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roddy
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these days the concept described by 空头 has probably disappeared from the Chinese language altogether
How about 空頭支票 overdrawn check? This 空頭 should still be in use.

I wasn't serious when I said that. 空头 definitely still means to sell short. The following is a somewhat lengthy post that is partly a review of Mao Dun's Midnight, a really excellent and exciting book.

"Selling short" is a technical term that refers to the practice of entering into a contract to sell things at a fixed future time for a fixed price, where the seller does not yet own the things he is agreeing to sell. The point of this is that the seller hopes that the property he has agreed to sell will go down in value between the time the contract is entered into and the fixed future time, so that he can then buy the property for a cheaper price in time to sell it for a higher price at the fixed future time.

In Mao Dun's Midnight, the Kuomintang had borrowed money in order to fund its armies for the civil war. The debts owed by the Kuomintang could be bought and sold in the form of bonds. Obviously, if the Kuomintang lost, there would be no one to repay the debt (the Communists certainly weren't going to do it!) and it would be worthless. Therefore, the price at which the Kuomintang bonds were bought and sold during the civil war reflected how likely people thought it was that the Kuomintang would win based on the latest news from the war, ie: if you thought that there was a 50% chance they would win, you might pay $50 to buy the right to be paid $100 by the Kuomintang if they won.

Groups of investors realised that when the Kuomintang was defeated in a battle, the price of its bonds would drop when people found out about it. If the could find out first, they could sell the bonds short: enter into contracts to sell the bonds at a future time at current market prices, wait for the price to drop when news of the defeat became known, then buy the bonds at the lower price in time to sell them for the old, higher, price at the time that had been agreed in the contract.

However, if they acted based on a false rumour and the Kuomintang had really won the battle (communications were obviously bad in wartime), they would lose a huge amount of money as the Kuomintang bonds would go up in price rather than down when the news of the victory became known. The investors would then have to buy the bonds at a higher price than that at which they had agreed to sell them, and would be out of pocket on the difference. The situation was complicated by the fact that there were a number of groups of investors all trying to play the bond market who were all trying to spread false rumours in order to trick the other groups of investors.

As such 空头, or selling short, is basically a bet that the thing sold will go down in value. When I said that these days the concept described by 空头 has probably disappeared from the Chinese language altogether, this was a lame attempt at a joke; China is experiencing such a boom that people generally don't want to bet that things will go down in value, and the boom has been going on for so long that one can almost forget it is even possible. However, even if China as a whole is booming, shares and bonds in individual companies will still go down, so Chinese traders will still 空头/short sell stocks and bonds (and Westerners are doing a lot of it in Western markets at the moment).

In addition, I understand that, as well as "sell short", 空头 can also mean "phony" as in the example you gave, 空头支票, bad cheque.

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...and a random new word:

負所得稅 fu4 suo3 de2 shui4 negative income tax

From a terrible (to translate, it wasn't actually so bad once I had finally figured out all the terms) article on economic policy. Just what negative income tax is was well explained by wikipedia. (I know you can't see that in China, sorry.)

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#202 --

Quoted by rob07:

these days the concept described by 空头 has probably disappeared from the Chinese

language altogether

Quoted by SWWLiu:

How about 空頭支票 overdrawn check? This 空頭 should still be in use.

I wasn't serious when I said that. 空头 definitely still means to sell short. The following is a somewhat lengthy post that is partly a review of Mao Dun's Midnight' date=' a really excellent and exciting book.

"Selling short" is a technical term that refers to the practice of entering into a contract to sell things at a fixed future time for a fixed price, where the seller does not yet own the things he is agreeing to sell. The point of this is that the seller hopes that the property he has agreed to sell will go down in value between the time the contract is entered into and the fixed future time, so that he can then buy the property for a cheaper price in time to sell it for a higher price at the fixed future time.

...

In addition, I understand that, as well as "sell short", 空头 can also mean "phony" as in the example you gave, 空头支票, bad cheque. ..."

[/quote']

Thanks, rob07! I was mostly interested in what other terms now in vogue are being used for 空头支票 these days. I feel reassured from your response. : ) I didn't know 空头 was in use in Chinese markets for "selling short". Lots of fortunes are made -- and lost -- daily by speculators in commodity trading in volatile markets all over the world by selling short.

By the way, what's Chinese for a "hedge fund"?

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#203 --

負所得稅 fu4 suo3 de2 shui4 negative income tax

...

(I know you can't see that in China' date=' sorry.)

[/quote']

I thought China had some form of income tax for private citizens. Am I wrong or out of date, Lu? The establishment of personal income tax in the U.S. was a great equalizer and a way for redistribution of wealth -- many huge estates and mansions all over the U.S. became too expensive to maintain and so were donated to the public and turned into museums.

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#201 --

Quote:

but I don't think we technically need to type the tone change.

Correct. In fact' date=' according to the rules of pinyin, it is incorrect to type the tone change.

[/quote']

Thanks, imron. When I first became aware of tone sandhi in Putonghua in my own speech and in those of people around me, I became fascinated with how conscious people are with these automatic "adjustments". Hence my questions ... I realize that the printed tonal marks have to stay put, but I cringe a little every time I see one that "clashes". By the way, it is also sometimes pointed out that with the names of close relatives, the tone change rules are often deliberately suppressed. I find that to be true too in my own experience -- amazing.

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ok today I actually decided to implement a new rule: be more inquisitive and ask what everything is called. (Ok, normally I try to do this..but then I get lazy.) Anyway, I finally know what this is actually called now: 糖耳朵tang2er3duo-....apparently it's also called a 蜜麻花...but I like the first one better~sounds cuter and funner...ohhh what's a tangerduo..hmmm sounds intriguing...plus, hey, my local tianjin xiaochi vendor called it 糖耳朵, so that's what I'm sticking to...

If you haven't eaten one, it's pretty good. But be warned, it WILL give you a quite a sugar high for a while. However, since the local tianjin xiaochi stands has turned into my even more sugary substitute to this in the morning, I may have to add some more pastry names here in the near future

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忐忑 tǎntè, unsettled, etc. I've looked up the pronunciation for this about 80 million times now and just forget it immediately, so I'm hoping that posting it here will help me remember it.

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I hardly ever have trouble remembering that one, since 'tante' is Dutch (and also French) for 'aunt'. Not that an aunt has anything to do with being unsettled, but it still helps.

SWWLiu, China probably has income tax (although not, as far as I know, negative income tax), but by 'you can't see it in China' I meant that wikipedia article, not negative income tax, since wikipedia is blocked in China.

I only have boring economy words these days, like

貿易創造 mao4yi4 chuang4zao4 trade creation

貿易轉向 mao4yi4 zhuan3xiang4 trade diversion

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Lu's post made me think of 丫 (ya1) which means forked or bifurcation, because it is possibly the easiest Chinese character to remember. Not only does it look like a fork in the road, the pinyin is ya1 and the character itself also looks like a big letter Y.

I first encountered it in the word 丫头 ya1tou2 which means servant girl - somewhat less intuitive. Maybe old time servant girls had to wear pigtails or something?

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飆 or 猋 biao1 gust ["three dogs rushing by and whipping up a storm"] : )

飆 appears to be the more modern form of the word; in this, the 猋 can also be placed on the right and the word remains acceptable. 猋, as the more archaic form, may still be in use. By the way, I think 孔子 Confucius knew about dogs and said something to the effect that 犬(quan3) is just the dogs (狗 gou3) we see around us.

BTW, is gougou, one of our admin, a nickname usually standing for a puppy? : )

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somewhat related to the kitty one above, here's my word:

臊气: sao1qi4: foul smell, like cat urine or something like that. Unfortunately lately on public transportation I've been somehow crammed next to people who also seem to have such a smell lately:twisted::x:evil::(...so hence today's random word...

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