Jun 30, 2019

Popular expressions among Chinese youth (II)

By Kelly Chen | A Super Chineasian

So, have you used some of the cool expressions from our previous post? Better yet, what if we share more catchy phrases spoken by Chinese youth with you? Here we go!

土 pinyin: ; soil; ground; local; dull

Initially, 土 depicted a lump of mud on the ground. Later, the lump became similar to the character for “ten” 十 and the ground indicated by the horizontal line 一. 土 means soil or ground. 

It can be used as an adjective as well. When used to describe a thing, it can mean “native” or “locally produced,” for example, 土產/土产 (tǔ chǎn; local product). However, when applied 土 to describe a person, it refers to him/her who has not seen the big world! 

好土 pinyin: hǎo ; very dull; unsophisticated 

好 (Good; very) + 土 (dull) = 好土 (Very dull) 

The phrase is commonly used referring to someone who has bad taste in something, particularly in fashion or pop cultures. Make sure you use this phrase cautiously because it can sound offensive to some Chinese people. 

土味 pinyin: tǔ wèi; very dull; cheesy

土 (dull) + 味 (taste)  = 土味 (very dull) [literally] (dull taste) 

When used negatively, it can be interchangeable with the previous phrase: 好土 (hǎo tǔ). However, it also has a modern-day usage when combing with the phrase 情話/情话 (qíng huà; love words/sayings), i.e. 土味情話/土味情话 means “cheesy love words/sayings.”

Have you ever said some 土味情話/土味情话 to your boyfriend (男朋友) or girlfriend (女朋友)?

雷人 pinyin: léi rén; shocking; appalling; hilarious 

Take 雷 and add the oh-so-simple building block/character 人 (person), then we get this online slang 雷人 implying someone or something is shocking, appalling or shockingly hilarious. As you can see, this phrase is used as an adjective, and its meaning can be positive or negative depending on the context. 

雷 (thunder) + 人 (Person) = 雷人 (shocking) [literally] (thunder person)

二百五 pinyin: èr bǎi wǔ; foolish; idiot; stupid

The phrase 二百五 (two + hundred + five) describes someone or something is being foolish. There are a few possible origins of this phrase. If you are interested in learning them all, you can check out the discussions on the page below. 

https://www.quora.com/Why-in-Chinese-does-250-erbaiwu-mean-stupid

Although the phrase can be used for joking purpose, it’s really down to the tone of the intonation used when saying the phrase out loud. It could sound insulting if you say it in a very harsh tone. So be careful when using the phrase. 

You might also ask how to just say the number “250” in Chinese? In that case, you will need to say 二百五十 (two + hundred + five + ten). Add 十 at the end of the phrase  二百五 and it will be just a number! 

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By Kelly Chen | A Super Chineasian

Kelly is a dreamer and a traveler, who loves to study of individuals, groups, or organisations and all the activities associated with the purchase behaviour, including the consumer's emotional, mental and behavioural responses.

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