BEAR IN MIND: Remember how to speak by saying things you shouldn’t.
The world of clichés is filled with dogs and pigs. China is no different. When communicating use these slang-filled expressions to show you understand local culture and values.
gǒu ná hàozǐ, duō guǎn xián shì.
狗 拿 耗子, 多 管 闲 事。
When dogs catch mice, they aren’t minding their business.
rén pà chū míng, zhū pà zhuàng.
人 怕 出 名, 猪 怕 壮。
People are afraid of fame like pigs are afraid of obesity.
TALKING POINTS: A supplement for grammar practice
Continuing from last month’s Model Mandarin we continue with more conjunctions for connecting your thoughts with elaborate concepts.
yuè … yuè … 越 … 越 … More and more
Use this when you want to express something that is increasing in intensity. The ‘yuè’ means “to get over.” But between them in the expression, other descriptives can be used, but the ‘lái’ below, meaning come, is most common.
yuè lái yuè duō de rén kāishǐ xué hànyǔ.
越 来 越 多 的 人 开始 学 汉语.
More and more people are beginning to study Chinese.
yī … jiù … 一 … 就 … no sooner … than …
If something happened soon after a particular time or event, this expression will help. Notice the placement is after the sentence’s subject; it can also come before, but not after ‘jiù.’
tā yí xià fēijī, jiù gěi wǒ dǎ le diànhuà.
他 一 下 飞机, 就 给 我 打 了 电话.
Once he got off the plane, he called me.
bú … yě bú … 不 … 也不 … Not … neither …
It’s used to make two negative comments about something, or to describe something precisely.
jīntiān bù lěng yě bú rè.
今天 不 冷 也 不 热.
Today is not too cold or too hot.
CARTOON CHARACTERS: mnemonic devices that work
CANTONESE CORNER: Conversation starters for Guangdongers
Use this one with close friends to rib them when they’re talking too much or causing trouble.
a zi a zo (阿支阿左) – A verb or noun indicating someone has, or is, interfering in your business. (Speak it in a steady tone and keep it till the end.)