Different countries and in different cultures people express their love and feelings in a different way and different languages. In China 爱 （Ài) is the character for love in the Chinese language. Love holds an immense importance no matter which period of time or which country you live in .Love has a great importance in every culture.
Different ways of expressing love to your loved one;
“My angel” in Chinese is 我的天使 (Wǒ de tiānshǐ)
“My love” in Chinese 我的爱 (Wǒ de ài)
Moreover, there are many different ways to address your significant other using Chinese language. Here are a few more of them:
宝贝 (bǎobèi)à “baby” or “dear”, a term of endearment for a loved one
老公 (lǎogōng)à affectionate term for husband originally from Cantonese but now in widespread use
老婆 (lǎopó)à affectionate term for wife originally from Cantonese but now in widespread use
What is Love in Chinese?
Love is higher priority as compared to cash, I envision that if you wish to continue with a very sprightly life, it is more basic to have love than plenty of money. Most commonly love refers to a feeling of strong emotional attachment and attraction. Having friendship with someone is great because having someone by your side is the best feeling, and it is basic to have comfortable relationship with people you can, for most part of your life.
Expressions of love might be various in different languages. Expressing love in other languages might be a bit difficult and change. It needs a good recognition of languages like in Chinese the expression of love in Chinese are quite different in both culture and literature as compared to the common English language.
Love in Chinese:
Two underpinnings of love exist in the Chinese culture, one came from Confucianism which emphasized actions and duty while the other came from Mohism which championed a universal love. A core concept to Confucianism is 仁 (Ren, “benevolent love”) which focuses on duty, action, and attitude in a relationship rather than the love itself. In Confucianism one displays benevolent love by doing actions such as kindness from parents, filial piety from children, loyalty to the king and so forth.
The concept of 愛 (Mandarin: ài) was formed by the Chinese philosopher Mozi in the 4th century BC in reaction to Confucianism’s benevolent love. Mozi tried to replace what he considered to be the long entrenched Chinese over-attachment to family, and clan structures with the concept of “universal love” (兼愛, jiān’ài). In that he argued, directly against Confucians who believed that it was correct for people and natural to care about different people, in different degrees. Mozi, at that same time believed people in principle should care for all people equally! Mohism stressed that rather than adopting different attitudes towards various people love should be unconditional and offered to everyone without regard to reciprocation; not just to family, friends and other Confucian relations. Later in Chinese Buddhism, the term Ai (愛) was adopted to refer to a caring love, passionate, and was considered a fundamental desire. In Buddhism, Ai was seen as being capable of either selfless or selfish, the latter being a key element towards enlightenment.
In Mandarin Chinese, 愛 (ài) is often used as the equivalent, of the Western concept of love. 愛 (ài) is used as both as verb (e.g. 我愛你, Wǒ ài nǐ, or I love you) and a noun (such as 愛情 àiqíng or romantic love). While, due to the influence of Confucian 仁 (rén), the phrase 我愛你 (Wǒ ài nǐ, I love you) carries with it a very specific sense of commitment, responsibility, and loyalty. Instead of frequently saying “I love you” as in some Western societies the Chinese are more likely to express feelings of affection in a much casual way. Therefore, “I like you” (我喜欢你, Wǒ xǐhuan nǐ) is a more used way of expressing affection in Mandarin, it is more playful and less serious.
Love in Chinese writings
Love in Chinese is not just a symbol but how to pronounce is also a thing; let’s discuss it below:
Symbol of love in Chinese writings
The official language of China is “Mandarin”. Which is more commonly spoken in China, Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong. The traditional Chinese character for love is ăi.
So in Chinese the English phrase I love you is translated as the following:
wô ài nî
The meaning of ài is love, and it is pronounced as:
Wô ài nî
I love you
Fall in love
In the above mentioned sentences you can see that “ài” is used rather than love.
I Love you in Chinese:
Communicating love is a really significant motion in any relationship. This is on the grounds that adoration helps nurture strengthen and grow personal human holding. Everybody shows love and their internal feelings in an unexpected way and unique way, so there is no one-size-fits-all path for us to pass on this communication. Similarly in Chinese literature and traditions, the verbatim translation of English phrase I love you is different. In Mandarin Chinese the translation of this phrase is “wô ài nî”.
In Chinese, this phrase is a source of expression for an extremely serious attachment for some one. This phrase, mostly is not heard from the native Chinese speakers. They usually use the other related phrases to express their feelings for their loved ones, without using this significant term.
In Chinese the phrase wô ài nî is one of the most down-to-earth way of saying I love you. Unlike in common English languages, in which the use of the phrase I love you is quite common, in Chinese language the use of the phrase wô ài nî is not very common. This phrase is not used free and easy as it is considered an utterance of exceedingly strong feelings and emotions.
They use this phrase for utterance of love, for their family members but in couples or romantic partners, it is not used casually like common English language. However this phrase is used on a very special moment that is bonded with very strong emotions of love like on wedding, or wedding anniversaries etc. Their ways of expressing affection for each other is quiet different as compared to the people who speaks English language.
Use relative phrases
Generally Chinese uses the other related phrases, for expressing their feelings for someone they love;
Instead of saying wô ài nî the term wô xî huãn nî is used perhaps which means I like you. It is commonly used for saying I love you. And this phrase is comparatively more casual.
Use of numbers or slang words in online conversations
The other way of expressing love of Chinese people is numbers or slang words which are used mostly in online text conversations, and messages in romantic couples. Some of these are
520 is generally used for saying, l love you.
880 is used for hug you.
530 stands for miss you.
770 stands for kiss you.
So these kinds of numbers are used by them for expressing their feelings.
General English phrase “I love you"
Apart from this, they also use the general English phrase I love you instead of saying wô ài nî. Because the phrase wô ài nî is a way of declaration of deep feelings.
Use actions instead of words
This term became common in China in the last 30 years. Before that the Chinese people were used to show love and affection for someone by their actions.
This is the most common way of showing love and affection for someone used by Chinese people. Typically they show their affection non-verbally because many of them think that one should fall for sweet actions rather than sugar coated words. So generally, they communicate their love by their actions because they themselves fall for actions that shows what they means to someone, instead of constantly exchange of romantic sentences like in other languages.
These actions can be; doing something special for the loved ones like by using gestures and touches, making photos for them, doing cooking for them, writing songs and deep romantic letters for them, the love is expressed more by gifts than the words by them celebrating all the Chinese romantic holidays, and many other things.
Hence they prefer sweet actions as a way of expressing their love rather than saying I love you or wô ài nî.
Love in Chinese culture
In china, as compared to love, people give more importance to other things even more than their personal satisfaction or prosperity.
In western countries, the concept of love is that women and men can love one another and can make relationships without giving importance to the financial status and family background of their partners. They can prefer love over money. But in China many Chinese view loving and dating someone as a practical phenomenon. Means that they usually prefer finding a well settled and perfect partner that can match to their expectations instead of finding a true love.
If we consider an e.g., in many countries and cultures women are comfortable in getting married to a man who is financially dependent like he doesn’t have any car or a house. But Chinese women usually will be in search of these things in a man because they think that such kind of man having a stable career can beneficial for them to get settled in life, and a better future for their family. As one of the participants in China’s famous dating show said that I’d rather cry in BMW than laugh on a bicycle. Hence economic considerations are taken into more confidence in Chinese people while taking the important decisions of their marriage partners.
Although according to the marriage laws of China the citizens of China are free to choose their marriage partners without the involvement of a third person yet most of the Chinese parents try to control their young adults by choosing the marriage partners for their youngsters. The youngsters are forced to obey these decisions of their parents.
This will affect their lives as well as the wellbeing of their forefathers. Parents in China, strive to find suitable matches for their children. (Earlier when marriages were decided by the parents and youngsters couldn’t date freely, a symbol of love which is generally called token of love was commonly used to confirm their relationship, and showing their feelings in tradition of china. Love tokens were given much importance in the historical traditions of China. These were usually something patrimony, or articles made at home. Once love tokens are exchanged, they showed their love and loyalty for each other).
It is compulsory for the Chinese young adults to get married as soon as possible. This pressure is mostly existing for women in China, if they are not succeeded in finding a men by the age of 26 or 27, they are said as “left over women". Same concept is for men too if they wait too long for their spouses.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does Bao Bei mean in Chinese?
The most widely used meaning of Baobei is similar to “baby” in English, it is used to refer to a lover or a young child. Between two lovers, “宝贝” is more commonly used to refer to the female rather than the male. You can also call a young child “宝贝” to show your love.
Why does 520 mean I love you in Chinese?
It is a slang word used by Chinese online as a shortcut to say I Love You.
What does ÀI mean?
ÀI is the Chinese character which means “to love”, “to be fond of”.
Why does 143 stand for I Love You?
143 simply represents number of letters, in each word of the phrase .143 is also a slang word which means “I Love You”.
What does 666 mean in Chinese?
666 is a Chinese word, homonym for “牛牛牛” (niú niú niú) or “溜溜溜” (liù liù liù), used to describe someone which is cool or someone who is powerful and impressive.
In conclusion, the concept of expressing love is different in different cultures and languages. Love and showing affection in both Chinese writings and Chinese culture is quiet change. But as time goes on and Chinese are getting well known to western styles and concepts of love, the concept of romance and dating is getting common in china.