Chinese T-shirts which say one mis-spelt English word, like cabbage or thumb, or something inane and ridiculous. Like the people who had the Japanese tattoos done, and thought they had something cool written on them, but really it was like ‘vagina’ or something in Japanese.
Most of these ‘Engrish‘ t-shirt’s come from cheap market stalls. Commonly, they’re grammatically ridiculous missives with no particular subject or meaning…
Others, like the lady above, prefer the random selection of abstract English ‘buzz-words’, type style/design – a Chinese ‘entrepreneur’ picks 6 random words from the dictionary and has 20,000 printed at a sweatshop in Guangdong to knock out. General quality is ok, the words look good, but the meanings are really stupid.
Chinglish as a language
Chinglish is a combination of the words Chinese and English. It follows that Chinglish words are the same, but the truth is that it’s more a case of applying Chinese rules of grammar to English words or sentences than creating new words or sentences.
I first came across Chinglish when looking at some of the signs in Chengdu’s panda research center, also at the high speed railway station, then more and more… I noticed Chinglish… Bad spellings, poor grammar and nonsensical sentence structure. On restaurant menus, signs.. and then… I began to notice it in my pupils vocabulary.😱
The Chinese try and make out Chinglish is a sort of language. Really, it’s just slackness. These signs illustrate some of the more outrageous examples.
In China, it’s really difficult to get away from. The main grammatical difference between Western European languages and Chinese is the use of tense.
Chinese don’t use tense, nor do they use masculine or feminine. They don’t use the possesive; ‘I want‘ becomes just ‘want‘, and ‘not want‘ is ‘I don’t want‘. Like, Not like etc…
Here’s a selection of Chinglish signs I’ve picked up over a few years.
Some of them came from facebook.
There are others.
I’m pretty sure there’s an exhaustive supply, (every expat has their favorite ‘Chingrish’ story), so let me know if ‘you like‘.
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Copyright 2015 Michael Tyler in China. Stories of things Chinese