321 Make A Phone Call

Have you ever thought that the English phrase “to punch in the numbers” was a little strange? Josh Edbrooke from Transition “calls” in to the studio to talk about the word for “make a phone call” in Chinese. It relates to drumming in a way because the Chinese word for making a phone call uses the verb “to hit,” the same word used to describe “playing” or “hitting” the drums. “Hit the phone!”

ShaoLan explains that originally in Chinese, there was a completely different word for the actual phone itself, which was simply a phonetic copy of the English, but it was super-ceded by the Japanese interpretation of the word which worked well in Chinese too. This episode also contains lots of useful phrases for using when you are talking on the phone, as well as mentioning some of the new words which have had to be invented with the onset of new technology!

The Chinese word for making a phone call is 打電話/打电话. The first character is the verb “to hit,” while the second two words mean “electricity” and “talk.” So when you “hit an electric conversation,” you are making a phone call 打電話/打电话.

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Make a phone call
打電話 / 打电话
dǎ diàn huà
To hit, to dial
電話 / 电话
diàn huà
電 / 电
Talk, dialect
話 / 话
Mobile phone
手提電話 or 手機 or 移動 / 手提电话 or 手机 or 移动
shǒu tí diàn huà or shǒu jī or yí dòng
Answer a phone call
接電話 / 接电话
jiē diàn huà
To receive, to catch
Borrow someone's phone
借電話 / 借电话
jiè diàn huà
Can I borrow your phone?
我可以借電話嗎? / 我可以借电话吗? /
wǒ kě yǐ jiè diàn huà ma?
To return a phone call
回電話 / 回电话
huí diàn huà
Dial the wrong number
打錯電話 / 打错电话
dǎ cuò diàn huà
Wrong, error
錯 / 错
對不起 / 对不起
duì bù qǐ
I dialed the wrong number
我打錯電話了 / 我打错电话了
wǒ dǎ cuò diàn huà le
That's ok.
沒關係 / 没关系
méi guān xi
Hello, used at the beginning of a telephone conversation
I give you a call
我打電話給你 or 我打給你 / 我打电话给你 or 我打给你
wǒ dǎ diàn huà gěi nǐ or wǒ dǎ gěi nǐ
To give
給 / 给

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