Posted by Grace Feng on November 16, 2012
I’m not going to help you recognize RMB coins and bills in this post. I won’t talk about how to count money in Chinese language either. What I’m going to share with you in this post is how to talk ABOUT money in Chinese. I’m hoping this post can help you to understand “money talk” in Chinese better.
The two key characters that Chinese use to describe money are the first things you need to remember:
钱 qián (money) and 金 jīn (gold)
钱 qián is used to name money in general sense. 金 jīn usually refers to money that is used for certain purpose.
In ancient China, gold and silver were used as real money. That’s the reason why character 金 jīn still refers to money in modern Chinese. Such as:
奖金 jiǎng jīn (literal: reward gold) – bonus
基金 jī jīn (literal: foundation gold) – funding, foundation
定金 dìng jīn (literal: confirmation gold) – deposit
押金 yā jīn (literal: deposit gold) – deposit
养老金 yǎng lǎo jīn (literal: support old gold) – pension
As for 钱 qián , it simply refers to money in general sense. However, you do need to have a good understanding on how 钱 qián is “treated” or “nicknamed” in Chinese language. So you won’t get confused or confuse others in a real life coversation. Let’s go over the following Chinese slang and vocab about money together:
洗钱 xǐ qián (literal: wash money) – money laundering
烧钱 shāo qián (literal: burn money) – to spend money in a crazy manner
扔钱 rēng qián (literal: toss money) – to spend money on valueless things
血汗钱 xuè hàn qián (literal: blood sweat money) – money that is earned through honest hard work
黑钱 hēi qián (literal: black money) – dirty money
卖身钱 mài shēn qián (literal: sell body money) – money that is earned through prostituting oneself or selling oneself into slavery
The last but not the least two basic money words that you should not forget are :
挣钱 zhèng qián – earn money
花钱 huā qián – spend money
If you know any money word that worth sharing here, please go ahead, thanks!
Category: Chinese vocabulary
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