Oh Dear…

I’ve been taking Mandarin lessons from the Chinese women that  I work with at EF and I find it very difficult. A chinese word can change depending on the tone that you speak it in. For example: If I say “Wo lei le” I’m saying “I’m tired”. But if the tone of “lei” is different, I could be saying “I thunder”, which makes no sense. So many words in China are like this, and those changing tones confuse me more and more every class I take! It’s also made a fool out of me! Here’s why:

I hear people speaking Chinese every day, all day, and because the words/tones change and are hard to enunciate sometimes, I sometimes use words that I’m not 100% sure I’m saying correctly. Whenever I hear my friends ordering kungpow chicken, I thought they were saying “gong pow ji ji”, so naturally I’ve been saying this for a few months, thinking I was right without asking. Then in class on friday, I told this to Fiona and she burst out laughing. Apparently, ji ji in Chinese (or at least the way I’ve been saying it) means “penis”. So I’ve been ordering kungpow penis when I go to restaurants. Fail. No wonder the waiters give me strange looks.

Oh, kungpow chicken is actually pronounced gongpow ji ding, in case you were wondering. 😉


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sara
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 23:09:18

    The real issue here is that you’d want to know what part of the chicken they were serving you…


  2. Blaine Copland
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 06:01:50



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