Chinglish bouquet

« previous post | next post »

Some random specimens…

Compared to "The toilet brush enigma" (10/29/22), these run-of-the-mill Chinglishisms are a piece of cake:

B chāo
ultrasound: type-B ultrasonic; ultra-sound radiography; B-mode ultrasonography

tà rù xiǎng yī xiǎng
think before stepping in

xiǎo cǎo yě zài zhǎng
the grass is growing

QUESTION:  Why do you think they felt the need to add the adjective xiǎo 小 ("little") and the adverb yě 也 ("also")?

gōnggòng wèishēngjiān
public toilet

wényìn zhōngxīn
printing center



Most of the mistakes in the above examples are due to taking the simplest, most straightforward meanings of the constituent morphosyllables and ignoring the contexts of the words they form.

Selected readings

[Thanks to Qingchen Li]


  1. Theo said,

    October 31, 2022 @ 2:48 pm

    > QUESTION: Why do you think they felt the need to add the adjective xiǎo 小 ("little") and the adverb yě 也 ("also")?

    I believe it is intended to be a catchy rhyming slogan (-ang). Much like other casual rhyming forms, e.g. 順口溜 shun4kou3liu1 or 打油詩 da3you2shi1, these rhyming slogans often come with a set number of characters/syllables per line, usually 5 or 7, sometimes 4 or 3.

    The addition of 小 in 小草 probably also reflects the tendency to replace single-syllable words with their double-syllable counterparts in Modern Standard Chinese/Madarin.

    也 was probably chosen over other filler words (e.g. 正) to evoke empathy by implying "like you who is reading this sign, the grass is a living organism and is growing".

  2. Venya said,

    October 31, 2022 @ 7:50 pm

    也 made me wonder if the sign was aimed towards children especially.

    I'm not a Chinese speaker, but two lines of 5 syllables with a rhyme does seem catchier.

RSS feed for comments on this post