Learn Buzzwords, Learn to Be Native in China!(1)

     Learn Buzzwords, Learn to Be Native in                                                 China!(1)interesting

Recently, more and more buzzwords are emerging online. After being used by a large number of  netizens, some of them became famous. They are not only used in daily life but even used in the political  speeches.

President Xi in a speech at the end of last year said:

“Wǒmende gè jí gànbù yěshì mán pīn de.”

  “我们的   各级  干部  也是  蛮  拼  的。”

(Our every officials work extremely hard.)

mán pīn de

蛮  拼 

means work extremely hardpretty strenuous. It can also translated as go for it(have a risk)。

President Xi also said:

“Wǒ yào wèi wǒmen wěidà de rénmín diǎn zàn“.

 “我    我们   伟大    人民    ”。

(I would like to give the thumbs-up to our great people.)


diǎn zàn



means give the thumbs-up in English, to indicate something is praiseworthy or commendable。Have you noticed ? Following the trends, WeChat updated a function called “like”, which is meant to let people give their thumbs up to the posted content. For example, you may get a message like this: Please click the “like” button for me. If I get 50 likes, I’ll get a free gift!

Then if you do it, you become his or her friend that merely clicking a button for each other.





You don’t listen to others opinion and you never think about others feeling. You can do whatever you want to do.  It seem that 任性 is a bad word for personality. But now, it became a neutral even good word. Let’s look at the example:

At the Two Sessions of 2015, Mr.Lv answering the journalist’s questions said: “I should say, the Party, the government, and the general public actually adopt the same attitude when it comes to anti-corruption. So we can be said to be CAPRICIOUS in fighting against corruption, and we are entitled to do so.”

Capricious is exactly “任性“ in Chinese, but obviously, capricious here should be a good word which means determined, willful, and wayward.


nǚ hàn zi

女 汉 子

tomboya tough girl, a man-like woman


Refers to the women or girls whose behaviors are similar to men. The women or girls who are called “女汉子” should be independent, bold, straightforward, which are known as men’s characteristics. “女汉子“ also means girls who are brave and can survive in the heavy pressure.


Bú zuō sǐ jiù bú huì sǐ

不 做 死 就 不 会 死

No zuo no die 

“No zuo no die” is a Chinglish phrase, in which “zuo” is the pinyin spelling of the Chinese word meaning do crazy things to attract attention, and the other parts are English, as the funny translation from one of the netizens. The whole phrase means if you don’t do stupid things, they won’t come back and bite you in the ass. (But if you do, they most certainly will.) And we are surprised that this phrase has been included in the Urban Dictionary, a popular online slang dictionary in the United States, and the news created a buzz among web users.
but the professional translation for this phrase is

You will not die if you do not seek death, or You will not be in trouble if you do not look for trouble



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Powerful “Suffix-r” in Chinese


         Powerful “Suffix-r” in Chinese


Suffixation of 儿(r) to nouns and sometimes verbs or adjectives, causing changing pronunciations of the preceding vowels, is a typical situation of pronunciation in Putonghua, or standard Chinese and some dialects.

In Mandarin, “Suffix-r” has the distinction functions for meanings and properties of a certain words. When it occurs changings in the context between the “Suffix-r” and normal words, you have to be careful about the different meanings and properties of certain words. Otherwise it will cause ambiguity. Such as:

dǐng (顶) is a verb, which means carry something on the head or push from below or behind . But when it’s changed to be Dǐngr(顶儿), the property is changed to be a noun, and its meaning is also changed to be the thing that bear the weight.

 yì diǎn(一点) means one o’clock when it is a normal word. But it turns to be a measure word and means “little, few” when it is has suffix-r, yì diǎnr(一点儿).


     头    tóu    means people’s head

 →头儿  tóur   means the head of a gang or the person in charge

      眼     yǎn   means eyes

  →眼儿   yǎnr   means a small hole

  Another one kind of suffix-r after words are expressing the emotional coloring such as love, favor, joy and so on.

花儿 Huār (flower) indicates love to flowers.

小孩儿  Xiǎo hair (little kids) indicates love to kids.

好玩儿 Hǎowánr (funny) indicating prefer having fun.

老头儿  lǎotóur   (old man) indicates having a good relations with the old man.

小曲儿xiǎoqǔr (ditty)  indicates having fondness of the ditty.

When we are expressing small, less, or light things, we also use suffix-r. Such as:

米粒儿  Mǐ lìr  indicates few rice that we can count

门缝儿  Mén fèngr means a narrow crack between a door and its frame

雨点儿  yǔ diǎnr   indicates few raindrop

一会儿  yí huìr   indicate a short time,  a little while

小事儿  xiǎo shìr  means little things


In the actual reading, end with suffix-r is pronounced with the preceding vowel. It is not a single part, which means is can’t be separated alone and read clearly.

Such as

哪 →哪儿 nǎr  [nǎ]─→[nǎr]  where  

那 →那儿 nàr  [nà]─→[nàr]  there

But in the broadcast language, especially in politics, science, academic programs, which require a higher degree of accuracy in language, we should minimize the using of suffix-r; and in written language or formal environment we also reduce the using of suffix-r.

Besides, you have to notice that there are a lot of words end with 儿 naturally. So don’t confound them with suffix-r.

Such as

女儿 nǚ ér is naturally ended with 儿 and means daughter.

婴儿 yīng ér is also ended with 儿 naturally. It means infant.


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