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wix

Horse horse tiger tiger: slang and idioms

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wix

Next time a Chinese friend asks "how are you?" reply "horse horse tiger tiger", it should elicit a smile (or it might just make them totally confused). This is just the English translation of a common Chinese expression ma ma hu hu which translates into English as "so-so".

Another expression is "You are very motorcycle" (ni hen jiche). It means "you are very annoying". It can be considered quite rude so be careful how you use it. As far as I know this is only used in Taiwan.

Does anyone else have some interesting slang or idioms to share?

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roddy

I've often used the horse horse tiger tiger one, it usually gets you looked at like a crazy fool, but there's always a good laugh when the penny drops.

I've never heard the motorbike one though.

Roddy

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beijingbooty

TAIGANG.

if a couple you know are always bantering and niggling at each other, you can describe them as being "taigang".

Nimen dou taigang !

Bie taigang. - It is a funny way to say "dont argue".

meaning has something to do with lifting steel.

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Guest mirela_violeta

I know a few idioms but I'm not sure how used they are. Anyway you can say heng2qi1shu4ba1 when everything is a mess...if you translate every word you get something like horizontal seven vertical eight...

If you say shou3wu3zu2dao3 which is pretty much something like your hands and feet are dancing , it means that you are jumping with joy, you are very heappy. If you want to say I laughed my head off in chinese you say something like this: peng3fu4da4xiao4. If you take it literraly it means you hold your belly and have a big laugh...

This one is not that nice...yuk...la1du4zi. The words mean to pull the belly...and the meaning is to suffer from diarrhea....if you ever need to say that to a doctor....hope noone needs it...

A person who goes to bed late is a ye4mao1zi, ye is night and we all know the maozi, a cap...something you put on your head, if you like to work late at night you can say wo3ai4kai1ye4che1 which is quite funny if you take the meaning word by word: I like to drive at night the car. These are coloquial.

I suppose everyone knows how to say bad luck dao3mei2, dao= to fall mei= mould; you can also say zao1gao1,zao=rotten, gao=cake; these are quite used ;

To flirt with someone: mei2lai2yan3qu4, mei=eyebrows, lai=to come, yan=eyes, qu=to go. SO I guess that when your eyebrows come and your eyes go you're trying to flirt....funny...

If you want to swear you can always say ni3niang2de,ni you, niang from guniang

girl, de is the particle used for the adjectives. You can figure out the meaning for yourselves...

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Guest ckeone

in Taiwan, guys would called not-so-pretty girls as 恐龙 (dinasour) while girls would called not-so-charming guys as 青蛙 (as the frog who wish to kiss the princess). I find them very amusing~

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wix

泡妞 literally means "Soak a girl" similar to 泡茶 which means "soak tea." However, the actual meaning is "chat up a girl"

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TSkillet

in Hong Kong (Cantonese) a fat and ugly girl is a "pork chop" (zhu paa).

a Chinese person with no Chinese culture (probably only applicable where there's a lot of overseas returning Chinese) is an "empty bamboo" - jook sing. Although this one is Hong Kong only (I asked in guangzhou, no one had ever heard that usage before).

has anyone noticed a recent move taking Cantonese phrases and Mandarinizing them? Example being the great Cantonese phrase of disbelief "Nei yau mo gau cuo?" or "Have you made a mistake?" - but more properly translated as "Are you kidding me?"

I heard people in Shanghai and Bejing saying "Ni gau cuo le!" - which was certainly a take-off of the cantonese phrasing.

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roddy

has anyone noticed a recent move taking Cantonese phrases and Mandarinizing them? Example being the great Cantonese phrase of disbelief "Nei yau mo gau cuo?" or "Have you made a mistake?" - but more properly translated as "Are you kidding me?"

I heard people in Shanghai and Bejing saying "Ni gau cuo le!" - which was certainly a take-off of the cantonese phrasing.

I'm not sure it is. Gao (not gau) can mean do, make, get, among other things, so Ni gao cuo le is simply 'you've made a mistake'.

Gao (as in tall, with the hand radical) is also used in 'Ni gao shenme gui' - literally, what devils are you causing, or something - I've heard it used very informally for something along the lines of 'what the hell are you up to' - and also in 'ni mei gao cuo ba' which is 'you haven't made a mistake, have you', usually used to mean 'you've made a mistake'

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TSkillet

oops, that's a typo, not a pinyin mistake. but i'm pretty sure the phrasing part of it comes from the Cantonese slang phrase.

Ni gao cuo le is simply 'you've made a mistake'.
but people have been using it (at least that I've heard) with the cantonese inflection - meaning "You've have got to be kidding me"

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wix

Here's a very easy to remember and easy to use idiom.

人山人海 ren shan ren hai or people mountain, people sea

It basically means a place that is very crowded and overflowing with people.

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TSkillet

wix - it's also the name of a music label in Hong Kong.

how about a back-formation from English - the Chinese word "ku" (酷) becoming slang for "cool" - I don't know how farspread this is, I only heard it in Taipei - but I'm sure it's spread farther than that. My Mainland colleague recognized the meaning immediately

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wix
how about a back-formation from English - the Chinese word "ku" (酷) becoming slang for "cool" - I don't know how farspread this is, I only heard it in Taipei - but I'm sure it's spread farther than that. My Mainland colleague recognized the meaning immediately

yes, I have also heard it in China. I suspect that these things probably originate in Taiwan. "shit" and "oh my god" are in common use in Taipei.

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roddy

'ku' for cool is understood everywhere I've been

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jwarriner
TAIGANG.

if a couple you know are always bantering and niggling at each other' date=' you can describe them as being "taigang".

Nimen dou taigang !

Bie taigang. - It is a funny way to say "dont argue".

meaning has something to do with lifting steel. [/quote']

Found this one in the dictionary which shows tai2gang4. gang4 (stout pole), not gang1 (steel).

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ChouDoufu
I know a few idioms but I'm not sure how used they are. Anyway you can say heng2qi1shu4ba1 when everything is a mess...if you translate every word you get something like horizontal seven vertical eight...

There's also another chengyu qi1shang4ba1xia4 which means to be agitated. that's why 7-up is qi1xi3 (7 happiness)' date=' because no one wants to drink something that will agitate them.

I suppose everyone knows how to say bad luck dao3mei2, dao= to fall mei= mould;

I've also heard dao3mei2 used to mean someone having their menstrual cycle (girls only, obviously). Saying, "wo3 you3 dao3mei2." means It's that time of month. I've also sometimes heard, "wo you neige." which is the not so subtle, "I have that..."

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PollyWaffle

today i was taught:

bai2huo2 - white life - to waste one's life (? - this is the meaning i gathered from our broken chinese/english/chinglish)

cui4niu2 - spit cow - exaggerate/bullshit

neither of which are in my dictionary

polly

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roddy

bai, as in white, can be used with a verb to give the meaning 'in vain' or pointlessly - ie. 'bai lai le' - to have wasted time coming (perhaps because the person you wanted to see wasn't there. 'bai hua qian' - to waste money.

cui niu I think should be chui niu, to brag or boast.

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PollyWaffle

i stand corrected. damn language barrier!

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Guest Anonymous
cui niu I think should be chui niu, to brag or boast.

Yup, to chuiniu literally means to "blow a cow".

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channamasala

for "that time of the month" I was taught "yue4bing1(?)". I question the last tone because I live in a place where tones aren't really used. I think that's the clinical term, though, since it literally means - if I got the tone on the last word right, which I highly doubt - monthly ice.

My favorite new bit of slang is "Bu xiang ershi ni" which means something along the lines of "I don't even want to bother talking to you" (literally "I don't want ear be you"). It wins over my previous favorite, "Yao4 de bei?" (hao bu hao?) and another old southern standby, "me4 de lo" (meiyou le).

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