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12 Hilarious Chinese Animal Names Literally Translated into English

作者:纽带中文

When you're trying to memorize new words in a new language, the more ridiculous your mnemonic is, the easier it will be to remember the word. Thankfully, many Chinese animal names already have some ridiculous mental images built-in. Let's have a small taste today!


1. 袋鼠 dài shǔ

Kangaroo

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2. 长颈鹿 zhǎng jǐng lù

Giraffe

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3. 猫头鹰 māo tóu yīng

Night owl

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4. 鸭嘴兽 yā zuǐ shòu

Platypus

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5. 熊猫 xióng māo

Panda

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Fun Fact: Originally the Chinese name for pandas was actually 猫熊 (māo xióng). However, back in the 1950s China was transitioning from reading and writing in the traditional way (right-to-left) to the modern way (left-to-right). So when pandas were featured in an exhibit of a museum in Sichuan, the signage they used was meant to be read right-to-left. But when the journalists came to see and report on the exhibit, they read it left-to-right & ended up reversing it. This reversed name, 熊猫 (xióng māo), was then published in modern journals and it has stuck ever since!


6. 眼镜蛇 yǎn jìng shé

Cobra

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7. 壁虎 bì hǔ

Gecko

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8.   海豹 hǎi bào

Seal

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9. 海豚 hǎi tún

Dolphin

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10. 龙虾 lóng xiā


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11. 企鹅 qǐ é

Penguin

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12. 海象 hǎi xiàng

Walrus

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Learning Chinese is fun, isn't it? Are you still hungry? Check out our other blogpost that covers fun facts about China and Chinese people! And don't forget to sign up for your first free trial Chinese class!


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