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Introduction | Episodes |

57 Having a hair cut 剪头发

Hi everybody, 你们好吗? 欢迎大家收看今天的成长汉语. Thanks for joining us for today’s episode of Growing up with Chinese.

Now we designed our show to help all of you learn some basic Chinese, through the adventures of 小明, a local 北京 high school student, and Mike, an exchange student who is living with 小明. And apart from language study, we also aim to introduce to you various aspects of Chinese culture, history and everyday life.

So 兰兰’s birthday party is almost upon us. And 小明 in particular seems to be getting pretty excited. He’s got a specific task to accomplish today, so let’s check in with him, and see what he is up to.


理发师:你的要求还挺高。我再看看。要不然这个发型怎么样? 我再给你用发胶定个型,你参加完PARTY,洗个澡就看不出来了,不影响明天上学。


Mike:你是? 难道是小明吗?
Mike:啊? 是你啊? 这是什么新潮发型? 怎么像地下乐队的歌手啊? 哈哈。

I have a question, would any of you have guessed 小明 was so particular about his hair? Hmm, looks like he wants to impress. OK, there was quite a bit of hair related vocabulary in today’s dialogue so let’s go over some of them right now.

一大早就跑出去理发了. Running out early in the morning to get a hair cut. Now 一大早 refers to early in the morning. And 理发 is how you say get a hair cut in Chinese.

今天太阳从西边出来了? The sun rose in the west today? Hmm, looks like 小明 is usually too fond of getting his hair cut. 太阳 means sun and 西 is how you say west. So if the sun rises in the west, something very strange is going on.


你打算怎么剪? How are you planning to get it cut? 打算 means intend or plan and 剪 is the verb to cut.

您帮我设计一个很酷的发型吧. You help me design a really cool hairstyle OK? Now 设计 is to design or plan and 酷 you should all remember from before, it means cool. And 发型 is how you say hair style. 酷发型 cool hair style.

我保证你是party上最酷的男生. I promise you’ll be the coolest guy at the party. Now 保证 means promise. And while we have uncovered 男生 as far as I can recall, we have covered 女生, it means girl, right? So 男生 is boy.

您觉的哪一个更适合我? Which do you think suits me better? 适合 means suit or fit. So 更适合 would then be suits more or fits more. 更适合我 suits me more.


这是什么新潮发型? 怎么像地下乐队的歌手? Is this some kind of new hair style trend? You look like an underground music group’s singer. Now 新潮 means new trend. So 新潮发型 refers to a new trend of hair style. 地下 is underground and 乐队 is band or music. So 地下乐队 is underground band or underground music group. 歌手 is how you say singer. 地下乐队的歌手 the singer belonging to an underground music group.

Mike:你是? 难道是小明吗?
Mike:啊? 是你啊? 这是什么新潮发型? 怎么像地下乐队的歌手啊? 哈哈。

Let’s first take a look at today’s vocabulary.

  • 理发 to get a hair cut. lǐ fà
  • 适合 suit, fit. shì hé
  • 时尚 fashionable, trendy. shí shàng
  • 新潮 new trend. xīn cháo

We are going to be talking about the ax radical today 斤. And we see it in the character 新 of 新潮. So let’s take a look... this is our character 新... And our radical is on the right. Now 新 means new.

The ax radical can appear on the left, right or bottom of a character, this guy right here, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for*1 it.


Today we are going to be talking about the goat or sheep and the monkey.

So recent years of the sheep include nineteen fifty-five, sixty-seven, seventy-nine, ninety-one and two thousand three.

I love sheep. They provide all of us with wool for a myriad of things that keep us warm when the weather gets cold. And interestingly, they’re said to be the most creative sign in the Chinese zodiac.

Indeed, people born in this year are said to be creative and artistic, charming and polite, but with these attributes, they are also said to be prone to laziness. They’re loving, and very sensitive, shy and moody.

And now it’s time for some monkey business.

Monkeys are fun and adorable and they also enjoy quite the reputation all over the world. One of the most popular gods in Hinduism is Hanuman, the monkey god. And of course, we can’t leave out three very famous monkeys: speak no evil, hear no evil and see no evil.

In China the most beloved monkey of all and I’m sure you’ve all heard of him is Monkey King. The story of the Monkey King was written by 吴承恩 who compiled all kinds of Chinese folklore, tales, myths and symbolism along with true stories, for his story.

People born in the year of the monkey are said to be extremely clever, creative, curious, almost to a fault*2 and very mischievous*3. Monkeys are after all quite naughty*4 and full of jokes.

On the other hand people born during this year are also said to be very good at solving problems although they’re very prone to impatience and general fickleness*5. They enjoy being the center of attention and can’t stay focused on one thing for very long unless it’s a direct challenge, or puzzle or quest for knowledge.


接下来我们一起来看一下今天的语言点. It’s time to take a look at today’s language points.

不如. 不如 is used to introduce a new point of view or suggestion. And it implies subtly that the point of view or suggestion that was made before isn’t as good as what is being suggested now.

So it’s kind of like saying not so good as or would be better. For example, I could say 我们去打篮球吧. Let’s go play basketball. And you could reply, 今天天气这么好, 我们不如去爬山. The weather is so good today, we’d be better off going mountain climbing.

Now in today’s dialogue the hair stylist said to 小明, “依我看, 你还不如剪这个发型.” In my opinion, you’d be better off getting this hairstyle. So, let’s check out some more examples of 不如.

  • 你说我给他买一件什么样的礼物?/你不如给她做一件礼物。
  • 我们周末去干什么?/哎,我们不如去钓鱼吧!

去. Now this 去 is the same character as to go. But in today’s context, 去 has a different meaning. It means to cut off or take out as in take that line of text out. So 小明 as the hair stylist today 您帮我再去一点儿吧. Will you cut off some more please. Pretty straightforward right?

  • 别把我后边的头发得太多。/没问题!
  • 剪好了,你看可以吗?/帮我把两边再一点儿吧。

难道. 难道 functions as an adverb and is used to strengthen or add emphasis to a rhetorical question. So it’s kind of like saying “surely it doesn’t mean that,” or “could it be said that.” So today when Mike first saw 小明 after his hair cut, he said 难道是小明吗? Could that possibly be 小明? Is that really you? OK, let’s look at some more sentences that use 难道.

  • 今天有篮球比赛?/难道我没告诉你?
  • 听说兰兰想到美国去念大学。/是啊,难道她没告诉过你?

All right that brings us to the end of today’s show, I hope you all enjoyed it. Don’t forget you can always visit our website and please keep your questions and comments coming our way*6. I want to hear from all of you. 谢谢大家收看我们今天的成长汉语. 我们下次节目再见. I’ll see you all next time. 加油, good luck, 再见.

*1:keep one’s eyes peeled for にらみを利かす

*2:to a fault ばかがつくほど

*3:mischievous お茶目な

*4:naughty やんちゃな

*5:fickleness 移り気

*6:come one’s way やってくる