Archive for Neologisms

New words for "quarantine" in the PRC: "silence" and "time-space companion"

From a PRC M.A. candidate:

Nowadays China has some new words for quarantine: “jìngmò 静默” ("silence") and "shíkōng bànsuí zhě时空伴随者” which means that the phone number of the person and the confirmed number stay in the same time-space grid (800m X 800m) for more than 10 minutes, and the cumulative length of stay of the number of either party exceeds 30 hours in the last 14 days. The detected number is the time-space accompanying number.

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New Russian Newspeak

The author of this article is Michele A. Berdy, who writes under the byline The Word's Worth.  Berdy, born in the US but a resident of Moscow for over 40 years, has been doing this language column for a couple of decades.  It is usually light-hearted, even whimsical.  Not this one.  She departed Moscow after the invasion of Ukraine, and may now be in the U.S.  As per this March article in Politico.

"Newspeak in the New Russia:
George Orwell must be spinning in his grave."

The Moscow Times (9/23/22)

Новояз: Newspeak

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Conehead cabbage

A new kind of cabbage for me:

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Husband Nursery

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Trap daddy

A current catch phrase in China is kēngdiē 坑爹, which literally means "trap your father", but in actuality is a slang neologism used to signify "dishonest; fraudulent; deceptive; be contrary to what one expected", etc. 

"‘Really annoying’ — phrase of the week"

A decade-long online prank involving fake historical accounts of Russian history was unearthed on Chinese social media. For many internet users, the hoax got under their skin.

Andrew Methven  SupChina    Published July 8, 2022

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Of chives and bandits

Tension over the prolonged pandemic lockdowns in Chinese cities is growing.  Thus violence has erupted even in Beijing, where we get scenes like this in the suburb of Yanjiao, 21 miles east of Tiananmen, where workers are demonstrating for the right to travel to their jobs in the city, with continuous cries of "jǐngchá dǎ rén 警察打人" ("the police are beating people").  But it is Shanghai where the citizens have suffered most grievously and for the longest period of time.  Although the government has announced the lifting of the lockdowns, many of the most obnoxious mandates (e.g., repeated, frequent nucleic acid testing) are still being enforced.  All of this has led to extreme cynicism and a greater willingness to confront the authorities.  Some of these sentiments are conveyed on this card where, naturally in the land of the most severe censorship in the world, they must employ clever indirection, which I shall try to explain below:

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RUNning away from Shanghai

New article in Shìjiè Rìbào 世界日報 (World Journal [5/12/22]):

"Tífáng mínzhòng luò pǎo? Zhōngguó yāoqiú: Cóngyán xiànzhì fēi bìyào chūjìng huódòng 提防民眾落跑?中國要求:從嚴限制非必要出境活動 ("Beware of people running away? China demands: Severe restrictions on non-essential outbound activities")

What we're seeing in this article and elsewhere online is the emergence of neologisms resulting from the extreme lockdowns in Shanghai during the last month and more.  The restrictions are so brutally draconian and the people are so desperate that they have begun to develop a science of how to escape.

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"Chilly" in Japanese

The Japanese love to borrow foreign words into their language, tens of thousands of them, but when they do, they usually put their own stamp on them.  This year's word of the year is a good example:

Laid-Back Loanword “Chirui” Chosen as One of Japan’s Words of 2021:

The English phrase “chill out” inspired the adjective chirui, which was selected by dictionary publisher Sanseidō as its word of the year for 2021.

nippon.com (12/10/21)

Here they've created an adjective based on the English phrase "chill out".

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Russian Words of the Year and the Decade

I do not recall ever having Russian words of the year featured on Language Log, so it's a delight to have the opportunity to do so now.  They were called to my attention by Don Keyser, who spotted this piece in Novaya Gazeta this morning:

Норм и обнуление — Подведены итоги конкурса «Слово года»-2021. Особая конкуренция — в номинации «антиязык»

05:29, 19 декабря 2021  Андрей Архангельский, член экспертного совета «Слово года»

—-

Norm and zeroing

The results of the competition "Word of the Year" -2021 have been summed up. Particular competition – in the category "anti-language"

5:29 am, December 19, 2021

Andrey Arkhangelsky, member of the expert council "Word of the Year"

Don remarked:

Keeping up with the grimly evolving Russian language — neologisms, protoneologisms … the narrative is simultaneously enlightening, droll, and rather sad.

You can get a pretty good rendering via either DeepL or Google Translate. FYI, I've copied below the article the Google Translate rendering.  It doesn't do the embedded chart, of course, but the content of the chart is explained in the article.

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Chinese fuzzwords and slanguage of the year 2021

If you want to get an idea of what preoccupies Chinese people, one good way is to take a gander at current lingo. SupChina provides a convenient compilation from two authoritative sources.  In the past, I've been disappointed by many Chinese words of the year lists because they seemed to have been blatantly chosen by government bureaus with a political bias in mind.  The lists assembled below strike me as more genuine and less skewed toward the wishes of authorities.  That is to say, they match well with my own perception of what people are thinking and talking about on a daily basis, and the words they use to express themselves.  So here goes:

"China’s top buzzwords and internet slang of 2021"

Two year-end lists of popular slang words and internet catchphrases were published this week. The words offer a glimpse into what’s on the minds of Chinese internet users and Chinese government officials. Here are all 16 words on the lists.

Andrew Methven, SupChina (12/8/21)

The fact that four of the expressions appear on both lists is reassuring that they represent actual preferences of Chinese citizens.

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Fierce, ferocious, formidable; awesome, amazing, astonishing

If there's any Mandarin word that I often wish I could use in English, it is "lìhài 厲害 / 厉害" ("intense; fierce; ferocious; formidable; strict; stern; severe; shrewd; sharp; smart; serious [as of an illness]; cruel; terrible; powerful; amazing; fantastic; impressive"), with tones of "awesome" — and many other nuances, implications, and connotations.

Example sentence:

"Zhège rén hěn lìhài 这个人很厉害 / 這個人很厲害" ("This person is great / amazing", and lots of other things, many of them not so flattering, depending on the context).

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Nominations for Japanese words of the year

Mezurashii / めずらしい / 珍しい ("amazing; wonderful; rare").  Love 'em!  Such creativity!  Such imagination!

"Japan’s Words of 2021: Nominees Announced for Annual List"
Language Nov 4, 2021

On November 4, the publisher Jiyū Kokumin Sha announced its list of nominees for the words and phrases best representing the year 2021. Our complete list of the nominees with explanations.
New Words for a Pandemic Year

Each year Jiyū Kokumin Sha, the publisher of Gendai yōgo no kiso chishiki (Basic Knowledge on Contemporary Terminology), an annual guide to the latest terms in use in the Japanese language, holds its contest to decide the Words of the Year. For 2021, the nominating committee selected a list of 30 terms that have made themselves a part of the spoken and written landscape in Japan this year.

….

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Judo: martial arts neologism or ancient philosophical term?

The term "judo", which sport / martial art ("as a physical, mental, and moral pedagogy" [source]) was only created in 1882 by Jigoro Kano 嘉納治五郎 (1860-1938).  What I find amazing is that jūdō / MSM róudào 柔道 ("soft / flexible / gentle / supple / mild / yielding way") comes right out of the Yìjīng 易經 (Book / Classic of Change[s]).  Of course, traditional Japanese scholars have always been learned in the Chinese classics, so it shouldn't be too surprising that they would draw on the classics for terminology and ideas that had great meaning for them.  But I'm curious whether Jigoro Kano explicitly referred to the Yìjīng in any of his writings about jūdō 柔道.

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