我怕...(I'm afraid of ….)

我怕...
wǒ pà...
(I am afraid of...)

The topic of fear came up the other day and while having a quick bite to eat in the office, some of René’s colleagues starting talking about things that scared them:

我怕狗
wǒ pà gǒu.
I’m afraid of dogs

我怕蛇
wǒ pà shé
I’m afraid of snakes.

我怕蜘蛛
zhīzhū
I’m afraid of spiders.

René had also learned other synonyms in Chinese for ‘afraid’:

-害怕
hàipà
to be afraid

-恐怕
to be afraid
kǒngpà

-恐惧
kǒngjù
to be terrified

Last night at dinner one of René’s colleagues said:

2003年听到SARS 流行的报道, 我们都很恐惧.

Língsānnian tīngdào SARS liúxíngde bàodào, wǒmen dōu hěn kǒngjù.

In 2003 when people heard of the spread of SARS, we were all terrified (full of terror).

恐怖 kǒngbù ('horrible’, ‘terrifying’, ‘dreadful,’) was used to describe the recent drought devastating Yunnan province. A friend in Kunming sent the following text message:

这边的干旱, 百年不遇的灾, 太恐怖...
Zhèibiānde gānhàn, bǎinián búyùde zāi, tài kǒngbù....

The drought here [in Yunnan], is a disaster not seen (不遇, lit: ‘not encountered’) in a hundred years. It’s really dreadful….

Several weeks later the topic of being afraid came up again, this time when René was talking with a man in his late sixties. The man said there were three ways you could die:

怕死
pàsǐ
afraid to die

等死
děng sǐ
waiting to die

找死
zhǎosǐ
live recklessly or dangerously

René asked the man which of these three he prescribed to.

The man replied:

我(在)等死
Wǒ (zài) děng sǐ
I’m waiting to die.

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