Monday, May 26, 2008

Ingenious Chinglish

just when I think China nowadays are more imitative than creative, something always comes along to prove me wrong. It turns out, the young Chinese are not only reassembling their economy and culture, they've extended their innovative ambition to the English language.

A new English word is coined by young Chinese. Drunbility, which translates into 装逼 in Chinese (dirty and offensive, be aware) urban slang, means roughly insincere, pretentious and hypocritical rolled into one. The first part of the word rhymes phonetically with the Chinese slang, and -lity is used to complete the word as a descriptive noun.

The ironically impressive part is exactly the coinage in English. Since many in China see the overdose of the use of English in everyday conversations by new elite, mixing English words in between, as one form of pretentiousness, using English to coin the word achieves to highlight just that.

Thou the divine language conqueror, I bow to thy genius-ness.
(In casual conversations, I may not be able to string together a complete sentence in Chinese without mixing some English, it's because the English words come up quicker for me, Please spare me.)

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  1. I think I'd be happy if some of my students just used words that sounded like English. I really don't enjoy listening to their Chinese conversations during class. And I can understand most of them, which means their conversations are boring (simply because my Chinese abilities are rather boring).

  2. Mat:
    I don't know if it's appropriate to ask, but, is your students high-schoolers? or college students?

    Maybe you can establish a classroom rule that if they have to chat among themselves, chat with English. That's should stop a lot of talking. :)