Friday, January 21, 2005


Chinese phrases that have caught my interest over the past couple weeks:

Another use of the character 么. Most commonly, it's the second character in "what" (什么); second, I often see it replacing the interrogative particle 吗 on internet message boards and SMSs; this time it replaces the 没 in "it doesn't matter" (没关系).
"The phenomena of bus drivers talking on their cellphones while driving is extremely widespread." This was in an article about new rules for bus drivers in Guangzhou. I just like the phrase 煲电话粥 (bāo diàn huà zhōu, "cooking up some telephone rice porridge") and hope to use it sometime.
When I talk in Chinese I always say the English "party", but I keep seeing this word "in the literature" (Mian Mian's Panda Sex, popular magazines and newspapers). Still, I think the usage is slightly different; 派对 seems to be more about the group of people than about the event.
I'm still not exactly sure what this means; something resembling a fashionable person or hipster (but without that word's negative connotations). The literal meaning of 型 (pronounced "xíng") is a model on which other stuff is based.
I keep seeing this word in pop writing, and I'm still wavering on whether it has its origins in the feeling one gets from doing drugs (as was discussed on Sinosplice). It describes a person feeling cool/happy/excited. There is a free magazine for hip young Shanghainese called 生活在上HIGH.


At Jan 22, 2005, 5:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hey Micah, it's Brian Eng here. I can shed some light on the 'cooking porridge' phrase. At least in Cantonese, we say that all the time. It means to talk on the phone a long time. My mom would ask me when I'm on the phone too long "cooking porridge again?" The meaning being that you're on the phone so long it's like you're cooking porridge (which also takes a long time). Something like that, at least from my understanding. Since it was a Guangzhou related story it's probably a Canto thing.

At Jan 25, 2005, 11:43:00 PM, Blogger Micah Sittig said:

Hey thanks Brian. The Cantonese connection makes a lot of sense, then. I'll have to see whether my Mandarin-speaking co-workers recognize it.


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