Everyone, everywhere is different: maybe tall or short, fat or thin. It’s often necessary to describe the appearance of someone by letting others know something about their physical characteristics. What’s the best and the right way to do this in Chinese?

In this Podcast, you will learn:

1) How to describe different body shapes

2) How to say some one is handsome or beautiful

3) To be aware of some cultural issues in describing someone’s appearance in Chinese

Chinese words and phrases mentioned in this Podcast:

1) 高:Tall

2) 矮: Short

3) 他挺高的:He is quite tall

4) 他挺高的:He is quite short

5) 他们高吗?Are they tall?

6) 是的,他挺高:Yes, they are quite tall

7) 胖:Fat

8) 瘦:Thin Grammar note: 挺is a very common and useful adverb in Chinese. It means “quite, very”. In this case, when you describe someone’s appearance, instead of just saying , for example, he or she is tall, it’s common to add “挺” (quite) before the adjective.

Eg. 他挺高的: He is quite tall: 她挺漂亮的:She is quite beautiful. This makes the sentence more natural in Chinese.

9) 苗条:Another positive way to say “thin”

10) 漂亮:Beautiful—mainly used to describe females

11) 帅:Handsome—mainly used to describe males, although sometimes can be used to describe females based on their neutral style and dress

12) 好看:Good looking—can be used to describe males or females

13) 不好看:Not beautiful Cultural note: Using some words such as fat or short might offend others in daily communication so Chinese people usually say things indirectly.

Eg. instead of saying “he is short”, people usually say 他不高:he is not tall.

Yes! I’d like to learn Mandarin Chinese more effectively

Narrated by Song Liu

Our Podcast narrator, is a native Chinese speaker and is originally from Beijing, China and is keen to help you get ahead with learning. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Master of Arts in Communication Studies. Song also hosted a Mandarin live call-in news and music radio show in the Bay Area.