Hugs are cross cultural
Proving once again that there are many major similarities in common between most cultures, the Chinese word for to hug will be discussed today. While in English, the word has wonderful connotations, the Chinese version leaves no room for doubt.
First, some vocabulary:
擁抱 ㄩㄥˇ ㄅㄠˋ (yǒng bào) to embrace, to hug
完全地 ㄨㄢˊ ㄑㄩㄢˊ ㄉㄜ˙ (wán quán de.) completely
雙臂 ㄕㄨㄤ ㄅㄟˋ (shuāng bèi) both arms
互相 ㄏㄨˋ ㄒㄧㄤ (hù xiāng) mutually, each other
能量 ㄋㄥˊ ㄌㄧㄤˋ (néng liàng) energy, capabilities
接受 ㄐㄧㄝ ㄕㄡˋ (jiē shòu) to accept, to receive
困難 ㄎㄨㄣˋ ㄋㄢˊ (kùn nán) difficulties
不一樣的 ㄅㄨˋ ㄧˊ ㄧㄤˋ ㄉㄜ˙ (bù yí yàng de.) not the same
寶寶 ㄅㄠˇ ㄅㄠˇ (bǎo bǎo) baby, treasure
別人 ㄅㄧㄝˊ ㄖㄣˊ (bié rén) other person or other people
Sentences about the wonderful mystery of hugs!
(ㄖㄨˊ ㄍㄨㄛˇ)(ㄋㄧˇ)(ㄧㄠˋ)(ㄩㄥˇ ㄅㄠˋ)(ㄆㄥˊ ㄧㄡˇ),
(rú guǒ)(nǐ)(yào)(yǒng bào)(péng yǒu)
(if)(you)(to want)(to hug)(friend)
……(ㄋㄧˇ)(ㄉㄟˇ)[(ㄨㄢˊ ㄑㄩㄢˊ)(ㄉㄜ˙)](ㄩㄥˋ)[(ㄋㄧˇ)(ㄉㄜ˙)](ㄕㄨㄤ ㄅㄟˋ)
……(nǐ)(děi)[(wán quán)(de.)](yòng)[(nǐ)(de.)](shuāng bèi)
……(you)(must)[(complete)(-ly)](to use)[(you)(adjective marker)](both arms)
You must completely use both arms if you want to hug a friend.
The first word in the duo, 擁 ㄩㄥˇ (yǒng), means embrace or hold, giving an impression of total involvement. The second word, 抱 ㄅㄠˋ(bào), means those things, plus adds the emphasis of using the arms and “harboring or cherishing in the bosom.” If there is an aspect of full mutuality to the exchange, one might say:
(ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙)[(ㄏㄨㄢ ㄒㄧˇ)(ㄉㄜ˙)](ㄏㄨˋ ㄒㄧㄤ)(ㄩㄥˇ ㄅㄠˋ)
(wǒ men.)[(huān xǐ)(de.)](hù xiāng)(yǒng bào)
(we)[(happy)(ly)](mutually, each other)(to hug)
We happily hugged each other.
It is a well known, but not easily studied fact that：
(ㄇㄟˇ)(ㄍㄜ˙)(ㄖㄣˊ)(ㄒㄩ ㄧㄠˋ)(ㄏㄣˇ)(ㄉㄨㄛ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄩㄥˇ ㄅㄠˋ)
(měi)(ge.)(rén)(xū yào)(hěn)(duō)(de.)(yǒng bào)
(every)(MW for person)(one/person)(to need)(very)(many)(adjective marker)(hug)
Everyone needs many hugs.
In any language, hugs are therapeutic and
(ㄖㄣˊ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄅㄟˋ)(ㄩㄥˇ ㄅㄠˋ)(ㄏㄨㄟˋ)(ㄧㄡˇ)(ㄍㄥˋ ㄉㄨㄛ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄋㄥˊ ㄌㄧㄤˋ)
(rén men.)(bèi)(yǒng bào)(huì)(yǒu)(gèng duō)(de.)(néng liàng)
(people)(indicates subject passively receiving action)(to hug/hugged)(will)(to have)(even more)(energy)
people who are hugged have more energy.
In scientifically unprovable ways,
(ㄏㄣˇ)(ㄉㄨㄛ)(ㄩㄥˇ ㄅㄠˋ)(ㄖㄤˋ)(ㄖㄣˊ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄐㄩㄝˊ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄅㄧˇ ㄐㄧㄠˋ)(ㄖㄨㄥˊ ㄧˋ)(ㄐㄧㄝ ㄕㄡˋ)(ㄎㄨㄣˋ ㄋㄢˊ)
(hěn)(duō)(yǒng bào)(ràng)(rén men.)(jué de.)(bǐ jiào)(róng yì)(jiē shòu)(kùn nán)
(very many)(hugs)(make)(people)(feel)(comparatively)(easy)(to receive)(difficulty)
Many hugs make it feel comparatively easy to accept difficulties.
(ㄉㄚˋ ㄐㄧㄚ)(ㄗㄨㄛˋ)(ㄗㄞˋ)(ㄧˋ ㄑㄧˇ)(ㄍㄣ)(ㄏㄨˋ ㄒㄧㄤ)(ㄩㄥˇ ㄅㄠˋ)(ㄕˋ),(ㄅㄨˋ)(ㄧˊ ㄧㄤˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙)
(dà jiā)(zuò)(zài)(yì qǐ)(gēn)(hù xiāng)(yǒng bào)(shì), (bù)(yí yàng)(de.)
(everyone)(sit)(at)(together)(with)(each other)(to hug)(to be/is), (not)(the same)(adjective marker)
everyone is sitting together is different than hugging each other.
In one of the peculiarities of Chinese,
(ㄋㄧˇ)(ㄎㄜˇ ㄧˇ)(ㄅㄠˋ)(ㄧ)(ㄍㄜ˙)(ㄅㄠˇ ㄅㄠˇ)
(nǐ)(kě yǐ)(bào)(yī)(ge.)(bǎo bǎo)
you can hold a baby.
You might even
(ㄩㄥˇ ㄅㄠˋ)(ㄅㄠ)(ㄗㄞˋ)(ㄅㄠ ㄅㄟˋ)(ㄌㄧˇ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄊㄚ)
(to hug, to embrace)(to wrap, to hold)(adds -ing to previous word, indicates in the middle of doing)(wrap, bundle)(by)(in)(adjective marker)(him)
embrace him wrapped in a bundle.
In any case,
(ㄖㄨˊ ㄍㄨㄛˇ)(ㄋㄧˇ)(ㄩ鞥ㄅㄠˋ)(ㄅㄝˊ ㄖㄣˊ),
(rú guǒ)(nǐ)(yǒng bào)(bié rén),
(if)(you)(to hug)(other people),
……(ㄋㄧˇ)(ㄧㄥ ㄍㄞ)(ㄧㄝˇ)(ㄏㄨㄟˋ)(ㄅㄟˋ)(ㄩㄥˇ ㄅㄠˋ)
……(nǐ)(yīng gāi)(yě)(huì)(bèi)(yǒng bào).
if you hug other people, you will probably also be hugged.
❶ In this case, 擁抱 ㄩㄥˇ ㄅㄠˋ (yǒng bào) can be a noun or verb as needed.
❷ 雙臂 can be pronounced ㄕㄨㄤ ㄅㄧˋ or ㄕㄨㄤ ㄅㄟˋ. Either way it means both arms. 雙 means a set of two, a pair. 臂 means arm.
❸ The characters in reverse (喜歡) is a common way of saying you like something. In this order, the word can still mean that, because, of course, you like something that makes you happy!
❹ For this sentence, the first character is dropped and embracing or holding is conveyed just with using 抱.
❺ The word for baby literally means treasure. That is easy to remember.