Posts Tagged ‘Chinese vocabulary’

Before you pay a visit to China, we highly recommend you read this article. It is a brief guide to different forms of accommodation in China.

 In general, a hotel in Chinese is called 酒店 [jiu3dian4],饭店 [fan4dian4] or 宾馆 [bin1guan3]. Although 酒店 can literally translate into “liquor shop” and 饭店 can literally be read as “food shop”, they are, in actual fact, a hotel equipped with a bar or restaurant.

However, whether a 宾馆 has a restaurant or a bar depends on its scale. So if you are looking for a hotel, don’t hesitate to walk in a hotel called ××酒店 or ××饭店.

 A guest-house in China can be called 旅馆[lü3 guan3] or 旅店[lü3 dian4]. It has relatively cheap price compared with 酒店, 饭店 and 宾馆. Although it is a kind of budget hotel, some 旅馆 or 旅店 may have full facilities such as a restaurant.

 Finally, a typical Chinese word for accommodation is called 招待所 [zhao1dai4suo3] which means hostel. Usually a 招待所 is very exclusive and belongs to a governmental bureau. For instance, 教育局招待所 (Education Bureau hostel) only offers service for the staff working in the education department or their relatives. Nowadays, 招待所 are increasingly less exclusive and provide accommodation and food for the public. This is a subsidized form of accommodation.


Michael and Jing


So let’s begin our first instalment of practical Chinese – getting a haircut.

The word for haircut is 剪头发 and literally translates as “to cut hair”.  (It also can be 理发, but this word emphasises the style). 

So, if one wants a haircut, we say: 我想剪头发 (I would like a haircut).  要 is not used here (instead of 想) as a matter of courtesy and meaning.

要 indicates a sense of urgency, and if one says 我要剪头发 it can be interpreted as I need a haircut.  (This gives you two useful sentences already!)

A hairdresser is 理发师 [li3fa4shi1], where 发 is pronounced with a fourth tone (it is usually 1st tone).

No one likes getting a bad haircut, so you will probably be asked 什么样的? (What style?).  样 generally means style, but 的 here is used to refer back to the content of the conversation – a haircut.  So, a more rigid translation of  “什么样的?” might read What style of haircut?

Alternatively, you could be asked: 你想怎么剪?(How would you like your hair cut?). 

If there’s no particular in vogue celebrity style that you’re after, then a trim might be in order.  The English expression, “a trim” is roughly equivalent to 修一下 (a little bit shorter).  You could also by say 我不要太短 (I don’t want it too short). 

If you want to keep your hair length mainly intact, and just want it thinned out, you can say:  打薄一点儿 [da3 bao2 yi4 dian3].

Interestingly, haircuts in China come “packaged” – a shampoo, cut and blow dry. This is known as 洗剪吹 [xi3jian3chui1].  These three verbs literally mean, “wash, cut, blow”.  The price will usually act as a complement for 洗剪吹.  For instance,

A: 你好!我想剪头发。多少钱?(Hello, I’d like a haircut.  How much is it?)

B:  洗剪吹一百二十块。坐吧。(A shampoo, cut and blow-dry is 120RMB.  Please take a seat)

For a more complex conversation (suitable for advanced learners) relating to haircuts, refer to

For further vocabulary relating to our first instalment of Practical Chinese, the following website has a good selection:

See you at the hair salon (美发店) or beauty parlor (美容院) very soon!

Michael and Jing (the former of which recently had a bad haircut)