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新词新译系列-L 6

2014-03-11    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

来三 (lei3 sei1) capable, competent, feasible, doable

This term, which translates literally as “come three,” doesn’t have anything to do with the numeral “three.” Instead, some people believe it’s a homonym for “lanshan” or “blue dress.”

Lanshan, a robe with broad borders at the collar, cuffs and hem, was once the official dress for scholars who had passed the county- and provincial-level civil examinations during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. Particularly, during the Qing Dynasty, it was decreed that the robe must be made of blue fabric.

Under the imperial examination system, scholars who had passed county, provincial or imperial court tests were guaranteed official positions in governments. Influenced by the Confucian precept that “study of books excels all other pursuits,” scholars all studied for the single goal of passing the exam and becoming an official. As a result, “lanshan” became a symbol of success and social status.

In the Shanghai area, the word “lanshan” was gradually used to mean anyone who was capable or competent. Today, locals still use 来三 (lei sei) in this sense, but they also use it to mean something that is feasible or doable. For instance, you may hear locals ask: “Lei sei va?” meaning “Can it be done?” or “Can you do it?”

流动人口 (liu2 dong4 ren2 kou3) floating population

One of the biggest challenges of China’s once-a-decade census is to document the migrant or “floating population.” Floaters are those who frequently visit a place for a particular reason, such as migrant construction and factory work.

老克拉 (lao3 ke1 le) high class, sophisticated, cognoscenti

This is generally considered to be pidgin English meaning “old class.” In the early and middle 1900s, locals called people and things related to the upper class “old class” or 老克拉 (lao ke le). The term later came to mean anyone with sophisticated taste and extensive knowledge about the finer things in life. It can also describe things. For example, one might call a well-tailored garment 克拉斯 (ke la si) or “classy.”

Today the term 老克拉 (lao ke le) can be used interchangeably with another Shanghai colloquialism 老懂经 (lao dong jing), which usually means someone who is knowledgeable in a given subject, one of the cognoscenti. But the second term can be shorted to 懂经 (dong jing), which becomes an adjective meaning conversant with, stylish and fashionable. So, someone who is “very 懂经” is someone with specialized knowledge or refined taste.

In the 1960s, a special kind of shoe, with a black cloth upper and white plastic sole, became the vogue and people called them “懂经 shoes.”

Today, however, these two are more often used among middle-aged and elderly locals.

老黄牛 (lao3 wang2 niu) irresponsible person, someone who habitually fails to keep his promises, uncomplaining and diligent person

The ox used to be common in Shanghai’s rural areas and it has found its way into many colloquial terms. The phrase 老黄牛 (lao wang niu) combines the first character “老” (old) and the term “黄牛” (ox). The second part, “黄牛,” today often is used to mean a scalper, one who buys something cheap and resells at a high price. The most common are ticket scalpers.

But when the “ox” is used with “old,” it means a person who never keeps his promise or always says he will help you do something, but never does.

烂尾新闻 (lan4 wei3 xin1 wen2) cold follow-up to hot news

Some local governments take superficial action after problems involving employees or departments make the headlines. Critics say these are only designed to calm discontent or deflect criticism, not solve problems.

裸商 (luo3 shang1) returnee businesspeople

Some Chinese businesspeople obtain foreign citizenship, transfer assets overseas, then return to China as a foreign investor to get preferential treatment. They can also make an exit easier if illegal deals are uncovered.



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