Archive for the ‘english’ Tag

explanation of “peeing in six easy steps”

The only thing to note about this joke is that it’s almost certainly not originally a Chinese joke.  I’m pretty sure I’ve encountered it on the web elsewhere before seeing it on the Chinese internet, and chances are that our protagonist, Little Qiang, was originally Little Johnny or something to that effect.


explanation of “the perils of textbook language learning”

The student has studied English language dialogues in textbooks so well that even in a life-or-death situation, the immediate response to “How are you?” is “I’m fine, thank you!” This unfortunate conditioning leads to the student’s demise.

the perils of textbook language learning

中国留学生在国外的高速公路出车祸了,连人带车翻下悬崖,交警赶到后向下喊话:how are you?留学生答:i’m fine,thank you。然后交警走了,留学生就死了.


A Chinese student studying abroad got into an accident on a highway.  The car and those in it fell off a cliff.  A traffic cop arrived as quickly as possible and yelled down “How are you?”  The student replied “I’m fine, thank you.”  Then the traffic cop left and the student died.


车祸, che huo- traffic accident

翻下, fan xia- fall over

悬崖, xuanya- a cliff, an overhang

交警, jiao jing- traffic police


Money money money



A kid asked a rich man, “Uncle, why are you so rich?”

The rich man rubbed the kid’s head and said, “When I was young, my dad gave me an apple.  I sold it and got two apples.  After that, I got four apples.”  Pensively, the kid said, “Oh, uncle, I think I understand.”  The rich man replied, “Huh, what do you understand!?  After that, my dad died and I inherited his property…”


英语老师为了强调词汇积累的重要性,说:“一个单词用10遍,这个词就会跟随你一辈子。”教室最后一排的女孩闻听忽然念叨起来:“money, money, money…”


To stress the importance of accumulating vocabulary, an English teacher said, “Use a word ten times, and it will be with you for life.”  A girl in the back row of the classroom heard this, and suddenly started saying, “Money, money, money…”


小朋友, xiao pengyou- child, kid

富翁, fuweng- rich person

若有所思, ruo you suo si- pensive

你 懂你妹, ni dong ni mei- “What do you understand?”/”You don’t understand at all.” (colloquial, somewhat rude) literally, “You understand your sister.”

继承, ji cheng- inherit

词汇积累, ci hui ji lei- vocabulary accumulation

一辈子, yi beizi- for a lifetime

explanation of “very nice cologne”

A guy alerts his dorm mates that he has lost his “cologne.”  The dorm mates don’t even know he uses cologne, so they’re surprised, and ask what type it is.  He says, in English, “Six God”, which sounds like it might be some fancy foreign brand. In fact, he’s just referring to the very fragrant liushen bug repellent, which is both very common and very cheap.  Once everyone realizes exactly what “Six God” means, they’re speechless.

One reason that such a misinterpretation could realistically happen is that there is one broadly applicable Chinese word that can refer to cologne, perfume, and other similar fragrances.  This is xiang shui, which, broken down into its constituent parts,  simply means “fragrant water”.  Indeed, liushen could by some be considered a type of “fragrant water”.

There are some other culturally specific things to note about this text. Chinese college students often live six or eight to a room, which is why the “dorm mates” are answering one person.  In these living situations, they normally select a shezhang, or dorm room leader.

very nice cologne



舍长:SIX GOD啊,我只用那个。




liushen mosquito repellant

Dorm leader: I can’t find my cologne!  Quick, guys, help me find it!

Dorm mates: You use cologne?! What brand is it?

Dorm leader: “Six God”, that’s the only brand I use.

Dorm mates: Never heard of that… sounds awesome! What does it look like?

Dorm leader: It’s liushen bug repellant!  Who took it!?!

Dorm mates: ………………………..

香水, xiang shui- cologne (men), perfume (women)

啥, sha- what (subsitutes 什么 in some colloquial northern dialects)

牛逼, niu bi- awesome, badass (colloquial, somewhat crude)

花露水, hua lu shui- a mentholated green liquid used to stop itching and repel bugs