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How to Discuss Hobbies in Mandarin Like a Native Speaker

Popularity 1Viewed 442 times 2018-6-12 21:01 |System category:Life

“爱好” (Hobbies, àihǎo) is one of the first topics covered in beginner Mandarin textbooks. It’s a nice entry lesson, but it’s arguably rather too formal and stiff for daily conversation in any language. Can you remember the last time you asked a fellow English speaker their hobbies?! I know I can’t.

It turns out that it’s not so common in Mandarin either. According to the Chinese teachers at Lingo Bus, for native speakers, it’s too formal to ask others the following, unless perhaps in an interview or on a blind date.

Below are a few alternative questions and answers that sound more natural to native-speaking ears:

Nǐ píngshí xǐhuan zuò shénme?

  • 你平时喜欢做什么?

What do you like to do in your free time?

Nǐ zhōumò yìbān zuò shénme?

  • 你周末一般做什么?

What do you usually do on the weekends?

Wǒ xǐhuan [xué zhōngwén]

  • 我喜欢 [学中文]。

I like [to study Chinese].

Wǒ píngshí xǐhuan [qù jiànshēn].

  • 我平时喜欢 [去健身]。

I normally like [to go workout or see friends].

        Wǒ yǒukòng shí jiù [qù tī qiú ]。

  • 我有空时就[去踢球]。
    I go to play soccer once I have time.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report Joey-k 2018-6-14 23:05
I always struggle with this question

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