#133 This is what they actually mean! Hidden meaning in Chinese conversation 中文里的潜台词

大家好!欢迎回来MaoMi Chinese!


如果你想约一个中国人吃饭,他说:“改天吧。”他到底想不想去呢?我觉得他有可能是不想去的。他的潜台词可能是:“最近很忙,不想去。”如果你想要一个中国人做一件事情,比如想和他一起去旅游,他说:“我回去考虑考虑吧! ”他的潜台词可能是:“没什么要考虑的,但是我不知道该怎么拒绝你,让我回去想一想怎么说‘不’吧! ”如果他和你说:“有时间我就去。”他的潜台词可能是:“没时间,我也不可能有时间,不去! ”

如果你有一个方案,要问你的领导,或者你的客户,他们回答:“原则上可以。”那到底是可以还是不可以呢?这句话的潜台词是:“原则上可以,但是我不想,所以不可以! ”如果他们说:“原则上不可以。”那到底是可以还是不可以呢?这句话的潜台词是:“原则上不可以,但是如果我有好处的话,那就可以。”如果他们说:“这件事有点儿难办啊!”潜台词是:“如果我有好处的话,那就可以办。”

如果你和一个人讨论一件事情,他说:“这件事以后再说吧。”他的潜台词可能是:“我不想再说这件事了,赶紧换话题吧。”如果你的同事或者老板和你说:“你最近忙不忙?”那么,你可能要小心,因为他们的潜台词可能是:“你如果不忙的话,帮我做一个工作吧! ”如果你的同事问你:“你和这个人的关系怎么样?”或者“你觉得这个人怎么样?”你也要小心回答,因为同事的潜台词可能是:“如果你们关系不怎么样,或者你觉得他不怎么样,我就要开始说他的坏话了! ”


说了这么多的潜台词,你可能会想:“那我到底应该怎么样聊天啊?! ”其实啊,我还是觉得只要真诚就好。这些潜台词只是帮助你更好理解别人的意思,尤其是一些不太熟悉的人的潜台词,帮助你避免尴尬。希望你觉得有用!

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to MaoMi Chinese!

Recently, I received a question from a listener: “My Chinese classmate said we should have dinner together another day, but she never actually arranged it. What day does she mean by ‘another day’?” This question is quite interesting because many Chinese people, when chatting, pay a lot of attention to politeness and often don’t say things directly. Instead, there are many hidden meanings in Chinese conversations. So, what are some common hidden meanings in Chinese conversations? Today, let’s talk about them together!

If you want to invite a Chinese person to have dinner, and they say, “Let’s do it another day,” do they really want to go? I think they might not want to. The hidden meaning behind this could be, “I’ve been busy lately and don’t want to go.” If you want a Chinese person to do something, like going on a trip with you, and they say, “Let me think about it,” their hidden meaning might be, “There’s nothing to think about, but I don’t know how to reject you, so let me think about how to say ‘no’.” If they say, “I’ll go if I have time,” their hidden meaning might be, “I don’t have time, and I won’t have time, so I won’t go!”

If you have a proposal and you ask your boss or client, and they respond with, “In principle, it’s possible,” is it really possible or not? The hidden meaning behind this is, “In principle, it’s possible, but I don’t want to, so it’s not possible!” If they say, “In principle, it’s not possible,” the hidden meaning could be, “In principle, it’s not possible, but if there’s something in it for me, then it’s possible.” If they say, “This matter is a bit difficult,” the hidden meaning is, “If there’s something in it for me, then it can be done.”

If you’re discussing something with someone, and they say, “Let’s talk about it later,” their hidden meaning might be, “I don’t want to discuss this further, let’s change the topic.” If your colleague or boss asks you, “Are you busy lately?” you should be cautious because their hidden meaning might be, “If you’re not busy, can you help me with some work?” If your colleague asks, “How’s your relationship with that person?” or “What do you think of that person?” be careful how you respond because your colleague’s hidden meaning might be, “If you don’t have a good relationship with them or if you don’t think highly of them, I’m about to start talking negatively about them!”

If you like someone and message them every day, and they say, “Aren’t you busy?” their hidden meaning might be, “I’m really busy and don’t have time to chat with you.” If they say, “Aren’t you sleeping yet?” their hidden meaning might be, “I’m so tired, and I want to go to sleep.” If they ask, “What are you doing?” their hidden meaning might be, “I miss you.”

After talking about all these hidden meanings, you might be wondering, “So how should I chat with people?” Actually, I believe that being sincere is the best approach. These hidden meanings are just to help you better understand what others might be implying, especially with people you’re not very familiar with, to help you avoid awkward situations. I hope you find this useful!

2 thoughts on “#133 This is what they actually mean! Hidden meaning in Chinese conversation 中文里的潜台词”

  1. Thanks for putting up another great episode. To me, it sounds like you pronounce 潜台词 as
    qiǎn taí cí, but Pleco and the transcript on maomichinese.com say it should be pronounced qián taí cí. Am I hearing it incorrectly (as the gird tone) or do the dictionaries list a different pronunciation than how you pronounce it? Thanks!

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