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What exactly are “红颜知己 [Red Soulmate]” and “蓝颜知己 [Blue Soulmate]”?

Posted by Grace Feng on November 14, 2012

In Chinese, 红颜知己 hóngyánzhījǐ (red soulmate) and 蓝颜知己 lányánzhījǐ (blue soulmate) are defined as the “fourth emotion” of human being. 红颜知己 hóngyánzhījǐ  refers to the female friend of a man that is also a soulmate of the man, but is not his lover. 蓝颜知己 lányánzhījǐ is a male friend of a woman instead. The other three emotions are 亲情 qīnqíng (blood), 友情 yǒuqíng (friendship) and 爱情 àiqíng (romantic love). People have different opinions towards the “fourth emotion” since it is easily to go beyond the border and become romantic love in an affair.

Here is a reader’s translation of 蓝颜知己 that I think is very helpful: “Confidential Close Male Friend – This is the type of male friend that you may have that you could tell anything to, and if he started to fall in love with you, you could say ” Why do you want to wreck our perfect friendship ” and he would understand. ”

Strictly speaking, 红(蓝)颜知己 hóng(lán)yánzhījǐ  is a relationship that is 比朋友多一点,比情人少一点 bǐ péngyou duō yīdiǎn, bǐ qíngrén shǎo yīdiǎn (more than friend, less than lover). In Chinese history, the word of 红颜知己 hóngyánzhījǐ has been around for centuries. However, 蓝颜知己 lányánzhījǐ only came around a couple of years ago.

No matter when they appeared, both words are frequently used in today’s China. You might have read about them, or you’ll meet them later. I hope this beautiful song could explain the subtle feelings of 蓝颜知己 lányánzhījǐ to you in a walk of music.

The first video is the version with both male and female voice, my favorite too. The second video is a movie cut from <<新上海滩 xīn shàng hǎitān (Shanghai Grand)>> that explains the song in a story. Hope you love it…

For readers in China that can’t access youtube, please view it here on youku:

蓝颜知己

Blue Soulmate

词:陈倩倩 曲:郭亮

lyrics: Chen Qianqian Music: Guo Liang

 

时间让情感 一点点沉淀

Time lets emotions to accumulate, bit by bit,

 

那些未曾留意的改变

those unnoticed changes

 

情人知己 这条界限

lover, or soulmate

 

到底应该划在哪里

where should we draw the line?

 

如果这世间 真的还有

Whether in this world

 

这样的第四种情感

the fourth emotion like this exists?

 

一封未开启的信

A letter that has not been opened

 

留下多少悬念

leaves so much unknown

 

蓝颜知己 心有灵犀

Blue soulmate, the spirit in mind

 

你解我的心事我懂你的暗语

you understand my thoughts, I understand your hints

 

蓝颜知己 我们的秘密

Blue soulmate, our secret

 

特别的你 总在心里

The special you, are always in my mind

 

(就算是没有明天 没有结果)不会忘记

(Even if there’s no tomorrow, no result) won’t forget

 

(都无法放弃)谁也无法代替

(can’t give up) can’t be replaced

 

相见不相见 已慢慢习惯

See you or not, slowly getting used to .

 

那些未曾说出的想念

Those missing feelings that had never been told

 

多么希望 这种感觉

How much I wish, those feelings

 

闭上双眼 瞬间凝结

could be frozen the instant I closed my eyes

 

冷藏保鲜 没有期限

Have them freshly frozen, never expire

 

只愿到下一个世纪

Wish only when the next century comes

 

再溶解

let them thaw

 

要怎么面对这一天

How can we face that day

 

你问的直接

you ask straight

 

蓝颜知己 命中注定

Blue soulmate, it’s destiny

 

暧昧还是清晰 难解它的玄机

Vague or clear, can’t tell

 

蓝颜知己 我们的秘密

Blue soulmate, our secret

 

有种感动记忆 都是关于你

Those sentimental memories, are all about you

 

这种爱不可代替

The love that can not be replaced

 

[pinyin]

lányánzhījǐ

cí: chén qiàn qiàn qū: guō liàng

shíjiān ràng qínggǎn yīdiǎndiǎn chéndiàn

nàxiē wèicéng liúyì de gǎibiàn

qíngrén zhījǐ zhè tiáo jièxiàn

dàodǐ yīnggāi huà zài nǎlǐ

rúguǒ zhè shìjiān zhēn de háiyǒu

zhèyàng de dì sì zhǒng qínggǎn

yī fēng wèi kāiqǐ de xìn

liúxià duōshao xuánniàn

lányánzhījǐ xīn yǒu língxī

nǐ jiě wǒ de xīnshì

wǒ dǒng nǐ de ànyǔ

lányánzhījǐ wǒmen de mìmì

tèbié de nǐ zǒng zài xīnli( jiùsuàn shì méiyǒu míngtiān méiyǒu jiéguǒ)

bùhuì wàngjì( dōu wúfǎ fàngqì)

shéi yě wúfǎ dàitì

xiāngjiàn bù xiāngjiàn yǐ mànmàn xíguàn

nàxiē wèicéng shuōchū de xiǎngniàn

duōme xīwàng zhèzhǒng gǎnjué

bìshang shuāngyǎn shùnjiān níngjié

lěngcáng bǎo xiān méiyǒu qīxiàn

zhǐ yuàn dào xiàyīge shìjì zài róngjiě

yào zěnme miànduì zhè yī tiān

nǐ wèn de zhíjiē

lányánzhījǐ mìngzhōngzhùdìng

àimèi háishi qīngxī nánjiě tā de xuánjī

lányánzhījǐ wǒmen de mìmì

yǒuzhǒng gǎndòng jìyì dōu shì guānyú nǐ

zhèzhǒng ài bùkě dàitì

 

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4 Responses to “What exactly are “红颜知己 [Red Soulmate]” and “蓝颜知己 [Blue Soulmate]”?”

  1. nothing

    白睿:

    11-14-2012 7:55 pm

    Nice post Grace. Yeah, the second video makes the situation pretty clear. Not entirely sure what the phrase would be in English…..maybe, “just good friends” which usually means that the people are very close but not lovers.

    I was trying to translate the song words myself but they are (to me) a little vague in places.

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      11-14-2012 9:40 pm

      I just finished the translation and posted, though I’m not quite satisfied with the translation. This is one kind of the those lyrics that is not very easy to be translated.

      “just good friends” and soulmate, which one is closer?

      I read about “soulmate” (in English) online and in a lot of places it refers to people that had spiritually met in their previous life?

      In western country people also believe in “previous life”? I thought only eastern culture has that. Maybe I’m wrong.

      Reply

      • nothing

        白睿:

        11-15-2012 1:45 pm

        Feng老师,in the context of this song title and phrase, I think soulmate is just right. It would sound very strange translated as “Red/blue just good friend”! It’s just that soulmate, to my mind anyway, implies lovers. Sorry if I confused you.:)

        I think people in the west often speak about having a previous life, though it is said more in a joking kind of manner; they probably do not necessarily believe in such things.

        Your translation is fine. Maybe one or two phrases could be improved but best not to go there as, if I suggest an improvement somebody will come along and say: “no, no, no…that’s wrong, it should be like this….blah blah blah” 换句话说,它是一个没完没了的过程!

        Reply

        • nothing

          Grace Feng:

          11-15-2012 6:50 pm

          Hi 白睿,

          Just call me Grace as everybody else in my real life, I’m not used to be called 老师 since it reminds me of classroom, which is probably one of the most boring things on my list. :-)

          -> “换句话说,它是一个没完没了的过程!”

          呵呵,理解。谢谢!

          Grace

          Reply

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