Amidst the busyness involved in language learning, you’ll find moments where you can’t help but laugh at the irony of some of the new words and phrases you discover. This happened to me and I’d just like to briefly share about it now.
I was curious about the Mandarin word for ‘newbie’ and having prior knowledge that Chinese often converts English-phrases into Hanzi based on sound (e.g. McDonald’s = Màidāngláo) I assumed that the translation for ‘newbie’ would follow this pattern too. But the reality:
牛逼 niúbī = awesome
菜鸟 càiniǎo = newbie/novice
It’s double the pun because when somebody calls you a noobie/newbie, they’re actually referring to you as someone awesome whilst the correct Chinese term for newbie (菜鸟 càiniǎo) literally translates to ‘bird food’. And that’s why there’s a pecking order 😉 *ba dum tish*
I hope you can laugh with me about this and that there will be many more of these moments in the future to encourage me to press on in my Mandarin studies.