We all have things we like and enjoy; but what about those things which we don’t like—or are, maybe, even a little bit scared or fearful about doing? Talking about them with friends or colleagues in Mandarin Chinese can help us compare different views about our fears and worries—whether they be about heights or being underwater or something else which gives us the shivers!

In this Podcast, you will learn:

(i) How to refer to some things which make you fearful

(ii) To talk with others about trying to conquer such fears


Two colleagues talk about some of their fears:


(Zài jiē shàng)

(on the street)


A: Fàng jià de shí hòu wǒ qù Mǎ Lái Xī Yà qián shuǐ le.

I went scuba diving in Malaysia during my holiday.


B: Nǐ tài niú le. Wǒ kě bù gǎn qián shuǐ. Wǒ shì hàn yā zi, bù huì yóu yǒng, hài pà shuǐ. Dàn shì shàng gè zhōu mò wǒ qù tiào sǎn le, tiǎo zhàn le wǒ de jí xiàn, wǒ jué dé tè bié cì jī.

Wow! I don’t dare go scuba diving. I am a landlubber, can’t swim and am afraid of the water. But last weekend, I went skydiving, which challenged my limits. It was really exciting.


A: Wǒ yī zhí jiù xiǎng qù tiào sǎn. Xià cì zán men yī qǐ qù ba, jiào shàng nǐ lǎo pó.

Mmm…, I have always wanted to do sky-diving. Next time, let’s go together. Ask your wife to come along too.


B: Hǎo a! Dàn shì, wǒ lǎo pó kǒng gāo, tā zhǐ néng zài xià miàn děng zhe zán men.

Okay. But my wife has a fear of heights. She will wait for us on the ground.

Chinese words and phrases mentioned in this Podcast:


潜水:scuba diving

潜:go under water





怕水:be afraid of water


放假:during my holiday








害怕水:afraid of water




一直:all the time

一直想:always wanted to

下次:next time

一起去:go together

叫上……:ask someone to come along

恐:short for 恐惧, scared of

恐高:be afraid of heights, a little more formal than 怕高



等:wait for

Cultural/Grammar note:

When you want to express that you are afraid of something, you can say:


Wǒ pà shé.

I am afraid of snakes.


Wǒ pà gāo.

I have a fear of heights.

‘旱鸭子’ is a very common expression in Chinese daily conversation. As we know, most ducks can swim. But sometimes ducks are raised on land and are not allowed to get into the water. Thus, ‘旱鸭子’ originally refers to people who have never been in the water. But now, the meaning is gradually extended referring to people who can not swim.

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.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!