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What is Your Life Philosophy 你的人生哲學是什麼?

My Chinese tutor and I got a bit philosophical last week. It began when we were discussing vocabulary that had to do with having enough time. (Look for this in a future post). She taught me the idiom in the second sentence, then asked me this question:




(ㄋㄧˇ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄖㄣˊ ㄕㄥ)(ㄓㄜˊ ㄒㄩㄝˊ)(ㄕˋ)(ㄔㄣˊ ㄇㄜ˙)

(nǐ de.)(rén shēng)(zhé xué)(shì)(shén me.)

(your)(life/one’s time on earth)(philosophy)(to be/is)(what)

What is your life philosophy?



The philosophy in this phrase is a classic Chinese idiom:


一個很好的人生哲學是 「活到老,學到老」

(一)(個)(很)(好)(的)(人生)(哲學)(是) 「(活)(到)(老),(學)(到)(老)」

(ㄧ)(ㄍㄜ˙)(ㄏㄣˇ)(ㄏㄠˇ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄖㄣˊ ㄕㄥ)(ㄓㄜˊ ㄒㄩㄝˊ)(ㄕˋ) (ㄏㄨㄛˊ)(ㄉㄠˋ)(ㄌㄠˇ), (ㄒㄩㄝˊ)(ㄉㄠˋ)(ㄌㄠˇ)

(yī)(ge.)(hěn)(hǎo)(de.)(rén shēng)(zhé xué)(shì)  (huó)(dào)(lǎo), (xué)(dào)(lǎo)

(one, a)(measure word)(very)(good)(adjective marker)(life)(philosophy)(is)  (live)(go to, arrive)(old, aged), (learning)(go to, arrive)(old, aged)

One good life philosophy is, “One is never too old to learn.”


This is one of her favorites:




(ㄌㄧㄥˋ ㄧ)(ㄍㄜ˙)(ㄇㄟˇ ㄏㄠˇ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄖㄣˊ ㄕㄥ)(ㄓㄜˊ ㄒㄩㄝˊ)(ㄕˋ)…

(lìng yī)(ge.)(měi hǎo)(de.)(rén shēng)(zhé xué)(shì)…

(another)(measure word)(beautiful, wonderful)(adjective marker)(life)(philosophy)(is, to be)…


……(ㄉㄨㄛ)(ㄞˋ)(ㄗˋ ㄐㄧˇ), (ㄘㄞˊ ㄋㄥˊ)(ㄒㄩㄝˊ)(ㄏㄨㄟˋ)(ㄞˋ)(ㄅㄧㄝˊ ㄖㄣ˙)

……(duō)(ài)(zì jǐ), (cái néng)(xué)(huì)(ài)(bié rén)

Another wonderful life philosophy is, “Love yourself much, then you will have the capacity to be able to love other people.”


And you have all heard of this one before…




(ㄧㄡˇ ㄒㄧㄝ)(ㄖㄢˊ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄖㄣˊ ㄕㄥ)(ㄓㄜˊ ㄒㄩㄝˊ)(ㄕˋ)…

(yǒu xié)(rén)(de.)(rén shēng)(zhé xué)(shì)…

(some)(people)(adjective marker)(life)(philosophy)(is, to be)

…..(吃)(吧)  (喝)(把)  (快快樂樂)(吧)

……(ㄔ)(ㄅㄚ˙)  (ㄏㄜ)(ㄅㄚ˙)  (ㄎㄨㄞˋ ㄎㄨㄞˋ ㄌㄜˋ ㄌㄜˋ)(ㄅㄚ˙)

……(chī)(ba.)   (hē)(ba.)   (kuài kuài lè lè)(ba.)

……(to eat)(suggestion sound)   (to drink)(suggestion sound)  (to be happy, merry)(suggestion sound)

Some people’s life philosophy is, “Eat! Drink! Be merry!”


Then, I worked on expressing mine –




(ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄖㄣˊ ㄕㄥ)(ㄓㄜˊ ㄒㄩㄝˊ)(ㄧㄡˇ)(ㄌㄧㄤˇ)(ㄅㄨˋ ㄈㄣˋ)

(wǒ de.)(rén shēng)(zhé xué)(yǒu)(liǎng)(bù fèn)

(my)(life)(philosophy)(to have)(two)(part, piece)

My life philosophy has two parts.




(ㄕㄡˇ ㄒㄧㄢ), (ㄧㄨㄥˋ)(ㄑㄩㄢˊ ㄅㄨˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄒㄧㄣ)(ㄞˋ)(ㄕㄣˊ),

(shǒu xiān), (yòng)(quán bù)(de.)(xīn)(ài)(shén),

(in the first place, first of all), (to use)(whole, entire)(adjective marker)(heart)(to love)(God)


……(ㄧㄝˇ)(ㄞˋ)(ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄌㄧㄣˊ ㄖㄣˊ)(ㄍㄣ)(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄗˋ ㄐㄧˇ)(ㄧˊ ㄧㄤˋ)

……(yě)(ài)(wǒ de.)(lín rén)(gēn)(wǒ)(zì jǐ)(yí yàng)

……(also)(to love)(my)(neighbor)(as)(my)(self)(same)

First of all, love God with my whole heart, and also love my neighbor as myself.


Do you have a life philosophy? Maybe you can use one of the sentences below to write your own in the comments. 🙂


❶ 個 is added in this sentence because I lean towards learning for conversation and my tutor said it sounds better to include that measure word when saying it.

❷ 美妙 ㄇㄟˇ ㄇㄧㄠˋ (měi miào) and 美好 ㄇㄟˇ ㄏㄠˇ (měi hǎo) both mean “wonderful,” but 美妙 is used for abilities and skills (such as singing, dancing), while 美好 is more for situations and relationships. The difference is not enough to confuse the conversation, but using them correctly will make you sound better.

❸ 上帝 ㄕㄤˋ ㄉㄧˋ (shàng dì) is another common word for “God,” however my tutor prefers 神 ㄕㄣˊ (shén) because it gives more of an impression of being interactive and more personal, whereas she the imagery of 上帝 is more of an emperor that sits apart haughtily.

❹ There are several possible combinations of Chinese characters that are translated as “neighbor,” but this one specifically connotes anyone you may come across, but doesn’t necessarily live right next to you.