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ChTTay

The need to verbalise you’re having fun

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ChTTay

I don’t really expect a straight answer here but I do wonder what everyone’s thoughts are.

 

In China why do people expressly say they’re having fun? Like 好玩, 太好玩了,特别好玩

 

During a game or watching something, people - kids and adults - just say that out loud. 

 

Unless things have changed drastically, no one really does this in English speaking countries. It would be interesting to know if any other countries do it. You just look at peoples faces, reactions and body language to know if they’re having fun or not. You don’t need to expressly say “Good fun!” “This is great fun”. I know sometimes you do but it’s not as constant/frequent as over here. 

 

And asking someone if they’re having fun or something is fun doesn’t mean anything beyond asking. What I mean is, in the U.K. and I think English speaking countries, you might only ask “Are you having fun?” If you thought perhaps the person wasn’t. 

 

Could It have developed because, at some point, you couldn’t really “show” you were having fun? So you had to say it out loud so people would know.  I don’t really know but early Communist era Chinese seems a pretty serious place. Perhaps it goes back further ...

 

Thoughts? 

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amytheorangutan

I’m wasn’t born in China and have never lived in China so take my input with a grain of salt. I think this might be just embeded in the culture, like when they see friends or neighbour come home or go out people tend to say 回來了or 出去嗎?or while eating saying 好好吃!I don’t think people do this nearly as much in the west when it is clear that the person is doing the action of leaving their house or going into their house or enjoying their food.

 

I don’t think this has anything to do with communist era as I see this habit in Chinese people who emigrated before the communist era and I don’t think it is specifically just around having fun. I think it’s just expressing things more with words or seen through the eyes of western culture might be stating the obvious. 

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mouse
1 hour ago, ChTTay said:

Unless things have changed drastically, no one really does this in English speaking countries.

 

"So cool!"

"That's amazing!"

"Awesome!"

"Wow!"

And of course, the ever-present "Yeah!"

 

None of these are exactly the same as 好玩, but they're used in the same way to express the same feelings. It's arbitrary.

 

Next topic: Why do Westerners say "Oh my God!" all the time? Is it because they are especially religious? Perhaps this has something to do with the Reformation?

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ChTTay

Yeah,  that’s a great point I didn’t think about. Just general “yeah’s” and the like... 

 

I think British people tend to say “yeah” “awesome” a fair bit less than across the pond though.  

1 hour ago, mouse said:

Why do Westerners say "Oh my God!"

My Chinese students say this also 😃

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889

Isn't it often just a form of phatic speech?

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li3wei1

LOL

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Shelley

I wonder if it has to do with famous "inscrutable Chinese" ie you can't tell what they are thinking from their facial expressions. So the need to reassure, and confirm that things are ok and that one is enjoying or even not, the events going on.

 

I have seen people from the US, UK and similar countries really laugh out loud, great big rolling belly laughs, hooting and whooping and punching the air when they are really enjoying the event, be it a comedy show, or a sporting event.

People will also be over the top in their appreciation of a good meal, making appreciative noises, smacking their lips, rubbing their bellies and more.

So you are left in no doubt of how they are feeling.

 

I am trying to recall any situation I have seen any Chinese people do this, I am sure there will be some, there is always the one the breaks the rules. I also think things are changing and younger people may well show their emotions more readily.

 

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abcdefg

I tend to do what you are talking about, verbally expressing enjoyment when I think it's really unnecessary, as I interact with casual Chinese friends and acquaintances. I do it because it seems to be the norm, and I want it to be unambiguous that I'm having a good time. I'm less confident of their ability to read the subtleties of my unspoken behavior. So I've gotten into the habit of "spelling it out." 

 

Probably one reason I've unconsciously adopted that habit is that I sometimes don't understand where my Chinese friends are coming from. I miss subtle cues and sometimes misunderstand what was meant. I don't always catch irony or realize something is said in jest. 

 

With local Chinese people whom I know better, such as long-term good friends, I don't do it. I have more confidence in our mutual non-verbal communication process; I have less concern about not being properly understood. 

 

This has carried over into adopting the thoroughly detestable habit of affixing emoticons to short messages 短信 just like they do. If I put a smiley face after a statement, they know for sure I found it funny and hope that they do too. 

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mungouk
1 hour ago, abcdefg said:

thoroughly detestable habit of affixing emoticons to short messages

 

:-) 

 

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DavyJonesLocker

 

3 hours ago, mungouk said:

:-)

 

Or the 哈哈哈哈哈哈 after everything.

 

I think a great section of Western people in general have become overly emotional and overly sensitive and feel the need to verbally express their happiness or contempt in an exaggerated way. Seems way too many OMG!! , best (coffee) EVER!  to those who carry the proverbial fainting couch after them in case someone might possibly say something even remotely offensive . byproduct of social media perhaps ?

 

I'm glad the Chinese haven't got to this stage yet!

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889

"I wonder if it has to do with famous 'inscrutable Chinese' ie you can't tell what they are thinking from their facial expressions. So the need to reassure, and confirm that things are ok and that one is enjoying or even not, the events going on."

 

Some many years ago, a famous Western singer, Diana Ross I believe, appeared in Hong Kong. She likes to get the audience behind her and actively enthused in her performance. But the HK audience just sat there and politely clapped like they were attending a concert by the Guarneri Quartet.

 

She's never performed in Hong Kong since.

 

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mouse

I like the idea that Diana Ross wouldn't tour somewhere just because the audience interaction wasn't up to her standard. However, seeing as she's played in Japan a number of times, I doubt she thinks low-key reactions are much of a problem.

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Lu

Dutch has the famously 'untranslatable' word 'gezellig', which can mean everything between 'cosy' and having fun with friends or family. A party with nice people who sit around and chat can be gezellig, a cup of tea with your grandma can be gezellig, curling up with a good book by the fireside is also gezellig, and a cafe or such space can be gezellig even when nobody is sitting there yet but the atmosphere is gezellig.

 

There are absolutely people who, when having a gezellig time with family or friends (or at least intending the gathering to be gezellig), will comment 'Isn't this gezellig!' every ten minutes. There are also people (me) who detest this habit and feel it kills every chance of an actual gezellig time.

 

4 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

Or the 哈哈哈哈哈哈 after everything.

I guess this is equivalent to some English-language people's habit of using 'LOL' as punctuation, regardless of the emotional content of their message. 'I fell down the stairs and had to go to the hospital LOL' 'I had a dog but it got run over by a truck last year LOL'

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Dawei3

I find these kinds of discussions fascinating.  The overriding issue is that humans have similar emotions, the key is how we culturally display this.  It's interesting to explore this.   

 

What people often think is human nature is actually their culture.  As noted above, it can be hard to understand displays of emotions in another culture.  Previously, I worked for a French owned company.   One of our cultural books had a whole chapter on smiling in France and how different this was than in American culture (and I had thought smiling was human nature).  

 

French generally smile less than Americans, but it is not that they are less happy.  It's just they use smiling differently.  I mentioned to a French colleague that I didn't notice any difference when in France and he said "Ohh,h  ya - You Americans, you just walk down the street smiling."  (I think he wanted to say "you silly Americans....)  LOL    

 

To Davyjoneslocker, the Wall St. J. recently had an article on the rise of and overuse of exclamation points in email and texting.  (which is true, I use them much more than previously) 

 

I see the Chinese use of 你来了 and the variations of what you say when someone arrives or is leaving as a just an extended way of greeting.  E.g., Americans often say "how are you?" more as a greeting than as an actual question of your personal status.  

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