what’s in and what’s out in chinese popular culture


A few months ago in my spoken Chinese class, my teacher displayed this fascinating list of what was in and out in Chinese popular culture as part of her lesson about the internet and slang. Through the miracle of Baidu, I managed to track down the original list to the June 1st edtion of The Information Times. Since I’m on my summer holiday and not doing much (and certainly not updating this blog as much as I had hoped!), I decided to translate the list into English as a way to practice my hard-earned Chinese skills.

There were a few things that I was extremely confused about, that no amount of keyword searching/Baidu image searching would clarify. Obviously, I am totally not IN. For instance, why is the 。out and why is the …… in? Does 清炖 really mean clear soup and 萌 sprouts in this context? I have a feeling that it’s really a pun on purity since 萌 can mean “cute, adorable girls” (or something like that). And what the heck does 恶搞串烧 mean? Any feedback and clarification would be most welcome.

Out In
郁闷 melancholy 纠结 mood swings
牛仔裤 jeans 裤袜 leggings
艺术人生 Artist (CCTV show) 康熙来了 Kangxi Has Arrived (game show)
博客 blogs Twitter
绿色食品 green food 有机食品 organic food
节能灯泡 fluorescent lights 有设计感的白炽灯 well-designed luminescent lights
王家卫 Wong Kar-Wai 宁浩 Ning Hao
注册聊天网站 registering on chat sites 路人申网站 anonymous expression on websites
单机麻将 offline mahjong 开心网种菜 growing plants on kaixin001.com
安妮宝贝 Annie Baby (author and blogger) 不生病的智慧 The Wisdom of Those Who Are Healthy (a book)
星巴克 Starbucks 高档茶馆 high-grade teahouses
请问… Question… google
地图 maps GPS
闹钟 alarm clocks 手机闹铃 cell phone alarms
MP3 网上试听 streaming music
电影院 movie theatres 土豆网 Tudou.com (a website where you can stream full-length films)
电视烹饪节目 TV cooking shows 高价烹饪课程 high-priced culinary courses
天籁之音 the sound of heaven / the sound of nature 恶搞串烧 Internet parody culture created by mashing up random things?
假如给我三天光明 (If You Gave Me) Three Days to See 假如给我一千万 If you gave me 10 million RMB
卡耐基 Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People 杜拉拉 Du Lala, the fictional heroine of Du Lala Gets a Promotion
清炖 clear soup 萌 sprouts
灵魂伴侣 soulmate 存折 bank passbook
祖母的毛衣 grandmother’s sweater 男友的牛仔裤 boyfriend’s jeans
摇滚乐 rock music 非主流 underground music
豆瓣 douban.com 开心网 kaixin001.com
惊艳的美女 breathtakingly beautiful women 惊艳的PS技术 breathtaking Photoshopping
LV Louis Vuitton 高级订制 high-quality custom tailoring
匡威 Converse 回力 Warrior Shoes
忧郁 depressed 不想上班 not wanting to go to work
单位 work units 年薪 annual salaries
跟贴 Threads? 建楼 First post?

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8 Comments on "what’s in and what’s out in chinese popular culture"

  1. Nicki
    16/07/2009 at 7:29 pm Permalink

    Maybe I’m not reading it correctly but…did you switch the IN and OUT columns on the English translation?

  2. fiona
    16/07/2009 at 11:57 pm Permalink

    Hey Nicki, thanks for pointing that out as I did switch the names of the columns in the English version, but that has been corrected now! All that time staring at the list clearly went to my brain!

  3. Sabina
    17/07/2009 at 1:08 am Permalink

    I think you’re right about the 清炖/萌, it definitely doesn’t mean sprouts. XD;

    恶搞串烧 are parody videos, I think? “Buffy meets Edward out of Twilight”, that sort of thing.

    跟贴 making a new post/thread (as follow-up to an original post/thread)
    建楼 commenting on the original thread (with connotation of making it long and unwieldy)

    …LOL I don’t wanna move to 开心网, not when Jarvis Cocker just got his own official page on 豆瓣!

  4. Jenny
    17/07/2009 at 9:34 am Permalink

    A tiny correction here: it is 清纯(pure and chaste) instead of 清炖。”萌” comes from Japanese comics, is a more recent way for 清纯. Hope this makes it easier.

  5. Elliott Ng
    17/07/2009 at 12:01 pm Permalink

    Awesome post Fiona!

  6. Laura
    02/08/2009 at 5:16 pm Permalink

    Hi, Fiona. Are u still in Beijing? I’m looking someone to do a language exchange. Can we do an exchange? I’m a chinese girl, in Beijing. If u agree, pls contact me with this mail address: xujj82000@hotmail.com

  7. vision
    11/08/2009 at 2:17 pm Permalink

    just digged my way here and am laughing my head off. never realized how funny it is when you match these terms together.

    as for 清纯/萌, they aren’t an exact match. Although frequently used to describe cute girls, it’s also used as the verb “like” under some circumstances.

  8. kathyy
    01/09/2009 at 8:30 pm Permalink

    I’m from China but I don’t know what is 恶搞串烧 either

    There are still a lot of people enjoy douban.com…I’m one of them

    And I think “萌” is not so widespread,it’s only a proper word of animation and comic fans

    Blog is interesting:)

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