Just now, I was talking to someone on WeChat and he mentioned how he got caught out in the rain. I wanted to say "awww" out of sympathy as we do in English, but I don't know how to. The closest I know is (a) = "ah" or (ō) = "oh", "oops" which don't really suit the situation.

Question: Is there an equivalent to "awww" in English for expressing sympathy?

Searching for awww in YouDao suggests 噢, such as 噢谢谢你, but I don't think this is the same as sympathy (although maybe I'm wrong). Other searches (aww (dict.cn) aww (YouDao)) don't really help.

  • 1
    Something like 哎呦呦呦,可憐的孩子 would probably capture the meaning – droooze May 12 at 14:56
  • see previous Q&A How do Chinese speakers convey emotions by speech? chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/23215/… esp. comments 6-8 (3-5 from bottom) excerpts from 实用现代汉语语法: 叹词列举 – user6065 May 12 at 14:58
up vote 2 down vote accepted

There isn't one.

At least not specifically for expressing sympathy. There are other exclamations that can be used to express sympathy, like 哎呦, 天哪, but none are specific to sympathy, and can be used in other situations.

This feels like a cop-out but it's true; Chinese doesn't have exact equivalents for all English exclamations, but the converse also applies. To give you two examples, there isn't a Chinese word to express disapproval, like "boo"; you might say something specific like 下台, which means "get off the stage". There isn't an English equivalent to 加油; instead you might say "go team", or "USA", depending on what you're cheering.

Usually 哎, 咳, 唉, those means "sigh", can not find more appropriate words. or 哎呀, but it sounds affected when you read it, more natural in speaking.

Use emoticons or stickers, when text fails you.

For me, I’d do something like this before I throw out advice relevant to the situation (in this case, warm up with a hot drink): 😩啊?!還好嗎?

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