Everyday I talk to Chinese people. Well, rather I chat online. I had an interesting conversation last night that I thought I would talk a little bit about. I was talking to someone I know when they said that they didn’t have to work and instead went to see the sun setting over the wall outside the city. Or something like that. Now I thought that well, they went to see the sunset. Hey, people do this. So I replied with something like, oh thats good, what color was the sunset? They didn’t understand. I began to get confused. You know the sunset, sun, setting, color, they were lost. I was lost, then it hit me. They had seen a move that the title was watching the sunset or something. Then it occurred to me. Well, it didn’t really just occur to me. My American friends and I often have this conversation. If a Chinese person has never heard the phrase that you just asked or told them. They won’t know what the hell you are talking about. It comes comes down to a way of thinking. In America, I’m guessing it’s not English related, if you make up a phrase and we have a little bit of context, we’ll get it. Here, you can’t make up anything. It’s all been said and that’s all you can say. Take for example, um, gee, the only phrase I can think of isn’t the most appropriate. Well, ok, how about the phrase “Dude, I just took a digger on my bike.” We know what that means. Well. At least I do. So, you on a bike when you took a digger, what does digger mean? Well what does dig mean, ok now a digger must be similar, oh it means that probably you where hot dogging around and the front end of the bike stopped and in a hole or something thus sending you over the bars. Ok. Chinese person. Um, you can’t dig with a bike…. See, no creativity. No outside thinking. That’s the way it is. Now of course there is slang here. Most of the younger people use it. But it’s not like American slang. You don’t compare two things or replace one with something. Don’t drop the soap or you’ll get a banana up the tail pipe. This might blow their mind. How does a car relate to bananas and dropping soap. See, they can’t wrap their mind around it.
Here is another one. You ever see a girl with a nice, we’ll say rear end. One might say, oh, looks like pigs in a blanket. Ok. So you got two pigs in a blanket rooting around. Looks like the girls rear when she walks. Get it? Not to hard to understand. To the Chinese person. Pigs don’t have blankets, nor could they be in her pants because pigs are big. See?
This relates to me messing up my Chinese typing. So each character means something, easier than English word that can mean tons of things. But get this, when I mess up the word order, it blows their minds. Or if I directly translate phrase I use in English. I want you have good day at work. Ok easy. Even if you don’t know what the phrase means you get it. If I try to say that in Chinese. No one understands. Why? There is a different phrase for saying have a good day at work. God forbid someone say it differently. So yeah. This makes Chinese harder. The lesson here. You can’t directly translate all your saying from English into Chinese. You must learn their saying. Hey, have fun. Nope. People will be like, what, I can’t have fun. It’s something you do. So you must say, play happy. 玩的开心。
Weird but whatever. So what do we English people who speak Chinese do. Well what anyone would do for fun. We translate our slang and speak it in Chinese… You can even use Chinese to make up things like you do in English. No one understands. It’s great.