When I wrote my previous article on The Two Key Concepts From 一 (yī, One), I mentioned that if you can draw a line from point A to point B, then you can already write several basic Chinese characters. Now, we are going to take a look at Chinese words that you might already know by their sound.
The words that you are going to read about are English loanwords. We are going to cover words from the fields of transportation, clothing, food, music, sports, and more.
I am continually fascinated by my students’ reactions when I ask them to guess what the following words mean. So, before you read this article, I would love to have you take a short quiz and see if you can guess what the words mean. I have created a Quizlet that you can find here. Once you have taken the test and written down the answers, let’s get started!
Traveling is one of the most common answers to the question “what are your hobbies?”. Although buses might not be most people’s favorite transportation method, they do allow you to take your time and enjoy the view as the bus picks people up at every stop. The most common term that Chinese people tend to use for a bus is 公交车 / gōng jiāo chē (bus). However, if you use the phrase 巴士 / bā shì (bus), they will still understand you.
Maybe you are taking the bus to go to work, or maybe you are taking it on your way to buy some clothes — namely t-shirts: T-恤.
Or maybe your closet is already full of clothes; so you’d prefer to grab some food with your nearest and dearest instead.
Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year? Maybe yours is to learn how to play the guitar.
Or maybe your resolution is to run a marathon.
While I would love to nicely categorize everything, some words don’t fit neatly into categories; thus, I have collected them here:
What do you think of these English loanwords? Were you able to guess them correctly before reading this article?
I love loanwords because they are an indication of the interaction between different cultures and languages. It also makes learning fun by letting students know that there are some words that you already know even before you embark on your Chinese Mandarin journey! My favorite word from this list is 黑客 because of how 黑 can be used as a verb.
Do you have a favorite from this list? Comment below!