How to Know if You Are Off the Scale Hot in Chinese
(zen3 me.) (zhi1 dao4) (ni3) (zi4 ji3) (re4) (de.) (zhi3 shu4) (po4 biao3) (le.)
(how) (to know) (you) (oneself) (hot) (adjective marker)
(index) (broke scale) (emphasize completion)
My tutor recently showed me a Taiwanese light-hearted news article that describes some pets as
(ke ai4) (zhi3 shu4) (po4 biao3)
(cute) (index) (broke scale)
so cute their cuteness went off the scale and broke the cuteness measuring instrument
She pointed out that this is abbreviated from how it would be said in normal conversation, because news headlines around the world have limited space. A more normal sentence would be
(ta1 men.) (ke3 ai4) (de.) (zhi3 shu4) (po4 biao3) (le.)
(they) (cute) (adjective marker) (index) (broke scale) (emphasize completion)
They are so cute they broke the cuteness measuring instrument.
Incidentally, she also explained that 毛小孩 (mao2 xiao3 hai2) is a reference to pets [hairy small children] that are doted on and that to be 紅 (hong2) in this case is to be a celebrity or popular. Red is a color associated both with good luck and stands out conspicuously.
(zhe4) (zhang1) (zhao3 pian4) (hao3 wan2) (de.) (cheng2 du4) (yi3 jing1) (po4 biao3) (le.)
(this) (measure word for photos) (photo) (good fun) (adjective marker)
(degree, extent) (already) (broke scale) (emphasize completion)
This photo’s fun degree is off the scale,
it will get shared.
(ke3 neng2) (mao2 xiao3 hai2) (de.) (ma1 ma.) (hui4)
(gei3) (ta1 de.) (peng2 you3) (chuan2 jian3 xun4)
(maybe) (hairy children) (’s) (mama) (will) (to give) (her) (friend) (text)
Maybe the furry children’s mama will text it to her friend.
(na4 xie1) (gou3) (han4) (mao1) (zhe4 me.) (you3) (ge4 xing4)
(those) (dog) (and) (cat) (so much) (to have) (personality)
Those dogs and cat have so much personality!
(ta1 men.) (you3) (ge4 xi4) (de.) (cheng2 du4), (chao1) (ke3 ai4) (de.)
(they) (to have) (personality) (adjective marker) (degree, level), (to exceed) (cute) (adjective marker)
They have personality that surpasses all cuteness!
(I think you have to use a lot of exclamation to say these things?)
Of course, the weather might have a lot to do with it.
(ru2 guo4) (tian1 qi4) (sheng1 wen1), (mao2 xiao3 hai2) (huai4 pi2 qi4) (ke3 neng2) (ye3) (sheng1 wen1)
(if) (weather) (temperature rise), (hairy children) (bad temper) (maybe) (also) (temperature rise)
If the temperature rises, the pets’ bad temper may also rise.
(er2 qie3), (ta1 men.) (de.) (zhu3 ren2) (da4 gai4) (hui4) (shuo1),
(re4) (de.) (cheng2 du4) (yi3 jing1) (po4 biao3) (le.)
(moreover, besides), (they, their) (adjective marker) (owner, master) (probably) (will) (to speak, to say),
(hot) (adjective marker) (degree, level) (yi1 jing1) (po4 biao3) (le.)
Besides that, their owner will probably say, “It is so hot, it is off the scale!”
More specifics might be given, as in
(xian4 zai4) (wen1 du4) (yi3 jing1) (chao1 guo4) (hua2 shi4) (jiu3 shi2) (du4) (le.)
(now) (temperature) (already) (to surpass) (Fahrenheit) (nine tens) (degree) (emphasize completion)
Now the temperature is already more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit!
Not everyone is affected by heat the same way.
(bu4 guan1) (tian1 qi4) (you3) (duo1) (re4),
(wo3 de.) (lao3 gong1) (gong1 zuo4) (de.) (cheng2 du4),
(zhi2 shu4) (yi3 jing1) (po4 biao3) (le.).
(no matter) (weather) (to have, there is) (much) (hot, heat),
(my) (husband) (to work) (adjective marker) (degree, level),
(index) (already) (broke the scale) (emphasize completion)
No matter how hot the weather is, my husband works so much it can’t be measured.
(ta1) (yi1 bian1) (gong1 zuo4) (yi1 bian1) (he1) (hen3) (duo1) [(ning2 meng2)(shui3)] (ou1)
(he) (one side) (to work) (one side) (to drink) (very) (much) [(lemon)(water) = lemonade] (sound expression)
While he is working, he drinks a lot of lemonade.
I deal with the heat in other ways.
(wo3) (chuan1) (bi3 ji1 ni2), (ran2 hou4) (zai4) (you2 yong3 chi1) (li3) (you2 yong3)
(I) (to wear) (bikini), (then) (at) (to swim pool) (in) (to swim)
I put on a bikini, then swim in my pool.
(zhe4) (shi4) (zui4) (liang2 kuai4) (a1)
(this) (to be, is) (most) (refreshing, cool) (sound expression)
This is most refreshing!
There are other good results, too.
(wo3 de.) (lao3 gong1) (zong3 shi4) (shuo1),
“(ni3) (re4) (de.) (cheng2 du4), (zhi2 shu4) (yi3 jing1) (po4 biao3) (le.).”
(my) (husband) (always) (to say),
“(you) (hot) (adjective marker), (index) (already) (broke the scale) (emphasize completion).”
My husband always says, “You are so hot, you break the hot meter.”
(zhe4 ge.) (rang4) (wo3) (tai4) (goa1 xing4) (le.),
(chao1 guo4) (ni3) (neng2) (xiang3 xiang4) (de.)
(this) (to make) (me) (extremely) (happy) (emphasize completion),
(to surpass) (you) (able) (imagine) (adjective marker)
This makes me extremely happy, more than you can imagine.
I find I can adapt to the heat。
(wo3 de.) (pi2 fu1) [(yue4 lai2 yue4)(hei1)]
(my) (skin) [(more and more) (dark, suntan)]
My skin is getting darker.
(wo3 de.) (guang1 jiao3 ya1) (dui4) (re4) (de.) (ren3 nai4 du4) [(yue4 lai2 yeu4) (da4)]
(my) (bare feet) (toward) (hot) (adjective marker) (tolerance level) [(more and more) (big)]
My bare feet are getting more and more heat tolerant.
If someone let’s the heat really get to them and is behaving badly, you might say,
(ni3) (tai4) (chao1 guo4) (le.)
(you) (too) (to surpass, to exceed) (emphasize completion)
You are overdoing it.
(ke shi4) (wo3) (xi3 wang1) (mei3 ge.) (ren2) (hui4) (bao3 chi2) (liang2 kuai4)
(but) (I) (to hope) (every) (person) (will) (to keep, to maintain) (cool)
But I hope everyone will keep cool.
Stay tuned for a discussion of just how a cat can take a photo, anyway!
(xia4) (ci4) (jian4)
(next) (time) (to see)
See you next time!
In this audio, you can hear the whole blog read. The English is read by me and the Chinese is read by my native speaking tutor:
❶ A more completely accurate way of saying this would be to include the word for “to feel” 感覺 (gan3 jue2) right before the word that means “hot,” but, just like in English, sometimes words are left out for saying something quickly or for word play. With this included, the whole phrase would be:
❷ In case you didn’t notice, I am using the description “mama” here to go along with people referring to their pets as children. But I will switch later on when I want to indicate a change in attitude.
❸ The two descriptions indicating extreme levels, 破表了 (po4 biao3 le.) “to break the scale” and 超過 (chao1 guo) “to surpass,” would not be used in the same sentence.
❹ I am most familiar with using 有 (you3) as “to have,” but one of its complimentary meanings is “there is.” Thus, 有多熱 (you3 duo1 re4) means “there is much heat” or “how hot it is.” Knowing this form: 有多 + adjective = how (fill in adjective) it is! can help to remember how to use it for other sentences.
❺ There are other ways to say this. There is the now commonly used 夯 (hang1), which also means “hot.” The more flowery description of 紅到 (hong2 dao4), literally means “red to arrive,” but is taken to mean “popular, eminent, specially favored to a point.” Add the 破表了 (po4 biao3 le.) and it means “hot to a point that breaks the meter or scale or whatever is being used to measure this.”
This type of wording can be used with anything in the form [adjective or noun + 到 (dao4) + result or evaluation]. Examples my tutor gave me:
他生氣到不想吃飯。 He is mad to the point he doesn’t feel like eating.
我高興到不能睡覺。 I am happy to the point that I can’t sleep!
我熱到只想喝水。 I am hot to the point I just want to drink water.
(You can look up characters you don’t recognize by hand writing them on the KTdict Chinese-English app, or ask in the comments and I can tell you)
❻ Other meanings for (da4) are “highly, greatly, very,” so in this sentence they give the meaning of “more and more highly heat tolerant.”