Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Dawei3

How do you say “hike” and “hiking” in  Chinese?

Recommended Posts

Dawei3

The recently issued Pimsleur Mandarin 5 teaches 远足 yuanzu for hike/hiking.  In regards to hike/hiking, I mean to walk for pleasure for an extended time on a trail in a remote area, woods, or slightly hilly area; not mountain climbing. 

 

Chinese friends from the Mainland, Taiwan & Singapore uniformly said they NEVER say 远足.  A few noted 远足 is used in writing (书面语).  One from Taiwan said 远足 could be used for field trips with kids.  Another from Taiwan wrote that if I say  远足, “they may think you are pretend yourself is still in kindergarten” [sic] 哈哈哈  (Just typing this makes me laugh. To think that if I didn’t ask, I’d be walking around & talking like I was a kindergartener.)

 

I asked them what they use instead of 远足 & most struggled to give an answer and some could not.  Because there wasn’t a straightforward answer, before posting their responses, I thought it might be better to hear all-of-your perspectives unbiased from reading what my friends said.  How would you said "go for a hike" or "I went hiking..."  etc.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

roddy
27 minutes ago, Dawei3 said:

I asked them what they use instead of 远足 & most struggled to give an answer and some could not.

I'm inclined to ask, if they don't know the right word, how do they know it's not  远足? The Wiki page seems spot on ( 徒步亦称远足、行山或是健行). It's used in Hong Kong. Beijing Hikers use 徒步. 

 

I suspect the problem isn't the vocabulary, it's the concept. Why can't you just 爬山 like normal people?

 

I'm going to go with 徒步, referring to Decathlon

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
889

I seem to recall asking the same question years ago and being told to use 途径, with 搞 or 走, I forget which.

 

But a quick Google search doesn't provide much confirmation of the usage.

 

It's also possible the person I asked didn't quite understand "hiking" in the Western sense.

 

Nonetheless, as Roddy suggests, I usually fall back on 爬山, which seems to have a broader meaning in Chinese than the characters literally suggest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
somethingfunny

I second 徒步, that’s the only term I’ve come across.  Although what a chinese person considers hiking, and what I consider hiking can vary considerably.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wurstmann

1 out of 1 people I asked said 远足. She's from 安徽.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dawei3
18 hours ago, Wurstmann said:

said 远足. She's from 安徽.

Will she actually say 远足 in conversation?  I'm asking because 100% of the people I asked were absolutely clear that they never say 远足. 

 

Here's what I've found:

 

Most said 徒步旅行 tubu lvxing.  A few said 爬山 (but they hesitated because this is more for climbing a mountain.  However, their response is in agreement with 899's comment, i.e., the meaning of 爬山 may have broadened).  Google, KT Dict, and Pleco give 远足 for hike and tubu lvxing 徒步旅行 for hiking. 

 

One Taiwan colleague suggested 一起去郊外走走 (yiqi qu jiaowai) or 一起去踏青 (yiqi qu taqing)  I didn’t get a chance to ask Mainlanders if they say this too, but none mentioned these. 

 

21 hours ago, roddy said:

I'm inclined to ask, if they don't know the right word, how do they know it's not  远足?

 

I thought this was interesting too.  It's one of the reasons I posted the question.  

 

Those that struggled the most with the question were also the most fluent in English.  One who said this is ~50 years old and has been in the US for ~25 years.  And a  ~28 year old who's been in the US ~5 years also said she never uses  远足.  When I asked what do you say, she said "I'll ask my mom." (in China) 哈哈哈哈!

 

A friend from Beijing, who lives in the US, gave a particularly insightful response.  Her thoughts help answer Roddy's question.  She noted that in a city like Beijing, there is really no place to hike, so there was little need for such a word.  And in remote areas, people are unlikely to walk for pleasure in the woods.  She feels there is no good Chinese equivalent for hike/hiking and when she speaks in Chinese, she uses the English words, hike & hiking.  

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mackie1402

My wife (Hangzhou) said 徒步, but she's also heard 远足 and said that's fine, too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roddy

徒步行 to me implies a multi-day trip. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NinjaTurtle

From my Mainland students:

 

go hiking (go backpacking)  

 徒 步 旅 行       
 远足       

 

go mountain climbing        

登山运动  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bibu

know 远足, no idea if heard it in real life.  徒步 or 爬山, 遛弯, 出去走走 used in Beijing, 行山 in Hong Kong

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NinjaTurtle

I want to add that, in English, my Chinese students have difficulty differentiating between "hiking" and "mountain climbing". I tell them that they have to use their hands to go mountain climbing, but "only walk" and "not use" their hands to go hiking. (I don't bring up the idea of using a walking stick for hiking, as I think this would just confuse the issue.)

 

It is very common for my students to say "mountain climbing" when they really mean "hiking". (It is common for them to say, "I went mountain climbing on Saturday" when I know they didn't!)

 

Is there a lack of such a distinction between the two terms in Chinese?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dawei3
5 hours ago, NinjaTurtle said:

lack of such a distinction between the two terms in Chinese

 

Thanks for all of the responses.  A long response....

 

I find the evolution of language fascinating.  When there is a gap in a language, other words can evolve to fill the need, but in the transitional time, those words may feel “wrong” and their meanings may be unclear and it looks like this is happening.  From all-of-the responses, it seems like there isn’t one word that fully correlates with hike/hiking.      

That:

1) Ninja’s students can’t differentiate between mountain climbing & hiking

2) 889’s feeling that 爬山 is broadening in meaning

3) My friend who said 爬山, but felt she needed to ask her mother

                (all 3 of which suggest 爬山 is imprecise/evolving, that literally in means mountain climbing, but it is evolving beyond this)

4) Roddy’s feeling that 徒步旅行 is multi-day

 

Maybe 爬山 will evolve to fill hike/hiking?, maybe 远足 will become more spoken (this seems unlikely)?, or 徒步旅行 become the word for hiking? 

 

To add more flavor to the above, I looked up the origin of “hike” in English, but found its origin is unknown.  This made me wonder about other European languages.  I stopped a native Spanish speaker in the hallway & asked her for the Spanish word.  She thought for a long-time, laughed, started to say mountain climbing, and then laughed at herself again.  Then she said “next time I see you, I’ll have an answer.” 

 

Similarly, a Ukrainian, who is also highly fluent in English, also said there is no equivalent word in Ukrainian.  She even googled it just to check herself.  To say hiking, she said she’d use the word for pleasurable walking and describe the situation.

 

And if you think about it, hiking is a highly nuanced way to talk about walking for pleasure.    

 

To others on this forum who are non-native English speakers:  Does your language have an exact equivalent word for hike/hiking or is your word like described by my Ukrainian colleaguge ? (I hope Roddy doesn’t mind me broadening this to a non-Chinese topic.  Knowing that other languages don’t have a word for hiking give insight on its seeming absence in Chinese)

  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
陳德聰

遠足 sounds like "a trek" which I guess is what hikes are but to me it sounds as ridiculous as saying "I went on a trek the other day."

 

徒步 sounds like just walking around anywhere whereas hiking to me is supposed to be done out in nature/wilderness. I would accept this as being close enough, and I imagine like... the pilgrimage or whatever it is, el camino de Santiago-esque.

 

爬山 is what I usually use to say hiking, even though 爬 implies your hands touch the ground, because all of our local hikes essentially consist of relatively steep mountain trails. Some people think of 攀岩 or 登山 when they hear 爬山, but they're not the same even in Chinese so I am fine explaining the difference if someone is confused.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moshen

 

Quote

And if you think about it, hiking is a highly nuanced way to talk about walking for pleasure.    

 

Right.  Hiking is NOT the same as walking for pleasure.  I walk 5 miles almost every day, but I wouldn't call that hiking because most of the time my routes take me on unpaved or paved roads.  Even when I go on a trail during one of those walks, I don't call it a hike because it's not strenuous enough.

 

To me, hiking involves strenuous ups and downs on a trail away from civilization, or deliberate exploration for at least a couple of hours in wild woods.  And usually there is a bit of danger involved.  When I hike, I go with someone else because of that danger.

 

And the important thing to note is that some cultures do not have this as a common activity!  Therefore they may not have a word for it.

 

I remember reading in the Lonely Planet guidebook for Puerto Rico that there were very few trails on the island because Puerto Ricans were not into hiking.  Well, in that case it would not be surprising at all if there were no separate word for it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dawei3

As a followup to the above;  a friend recently went on hiking trip outside of Beijing that was organized by a company.  I asked her:  what word did they use for hiking?  

 

休闲徒步  Xiuxian tubu = leisure hiking 

 

On 7/26/2019 at 6:57 PM, Moshen said:

hiking involves strenuous ups and downs on a trail away from civilization, or deliberate exploration for at least a couple of hours in wild woods.  And usually there is a bit of danger involved

What my friend did outside of Beijing fit Moshen's definition.

 

The description is here:  

https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/TrJmel9ctP71n7JO6YhW4A

(it's not actual climbing, just hiking)

 

The flyer also uses the phrases:  初级强度徒步路线

到达徒步起点峨峪

徒步活动具有一定的危险性  (hiking is dangerous - as Moshen noted)

 

爬山 isn't used once by the company.

 

My Chinese friends in the US are still more likely to say 爬山.  However, after seeing the above, I want to ask more friends in China.  Since the ones that speak English well are hesitant to use 爬山 for hiking (even though they say 爬山 themselves), if companies regularly advertise hiking trips using 徒步, I could see this word being readily adopted.  

 

Also to Moshen's point, it is interesting when one realizes all of the meaning implicit in a single word like hiking.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lu
On 7/26/2019 at 10:26 PM, Dawei3 said:

To others on this forum who are non-native English speakers:  Does your language have an exact equivalent word for hike/hiking or is your word like described by my Ukrainian colleaguge?

For the longest time using English I used to think that hiking = strenuous walk in the mountains, so pretty much mountrain climbing. (In my thinking, if you move yourself forward on a mountain under your own power and end up higher than you started, you have been climbing the mountain, whether you used a trail or ropes & hands.)

 

In Dutch we use 'wandelen', walking as a leasure activity, so the same as your Ukrainian colleague. If it's in the mountains, you could use 'bergwandelen' (mountain-walking). For other environments, you'd just describe it: wandelen op de hei (walking among the heath), wandelen in het bos (walking in the forest), wandelen in de duinen (walking in the dunes)... If there is a little danger, as per Moshen's definition, we still use 'wandelen' and the danger is implied by where you do it. Whether it's strenuous or not is entirely up to the wandelaar themselves: you can go wandelen in the park with your grandma or you can go wandelen in the Alps.

 

I've never missed the exact word 'hiking' in my Dutch vocabulary (and will continue to not miss it, I've done all kinds of walks that you'd call hikes and never felt I had any trouble talking about them) and it's weird that somehow I feel that English-speakers don't need it either so don't feel you're so special grrrr grrr. And this:

On 7/25/2019 at 5:21 PM, 889 said:

It's also possible the person I asked didn't quite understand "hiking" in the Western sense.

is not right. 'Hiking' is not a Western thing, it's an English word. If Chinese doesn't have an exact term that covers the exact meaning of this very precise word, that doesn't mean Chinese people don't do the thing or can't talk about it. They do it on the Great Wall, they do it on 香山 and other 山s, and they come home and talk about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moshen
Quote

'Hiking' is not a Western thing, it's an English word. If Chinese doesn't have an exact term that covers the exact meaning of this very precise word, that doesn't mean Chinese people don't do the thing or can't talk about it. They do it on the Great Wall, they do it on 香山 and other 山s, and they come home and talk about it.

 

If you're talking about the touristed sections of the Great Wall, that is not hiking.  I climbed Tai Shan and in English that is not properly described as hiking either, not in the slightest.  If the trail is paved, it is not hiking.  You can climb without hiking and hike without climbing.

 

Quote

For the longest time using English I used to think that hiking = strenuous walk in the mountains, so pretty much mountrain climbing.

 

No.  We don't have real mountains where I live, but it's possible to take strenuous hikes in our hilly woods for 5-6 hours without encountering any other people.

 

And on a general level:  Generally if a culture does something to a significant extent, they have a word for it, and when they don't do it, they might not have a word for it.

 

Some years back I was hired to adapt an Australian course on travel writing for the American audience.  There were several words I encountered that I had a hard time "translating" into American-speak because we just didn't do those things much and therefore I didn't know our local words for them.  One such word was "abseiling," which apparently is a very popular sport in Australia.  The only word I could find that would be familiar to American readers was "rappelling," but even that was not a great choice, since this is not a sport of its own in the US.  From what I know, people do rappel in the US but only as part of climbing, not as an activity on its own, which from the text I was working on, seemed to be quite different from Australia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lu
1 hour ago, Moshen said:

And on a general level:  Generally if a culture does something to a significant extent, they have a word for it, and when they don't do it, they might not have a word for it.

Dutch doesn't have a single word for 'like'/喜欢. We have to work around it: we think someone is nice or attractive (aardig/leuk vinden), we consider something tasty (lekker vinden), we enjoy an activity (leuk vinden). But despite our distinct lack of mountains, we do have a word for 'abseiling', even though it is a loanword ('abseilen'. Proof.) The same German loanword Australia uses.

English doesn't have a single word for 'remain silent, not speak' ('zwijgen').

 

I'm sure there are more examples of exceptions. I think your rule works in some categories (food, most obviously), but not in general.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moshen
Quote

English doesn't have a single word for 'remain silent, not speak' ('zwijgen').

 

Correct.  And that is why the last sentence of Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, written in German, always sounds awkward in English.

 

"Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen."

Sometimes translated as "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent."

 

(Sorry for going so far afield from hiking...)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tomsima
5 hours ago, Lu said:

English doesn't have a single word for 'remain silent, not speak' ('zwijgen').

 

first word that popped into my head was taciturn, pretty close I thought.

 

As for hiking, I have a few friends I've gone camping with in China; they use 徒步 as the 'accurate' term and 爬山 more casually, if that adds some weight to everyone's previous contributions. 

 

'Hike' for me definitely has some connotations of strenuous walking for me, perhaps that's uk-specific (eg slang phrases like 'that hill was an absolute hike') 

 

So what about 'hitch hike'?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...