Teach Abroad Blog
Let’s face it: China is expanding on a global front and fast. China is a big-time player in the world’s economy and the amount of millionaires surfacing here is shooting through the roof. Even though the Chinese are dominating the scene, the likelihood that the rest of the world will jump up and learn Chinese is not that high, however, the Chinese already started years ago sending their children to boarding schools in the US and UK to master the world’s lingua franca.
Hello my name is Emanuel Ruiz and I currently live and work in Shanghai in China. As most teachers in America know, budget cuts and test results can take the passion out of the teaching profession. I felt overworked and unappreciated. The lack of job security loomed over me and I was expected to work over 40 hours a week with no compensation. Finding new employment was a struggle because the US job market was and has been in decline.
So you are contemplating an EFL teaching job or even better, have been offered one! For many of us 21st century people, the next step is to research your school and where better to look than online forums. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of negativity out there! So, here’s where I want to caution you on what I call the Web MD effect: diagnosing an illness based on apparent symptoms. What could I possibly know about any of this? Well, I have been a teacher for many years including U.S. public school, and so my … gibberish … detector is pretty strong. So read on, to see the true, the false, and the meaning of it all.
China’s five most renowned mountains, or Wu Yue 五岳, have been summited for several millennia, and should be on the to-do list of every china-enthusiast. Because of time-constraints (the October holiday is only seven days long), we will only discuss three today. For pointers on how to combine travelling with a teaching carreer, click here!
The use of Letters and Numbers in Chinese Internet Slang
Most internet users know what the expressions U2 (you too) or ttyl (talk to you later) mean. Online, or in text messages many of us use acronyms to save time, but this phenomenon isn’t just limited to the English language. Over the past few years, the use of letters and numbers has become increasingly popular among Chinese netizens. Not just for the sake of brevity, but also to avoid widespread censorship. Disclaimer: As is true of most internet language, many of these expressions can be offensive.
- 88 拜拜 (bai bai)
Typed at the end of a conversation, 88 simply means goodbye. The Chinese word for 8 八 (ba) sounds like the character拜(bai), the transliteration of the English “bye”
- 3Q 三Q (san Q)
This simply is an informal transliteration of thank (三san, as the “th” is hard for Chinese to pronounce) you (Q)。
- PS Photoshop
This English expression is also popular on the Chinese internet. Netizens sometimes use “PS” to comment on (profile) pictures of girls, implying that Photoshop was used to make the actually ugly girl look beautiful.
- 250 二百五 er bai wu & 2 二 (er)
In Chinese (internet/popular) culture these words have more-or-less the same meaning, and are used to describe an imbecile. It can be playfully used between two friends when either one does something silly, but when used between strangers it is an insult.
- 38 三十八 (san shi ba)/三八 (san ba)
Someone who is 38 tends to gossip. 他很三十八- he is very gossipy. The word can be both a noun and adjective.
Any number of fives (五wu) sounds like 呜 （wu）an onomatopoeia for crying. E.g. I failed my midterm 5555555 🙁
- BT 变态(bian tai)
BT is an expression that recently became very popular. Often translated as psycho, the meaning is usually not that intense. It can both be used to describe a person who is abnormal or even perverted, as well as to describe a crazy action (adj). The meaning varies greatly as singing in public (silly) as well as groping a girl on the subway (perverted) can be described as BT.
- SB/2B 傻屄 (sha bi)
Chinese kids may tell you SB simply means some body after having called you an SB, but the real meaning is actually very offensive. SB literally means stupid (傻) cunt (屄). Because 2 resembles S in shape, SB is sometimes written as 2B. Also, the character屄 is rarely used, and instead another word with the same pronunciation is written (e.g.逼).
- NB = 牛屄 (niu bi)
When someone does something really cool or amazing (厉害 li hai), online commenters sometimes type NB, which simply means “awesome” or “badass”. Occasionally it is used to describe the opposite: a person pretending to be cool. A poser, tool or 装逼(zhuang bi). As is true of many (Chinese) words, the meaning usually depends on the context. Any character with the “bi” sound can be substituted for (屄). E.g. 牛逼/牛比
- TMD 他妈的 (ta ma de)
TMD simply means damn it, and is used when bad news is received.
Chinese and English are two radically different languages, each with a long and rich history. Both languages evolved independently from each other, which makes any similarities all the more interesting. Today we will discuss some Chinese proverbs (諺語 yànyŭ) and idioms (成語 chéngyŭ) that have—almost exact—English equivalents. Does this mean that these expressions are universal truths; identical ideas that have developed on opposite ends of the world? Maybe, let us know what you think.