This is What Learning Chinese Does to Foreigners!

Source: JobTube, Arianna J., Josh B.

Chinese is notoriously difficult to learn, not only because of the intonations and the characters, but also homophones have the same pronunciation but different meanings. What's more, an expression may have different meanings in contexts, which sometimes could lead to wild misunderstandings. Here are some comments from netizens who witnessed how it happened to their foreign friends.

1. qm yo y xio sh

A few years ago, I was visiting Emei Mountain with my family, and a group of foreign friends came up. One of them asked us in Chinese how far some scenic spot was. My mother said it was quite far, as we just came back from there, and it would take at least an hour (qm yo y xio sh). The foreign man said Xiexie and went back to tell his friends. I saw their expressions were a little strange and heard he was saying: "The lady said it would take an hour by riding a horse. I think we have to walk for three hours. Come on, everyone! "

In spoken Chinese, qm (minimum, at least) sounds the same with qm (to ride a horse).

2. d bin fn  

A foreign man accepted the dinner invitation of a Chinese friend at his home. The friend prepared a lot of food, but still said modestly that it was just a "binfn"(simple meal). The guest immediately replied, "Then this is really a d binfn!"

You know, never try to say big simple meal like that, as dbin means shit.

3. kn ch

A teacher led about ten foreign students to the Tianjin zoo on foot. To leave the school gate, they had to cross a wide road, where many cars were driving by very fast. When crossing the road, the teacher shouted: "kn ch! kn ch!" Upon this, several foreign students stopped at once, stood in the middle of the road and looked at the cars!

In this context, "kn ch" means paying attention to the cars rather than looking at them.

4. Zodin

A Chinese guy said that one of his foreign friends told him once when he just arrived China, "You Chinese look really diligent!"
The man: "why?"

Foreign friend: "when I go out in the morning, I can often see the signboards beside the roads with the words "zodin" to remind passers-by not to be late for work."

In a dialogue, "zo din" could be early, a bit earlier, or breakfast, e.g.: zo din ch zodin!

5. nl nl

A foreigner attended the wedding of a Chinese friend, he politely praised the bride saying she was gorgeous. The friend replied " nl nl" to express his thanks. Thinking that he was being asked for an explanation, the foreigner went on, "Hair, eyebrows, eyes, ears, nose and mouth, she is so beautiful!"

Actually, in Chinese, nl nl is an expression to show modest when being praised.

6. fngbin

A young man who just came to study in China had a drink with his Chinese classmates. One of them said "w q fngbin y xi" and left the table, the man didn't understand it, so someone told him that "fngbin" means to go to the toilet, and he got it. A few days later, a Chinese girl asked to visit him when he is fngbin. The man was shocked and immediately said: "Any other time is okay, but not when I am fngbin!"

In Chinese, fngbin has multiple meanings and in daily contexts, it often means convenient, or to go to the toilet when people say fngbin y xi.

7. n qun mo/ n qun to

A Chinese teacher who worked in Beijing said that because a movement of wearing a hat called "to", sometimes students confound it with "mo" (hat). One of his students often went out by motorcycle, so once he reminded him the traffic in Beijing, so he should be careful. The student then said, "never mind, I always wear a n qun to!"

Uh, so, n qun mo means safety helmet, while n qun to is condom.

8. shujio/ shujio

A small restaurant owner said, "one day a very beautiful foreign girl came to my shop and said to me, "W yo shujio! (I want to sleep!)" I explained to her that this was a restaurant, not a hotel, she went to the wrong place and I suddenly got it that she was trying to order shujio (dumpling)! "

Chinese is so difficult that some learner even said that the most impossible question in the world is not the chicken-or-egg one, but the bee-or-honey one in Chinese (mfng and fngm), however, more and more foreign friends in China can speak good Chinese, some of them even sound like a native speaker on the phone. Many teachers say that practice and mistakes lead to fluency, and persistence is the key.

So, what interesting things have happened to you during your Chinese learning? Leave a comment and share it with us!

It is said not all Chinese can read this paragraph below. Can you? Let's try it out!

Here, A = hngB = xngso how will you read it? Do you understand what its talking about?

What does the above message mean? Could you read it? Let us also know!