Vocabulary

Hey, That’s Cheating! OK?

When my brother was about six years old, I watched him play battleship against my father (play free here–WARNING: turn down sound first). There was a break in the action when my dad had to answer the phone, during which I left the room as well. When I came back in, they were playing again […]

Boy Left Girl Right

The other day I saw a few students taking a photo together and as they were arranging themselves the girl holding the camera shouted: “Nán zuǒ nǚ yòu” 男左女右 [boy left girl right] This seems to be a common/traditional way of arranging a boy and a girl for a picture or on stage hosting an […]

Proverb Assistance: Enemy’s Enemy

This tiny article at Wikipedia gives the Chinese credit for the proverb: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” as well as: “It is good to strike the serpent’s head with your enemy’s hand.” But there are no references for either. I’d like to learn the Chinese for one or both of those. So […]

ShanghaiDaily’s Buzzword

I just found out about a blogish list of hip, new Chinese words that the ShanghaiDaily puts out called Buzzword. Here’s the editor’s purpose statement: Frequently, readers ask us for help when new Chinese phrases or terms pop up in the press or daily conversations. In an attempt to improve the rendering of such terms […]

Numbers with Special Meanings

For those of you who’ve ever wondered why Chinese kids snicker up their sleeves when you say “250,” this post will illuminate the numerous numerical euphemisms in Chinese. You’ll also see why phone numbers with a lot of 8s are more expensive than phone numbers chock-full of 4s. Acoustic Puns These are all based on […]