Jump to content
Learn Chinese in China


  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Contributors to this blog

  • roddy 143
  • anonymoose 85
  • skylee 61
  • abcdefg 10
  • Publius 8
  • mungouk 8
  • StChris 8
  • Tomsima 6
  • jbradfor 5
  • xiaocai 4
  • somethingfunny 4
  • ChTTay 3
  • Flying Pigeon 2
  • stapler 2
  • DrWatson 2
  • murrayjames 1
  • js6426 1

About this blog

Entries in this blog


Down, Across and In The Round

Again, not really a sign as such but on a simple level I love the way this document's function affects the way it looks.


Plus it also shows hanzi going vertically as well as horizontally, which is a topic that come up from time to time.


Question: What's the other script, and what kind of document is this?  (Click picture to enlarge.)










Caption: "A petition against changes to education policy signed by all the residents of Dalanhua Village, Chifeng Municipality, Inner Mongolia.

The circular style imitates that of duguilang resistance groups in pre-revolutionary times. Photo via Made in China."


From Ethnic Mongols protest Beijing’s push for Mandarin-only classes, SupChina, 1 Sep 2020.





Propaganda Banners

One of the first things I noticed when I moved to Beijing is the very big red and white banners which appear to have propaganda/slogans on them.


I can translate them literally, but I wonder if there's a proper way of expressing them in English which has the right tone and vocabulary to make them sound like the voice of the Party?













Best for beginners
If you live in China, you have probably seen something similar to this in the last year or so. My snapshots are from this morning. 
What is this about? The photo on the left provides detail. The photo on the right provides context. (Click to make the photos larger, to make the small text legible.)
What two words does Chinese turn into this "efficiency contraction," as shown in the bottom of the frame? --  环保。When starting out learning the language in a practical way, beyond the textbook, these things can throw you for a loop because they often are not in the dictionary. (Click to see the answer.) 

And here's the give-away in pictures in case you are still wondering. 
OK I know weird translations of food are a cheap shot, but I figured someone must know the story behind this one...

Possibly even the precursor to women laughing alone with salad?
The 2nd in the series of public adverts encouraging intelligent of smartphones on the Chongqing subway, this one takes its inspiration from 红楼梦 (Dreams of the Red Chamber).

It asks whether the protagonists would have met if they had had phones to play with. The second sentence is a play on a traditional Chinese saying: "有缘千里来相会, 无缘对面不相逢" (if it is fated to be then it will happen even if separated by one thousand miles, if it's not fated to be then it won't happen even if you are face to face). Instead, the second part in the adverts reads "面对面来玩手机" (side by side but playing on their phones). 
The first half of the third sentence is also a traditional Chinese saying: 有情人终成眷属 (if there is love between them then they will eventually become husband and wife). The second part is new and says that if they play on their mobile phones then they will remain strangers (玩手机终成陌路). It ends by exhorting the readers to use their phone responsibly (合理正确使用手机) for the sake of their loved ones (为了自己的亲人和爱人).
蚝 is #4882 on Junda's frequency list. The traditional form is 蠔 #8238.
It means 'oyster', not a high priority unless you live in Guangdong.
And do you think the simplification makes it easier to learn?
Read before you intend to escape, not at the time of said escape. 
(Location: Taipei apartment balcony) 

Thanks to @mungouk for the picture.
On your way to work one morning, something goes wrong and you are directed to this sign. 
1) What method of transportation are you trying to use? 
2) What are your two options now?
3) And an easily-guessable one - what phone number might you need to phone for help?

When the yellow light lighting the door dooring. Simple! 
Surprising (or not) that the Beijing subway still has these kinds of errors. 

I'm always amazed by the ability of Chinese people of a certain age to sleep in (often very noisy) public places. The newly opened Harbin Ikea in particular is heaven for those 大妈s looking for a quick power nap. However, even the most intrepid wouldn't dare sleep on this one. It's an upturned sofa/chair being used to cover up a collapsed manhole cover near my apartment:

 It says 井盖塌陷  注意安全. While it's an unconventional use of furniture, it does the trick.
The main menu is entirely English and standard cafe burgers and breakfasts. Not been in yet, but maybe next time I'm passing. 

This fourth and final entry in the anti-mobile phone campaign on the Chongqing subway takes the famous "Wu Song Defeats the Tiger" (武松打虎) story from the The Water Margin (水浒传) as its subject.

It says when the ferocious tiger ("吊睛白额猛虎") attacks ("袭"), the warrior is busy playing with his phone ("好汉却在玩手机"). It goes on to state that the hero has become a phone zombie/idiot ("打虎英雄变手机痴汉"), and asks how he can allow himself to become so absorbed with his phone during such a vital moment ("紧要时刻怎轻易低头?"). As with the previous three adverts, it requests that people use their phones wisely ("请合理正确使用手机"), so as not to endanger their health and safety ("为了自身的安全与健康").
The third in the series of Chonqing subway ads encouraging moderate smartphone usage is a play on the meeting of 刘备, 关羽 and 张飞 in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story (三国演义).

In the legendary meeting, the three strangers take an oath to become brothers, and make a pact to die on the same day ("不求同年同月同日生,只愿同年同月同日死"). In the ad, instead of swearing to die on the same day, the three men express a desire to play on their phones on the same day ("却想同月同日玩手机"). In the third sentence the ad asks, if in future people become mere internet friends rather than true brothers ("桃园侠士变手机挚友"), will the kind of loyalty as showed in the story ever have a chance of existing? ("肝胆相照却成为过去?")
It ends by encouraging intelligent use of smartphones ("请合理正确使用手机") for the sake of your friendships ("为了自己的朋友和友情").
While travelling on the Chongqing subway last summer, I noticed a series of public adverts designed to encourage healthy use of smartphones, all based on the 四大名著 (four great works of Chinese literature). Being both a lover of the 四大名著 and a hater of smartphones, these humourous ads caught my attention enough for me to want to take a photo of each. This first one is based on 西游记 (Journey to the West).  

It asks if the monk (贫僧/圣僧) is travelling all the way to the west just to recharge and play with his phone ("去往西天充电玩手机"). Has he forgotten his original aim (初心) of bringing back the scriptures (取经)? It ends by encouraging people to use their phones in moderation ("合理正确使用手机") in order not to be distracted from achieving their goals and dreams ("为了自身的梦想与目标").
Saw this sign taped up on a wall recently. 
1. What kind of job is the top one? (The ¥2800 to ¥3200 one. 切菜工)
2. What sort of skills would you need to apply? What would you mainly be doing?
3. What kind of establishment posted this ad?

5. Any thoughts about the second job? (女工一名)
4. Are 招聘 and 薪资 two of your flashcards? Do you know some other ways to say "salary?"
Learning Chinese isn't easy and if you want to really improve your reading skills, you need to take every opportunity to practice you get, even when using the toilet. 
Apart from the ubiquitous 向前一小步,文明一大步 (the title of this blog entry), there is also a handwritten note. I still find messy, handwritten Chinese quite tricky and can't quite make out some of the words here. This is as much as I could read at first:
After a little thought, I'm pretty sure it's saying 泡糖不要吐在小便池里 (don't spit out bubble gum into the urinal), but the 不 looks more like a 又 to me, and there also seems to be a small additional character between 泡 and 糖. Can anybody confirm?

  • Create New...