Mother's Day vocabulary

Happy Mother’s Day Vocabulary in Chinese

Mother’s Day is approaching. Mother, the most important character in a household, a child can’t live without. On this special day, let’s learn how to say Happy Mother’s Day, and other must-know related vocabulary in Mandarin Chinese.

Do you know when Mother’s Day is? Many countries celebrate this day on the second Sunday of May, while some countries have different days. Some countries celebrate “international Women’s Day, 国际妇女节 guójì fùnǚ jié” instead, or celebrate both of them on the same day. 

In both China and Taiwan, Mother’s Day is the second Sunday of May. 

Most of you may know how to say “mom” in Chinese, which is 妈妈/媽媽 māma. But we do use another word for “mother” in Chinese, which is 母亲/母親 mǔqīn. 母亲 mǔqīn is the formal way to say mother in Chinese. 母 mǔ means female.

Mother's Day Vocabulary

妈妈/媽媽 māma, mom, mama, mother

I found this interesting, in many languages around the world, we all have a similar way to call a mother! In Chinese, we say “妈妈/媽媽 māma.”

In the most of the textbooks, they usually simply introduce mother as “妈妈/媽媽 māma.” But the funny thing is, you rarely hear anyone really call their mom “māma.” You may hear some say “妈/媽 mā,” while some saying as second tone, like “má~~~.” Little kids may call their mom “mǎmá” (third and second tone.) But no matter what that may be, they all still have the same pinyin “ma.”

母亲/母親 mǔqīn, mother

This is a formal way to call a mother. We rarely call our mom as “母亲/母親 mǔqīn” nowadays. But you can still find the term in the written form and other formal settings.

母亲节快乐/母親節快樂 mǔqīn jié kuàilè, Happy Mother’s Day

When we say happy Mother’s Day, we use “母亲/母親 mǔqīn.” We don’t say 妈妈节快乐/媽媽節快樂 Māmā jié kuàilè. When wishing someone happy Mother’s Day, we say 母亲节快乐/母親節快樂 mǔqīn jié kuàilè.

孩子 háizi, 小孩 xiǎohái, child, children

This phrase is often used in formal settings, like in books, documents etc…

When you like to introduce how many kids you have, we usually use the phrase “小孩 xiǎohái” which literally means little child, little kid. 

I have three kids.

我有三个小孩。 

Wǒ yǒusān gè xiǎohái.

If you want to be specific, here are the words for sons and daughters:

儿子/兒子 érzi, son

女儿/女兒 nǚ ér, daughter

So, you can say

I have three kids. One son and two daughters. 

我有三个小孩。一个儿子,两个女儿。 

Wǒ yǒusān gè xiǎohái. Yīgè er zi, liǎng gè nǚ’ér.

Or you can also use these two words to describe gender

男生 nánshēng, boy

女生 nǚshēng, girl

Example:

I have three kids. One boy, two girls.

我有三个小孩。一个男生,两个女生。 

Wǒ yǒusān gè xiǎohái. Yīgè nánshēng, liǎng gè nǚshēng.

礼物/禮物 lǐwù, present, gift

I personally don’t really care if I receive gifts on this day (or any day, lol). Since many people may do so to express their love for the moms, it’s good to learn this vocabulary. 

The phrase for giving a gift is 送礼物 sòng lǐwù.

  • 花 huā, flower
  • 巧克力 qiǎokèlì, chocolate 

Flowers and chocolates are probably the most common gifts! Try to pronounce chocolate in Chinese! “巧克力 qiǎokèlì,” did you find them similar? Chocolate did not origin from Chinese culture, that’s why we took the sound and named it as such.

Below are the sentences we can say to our mother (at least on this day) at any time of the year. 

我爱您!/ 我愛您!wǒ ài nín! I love you!

In many of our culture posts, we talk about this word “您 nín, you” which is a polite and honorable way to say “你 or 妳 nǐ, you.” Your parents are definitely one of the people you respect. Therefore, we say 我爱您.  However, there is nothing wrong to simply say 妈妈,我爱你 nowadays.

辛苦了!xīnkǔle! Thank you for the hard work!

I can’t really find an equivalent phrase for this. The phrase 辛苦 is used to describe someone who has given their hard work, it could be labor work, time consuming work etc… For instance, a manager could tell an employee after he finishes a challenging project, “辛苦了!xīnkǔle! ” 

A mother is usually the one spending her time for her family, raising children, making meals, taking care of house work, and for some mothers, even working at the same time. No matter what kind, they usually work hard to keep their family safe, happy, and satisfied. So, not only on this day, but whenever you get the chance, tell your mom: 辛苦了!xīnkǔle! 

谢谢您! / 謝謝您!Xièxiè nín! Thank you!

Don’t be shy to express your gratitude! 

We often say:

Mom, thank you! Thank you for your hard work!

妈妈,谢谢您!辛苦了!

Māmā, xièxiè nín! Xīnkǔle!



As I grew up in Taiwan and moved to the US a while ago, I definitely can tell how different cultures form people to express their love. Most Chinese or in Asian culture, we are too shy to express our love verbally and even with obvious actions, like hugs and kisses. I am learning to express my love toward my family since you never know if you will have another chance.

  • 抱 bào, hug
  • 亲 / 親 qīn, kiss

美丽 / 美麗 měilì, beautiful

There are two words that we often use to describe a female, 漂亮 pretty and 美麗 beautiful. While 漂亮 pretty focus on the outward appearance, 美麗 beautiful can be used for someone who is good looking, or/and beautiful on the inside. 

Not all moms are good looking, but most of them have a very beautiful inner personality. They are willing to sacrifice their time, sleep, money, even themselves, to take care of their family.

照顾 / 照顧 zhàogù, to take care of…

In many families, mothers are often the one taking care of the whole family, in the sense of making meals, doing chores, and other physical needs. This phrase can also be used to describe someone taking care of animals and plants.

The sentence will look like “subject + 照顾 + object.”

The subject is the caregiver, and the object is the one that receives care. For instance,

Mom, thank you for taking care of us.

妈妈,谢谢妳照顾我们。 

Māmā, xièxiè nǎi zhàogù wǒmen.

Mother's Day Vocabulary Infographic

happy Mother's Day vocabulary infographic

The Songs You Can Sing to Mom

  1. This one is a classic. The song was made by a poem, is called 遊子吟 (Yóuzǐ Yín), ‘Song of the Wanderer’, by the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet 孟郊 (Mèng Jiāo)

The lyric talks about a mom sewing clothes for her child who is departing home soon. Even though nowadays the scene is harder to see, people rarely wear hand-sewed clothes, this song is still well-known in Chinese culture whenever we think about mothers. 

  1. Another song is also well-known in recent years and is made by Jay Chou, the song is called “Listen to Mom.” Here are the music video and lyric:

小朋友你是否有很多问号

为什么 别人在那看漫画

我却在学画画 对着钢琴说话

别人在玩游戏 我却靠在墙壁背我的ABC

我说我要一台大大的飞机

但却得到一台旧旧录音机

为什么要听妈妈的话

长大后你就会开始懂了这段话

长大后我开始明白

为什么我跑得比别人快 飞得比别人高

将来大家看的都是我画的漫画

大家唱的都是我写的歌

妈妈的辛苦不让你看见

温暖的食谱在她心里面

有空就多多握握她的手

把手牵着一起梦游



听妈妈的话 别让她受伤

想快快长大 才能保护她

美丽的白发 幸福中发芽

天使的魔法 温暖中慈祥



在你的未来 音乐是你的王牌

拿王牌谈个恋爱

唉 我不想把你教坏

还是听妈妈的话吧 晚点再恋爱吧

我知道你未来的路 但妈比我更清楚

你会开始学其他同学在书包写东写西

但我建议最好写妈妈我会用功读书

用功读书 怎么会从我嘴巴说出

不想你输 所以要叫你用功读书

妈妈织给你的毛衣 你要好好的收着

因为母亲节到时 我要告诉她我还留着

对了 我会遇到周润发

所以你可以跟同学炫耀赌神未来是你爸爸

我找不到童年写的情书

你写完不要送人

因为过两天你会在操场上捡到

你会开始喜欢上流行歌

因为张学友开始准备唱吻别

听妈妈的话 别让她受伤

想快快长大 才能保护她

美丽的白发 幸福中发芽

天使的魔法 温暖中慈祥

听妈妈的话 别让她受伤

想快快长大 才能保护她

长大后我开始明白

为什么我跑得比别人快 飞得比别人高

将来大家看的都是我画的漫画

大家唱的都是我写的歌

妈妈的辛苦不让你看见

温暖的食谱在她心里面

有空就多多握握她的手

把手牵着一起梦游

听妈妈的话 别让她受伤

想快快长大 才能保护她

美丽的白发 幸福中发芽

天使的魔法 温暖中慈祥

Little children, do you have a lot of questions?
Why, when others were reading manga
I was learning to draw and play the piano?
While the others were playing games, I was leaning on the wall, learning my ABCs?
I said that I wanted a huge airplane,
But I got an old, used recorder1 instead
Why should you listen to your mother’s words?
When you are grown up, you will begin to understand
 
When I grew up, I started to realize
Why I ran faster and flew higher than others
In the future, the manga that everyone reads will all be drawn by me,
And the songs they all sing will all be written by me
You can’t see your mother’s work
There are warm recipes in her heart,
When you have time, hold her hand
And holding hands. dream together.
 
Listen to your mother’s words, don’t let her get hurt
You want to grow up fast, so you will be able to take care of her
Beautiful white hair grows in happiness
The magic of an angel, warmth in kindness
 
In your future, music will be your secret weapon
Use it to find love, oh, I don’t want to teach you poorly
So listen to your mom’s words for now, be in love later
I know your future path, but your mother can see it more clearly than I
You will start to imitate your classmates and write things on your backpack
But I suggest you write: “Mom, I will study hard”
Study hard, why do I say this?
I don’t want you to lose, so I must tell you to study hard
The sweater your mother gave you, you must keep it well
Because on Mother’s Day, I want to tell her that I still have it
Yes, I’m going to run into Zhou Runfa 2
So you can dazzle your classmates, the God of Gambling 3 will be your father
 
I can’t find the love letter I wrote in my childhood, don’t give it away after you’ve written it
Because two days later you will find it on the playground
You will start to like pop music
Because Jacky Cheung is about to sing “Kiss Goodbye”
 
Listen to your mother’s words, don’t let her get hurt
You want to grow up fast, so you will be able to take care of her
Beautiful white hair grows in happiness
The magic of an angel, warmth in kindness
Listen to your mother’s words, don’t let her get hurt
You want to grow up fast, so you will be able to take care of her
 
When I grew up, I started to realize
Why I ran faster and flew higher than others
In the future, the manga that everyone reads will all be drawn by me,
And the songs they all sing will all be written by me
You can’t see your mother’s work
There are warm recipes in her heart,
When you have time, hold her hand
And holding hands. dream together.
 
Listen to your mother’s words, don’t let her get hurt
You want to grow up fast, so you will be able to take care of her
Beautiful white hair grows in happiness
The magic of an angel, warmth in kindness
 

https://lyricstranslate.com

 

  • 1. Refers to a machine that records sounds, not the musical instrument
  • 2. Chow Yun-fat, Chinese actor
  • 3. From a Hong Kong film starring Chow Yun-Fat

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