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Jan Finster

Chinese & English expressions that are surprisingly similar

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杰.克

Somewhat on topic, wondering if anyone has any insight. A friend was telling me today, that when people say chin-chin (when drinking alcohol) this comes from the Chinese 请

 

I didn't really know whether this was correct or not? does anyone have any input

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mungouk

Wiktionary says (under Italian):

 

Quote

From Pidgin English chin-chin (an expression of gratitude, salutation or congratulations), a reduplication of Mandarin  (qǐng, please), misinterpreted as onomatopoeic of two glasses clinking. Compare Portuguese tchim-tchim, tim-tim, Spanish chinchín, French tchin-tchin.

 

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Dawei3

The surmises on 一石二鳥 起源 are just that.  One authoritative source matters much more than lots of people who likely are repeating what someone else surmised or guessed.  

 

On 4/1/2020 at 7:04 PM, mungouk said:

How might we find evidence that something definitely is a calque/direct borrowing/whatever?

The way the Oxford English dictionary and linguists determine the origin of a word or phrase is by studying documents and seeing when the phrase/word first appeared.  A (surprisingly) fascinating book on this is "The Professor & the Madman, a tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the Oxford English dictionary."  

 

Google's ngram gives some interesting info on word use and evolution.  

 

 

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Jan Finster

I recently heard: 我 掐指一算 (I pinch my fingers)

I guess it means "I keep my fingers crossed" (!?)

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Jan Finster

我 对天发誓 (I swear to heaven)  = I swear to God

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mungouk
On 4/3/2020 at 1:29 AM, Dawei3 said:

One authoritative source matters much more

 

Well, exactly... this is what I meant by "How might we find evidence that something definitely is a calque/direct borrowing/whatever?"

 

In other words, what are good sources for finding what scholars have traced and decided in terms of the origins of sayings?

 

 

 

 

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Chinese Colloquialised

@Jan Finster "我掐指一算" is not quite the same as "I keep my fingers crossed". "我掐指一算" means I calculated something with my fingers. It was traditionally used in a fortune-telling context as an expression to mean "prediction", a bit like licking your finger and holding it up in the air to test for rain etc, now it's a play on that context. It's quite difficult to translate and, depending on the circumstance, you could skip it entirely, e.g. 掐指一算,离上学的日子不远了 would be something like "all of a sudden, I don't have many days left before school starts" or just simply, "I don't have many days left before school starts". 

 

On 4/4/2020 at 9:33 AM, Jan Finster said:

I recently heard: 我 掐指一算 (I pinch my fingers)

I guess it means "I keep my fingers crossed" (!?)

 

A couple of other similar expressions I came across: 

  • A bad workman blames his tools: 人笨怪刀钝
  • A blessing in disguise: 因祸得福
  • A drop in the ocean: 沧海一栗
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道艺黄帝

问天问地

ask heaven and earth (ok so not exactly an English expression, but similar to searching heaven and earth) 

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谢诗骐

好久不见。 an import which went the other way to English "Long Time No See"

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Jan Finster

In a Chinese translation of a NY Times bestseller I read: 

"从 公众 关切 的 雷达 屏幕 上 消失 了" = Disappeared from the radar of public concern

 

"Disappear from someone's radar" is this just literally translated or would a Chinese person use that expression as well?

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