2016-01-08newbie

Chinese Zodiac - Monkeys Spell Out The Word "Monkey"

2016 is the Year of the Monkey according to the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac is not only popular in China, but also in several other East Asian countries including Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Mongolia. Some of these countries use the lunar calendar like China, while Japan and others use the Western calendar. This means that in China and some other countries, it is still considered the Year of the Goat there until the 8th of February this year. In countries which use the Western calendar however, the year of the Monkey has already started.

In order to greet the New Year, one Japanese Zoo used their monkeys' favorite food and distributed it to spell out the word "monkey". The monkeys at the zoo all came over to eat, and in an instance they spelled out the Japanese word for "monkey" (サル) in large letters, as you can see in the video below.

The Chinese zodiac is called 生肖 (shēng xiào) in Chinese. It has 12 animals which repeat in a cycle, with each year being attributed a specific animal. The 12 animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

Let’s learn how to say the 12 animals in Chinese.

Hover over any word to show translation
zhōng guó
中国
中國
China
de
~'s (possessive particle)
shí èr
十二
十二
twelve
shēng xiào
生肖
生肖
animal from the Chinese zodiac
shì
is, are
shǔ
rat
 
niú
ox
 
tiger
 
rabbit
 
lóng
dragon
 
shé
snake
 
horse
 
yáng
goat
 
hóu
monkey
 
rooster
 
gǒu
dog
 
zhū
pig
 

The twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey rooster, dog and pig.

Character set
Pinyin

To express a zodiac year, you simply add the Chinese word for year (年) at the end. For example, the Year of the Monkey can be expressed as follows.

Hover over any word to show translation
jīn nián
今年
今年
this year
shì
is, are
hóu nián
猴年
猴年
Year of the Monkey
 

This year is the Year of the Monkey.

Character set
Pinyin

Chinese people like to ask each other's zodiac sign, which is the zodiac year you were born in. For example, if you were born in 1987, which was the Year of the Rabbit, your zodiac sign would be the rabbit. So what is your zodiac sign? This webpage lets you look up your sign by simply entering your birth date.

Now that you know your sign, let's see how you can ask someone what their animal is, and how to respond.

Hover over any word to show translation
 
-
you (informal)
shì
is, are, am
shǔ
to belong to, be born in the year of (one of the 12 animals)
shén me
什么
什麼
what
de
(used to form a nominal expression)
 
? -
I
shì
is, are, am
shǔ
to belong to, be born in the year of (one of the 12 animals)
rabbit
de
(used to form a nominal expression)
 

- What is your zodiac animal?
- It is the rabbit.

Character set
Pinyin

If you are interested, you can learn more about the Chinese zodiac on Wikipedia. Finally, we would like to wish you a Happy New Year of the Monkey!