Monday, June 4, 2012

Mandarin Mondays: 感冒 (Common Cold)

I mentioned recently that our whole family caught a cold over the weekend. It really isn't anything serious, and our boys already got over it in one day. My husband and I still have the sniffles, but it isn't anything terrible. We're taking extra vitamin C, eating well, and drinking lots of fluids, and we will probably be over this bug shortly.

To the Chinese people though, catching a cold (gǎn mào, 感冒) is a very serious matter. If fact people often go to the hospital here when they catch a common cold. Usually, they are simply given an IV and sent home, possibly with some pear medicine for a sore throat or some other kind of medicine.

Most people also still really seem to believe that having a cold (gǎn mào, 感冒) is related to being cold (lěng,). That is, your internal temperature is too cold (lěng,) and thus you are sick with a cold (gǎn mào, 感冒). There are other diseases that they believe are caused by too much internal heat. One person I know says this includes pink eye. Even people we know who are pretty aware of germs, wash their hands frequently, and take extra precautions when preparing food, will still pile on the sweaters and blankets when they have a cold. It is just the way it works here. And you definitely shouldn't tell any Chinese people that you have a cold if you are wearing anything less than 3 sweaters and a parka, even in the middle of summer, because you will get harshly scolded and tell you to go home and put more clothes on.

I actually find it kind of ironic that the words cold (gǎn mào, 感冒) and cold (lěng,) in English are the same, but different in Mandarin. I would definitely expect it to be the other way around because this belief is so ingrained into their culture.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you are having difficulties posting a comment, try selecting Name/URL in the drop down box below (the URL is optional).


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...