In many places in China, old traditions and the stereotyping of people and things still exist. However, with greater liberalisation and awareness, especially amongst the younger generations, certain older traditions such as only wanting a male child are dying out. Be sure you can discuss some of these interesting topics effectively in Mandarin Chinese…

In this Podcast, you will learn:

(i) How to talk about traditions relating to having children in China

(ii) To discuss your gender preferences if you are planning a family


A pregnant woman is talking to her friend:


(zài kā fēi tīng)

(at the café)


Xiǎo Měi, yǒu méi yǒu xiǎng guò yào nán hái hái shì nǚ hái?

Xiao Mei, have you thought about having a boy or a girl?


Wǒ dōu wú suǒ wèi. Wǒ jué de gè yǒu gè de hǎo. Dàn shì wǒ lǎo gōng hěn xiǎng yào nǚ hái.

I’m fine with either one. I think each child will have their own good points, but my husband really wants a girl.


Wèi shén me?



Tā jué de hái shì nǚ hái bǐ jiào guān xīn bà mā.

He thinks that girls usually care more about their parents.


Duì, nǚ ér shì bà mā de xiǎo mián ǎo ma.

Daughters are parents’ “cotton-padded jackets”.


Dāng rán wǒ shì xiǎng shēng liǎng gè. Hēi hei. Zuì hǎo shì yī nán yī nǚ!

Of course, I want to have two. The best combination is one boy and one girl.

Chinese words and phrases mentioned in this Podcast:

有没有:have to do something or not

想:think about

猴年:the year of the Monkey

一个猴年的宝宝/猴宝宝:a monkey baby

要:want to have



要孩子:want a child


各有各的好:each have their own good

无所谓:something doesn’t really matter


还是:adv., expresses emphasis here




棉袄:”cotton-padded jacket”

当然:of course

生:give birth

一男一女:one boy one girl

Cultural/Grammar notes:

‘无所谓’ is a very useful expression.

E.g. 午饭吃什么我无所谓。

Wǔ fàn chī shén me wǒ wú suǒ wèi.

I’m fine with whatever we are having for lunch.


Zán men qù nǎ er tā dōu wú suǒ wèi.

Wherever we are going, he won’t mind.

‘棉袄’ is a kind of top you can see in the film The Road Home (‘我的父亲母亲’) starring Zhang Ziyi. It is the red top she wears in the winter.

‘女儿是爸妈的小棉袄’ is a Chinese saying which means ‘daughters care more about parents’; it’s like wearing a warm jacket in winter which can keep you warm and comfortable.

In China, when you are pregnant and do ultrasound testing in hospital, they don’t reveal the baby’s gender for you even if you ask for it. This is because many traditional Chinese parents might want to have an abortion if they know that they are having a girl. However, times are changing and, currently, many of the younger generation, especially in big cities, love to have girls (just as mentioned in the dialogue above).

Mandarin Chinese learning resources we recommend

round-italki-logo-3d-01Using Italki, a unique system of learning Mandarin Chinese where you interact with real teachers, is widely recognised as an effective way to learn a new language! You’ll make more progress and learn how native Chinese speakers really speak. Plus, Italki is more affordable than offline tutors, offline schools and software, and is convenient to use at your own pace and place!


Keats Chinese SchoolKeats Chinese School, which was founded in 2004, is one of the top Mandarin Chinese language schools in China, offering both one-on-one immersion Mandarin courses and small group Chinese classes. Located in Kunming, Keats develops personalised exercises and materials for students to meet their learning goals and requirements and can arrange a student visa for its 16 week course.


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.

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