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back formation - from dialects (mostly Cantonese) to


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my mandarin teacher tells me that the "zai3" is a cantonese back formation into mandarin - and is only of recent vintage. She's not very happy about the addition of cantonese type phrases into mandarin.

Don't think so. According to Xiandai Hanyu Cidian (現代漢代辭典) -

仔 (zai3) = 崽 (zai3) (meaning fledgling/young animal)

And 兔崽子 (tu4 zai3 zi) or 崽子 (zai3 zi) are swearing words similar to "jerk". They are quite common even in older books.

仔 is also pronounced as zi3 as in 仔細 (zi3 xi4), and zi1 as in 仔肩 (zi1 jian1).

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  • 1 month later...

Several I've seen - "niu zai ku" - from the cantonese ngau zai fu - blue jeans. The nonsensical "desi" - from the Cantonese "Dic See" - taxi.

And there're still much more "back formation" (or "forward formation"??)


Canada: (Cantonese) Ga Na Dai; (Mandarin) Jia Na Da

Switzerland: (Canton) Sui See; (Mand) Rui Shi

And I think "TAXI" should be "DI SHI" in Mandarin. Hongkongers created the word "Dik Sii", the Chinese characters were imported to the mainland, and the Mandarin speakers even extended the meaning of the word "DI" (not "de"), so you can hear "Mian Di" (mian means "mianbao", bread, so "miandi" actually means "van"), "Di Ge" (ge means brother, so Di Ge is a friendly way to call the taxi driver).

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  • 3 weeks later...
it's 的士 - just so we're clear - on the Hong Kong taxis. So in pinyin - that's "deshi"

I still think it could be dishi... 的 has three readings in pinyin (de di2 di4). And to repeat myself' date=' the slang expression to catch a cab is "da di" not "da de". Are you positive it's "deshi"?[/quote']

yes, u r right, its "di(2) shi(4)"

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