At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

NOT SAFE FOR A CHINESE WORK ENVIRONMENT: THAT VERB!

First off, let me apologize for the word which will show up a few lines down in this post, which is a highly impolite term for a procreative act. Normally I do not use such words, and I do not wish to upset my more modest readers. Who, being Chinese, could be a little fraught.
Upon seeing that word.


A SLIGHT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PEKING AND HONGKONG

If you are a Mandarin speaker, this post is not meant for you, especially if you are cruising the internet while at work. Please blip right on over it, ignore it entirely, go read something wholesome and uplifting. If, on the other hand, you are Cantonese, you've probably already seen worse today, and used a similar locution to forcefully express yourself.
And if you are one of my Saudi readers (wow, over six hundred visits in the last week alone!), you may not have the necessary software on your computer to show Chinese characters, in which case this entire essay will baffle you. Sorry.

[In actuality, this post is strictly meant for foreigners (老外) who are boundlessly fascinated by foul language (粗口). Of which there are innumerably many. Sometimes it's all they can think about.]


WARNING: UNWORKSAFE LOCUTION FOLLOWS!


The word in question does have other meanings, which are entirely clean.

To manage, to control, to conduct; to regulate.


操 CHOU

It shows a hand next to, or grasping, a tree (wooden object, plank, or tray) on which there are three boxes, likely comestibles or offerings, quite possibly even ceremonial implements. The concept to be expressed is neatly embodied by the representation.

手、扌('sau'),木 ('muk'),品 ('ban')。

The more common and colloquial meaning is better exemplified by the word for which 操 ('chou') often stands in: 肏 ('chaau'). Please note that unlike Cantonese, in Mandarin both are pronounced the same: tsau.
That second character (肏) also neatly represents the concept.
Enter or entry on top, flesh below.

入 ('yap'): to enter, to come in. To join.
肉 ('yiuk'): meat, flesh; a representation of strips of meat suspended from a frame to dry, like beef jerky or biltong.


唓,河蟹之社會?我操!
"Huh, rivercrab society? I regulate!"


[Cantonese: Che, ho-haai ji se-wui? Ngo chou! Mandarin: Chē, héxiè zhi shèhuì? Wǒ cào!]


Okay. I'll let you mull that over for a while. But I'll give you a hint: river-crab (河蟹) actually stands in for another term, just like 操 replaces the actual word which is meant.

Where the last word may get you in Dutch with your friends' parents, the term 'river crab' creatively combined with that verb will cause official eyebrows to lift in consternation.

And whatever you do, don't use the entire phrase carelessly.

The river crab society can be very disapproving.

You should fear their claws.



The word 之 ('ji') however is completely safe. It serves a grammatical function, much like possessive suffixes or the apostrophic S in English.
You'll encounter it a lot in classical literature, along with 也 ('ye'), which adds strength to assertions to which it is appended, as well as unifying two clauses stated sequentially.
Very useful.



Post scriptum: Anyone who is burning with curiosity about foul terms in Chinese should visit this Wikipedia article: Mandarin Chinese Profanity.
It is always good to learn something new.

Note: For an interesting excursus into how my own favourite language expresses itself unprintably, see the relevant Wikipedia file here: Dutch Profanity.









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