Thursday, January 19, 2012

Da Jiang You

打酱油


[dǎ jiàng yóu]

Literally "buy soy sauce".

1. (Kid) mature enough to run errands or do household chores.

Example:
她二十岁就结婚,儿子现在都能打酱油了。
She got married at 20; her son is already a preteen.

2. None of my business. This expression originates from an Internet meme: when interviewed by a local TV station about Edison Chen's sex photo scandal in 2008, an unnamed Guangzhou resident answered, "关我鸟事。我是出来打酱油的。" (It's none of my freaking business. I come over here to buy some soy sauce.)

Example:
我不是他们一伙的。我只是路过打酱油
I'm not with the gang. I'm just a passerby.

A derivative meaning is "doing nonessential work / being an assistance or follower" commonly used in self-deprecating jokes.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fen Si

粉丝


[fěn sī]

noun

粉: (米)粉, (rice) powder
丝: threads

粉丝 literally means "rice vermicelli", a phonetic pun of the English word "fans". Technically a plural, the word is also commonly used as a singular since nouns in Chinese aren't inflected for grammatical number. Words with the suffix "-粉" usually refer to a particular group of enthusiasts in a sub-culture. For example, "果粉" [guǒ fěn], literally "fruit" (果) "powder" (粉), is a slightly derogatory slang for Apple product junkies.

Derived form:
饭 [fàn] (literally "cooked rice"), when used as a transitive verb, means "be a fan of" , "adore", or "revere".

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Diao Bao Le

碉堡了


[diāo bǎo le]

adjective

Literally "blockhouse'd". It means "petrified" or "petrifying", a phonetic pun of the phrase "屌爆了" [diǎo bào le]. It can convey a negative connotation as well as positive.

Examples:
当她开始尖叫的时候,观众们立刻碉堡了
When she started shrieking, the audience got stunned.
这个老外真有才。他的南京话简直碉堡了
This foreigner is profoundly gifted. His Nanjing accent is purely amazing.

You Mu You

有木有


[yǒu mù yǒu]

interjection

Literally "Have-wood-have". An irrefutably strong exclamation usually followed by excessive exclamation marks. It's a phonetic pun of the rhetorical question "有没有?" [yǒu méi yǒu] (Yes or no? / Isn't it so?). You-mu-you is the epitome of a linguistic style dubbed "咆哮体" [páo xiào tǐ] (literally "ranting style"), allegedly inspired by the furiously passionate performance of the Taiwanese actor 马景涛 (Ma Jing Tao) in many TV shows.

Example
法语里的动词在每个时态下有多达六种变位啊!有木有!!!!!!
In French, a verb has as many as six conjugations in each tense! Holy freaking vache!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Zhong Cao

种草


[zhòng cǎo]

intransitive verb

Literally means sowing grass seeds, a metaphor for seeding others' desire for something (usually a luxury good) by a glowing recommendation or product review.

See also: 长草, 拔草

Ba Cao

拔草


[bá cǎo]

intransitive verb

Literally means yanking out grass, a metaphor for battering the desire for something by buying it after struggling through chronic distress of 长草.

Zhang Cao

长草


[zhǎng cǎo]

intransitive verb

Literally means growing grass, a metaphor for yearning for something that is not easily obtainable due to its prohibitive price or shortage of supply. Once the metaphoric grass has grown, one must either suppress the gnawing desire with strong will or surrender to consumerism by 拔草.

Example
他对纯电跑车长草很久了,今年发了奖金就要去拔草
He has been coveting an electric sports car for long; he's determined to buy one this year once he gets the bonus.