Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The best of English in direct translation. (Chinese)

Happy CNY everyone!
In the spirit of Chinese New Year this post is about phrases directly translated from Chinese to English. Funnily enough, we hear these English translated phrases in our everyday lives and do understand what they mean even though they don't make any sense at all.... in English. You follow? Great!

Some of these I didn't know were directly translated (guess cos I don't speak any form of Chinese) and some, I didn't even realize weren't proper English sentences until I really thought about it..whuut!

Here's a list of directly translated favourites and their meanings :

1. Wan/one

The other day I asked someone why we don't say two. haha! then I realized this was directly translated.

a) depicts a question or when confused : "Why he go there one"
By using wan/one at the end of a question sentence, you can sometimes disregard the use of a question mark. 

b) to point out ownership of something : "The phone is Emily's one"

c) to state something obvious : "Nobody will buy smelly toufoo perfume one" 

2. Say people your own self!

The last time I heard this it was from a small boy but still! I'm quite amazed even after saying it slowly and realizing that Microsoft Word would green squiggly line the whole sentence I see almost nothing wrong with this sentence. I've never felt more Malaysian in my life.

a) most commonly used when someone is insulting you and you have no better comeback : "You call me stupid! Say people your own self!" ( if you called me stupid that only means that you're the stupid one)

3. Go what go / do what do /sing what sing

a) usually said when angered and have no other way of verbally expressing your anger.

b) also may be used to express ridiculousness.

As Tucky opened the door to leave he said "Dad I'm going to my friends house to play Mah Jong!" "Go what go! So late already! Everyday also want to go out!" his father replied.

4. ____________ (insert any kind of word)  your head!

a) also used to express ridiculousness :

"I'm think I wanna go for a manicure today."
"Manicure your head! Everyday spend money."

5. You like ah

a) a way of telling someone that the decision is up to them :

"You feel like having sushi?"
"You like ah"

6. What time now?!

a) a rhetorical question that isn't meant to be answered. Used when someone, usually your parent/girlfriend/boyfriend/wife, is telling you off. Is used in reference to your lateness :

" You don't want to come home yet ah! You said you gonna be back at 2pm! What time now?!"

7. Give face / show face

a) used when meaning to say "don't embarrass me/him/she/that person" :

"I was really going to shout at him but there were so many people so I give him face"

b) a small form of curtail respect :

" I don't want to go for her party la but she invited. We go awhile only la, just to show face"

8. Where got?

a) used when presented with a new or surprising information.

" he said your new house was 2 million ringgit ah? " 
" where got?! This house not so expensive wan la"

9. You see you / you see ah

a) used in a judgmental tone usually meant to point out a fault or something you did wrong :

" you see you! So careless spill the coffee on my shirt"

b) a Malaysianized way of saying "I told you so" :

"ah you see ah! You see ah! Tell you to hold with the coffee with two hands you don't want to listen"

That's the list so far. It will be added to.

Tong Tong tong chiang!

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