While staying in Shanghai last year, there was a word/phrase/whatever that I probably heard dozens of times every day.
What appears to be "um" in English or "aehm" in German seems to be something like "ni ge" in Chinese? At least that's how this expletive sounded to me.
Alas, I couldn't find any information about this expletive anywhere. Is it even the correct pinyin? How would you write it in Hanzi? Is there a lesson about its "use"? Anything else?
Can anybody ease my curiosity here?
JasonSchMarch 23, 2010, 08:49 AM
That would be 那个, or nàge, literally meaning 'that', or 'that thing'. 那 alone means 'that' and the 个 is a measure word indicating a 'thing'. (together though, they're often translated as simply, 'that')
And you're right. It's used like the English 'um' and also sometimes as a substitute for something the speaker doesn't know how to say/express.
dreiundzwanzigMarch 23, 2010, 08:58 AM
Thank you guys!
Am I right that most people do not exactly pronounce it as "na ge"? To me it seems to be more like bodawei's "neige" or "nege" or even like my post originally stated "nige"? :-D
Or is it just a local preference in Shanghai? Do they use " 那个" in any other part of China as well?
bodaweiMarch 23, 2010, 09:04 AM
Nage or neige is used everywhere I have been. Neige is just as common as nage. I can't speak for Shanghai but it is possible that the neige sounds a bit like nige.