I have a very interesting student who learns Chinese with our private online Chinese course.
Yesterday we were talking about the different ways of saying “wife”. He already knew 太太(tài tɑi) and 妻子(qī zi) were used for formal situations and 老婆(lǎo po) for informal situations. I told him that there was another way to express it-另一半(lìnɡ yí bàn) which literally means “other half”. Actually it can be used both for husband and wife. He was so happy and said: “We have the same expression in English! We also say ‘other half’ for husband and wife! That’s an interesting expression.” He also said: “If your other half is much taller or bigger than you, you can say ‘He is my two thirds’” I burst into laughter.
The Chinese language and English language are quite different but they also share something in common. These interesting similar expressions help us find the similarity in language and thinking. Besides they help our Chinese students learn Mandarin easier.