I'm glad that you don't appear to be directly affected by the earthquake/tsunami - but I was shocked to see the impact on northern Japan. There was a smaller (5.8) earthquake in Yunnan the day before yesterday but it has been completely overshadowed by this big one.
It is 很流行的 as you say; I get the impression it is not EXACTLY 什么; it has a whimsical tone. One explanation I got was to imagine sitting up on a cloud (like Monkey?) when asking a question... :)
It does have an oral dimension of course, it sounds different..
Thanks for your concern Bodawei. The updates seem only to bring worse news, still hundreds more people missing and feared dead. I know I probably should not keep watching television but just couldn't sleep through the aftershocks and alerts last night.Yes I was going to ask you if you were affected by the Yunnan earthquake, I know lives have been lost there too.
The personal losses have really only now begun to hit me, after non-stop unreal images of disaster, catastrophe, and rising figures. It wasn't easy, when 5 hours into power outage, you're huddling for warmth and trying to read with a flashlight and you hear the radio come out with “200 to 300 bodies have been found on the shore” in one of the coastal towns that got wiped out, to grasp anything except that it is horrifying. Today saw interviews with people who lost their family, literally had them swept away from their hands as they ran to escape the tsunami, and hearing messages of support and prayers from people overeseas saying how distressed they are and heartbroken for the Japanese people, and only then did I realize this was terrible in a way that impacts me emotionally, and now I can't seem to stop weeping uselessly.
Rescue teams have already arrived from Korea and Singapore, the US is sending 150 men, some of whom had just gotten back home from New Zealand, New Zealand is sending us people, Australia too of course. Over 50 nations and regions including Taiwan and China have pledged donations and offered other aid. We are grateful, for the contributions to the relief effort. I'm sure it is terrible hard work on the part of the rescue workers and dogs. We hope they will find and rescue many survivors, but also hope that every rescue worker can also return home safely.
Sorry, can I reply re your original question later?
'can I reply re your original question later?'
Yes, of course,..
I wish you all the best at this time - I understand that there are a million thoughts going through your mind when disaster strikes and it is difficult to make sense of anything for some time. I was struck by this recently in HK when the feeds came through from Christchurch while the earthquake was still happening. They were showing unedited footage and we were really caught up by the emotion even though we don't know anyone there. Or thought we didn't - turns out a friend was in the city. They were alright, but she says that EVERYONE was affected somehow and that the city will never be the same again. Again, thinking of you in Japan at this time.
I found this explanation:
...so I'm not sure if it's trying to say this "what" has an up in the air vibe [ a who knows or a let's contemplate it/meditate over it vibe] or an "it's all in vain" vibe. It seems like a "what" to which there is no immediate answer I guess ...神 does have that whole mysterious thing happening after all, and I guess the ma is there just to keep the homophone trotting out.
Thanks Baba, interested to see if anyone else has come across it and in what context. It is I gather a word that the kids are having fun with, a new word, but I haven't actually heard it being used (I used a bit of licence putting it in Heard it on the Street), just referred to. There is a forthcoming internet show with it in the title, I will have to post the address when it happens, that might give us a better idea of what it means in practice.
Yeah, I meant 'how' rather than 'where' - I'd like sentences. I was told that it is used in conversation (it sounds different to 什么 of course), I'd just like to hear it with my own ears.
I'm expecting that being a 'new' word it's meaning/inference is not yet concrete, but yes at one level it is probably just a ku way of saying 什么. Maybe I want to know if *I* can use it. :)
I'm late returning here. I really appreciate your thoughts Bodawei.
The example Baba found “神马都是浮云” is in the Advanced lesson 给力. The guy in the dialogue saying it, and Jiaojie and David when they talk about it (15:42~) really stress the 马.
Sure you can use it!
On a comment I saw you making somewhere--I'm not young, but I too am understanding now why email is just harder and harder to bother with.
Oh, interesting, I didn't realise it was from a ChinesePod lesson - thought Baba got it off the Internet (where there is a lot of discussion).
But also I don't understand: 意指一切都是空的..
This is not how it was explained to me, or maybe I just don't understand 空的 here. I think that responses to 神马? can be either flippant or serious. Like '..what do YOU think??' (Licence to tell me anything you like on the subject.)
Ok, now I'm putting together that and what I've been told and I think zhenlijiang was closest up the top (sorry zhenlijiang for not catching on.) The 神马都是浮云 expression was a bit of a distraction for me, 神马 here just means 'everything' in the way 什么 would mean everything. But 神马 is used in lots of other contexts where 什么 would be used; it is a super cool way of saying 什么. Still, the how of using it remains elusive to me. :( Back to my first point, have to keep my ears pricked for it being used in the real world.
BTW the boards at 给力 lesson have some discussion about this; mainly a copy and paste from Chinasmack on the 神马都是浮云 expression; doesn't really answer my question. Although, a line in the dialogue sounds just like what my Chinese friend said to me, something along the lines 'this word can mean anything you want it to mean.' New words are a bit hard to pin down for this reason; they are not meant to be pinned down. By the time I have it worked out the expression will be really old hat. :)
Yep the 意指一切都是空的 isn't describing the meaning of 神马, it's describing the meaning of the larger phrase 神马都是浮云.
神马 originally became popular as part of that larger expression, so there is still I think a strong association between then two (ie when expressing or critiquing those sentiments you might be particularly inclined to use it), but later people started using it more broadly and outside of the original expression.
Perhaps I'm a bit of a 顽固分子, but in my opinion, unless you are a teenage kid, the only time you should use this expression is when you have a particular reason to want to invoke the associations it might bring to mind (ie particularly communicate a nihilistic attitude, or argue against it, or communicate an irreverent attitude, or say you are writing an article about a really impressive horse and you want to make a pun, etc). I don't think its a good idea to view it as a general replacement for 什么, even in casual IM conversations - if there's no creativity or cleverness in the use, then its just 亦步亦趋 (mindless copying) and in that case just use 什么. If you just want to be informal, use 啥sha2. Certain other internet words, such as 给力 have much broader potential as a word in my opinion.
Ah, tingyun, very wise.
No, the reason I became interested is that my mate (not exactly a teenager, in his 20s) is working on a new TV show which will be only viewable on the Internet (xinhuanet) and it has this word in the working title. I better not identify it yet as it hasn't been released, I will post about it when it is up and running for anyone interested.
So I said WTF, what does this 神马 mean? Then, what does it mean in the context of the title of the show? Well I got a long explanation but I didn't have all this background (above) so I was left with the impression that it was a signal to the viewer to expect some 'Monkey Magic' so to speak. Definitely an irreverent attitude - you have hit it right on the head for me. That is pretty much exactly what my mate was trying to convey, I can see now; he referred to sitting up on a cloud (like Monkey) cackling at everyone down below. A bit loud and opinionated.
So, I agree, I am way to old to use it myself. :)
I was just curious about how it was being used.
Thanks a lot for your ever-reliable comments.