Chinglish ma?

I don’t like to “rag” the Taiwanese about their English, it’s embarrassing to them, and I am ever so grateful that someone has put more effort into learning my language then I have put into trying to learn theirs, though let me mention that i don’t receive the same respect when trying to order a French kiss and vagina in my best Chinese (refer to previous blog, to blog or not to blog), just the other day I was proudly practicing the lesson I had done through my iPod and one of the people in the office said (over the laughing of everyone else) that I shouldn’t be so proud of my single sentence ability since I have been here five years after all. Well now, would you like warm glass of….???

This evening while prancing around in class like the ever present clown I can be, I asked one of the students what kind of noun water was, and he boldly went where no man (or student) dares to go, he answered the question with a very confident, “teacher, it’s an uncomfortable noun.”

And that led me to wonder, could we be onto something here? Could we make English history and add a new grammar label into the Oxford dictionary? I guess this wouldn’t be hard as they’ve just recognized “LOL” as a word, not much of a standard to try and beat, thank goodness. but let’s think about it:

Uncomfortable nouns: bed of nails, scalding water, injection, various types of illness, etc

Comfortable nouns: feather pillow, down duvet, reclining chair, mom, dad, family, love etc

I guess you can see where I’m going with this. You may have heard the term “Chinglish” and it comes from how English and Chinese can be blended to come up with some very bizarre and interesting terms, I don’t know much about Chinese on a whole (quite obvious by now) but I know that there are no tenses (bless you!!) and there are no gender terms such as referring to he/she. Chinese is a very literal language, it’s basically written or said like it is. There is no shortage of good Chinglish online, so go and have a look, have a chuckle if you want, goodness knows we all have, but also remember, this is a mandarin speaking country trying to make an effort to speak, learn and display English, we can’t say the same for the west of the worlds most widely spoken language.

As a footnote, I must add, this morning one of my students gave me a box of divine cookies, on the wrapper was written, “such sweet lunacy, you tidal pull through my salty blood. I am liquid being, boundaries wavering and thin as light.”



  1. 😉

  2. Uncomfortable nouns should absolutely be a recognized part of speech. For further proof, research stinky tofu and dorian (fruit) 🙂

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