Archive for Slogans

Annals of endless redundancy: "Keep On Keepin' On"

Just heard that song on the radio.  It was sung by Curtis Mayfield.  I had never heard it before and was puzzled by its meaning, so I went to Wikipedia for enlightenment.  Lo and behold!  I found this disambiguation page:

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East Asian multilingual pop culture

Currently circulating political poster in the PRC:

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Headlessness in North Korean propaganda

[This is a guest post by Jichang Lulu]

After coverage of dotage and DOLtage, as diagnosed by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Victor Mair's latest Korean-themed post deals with a more serious condition: headlessness.

Varieties of the ailment have been reported in, e.g., chickens and compound nouns, but the latter sense would be out of place in KCNA vocabulary; (at least South) Korean linguists would talk of nouns 'lacking a nucleus' (핵어(核語) 없는 haegeo eomneun / 무핵(無核) muhaek 합성명사(合成名詞) hapseong myeongsa) rather than a 'head'. Another candidate for headlessness is the North Korean state itself, per OPLAN 5015 (작전계획(作戰計劃) 5015 jakjeon-gyehoek ogong-iro). Said PLAN involves a 'decapitation' (참수(斬首) chamsu) strike against Kim Jong-un. He's supposedly familiar with the nitty-gritty of the PLAN, reportedly obtained by hacking into South Korean military networks. The South Koreans, rumour has it, are speeding up their defence upgrade plans, so it's understandable any potential decapitees would feel uneasy.

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Correction of a public sign

Photograph taken by Adrian Thieret in Shanghai (Pudong) about a month ago.

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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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