Chinese Animal Names

To continue with the vocabulary lessons on stuff you will actually use in Mandarin, I figured I’d relate this article to Wednesday’s post about animals.

Chinese animal names: The most common.

māo = Cat
gǒu = Dog

Those are the two most common pet names. If you have a different animal for a pet, (that’s not listed below,) remember to check the word using Google Images before you use it, otherwise it might be incorrect.

Chinese animal names to use in lieu of adjectives.

These animals are for using according to the guidelines of the aforementioned post. Use them to emphasise a characteristic.

Chinese Animal Names for Use in Adjectives:

dàxiàng = Elephant for big
shǔbiāo = Mouse for small
lièbào = Cheetah for fast
cháng jǐng lù = Giraffe for tall
xióngmāo = Panda for clumsy
wōniú = Snail for slow
hémǎ = Hippo for fat.
hóu= Monkey for Cheeky, spirited, etc.

You get the general idea. You can take this wherever you like. When learning a language, animal names are just a case of memorising some new vocabulary,  but the amount of variety they add to your conversation is quite large considering you only have to spend a couple of hours on it.

Something you might want to add to your repertoire are the Chinese animal names for the various years.

shǔ = rat

niú = ox

hǔ = tiger

tùzǐ = rabbit

lóng = dragon

shé = snake

mǎ = horse

yáng = sheep

hóu = monkey

gōngjī = rooster

gǒu = dog

zhū = pig


Chinese Animal Names: A Conclusion

There isn’t all that much to conclude with today’s article. It does what it says on the tin, essentially. It’s not really necessary to devote any time to learning Chinese animal names, but it’s simple vocabulary and the above can be added to flashcards. It’ll only take you an afternoon or so to get them down, so there’s no real harm. Then you can work your way around working them into conversation naturally. It’s just a bit of fun.

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