One of the things I like the most about Chinese is how they adapt their characters to completely new situations (especially online).
For example, 打酱油 literally means “to buy soy sauce”, but it’s real meaning is “not to care about something”.
This expression comes from a man, interviewed by the press, who tried to avoid answering the journalist questions by saying “我出来买酱油” (”I just went out to buy soy sauce”).
It’s really fascinating how a language can change when it’s used online.
Do you know any other interesting expressions that were born online?
I thought this one was fascinating:
润了 rùn le
It means to escape from China during the strict pandemic lockdowns. It plays on the English verb to run. I love how they use English (and other languages) to make their own new words.
因为中国的隔离，我突然地润了出来 （because of the lockdown in China, I suddenly left/ran away）
I didn’t know it! So interesting how they use English really
This might not fit the topic but I remember a sentence discussed in class many years ago:
“I’d rather cry in a BMW than laugh on your bike”
It’s a line from a contestant on a very popular dating TV show back in 2010.
It made such a scandal all over the country and an impression on people at that time, that apparently men started ditching their bikes to buy cars, because “bikes were for losers”
A single line from a TV reality show shaped behaviours in real life, I find this impressive
I remember that one well. Was still talked about when I lived in China years after.
Going further off topic… there was something not too dissimilar recently that I discovered from the Slow Chinese newsletter.
Rather than explain it myself, here is the extract from the newsletter.