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Want to Sound More Native? Learn These Popular Internet Words

Sep. 27, 2020

Did you know that the Chinese language is changing at an unbelievable pace? Don’t worry, you will still be able to speak using everyday conversation words and phrases. The rapid change that you need to keep up with, however, is on the internet and with the ever-evolving world of slang. Slang is not only fun, but it helps you sound more native and trendy too. It’s hard to keep up on your own so let’s look at 5 words and phrases that you will most likely encounter while talking to younger generations and while browsing social media.

1.996 (jiǔ jiǔ liù)


“996” is the work schedule timetable that exceeds legal working hours and is in violation of the labor law of the people’s Republic of China. It refers to the working schedule of going to work at 9 a.m., getting off work at 9:00 p.m., resting for 1 hour (or less) at noon and in the evening (totaling a working day of more than 10 hours), while working six days a week. This represents the prevailing overtime culture in China’s internet enterprises.

In 2019, a project called “996icu” was launched by GitHub. Programmers exposed the popular internet company and boycotted the online company’s 996 working system.

Example:

wǒ fǎn gǎn zhè jiā gōng sī de jiǔ jiǔ liù gōng zuò zhì.
我反感这家公司的996工作制。
I dislike the working schedule of 996 in this company.

2.有内味儿了 ( yǒu nèi wèi er le)

This is a popular phrase on the internet. In the northern accent, it is customary to read “那 (nà)” as “内 (nèi)”, which means to have that feeling. It is generally used to indicate whether the things mentioned above are authentic or to appreciate the authenticity of things imitated.

Example:

A: Jack! wèi shén me nǐ yòu huàn le fà xíng ?
A: Jack! 为什么你又换了发型?
A: Jack! Why did you change your hairstyle again?

B: yīn wèi wǒ zuì jìn kāi shǐ mí méi xī le
B: 因为我最近开始迷梅西了。
B: As I have been a fan of Messi lately.

A: Em… què shí yǒu nèi wèi er le.
A: Em… 确实,有内味儿了.
A: Em… Really,有内味儿了.

3.豪横 (háo hèng)

“豪横” is a dialect in Beijing, which means bullying, bold and unconstrained, and powerful. In addition, the person being described has a strong character and backbone.

Example:

tā háo hèng le yī shēng , jué bú huì xiàng dí rén dī tóu .
他豪横了一生,绝不会向敌人低头。
He has been 豪横 all his life and will never bow to the enemy.

4.我太南了 (wǒ tài nán le)

“It’s so hard for me” came from a video on Tiktok where sad music accompanies a tight shot of an old man’s eyebrows and empty eyes. Then he says, “it is so hard for me!”.

Because “difficult” and “south” are homonymous, some people say “我太南了,” which is also the emotional expression of ordinary netizens hoping to release the pressure of life when uttering this phrase.

我太南了: It’s so hard for me!

Example:
zěn me yòu yào jiā bān ? wǒ tài nán le.
怎么又要加班?我太南了.
Why do I have to work overtime? It’s so hard for me!

5.我不要你觉得,我要我觉得 (wǒ bú yào nǐ jué de , wǒ yào wǒ jué de)

“我不要你觉得,我要我觉得”, I don’t want to know what you think, but what I think.
This phrase comes from one of China’s variety shows and reflects people’s disgust of overbearing personalities.

In this variety show, the store manager makes himself the center of importance and often ignores other people’s opinions on matters regarding the day-to-day operations of the restaurant. He displays his blind self-confidence and impulsive behavior incisively and vividly.

wǒ bú yào nǐ jué de, wǒ yào wǒ jué de.
我不要你觉得,我要我觉得.
I don’t want to know what you think, but what I think.

zhè gè shì qíng bù xū yào tǎo lùn.
这个事情不需要讨论.
There is no need to discuss this matter.

Listen to me. I have the final say (what I say goes).
听我的,我说了算.

Have you seen any of these phrases while on various social media platforms? Maybe you’ve heard them on TV. Now you know what they mean! You’ll be sure to see them pop up more often now that you have learned about them. Chinese netizens are clever and quick to come up with new words and phrases by combining other words or by adopting phrases seen on shows and assigning them whole new meanings. Just remember that slang words come in and out of popularity so check back often to stay on top of China’s lightning-fast slang evolution. What slang have you heard lately that you are unsure of? Leave a comment and let us know.

HSK 3 quiz

Please read the dialogue, and select the correct answer to fill in the blanks.

Tina: I plan to travel alone.
Tom: I don’t think it’s safe to go out alone, so find a friend to go with.
Tina: No, I just want to be alone. .

A.我不要你觉得,我要我觉得 (wǒ bùyào nǐ juédé, wǒ yào wǒ juédé)
B.我太南了(wǒ tài nánle)
C.豪横 (háo hèng)
有内味了(yǒu nèi wèile)

See Answer Analysis

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