Talking About Hobbies in Chinese Posted by sasha on Nov 8, 2021 in Grammar, Vocabulary
A great way to improve your Chinese is by talking about your hobbies (爱好 Ài hào). It’s more fun talking about what you like to do in your spare time than what you have to do at work or school. Plus, finding people who share the same hobbies as you gives you the chance to make new friends and have even more opportunities to practice speaking. In this post I’ll help you gain the confidence you need for talking about hobbies in Chinese.
Hobbies Vocabulary List
To get started, here’s a list of 25 vocabulary words for some typical hobbies. You can easily copy and paste it or even print it to study from:
tīng yīn yuè
dǎ lán qiú
tī zú qiú
liàn tài jí
kàn diàn yǐng
tán jí tā
lā xiǎo tí qín
kàn diàn shì
chū qù chī fàn
wán diàn zǐ yóu xì
xiě bó kè
listen to music
read a book
go online/surf the web
practice tai chi
see a movie
play video games
write a blog
Looking at this list of hobbies, you may notice a few things. For one, the Chinese words for “play basketball” and “play football” are different. For basketball, you use the verb 打. This is used for sports that you play with your hands, so you can also use it for ping pong, volleyball, tennis, and so on. Football uses the verb 踢 as you play it with your feet.
You’ll also notice that the verbs for “play guitar” and “play violin” are different. For guitar, you use 弹, while for the violin you use 拉. Which verb you use depends on the instrument and how you play it. You can use 弹 for instruments that you pluck or play, like the guitar or piano. Instruments that you use a bow for, like the violin or cello, use the verb 拉.
Asking and Answering About Hobbies
Now that you’ve got the vocabulary for some common hobbies, let’s learn how to ask and answer questions about them. Here are a few ways to do just that:
Nǐ de ài hào shì shén me?
What are your hobbies?
Wǒ de ài hào shì…
My hobbies are…
Nǐ xǐ huān zuò shén me?
What do you like to do?
Wǒ xǐ huān…
Nǐ de xìng qù shì shén me?
What are your interests?
Wǒ de xìng qù shì…
My interests are…
There’s another useful vocabulary word for you, as 兴趣 (interest) is another way to talk about things you like doing. Here are a few examples based on my own hobbies:
Wǒ de ài hào shì lǚ xíng, tīng yīn yuè, hé zuò yùn dòng
My hobbies are traveling, listening to music, and doing exercise.
wǒ xǐ huān tán jí tā hé dǎ lán qiú
I like playing guitar and basketball.
wǒ de xìng qù shì shè yǐng ér qiě xiě bó kè
My interests are photography and writing blogs.
You can also check out this post I wrote a few years ago about my hobbies for more reading practice. Now see if you can use the vocabulary list above and these sentence patterns to practice describing your own hobbies.
In order to become more fluent, you’ll want to be able to continue the conversation. That’s why it’s good to have some follow-up questions ready. Here are a few examples:
Nǐ duō jiǔ tī yī cì zú qiú?
How often do you play football?
Wǒ měi gè zhōu mò dōu tī zú qiú.
I play football every weekend.
Nǐ qù nǎ lǐ tiào wǔ?
Where do you go dancing?
Wǒ cháng cháng qù jiǔ bā tiào wǔ
I often go to bars to dance.
Nǐ gēn shéi kàn diàn yǐng?
Who do you watch movies with?
Wǒ gēn wǒ de péng yǒu men kàn diàn yǐng
I watch movies with my friends.
Nǐ shén me shí hòu shàng wǎng?
When do you go online?
Wǒ wǎn shàng de shí hòu shàng wǎng
I go online at night.
Hopefully this post helps you feel more comfortable talking about your hobbies in Chinese. Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know what yours are!
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