Archive for the Category: Chinese

我们AA吧!

The Mandarin Chinese expression, 我们AA吧! (wǒmen AA ba), is the equivalent of “lets split the bill” or “let’s go Dutch”. I heard it for the first time from a Chinese friend the other day. My friend assures me that it’s a very common expression and is used when going out for a meal with friends […]

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Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 12 Comments

Hedges and thistles

During a conversation with a Chinese friend yesterday neither of us could think of the Mandarin word for hedge or thistle, among others, so I thought I’d look it up. There appear to be a number of words for hedge in Mandarin: – 栵 (lì) – hedge – 藩籬 [藩篱] (fān​lí) – hedge / fence; […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 1 Comment

上海闲话 (Shanghainese)

According to an article I came across today, the local government in Shanghai is trying to preserve Shanghainese, the variety of Wu spoken in Shanghai. This involves recording people who speak ‘pure’ Shanghainese talking about local legends and traditions, etc. This is the third time such a project has been attempted, and they hope to […]

Also posted in Endangered languages, Language, Language learning 8 Comments

Macaronic radio

I listened to some Cantonese on RTHK this morning, and while I didn’t understand everything, I could get the gist of the news stories. Then I saw that RTHK has a Mandarin channel as well, so I listened to that for a while and noticed that when they had outside reports and interviews, many of […]

Also posted in Language 18 Comments

Thinking sdrawkcab

Here are the words of a song we’ve been learning recently at the Bangor Community Choir: When there is light in the soul, there is beauty in the person. When there is beauty in the person, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is honour in the nation. […]

Also posted in English, Language, Language learning 10 Comments

肚皮舞 (dù​pí​wǔ​)

The other day I discovered that the Mandarin word for belly dancing is 肚皮舞 (dù​pí​wǔ​). As I knew the meanings of the individual characters, I could guess the meaning of the word, even though I hadn’t heard it before. 肚 (dù​​) is stomach or belly, 皮 (​pí​​) is skin, and 舞 (wǔ​) is dance. I […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 4 Comments

On the tip of my pyramid

Last night I spoke quite a bit of Mandarin with some people from China, and while I was able to have a good conversation with them, though there were some things I couldn’t remember or didn’t know how to say. Usually when this happens I try to find another way to express the same idea, […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 14 Comments

Christmas

Nadolig Llawen Joyeux Noël 聖誕快樂 Nollaig shona doibh ¡Feliz Navidad! Nollick Ghennal Bo Nadal Nollaig chridheil メリークリスマス Buon Natale Frohe Weihnachten Bon Nadal Veselé vánoce and Merry Christmas!

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Colds, streams and rivers

It’s rather cold here at the moment with daytime temperatures not much above freezing, and nighttime dropping to -10°C (14°F) or even -20°C (-4°F) in places. As a result, some of the snow that fell last week has frozen solid and been trampled down on pavements and ungritted back streets making them decidedly icey and […]

Also posted in Czech, English, Etymology, French, German, Greek, Irish, Language, Latin, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Double dutch and lost dragons

I’ve been playing with Xtranormal today and have made a couple of new films: Double Dutch (in Dutch and English) Where’s my dragon? (In Mandarin and English) When you use Mandarin the system refuses to accept some of the characters you type in, including some common ones like 谢 (thanks). I tried substituting pinyin for […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, Language, Language learning 8 Comments