Archive for Language and advertising

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Nicknames for foreign cars in China

"Porsche and BMW are known as 'broken shoes' and 'don't touch me' in China", by Echo Huang

Many of these names are off-color and some even quite vulgar, but they are all affectionate:

Audi's RS series:  xīzhuāng bàotú 西装暴徒 ("a gangster in a suit"), inspired by the car's smooth look and impressive horsepower (some links in Chinese).

Bugatti's Veyron: féi lóng 肥龙 ("fat dragon").  The French car manufacturer's high-performance Veyron sports car earned the moniker for its round-front face design, and because "ron" in Veyron sounds like "lóng" ("dragon"), just as "Vey" sounds like féi ("fat").

BMW: bié mō wǒ 别摸我 ("don't touch / rub me").  The German acronym for Bayerische Motoren Werke forms the basis to create a Mandarin phrase that expresses how precious people consider the car to be.

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Restaurant logo with a dingus

Klaus Nuber writes: "Sometime ago I saw the sign of this 'Asia Palast' with the logo consisting of the two chairs and the round dingus between. Is this logo just cute or has it a hanzi background?"

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Ruby phonetic annotation for Cantonese

Jenny Chu sent in this photograph of an ad on a Hong Kong subway car:

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Plant-based "milk"

The company Oatly claims to have created a new Chinese word for plant-based milk by placing the grass radical above the character for milk:

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Cantonese and Mandarin are two different languages, part 2

From Guy Freeman:

These advertisements on a Hong Kong bus (plastered on the back of every seat on the upper deck) use Cantonese so unashamedly, at least in their main type, that I just had to pass them on.  Clearly advertisers still appreciate that written Cantonese is the best way to connect to the Cantonese-speaking masses.

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Trump beef noodles

Photograph of a sign in downtown Taitung, Taiwan:

(Courtesy of Anthony Clayden)

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Radical emphasis

Tong Wang spotted this poster in a Beijing elevator:

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Onigiri > Onigilly

Brand-name transliteration (in Embarcadero Center, San Francisco), courtesy of Nancy Friedman:

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Home party

Recently, Tong Wang's husband told her that he would not be home for dinner because he was going out with friends to this place:

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Tangut beer

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Q-TAXI

From a correspondent in Taiwan:

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Diacriticless Vietnamese on a sign in San Francisco

Charles Belov sent in this photograph of a sign posted on the Pho 2000 restaurant on Larkin Street in San Francisco:

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