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From Randy Alexander, a photo taken in the courtyard of an apartment complex in Huaying, Guang'an, Sichuan (广安华蓥):

The banner says:

@Suǒyǒu rén, rénkǒu pǔchá xūyào nín lái dǎkǎ.


"@Everyone, the census requires / needs you [respectful] to come check in*."

* dǎkǎ 打卡

    1. to punch a timeclock; to punch in; to clock in and out (of a job, etc.)
    2. (chiefly Taiwan, Internet slang) to check in (to a location) on social media

dǎ 打 ("hit; strike" — dummy verb to make a verbal phrase from a noun)

kǎ 卡 ("to wedge; to get stuck; to be jammed; to become tightly wedged", and many other cognate meanings, but here being used to transcribe the sound of the English word "card")

Cf. shuākǎ 刷卡 ("swipe card")

Randy translates:

@All people: the census needs you to check in.

Or a little more freely:
@All people: we need you to please check in for the census.
I didn't know 大卡 (in the sense of punching in/out at work — which is now done with fingerprint scanners instead of punch cards) until fairly recently. It seems to be used more and more now to mean casually pop in.
It's pretty hilarious to see WeChat's  @所有人 printed on a banner.

From Diana Shuheng Zhang:

Oh, haha! This is a very well-written typical "netizen" Chinese! 
@ originally means "at", but here it means "to/for". Why so? Because this is the format of posting on weibo (I don't use twitter so I don't know whether it works the same on twitter): When you type "@someone," you want to convey the message to that specific person, or address everyone that "this message is for this person/includes this person/". For example: 
– "I had such a nice dinner tonight! Thank you! @Victor" means you want to tell people that it was Victor who was mainly involved in the nice dinner that you had, whether he cooked for you or enjoyed the meal together with you. 
– "@Victor, party tonight at mine at 8" means you want to convey "party tonight at mine at 8" to Victor, be it an invitation or a reminder.
The main differences between using the @someone function on public social platforms versus sending that person a direct message may be two, according to my own perspective. 
First, netizens log in to their social account every day, but not necessarily in order to communicate with certain people. They may just browse the news and take a look at what others post for relaxation. In this way, it is not so convenient, in some people's eyes, to go through the long contact list, find a contact's name, and send a private message. It's much easier simply to use the @ function on the home page, although it may be at the cost of privacy (so that's why a private content that could not be shared by the public, at least by the friend circle, would never be used by the @ function. Usually these are very casual "personal messages"). 
Second, when one uses the @someone function, this person intends this message to be known by more people other than the recipient him/herself. So, while a private message "Victor, remember to be at my party at 8" simply means an address to Victor, "@Victor, party tonight at mine at 8" carries another layer of "I want you to all know that Victor will be at my party!" 
Therefore, @所有人 here means "To/For everyone" while implying that "I want everyone to know that I want everyone to know". :)

From Yijie Zhang:

I would say the wording here is acceptable, but it is not felicitously worded in the given context. I would translate it into English as "Ladies and gentlemen, the Census calls for your participation." There are two Chinese popular internet terms in this sentence: 1. "@所有人" ("@Everyone"), which is a feature messaging function for group chats on Chinese social media, like Wechat and QQ, and one can announce something or remind every group-chat member of something by using "@Everyone"; and 2. "打卡", which literally means "punch in" or "clock in", while it has also been used by Chinese netizens to refer to "going to some specific (internet-famous) places (and check in on social media)". As a result, when comparing to taking the census, "打卡" here could refer to both mandatory and voluntary actions. I gather these two internet terms are deliberately used here in order to popularize the upcoming census; and although I understand its consideration and appreciate its creativity as a slogan, I am a bit concerned that this sentence may be confusing to Chinese people who are not familiar with internet terms; and "打卡" sounds slightly inapposite here, because it could be ambiguous to compare it to taking the census. A better way to write it in proper Chinese might simply be "人口普查需要您的参与。"*

*[VHM:  Rénkǒu pǔchá xūyào nín de cānyù 人口普查需要您的参与 ("The census needs / requires your participation").]

Chenfeng Wang:

I think this is totally acceptable. @所有人 is a very common way for people to make announcements in Wechat groups. If a group administrator uses the function of @所有人, then everyone in the group will be notified. And 打卡 here can be simply understood as "participate". So I would translate this sentence as: @everyone, the population census needs your participation. (人口普查需要每个人的参与。)But the original sentence is already very proper, I think.

*[VHM:  Rénkǒu pǔchá xūyào měi gè rén de cānyù 人口普查需要每个人的参与 ("The census requires / needs everyone's / each person's participation").

The takeaway here is that the internet, and especially social media, is now a leading force in language change.  It cannot be stayed.  Have to go with the flow.  I guess.

Selected readings

[Thanks to Xiuyuan Mi]


  1. liuyao said,

    July 26, 2020 @ 2:46 pm

    Same in English. In slack, discord, and other virtual chat rooms, it is standard to use @here or @everyone to notify everyone in the group or channel.

  2. Philip Taylor said,

    July 26, 2020 @ 2:47 pm

    This is not the first time that I have been puzzled by a seemingly missing glyph in a stretch of Chinese text, but on this occasion I decided investigate further as Victor had very kindly provided a Pinyin transliteration. I then found that the "口" glyph (Pinyin "kǒu"), when displayed in the font selected by the forum's infrastructure :

    body {[…]; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; […]}

    lacks the two "tails" that are clearly displayed when the same glyph is viewed using (e.g.,) Adobe Ming Std L. As these two "tails" (to my mind, at least) serve to indicate that one is looking at a Chinese glyph rather than a simple empty square, and as a significant portion of this forum is devoted to discussion of matters Chinese, I wonder whether the default font set for the forum might be amended to use fonts that more clearly differentiate between Chinese glyphs and arbitrary geometric shapes ?

  3. David Marjanović said,

    July 26, 2020 @ 3:39 pm

    lacks the two "tails"

    On my screen, 口 has the two tails. Clearly, the problem is not in the blog, but on the other end.

  4. John from Cincinnati said,

    July 26, 2020 @ 4:15 pm

    @Philip: Same here as for David. The glyph displays for me with two tails. The html for the body, that I see in my Chrome browser with inspect / Styles, shows "font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;". But the rendered font, shown with inspect / Computed and then scrolling all the way down to Rendered Fonts, shows "SimSun — Local file (1 glyph)". On my Windows 10 (Home) computer, SimSun is a Microsoft supplied font with the specification "Designed language: Chinese (simplified); Han". So apparently even though SimSun is not mentioned in the font-family list, either Chrome or Windows is savvy enough to use what is an already installed other font. I'm not sure I even want to know who decides that, or how.

  5. IMarvinTPA said,

    July 28, 2020 @ 11:06 am

    When a font is missing a glyph, it usually renders as a generic box. It isn't lacking the two tails, it is not a valid glyph in the font. It just happens to be almost right.

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