slang/colloquial expressions, stuff that doesn't rock up in dictionaries
Seem to have been striking a few of these lately. For example the other day I struck 马甲 which my rollover only translated as "corset" whereas I found it to be the Chinese internet slang term for "sockpuppet" an English word oft discussed on these boards at one time though I don't remember the Chinese turning up [maybe it did and I missed it or forgot]. Ok, this one did turn up in the dictionaries. But here's one mdbg doesn't have at least ..喷饭 which I have worked out means "hilarious". I guess breaking it down it literally means "spout food",which I love.. a very graphic way to describe a situation in which someone tells you something funny [or you see something funny] while you are eating and it's so hilarious you can't contain yourself. Does anyone have any others they'd like to add to the list of expressions they've found the dictionaries don't cover so well?
simonpetterssonAugust 03, 2010, 02:12 PM
Two expressions hard to find in dictionaries:
- "帅呆": It seems to mean something like "Beautiful!" and can be applied to guys, possibly girls (I'm not sure) and stuff like skateboard tricks.
- "不至于吧": Trying the dictionary on this one gets you something like "Shouldn't go as far as that, right?". The meaning seems to be similar to the English expression "No way!".
1. literally "handsome fool", which reminds me a little of "handsome devil" in English
2. this one sounds somewhat similar to 不会啊
...did you learn these words when they were bestowed on you perchance [ no 2 after a kungfu or dance or combined kf/dance move ] ?
呆 can also mean "dumbstruck". I think of 帅呆 as more like "awesome" in etymological meaning, though usage differs a bit.
I learned these words from watching "The Spy Next Door" dubbed to Mandarin. Since exceedingly few Mandarin movies seem to have slang in them, a good source seems to be American movies dubbed to Mandarin.
right. As you say there is little slang in Mandarin, is the slang in these dubbed American movies bona fide Mandarin slang, or is it just literal translation of the American slang? I guess you've ascertained it's the former, but I thought it would be worth checking.
simonpetterssonAugust 05, 2010, 04:09 AM
In general, Mandarin is extremely poor in slang. Of the languages I know, Mandarin is without doubt the unslangiest. It is, however, extremely good at being educated and formal.
In my understanding, slang is a regional phenomenon that is not part of the standard language anyway.
Because Mandarin is standardized, slightly artificial, and used by a large part of the Chinese population as a "second language" for formal communication, many people get the impression that there is very little slang.
However, once you go to areas where people speak a "natural" variant (dialect) of Mandarin (e.g. Beijinghua or Dongbeihua), you'll come across a lot of colorful language and local slang expressions.