Archive for Slogans

The linguistics of a political slogan

Banner on the side of a fancy car in Sydney, Australia:

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Comrades, "hike up your skirts for a hard shag"

President Xi Jinping is fond of calling on the Chinese people to "roll up our sleeves and work hard" ( qǐ xiùzǐ jiāyóu gàn 撸起袖子加油干 / 擼起袖子加油幹).  No sooner had Xi uttered this stirring pronouncement in a nationwide address at the turn of the year (2016-17) than it became a viral meme (here and here) that has inspired countless signs, songs, and dances; enactment; and also this one, presumably in a poorly-heated environment

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Orange Guard

Created by Jonathan Smith:

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Fun bun pun

The case of activist Gweon Pyeong 권평 / Pyong Kwon / Quan Ping 權平 is now going to trial in China.  Gweon stands accused of wearing a t-shirt with three Xi-themed slogans printed on it:

"T-shirt slogans" (11/7/16)

In this post, I would like to explore in greater depth one of the three slogans, namely "Xí bāozi 習包子" ("steamed, stuffed / filled bun Xi").

In the earlier post, I explained how Xi Jinping acquired that curious nickname.  It's really not that offensive, and it is by no means vulgar.  But just what does it imply to call Xi Jinping, China's supreme leader, a "steamed, stuffed bun"?

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No Japanese, South Koreans, or dogs

Here we go again.  Image trending on WeChat, a sign on a Beijing bus:

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Hate

There are multilingual signs all over Swarthmore (where I live) that say "Hate Has No Home Here".  The signs are printed in six languages:  English, Urdu, Hebrew, Korean, Arabic, and Spanish.  I wondered about the choice of languages, but — with a little googling — I found that these are apparently the languages most commonly spoken at Petersen Elementary School in the North Park neighborhood of Chicago, where the campaign to post these signs originated.  It's interesting that the linguistic mix of an elementary school in Chicago determined the multilingualism of signs that are being posted all over the country.

Incidentally, there is also a #LoveThyNeighbor (No Exceptions) campaign going on, and here I wondered about the archaism of the "Thy".  It seems to me that the King Jamesian language of these signs conveys clear Christian overtones, which may account for the fact that there are far fewer of these signs around than the HHNHH signs.

"Hate" is also a hot topic in China these days.

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IBM's "THINK" motto

Photograph taken by Hervé Guérin in the main lobby of IBM France:

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All the way with U in 2016/7

From Li Wei on Facebook:

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Smog the people

The smog in north China has been particularly horrendous for the past few weeks.  In some cities, the PM2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrograms) index is over 1000 micrograms per cubic meter, and in some places has even reached above 1400.  The World Health Organization recommends 25 micrograms per cubic meter as the maximum safe level.  This means that the PM2.5 index in many Chinese cities often reaches levels that are 40 or 50 times greater than those recommended by the WHO.

Given these dangerous conditions, people naturally want to complain and criticize, but in China you get in trouble when you complain and criticize.  One way to release one's ire while hopefully avoiding arrest is to use satire, sarcasm, and irony (in addition to puns and romanization, which we have often documented on Language Log).

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Coffee and caffeine; laws and morals

A Korean chain coffee shop, Caffe Bene, recently opened a branch at 38th and Chestnut in University City, Philadelphia.  This is a design on one of the walls:

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T-shirt slogans

A 28-year-old Chinese citizen of Korean ethnicity, the activist Pyong Kwon (the Korean reading of his name would be Gweon Pyeong 권평; MSM Quán Píng 權平), has disappeared after telling a friend that he was planning to wear the t-shirt pictured below on the street on October 1, China's National Day.

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Go China

Jason Cox sent in the following very brief video from the USA-China basketball game at the Rio Olympics, showing a man holding a sign that says "Go USA".

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You ain't no Muslim

You ain't no Muslim, bruv! The phrase already gets more than 650,000 hits on Google in the UK, and the hashtag #YouAintNoMuslimBruv gets about 1,670,000. It is becoming a mantra, a talismanic incantation for conjuring up goodwill in a world where more and more attempts are being made to foment hatred between Muslims and everyone else.

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