatched predator, stalking smaller beasts for pleasure as much as for food.

In our Chinese lesson for today, Echo and Brendan take to the studio with a mission: preventing you from sounding like a confused and distracted high-schooler the next time you want to give someone a compliment. So join us as we cover a number of intermediate adjectives you can call on whenever you want to sound particularly complimentary, or are just tired of calling everything and everyone "good-looking".
 said on
December 1, 2010
Hi there, thanks for the new lesson. Just wanted to let you know that there is no pinyin for the vocab, it just says "pinyin". Perhaps you put in a marker and forgot to add it. Thanks!
 said on
December 1, 2010
Thanks for fixing - I need to know how to say "buff" and all those other compliments :)
 said on
December 1, 2010
epps_rachel - Thanks for the note about that - it definitely slipped by us, but is fixed now and all the transcripts are updated.
 said on
December 3, 2010
he's dead? Obviously she doesn't mean literally. Is this a common expression used this way? Pretty brutal to say such a thing, and even worse to your own son.
 said on
December 3, 2010
@r.berki,

She's distracted and simply wants to get rid of her son. That's how I interpret it at least. And thanks for reporting the problem with the fix. I'll look into getting it fixed, so to speak.

Best,

--david

 said on
December 6, 2010
Hola from summer Chile!

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I arrived in Chile two days ago. 这里天很蓝,空气很新鲜,阳光很透亮,时间过得很慢。我非常喜欢。

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
November 23, 2011
Thank you for the opportunity to listen to the lesson Wendy

 said on
December 1, 2011
Kinda neat dialogue, but the whole he's dead thing threw me. Isn't a bit cruel. I'd really like to know if it's slang or something. I know in Cantonese that saying smthng like that as a joke would be considered very unlucky.
 said on
December 1, 2011
It could just be a factual statement. Maybe he is actually dead.

 said on
December 28, 2011
@Echo

真的吗?你还在那儿吗?我是阿根廷的 - 那的天气和chile一样的。现在我在贵州教英语。这里天每天

都很灰,让我一点难过!:P 但我下个月去阿根廷看看我家人。很长时间以来我没去

过那儿了,所以我真期待去。对了,你觉得他们的食品,文化怎么样?

ps: 不好意思,我的语法不太好。
 said on
December 28, 2011
@j.guevara.casal,

哇,真的呀!太欢迎你加入我们泡泡中文大家庭了!

我现在回北京了,不过还是每天都会想念智利,实在太喜欢那儿了。我觉得智利最流行的食物是热狗、薯条和冰淇凌~但是他们也有非常好吃的牛排,我也很喜欢他们的传统汤cazuela,我觉得他们应该多发扬自己的传统特色食物,而不是把北美的垃圾食品都搬过来。我非常喜欢智利人,他们对我非常友好,又不过分热情。我在智利的时候没有机会去阿根廷,希望下次我能去,听说阿根廷的帅哥美女好多,我特别期待 :) 你知道,智利的帅哥美女并不太多......

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
December 29, 2011
@Echo,

haha, I often hear that us Argentines are very good looking, but I can't speak for myself! :P

I'm glad you enjoyed the food/culture! I've tried to show my Chinese friends some of our specialties, but they love 辣椒 so much here in 遵义 that they think our food is boring! I certainly hope you have another opportunity to travel to Argentina, it's a very beautiful country. If you ever do, I'd be happy to give you tips on where to go and give you a few useful Spanish phrases!

对了,我的中文名字叫华金,西班牙语名字叫Joaquin :)
 said on
December 30, 2011
"Buff"! 不好意思我聽不懂. To most English speakers, that means "naked". If your English isn't fairly well standardised to international norms, how can a learner tell if your Mandarin isn't going to be equally regionalised?

Sorry, but I feel more confidence in learning materials when I can understand the English - and I don't have much problem in coping, even with Chinglish.
 said on
December 30, 2011
@fearchar,

If you're a native speaker I'm sorry if this comes across the wrong way, but you need to buff up on your vocabulary before you go correcting others online. This is fairly high-level Chinese and we have to assume people already speak English.

To be sure, there are times people suggest better translations, and we all go back and forth over them in the comments section. It's an art more than a science, as there's usually a trade-off between literally translating a turn of phrase and accurately capturing its intended feeling. But for my money - as a Chinese buff - this is a pretty good translation.

--david

 said on
December 30, 2011
Actually, English is my first language and I'm a professional translator (though not of Chinese, of course). It looks as if you've misunderstood what I wrote, David: the usage of "buff" here, which, from the context, seems to mean a handsome man, is very far from standard - unlike those in your reply.

That usage is so arcane that it is not recorded in Chambers (which is usually a reliable source of unusual words), the Macquarie ABC Dictionary, which is the standard reference in Australian offices, or even in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. This usage may indeed, for all I know, be apposite, but to many, if not most, English speakers it's impenetrable.

If an expression like this makes people reach for dictionaries, and still fail to find enlightenment, then it's hardly very useful, is it? (Yes, I did eventually find it in the online "Urban Dictionary", a source of words that are here today and gone tomorrow.) For non-native speakers of English, it's like poking them in the eye.

There is one dual-language dictionary that I use which has the occasional slang expression like this, but the author has the excuse that it was published as the 20th century dawned.
 said on
December 30, 2011
@j.guevara.casal,

谢谢华金!

阿根廷的传统美食是什么呢?

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
December 30, 2011
@fearchar,

You may not be aware of it given the media blackout in Australia, but every November 5th there is an unofficial holiday through most of the world in which people come together to build bonfires and burn copies of the Macquarie ABC Dictionary.

Truth be told, we are very fond of Australia and only reluctantly participate. But until Rupert Murdoch stops playing hardball with us on pricing and Qantas refunds us our airfare from the industrial strike, we are unlikely to compromise on the question of who speaks proper English, and will continue to quote Hemingway and stare slack-jawed at those who use cricket metaphors in the national media.

Let us bear our different burdens with dignity and pride.
 said on
December 30, 2011
@fearchar

Looks like you might be showing your age there dude.

I'm from Australia and most people I know would understand "buff" as meaning a well built male, as well as the state of 'being in the buff." Most of us these days have a pretty good understanding of both US and UK english.

Having said that, I;ve always found the translations here to have a good balance of US/UK English. (Perhaps it's the Canadian influence) May I suggest that instead of finding areas to nit-pick, that you strap yourself in and enjoy the most awesome, bodacious, rad, & fully-sick ride that is the crack cocaine of languages - 谢谢泡泡中文
 said on
December 30, 2011
@Echo

I’d love to tell you in Chinese, but it’s hard for me to describe our food accurately, since it’s so different. I’ll give you a few examples. We have “empanadas”, which are a baked or fried pastry filled with different ingredients – a little like a big 饺子. They can be vegetarian, or with meat, or have both meat and vegetables, and usually they have a lot of herbs and sometimes even cheese. Of course we have also have what we call “parrilla”, which is a big barbeque. There are many different types of meat we eat, and take a long time to prepare, so we usually have a party with a lot of people when we eat a “parrilla”. People from the countryside usually take some time to share “mate” with friends, sometimes around a fire. It’s a herbal drink, a little like tea, but very bitter, and it’s served in a wooden cup with a pipe to drink it. We pass it around to our friends and share it, so it’s a very social drink, just like parrilla is as much about eating as it is a social event.

A lot of Argentines have a really sweet tooth and love desserts. Our most famous specialty is called “dulce de leche”. It’s a brown, thick caramel used as a condiment for ice-cream, fruit, cakes, or anything you want. I’m greedy, so I sometimes eat it by itself! It’s actually really easy to make. You just have to boil a can of “condensed milk” for about three hours, and voila, you’re good to go! If you have a sweet tooth, give it a try! You have to try the ice-cream and “alfajores” too if you go. They’re like mini chocolate sponge cakes filled with “dulce de leche” in the middle, and there’s many different kinds – like moon cakes. There are many specialties too, but they’re our most famous ones. I’ll leave it to you to find out about the rest when you go! :)

 said on
January 1, 2012
Buff - I understood that to mean "cut" as in having extremely good musculature.
 said on
January 1, 2012
@clickertricks,

Yes, it's that exactly.

--david

 said on
January 3, 2012
Lest it be thought that all Aussies are stuck in some lonely time bubble, let me mention that I am Australian and rather like a good cricket analogy, yet am also very familiar with this use of 'buff' (despite not having that stature myself).
 said on
April 8, 2012
I really feel two follow up lessons are in order - one with some vocabulary to compliment a woman and the other with better alternatives to 好吃。
 said on
April 12, 2012
At 4'07", does Echo say “有点儿绅士的那种感觉”?
 said on
April 12, 2012
@murrayjames,

没错~~

--Amber
 said on
May 7, 2012
is it possible to pay by western unıon ?
 said on
May 8, 2012
@oktay_el_turco,

Sure, but we'll have to upgrade your account manually. Just send us an email to service@popupchinese.com. We'll respond with our address here in Beijing and update your account.

 said on
October 26, 2012
Ok, so I know ohters have asked this but... in this exchange, the mother tells her son that his father is dead and shoo's him to the kitchen so she can take his friend upstairs?

Are there some sublte inferrences in this dialouge that don't point to the obvious?
 said on
October 26, 2012
@jmusiclife82,

I guess what is obvious depends on how you read it. I always assumed that the father was not actually dead, and the mother was just getting distracted by something or someone, but other people have heard it differently.
 said on
February 16, 2013
Ha ha, this was a very funny lesson. The mom is getting rid of the son in order to take his friend around the house and put the moves on him.....of course the dad is still living. Someone thinks the son wouldnt know or do you think the son knows his mom too well, and is acting like the dad is still alive in order to stop his cougar mom from getting to his friends? It was a great lesson.
 said on
March 17, 2013
We all have holes in our idiolects. This is a timely reminder to me - for which I am grateful - to take the position of a humble learner and keep an "empty cup". Thank you.
 said on
October 14, 2013
Great lesson!

What would be the various ways to compliment women?

OK, knowing the spirit of Popup Chinese, (at least until intermediate level) I am not quite expecting (only) scholarly, PC correct expressions :)
 said on
October 14, 2013
睹善 ,

Looks like someone's been chasing beautiful girls. haha. If someone wants to pick me up. I'd like to hear some compliment such as 妩媚 (wu mei),means charming, fascinating. 妖娆(yao rao)which means enchanting. 性感 (xing gan)means sexy.动人(dong ren) means attractive and lovely, and here is a longer one 秀色可餐 (xiu se ke can) means delicious. 正点(zheng dian) is also common in daily lives. For example, 这妞儿长得真正(正点).

These are some ideas from me so far, hope can be useful. Keep me posted about your chase~~
 said on
October 14, 2013
Thanks yyanban,

It is always a challenge to chose right words across so wide linguistic and cultural gap. Especially when limited to writing only (without any non-verbal communication channels open) and your suggestions surely help here.

I have recently commented a photo with "狠性感" not being careful of what comes out of my pinyin IME. I still have no idea of what connotations "fiercely sexy" may have. :)
 said on
October 17, 2013
Hi 睹善,

you can use this "狠"in many places.this is the same as"很",means very. so almost every place you use 很,you can use 狠instead.but only when it means very.狠好吃 (hen3hao3chi1),狠好看(hen3hao3kan4). 狠冷 (hen3leng3)...

 said on
October 17, 2013
你氣質高雅,又嫵媚 又妖嬈 又妖嬌 又嬌美 又嬌媚 又姣美!

Seems when one just scratches the surfaces a bit, versatile attributes just start jumping out...

:)

 said on
December 16, 2014
read 'how we learn' so you know what goes on in the brain and best study and interuptions for best recall self testing and longer retention.

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