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A multimedia collection of stories, interviews, and guides that vibrantly portrays the lives and worlds of young Chinese creatives.
A multimedia collection of stories, interviews, and guides that vibrantly portrays the lives and worlds of young Chinese creatives.
236 backers pledged $12,810 to help bring this project to life.

7 Days to Go: Chinese Slang Lesson #1 and a question

Posted by Christina Xu (Creator)

One week of campaign left! If you have a friend who should know about this campaign, now's the time to forward it to them. Perhaps they'd enjoy...

Chinese Internet Slang Lesson #1

Since a few of you responded enthusiastically to last week's impromptu slang lesson, I thought we'd do another one! Today’s crop: 5 common slang words that are used a lot online and in texting. Figure out a way to incorporate them into your daily English (or whatever) usage and be a trendsetter!

The formatting below is: Chinese term (followed by the pinyin) - the literal definition.

PK - acronym for Player KillA loanword from World of Warcraft, PK has gone from meaning “killing another player in-game” to simply any kind of competition. I learned this one when my mom casually told me over the phone: “All my friends are uploading videos of themselves singing karaoke and I want to PK with them.”

(meng1) - cute
Kawaii~ but Chinese. Can be used to describe cats, outfits, or even people who are charming you with their childish adorableness (like me when I type the wrong character in Chinese, evidently).

ta - gender neutral 3rd person pronounThe Chinese words for he (他), she (她), and it (它) are written differently, but all pronounced identically—ta1. That’s because until the 20th century, they all actually used to be the same character (他). Online, some young people have decided to avoid the inconvenience of using gendered pronouns by just using pinyin to refer to all 3: the roman characters “ta”.

文艺青年 (wen2 yi4 qing1 nian2) - artistic youthEssentially, the Chinese word for “hipster,” though the connotation is a little more twee. As with “hipster,” there’s sometimes an implication of not pursuing serious occupations, caring too much about appearances, and being a snob about mainstream things.

(zan4) - to praiseIt refers to hitting “Like” on social media, but is also often used as an exclamation (similar to how the English internet uses “+1″ or “Like!”) and, sometimes, an adjective. Someone who hits “like” on too many social media things is referred to as a member of the “点赞族” (Like Tribe).

Participation Time!

Last week I started asking everyone I hung out with this question, and it's time to pass it on to you. What burning question do you want me to answer about China? No guarantees that I'll be able to answer every question, of course, but I want to hear about what you're curious about and what you're hoping you'll learn from Multi Entry. Anyone is welcome to answer, but I’m especially interested in hearing from people in the Chinese diaspora.

Whether it's "is [your favorite activity] popular in China?" or "What's the equivalent of Tinder there?", lay it on me in the comments right here, @ me on Twitter, or even send me an email if you're super shy about it. And pass this along to your friends, too—I've made a Tumblr post version of this update for you to 转发 (that's repost)!

Multi Entry recommends:

  • My friend Wendy Xu (no relation!) is a talented Chinese-American cartoonist who is now working on two different comics (one graphic novel, one webcomic) starring Asian-American main characters with ~*supernatural powers*~. Back her Patreon and/or check out her other work!
  • Sometimes in the course of duty, I end up down an internet rabbithole. Last week, that rabbithole led me to 南方酸性咪咪 (South Acid Mimi). This video of a live performance is giving me Fever Ray mixed with Grimes. If this is how Kunming rolls, I'm going to have to go there!
  • Thanks to backer (and Splatoon partner) fascinated for passing along this great article about the foodie myth of authenticity, which would apply just as well to fashion, literature, music, etc. For my purposes, "authenticity" isn't nearly as interesting as what's actually happening on the ground in China now. The only cultures that don't constantly evolve and contradict themselves and converse with other cultures are dead ones.


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    1. ProfessorPlum on

      Thank you for the opportunity to request topics, I would love to know more about healthcare/medicine/research and related things that you find throughout your travels.

    2. noah feehan / AKA on

      Thanks for the update!

      My burning question is more just a general request: I'd like to hear about any jokes you hear or are told, particularly jokes that might not be immediately understandable to someone like me (who has not traveled very widely beyond the USA and Europe).