Author: zhoupu

How do you say 'ganbei' in English? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2008-10-3 20:46:23 |Display all floors
We were taught to use 'cheers' to mean 'ganbei'.We seldom pay attention to the difference between 'cheers' and 'bottom up',though we sometimes also use "bottom up" .
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Post time 2008-10-5 23:15:39 |Display all floors
cheers

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Post time 2008-10-7 10:36:00 |Display all floors
gan bei..
in my opinion,it means bless the person welfare ,health.. or congratulations
you know,Chinese is too complicated  to speak that in other languages.

then 'gan bei'  got different meanings on different occasions,right?

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Post time 2008-10-8 11:47:30 |Display all floors

Ganbei

When I first came to China in 1994 and attended dinner functions I was presented with water sized glasses filled with baijiu and the clear intention was that I should drain the glass along with the person proferring the toast as a sign of mutual respect.  The object being that the full glass should be emptied and not just a sip or mouthful as this was only a partial complement.  After the drink was emptied the host would make a point of showing the empty glass.  It got so bad that I started taking my own very small glass as it seemed that the empty glass was as important as the quantity.   So therefore the term 'bottoms up' would be relevant.  However this term is not used as a sign of respect it is just as light as the term 'cheers' which implies a sip or mouthful for friendship.

It seems to me that in English the term 'a toast' would be more reciprical as a toast implies or has more meaning in that you are agreeing a deal or a pact of frienship and sealing this with the act of drinking.  With a toast the pact is sealed either with eye contact or a small statement.  The purpose or meaning is a wish or hope for the future.

It is however a sign of insobriety and gluttony in the western world to drain your glass so quickly and propriety suggests that you should just sip your drink for a toast or cheers and bottoms up is usually only used when your are aware that there is only a small amount of drink left in the glass or to finish an evening.  It would not make sense to have a full pint of beer and say bottoms up.

Ganbei is a curious part of Chinese culture which has a special meaning within that culture.  Nowadays in China I have found that the hosts at a meal are much more amenable to their guest taking a smaller amount of the drink rather than expecting the glass to be drained.  They are however still delighted if you do drain the glass.

In a film called "Dark Matter' in which a Chinese student is in America he profers the toast, "up your bottom', a poor literal translation of bottom's up which is quite funny if the film were not so tragic.

Cheers

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Post time 2008-10-8 12:05:54 |Display all floors
Originally posted by expatter at 2008-10-8 11:47
When I first came to China in 1994 and attended dinner functions I was presented with water sized glasses filled with baijiu and the clear intention was that I should drain the glass along with the ...


i believe you have not heard those YAMSENG cheers till you drop!!!

Brose
What's on your mind now........ooooooooooooooo la la....Kind Regards

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Post time 2008-10-8 12:54:00 |Display all floors

caringhk

Thanks for that.  In the early visits to China at functions it was quite difficult to stay upright until I used the smaller glass.

I live in Guangzhou now and that's an interesting point you raise, I have not heard of YAMSENG which as I understand it Cantonese means 'drink to victory / success.  I still get invited to meals through business and government and think I can assume that where I live most people have immigrated from other areas of China rather than being native Cantonese.  I will try that out the next time the occaision occurs.

YAMSENG!!

BURP!!   

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Post time 2008-10-8 12:59:24 |Display all floors
Originally posted by expatter at 2008-10-8 12:54
Thanks for that.  In the early visits to China at functions it was quite difficult to stay upright until I used the smaller glass.

I live in Guangzhou now and that's an interesting point you rai ...



Glad now you know too

it's common here esp. wedding dinners where the groom had to YAMSENG at each of say 50-80 tableswe all worry for his weak knees after that as he had to perform later at night
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