Thursday, January 19, 2012

Da Jiang You


[dǎ jiàng yóu]

Literally "buy soy sauce".

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

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.)

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


[fěn sī]


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


[diāo bǎo le]


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.

When she started shrieking, the audience got stunned.
This foreigner is profoundly gifted. His Nanjing accent is purely amazing.

You Mu You


[yǒu mù yǒu]


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.

In French, a verb has as many as six conjugations in each tense! Holy freaking vache!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Zhong Cao


[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


[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


[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.

He has been coveting an electric sports car for long; he's determined to buy one this year once he gets the bonus.