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In Chinese 稀罕 and 稀奇 are often used negatively to express disdain, e.g.:

ABC

我不稀罕你的钱。 Wǒ bù xīhan nǐ de qián. I don't care about your money.

And

你以为我稀奇你的东西?

Dictionaries often translate it these as:

be of value; be of importance; be appreciated

Is there a better way to translate these?

edit:

due to the number of corrections I'm getting instead of answers

here's some proof that I'm not making this up...

xiqi

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  • Language is gradually changing, always. I do feel there's difference between the two words nowadays. You're right, 稀奇 can be a transitive verb, but currently I seldom hear that in standard Mandarin (e.g. in serious TV programs of CCTV).
    – Stan
    Jun 26, 2014 at 9:10
  • Could you point out where does the text come from?
    – lgylym
    Jun 26, 2014 at 12:43

5 Answers 5

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In the region where I was born (Xicheng, Beijing), we don't use 稀奇 as a verb (I have never heard any). Using 稀罕 as a verb sounds also "weird" to me but I do understand the meaning and I have heard some people saying this (but none from my family or my friends around). I think it is more like a local expression from somewhere else.

A proper translation of 稀罕 can be:

我很稀罕这镯子 = I like this bracelet very much.

我很稀罕你 = I like you very much

Edited:

Here are some negative usage on 稀罕

A:我很有钱!(I have a lot of money!)
B:我一点都不稀罕 (I don't care/give a fuck at all.)

A:你的包真好看。(Your bag is really pretty.)
B:好看?我不稀罕它。你要喜欢你的话,就给你吧。(Pretty? I don't like it at all. I can just give it to you, if you like.)
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  • how about some negative examples? 不稀罕 or 以为+稀罕
    – Mou某
    Jun 26, 2014 at 9:53
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稀罕 and 稀奇 are not the same thing.

The verb 稀罕 means "to value"; using it as a negative therefore express disdain. The translation given of "I don't care about your money" is quite spot on. I assume you aren't asking for a "better" translation for this.

The adjective 稀奇 means "rare", "unusual". It is not grammatically proper in Standard Chinese to use 稀奇 as a verb in the ay you did in the question, nor does it carry a connotation of disdain by itself. I'm not sure why your dictionary translated it as "be of importance" but that is clearly wrong.

稀奇

解釋: 稀少、奇特。熊貓長相稀奇,常令看過的人留下難忘的印象。

-- 教育部國語辭典簡編本

Note that certain dialects (notably Sichuan but perhaps also others) do use 稀奇 as a verb. In this case the intended meaning of 稀奇 becomes "to cherish". It is however a decidedly non-standard usage.

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  • maybe it's topolectical - that's how it's used where I live...
    – Mou某
    Jun 26, 2014 at 8:49
  • @user3306356 do you live in Sichuan? It's a dialect usage.
    – Semaphore
    Jun 26, 2014 at 9:03
  • yeah check out the edit i made to my question
    – Mou某
    Jun 26, 2014 at 9:30
  • @user3306356 I did; see my edit for a suggested translation for that usage.
    – Semaphore
    Jun 26, 2014 at 9:38
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In Cantonese, "稀罕" carries a sense of "disdain". e.g.

"我唔稀罕你尐錢!" (Your money means nothing to me)

"邊個稀罕你尐錢呀?!" (Who cares about your wealth? / Your money means nothing to nobody! / Your money does not mean anything to anybody!)

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稀罕 means don't care, don't think it's a big deal.

稀奇 means not easy to see,rare. so 以为我稀奇你的东西 is not the right way to use it.

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  • 稀奇 must be dialectical - that's how it's used where I live...
    – Mou某
    Jun 26, 2014 at 8:50
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"你以为我稀奇你的东西" may only be ok in Shanghai or southeastern China.And usually be spoken in local dialect like "侬以为我稀奇侬额物事?!(Nong Yi Wei 'Wo Xi Qi Nong-E Me Zi?!)".

So I suggest you replace the "稀奇" with the word "稀罕" in this sentence because "稀罕" is used as verb more often.
(Yeah,"稀罕" can be used as adjective that express the same meaning as "稀奇" in northern China but rarely used nowadays. e.g.:这琉璃瓶当年可是个稀罕物儿 -- The glass bottle is rare stuff at that time.)

And for answering your question:
The translation of these two words (that represent there meaning nowadays):
稀奇:[adj.] Rare
稀罕:[verb.] Care

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