After living in another culture for about, oh, say almost 4 years, Jeff and I were talking about how some words will never leave us. Here’s a compilation we came up with:
1. Lihai (lee-hi) – small word, big meaning. Jeff thinks the best translation is crunk. Can be used in a positive or negative way. For example – “wow, that woman is lihai!” (meaning: wow, she is really yelling at the guy. And in public. Awkward.) Or – “Ah, your baby is so lihai!” (meaning: your baby is so awesome that she can already walk at 10 months old! Way to go!)
2. Mafan (this one sounds like it looks) – trouble (with a capital T). Use in everyday life – “Oh, I don’t know. Do I really want to go through the mafan of filling out all of that paperwork?” How we hear it here – “Tai mafan le!” – literally, “too much trouble!”
3. Bu yao langfei (boo yow lang fey) – don’t waste. This one is great for use when you’re eating with friends and there is a little bit still left on the table. Just say, “hey, bu yao langfei!” and they’ll feel obligated to eat the last bite. 🙂 The culture here is serious about not wasting anything, so we hear this one quite regularly.
4. Shufu (shoe foo) – comfortable. Fun word to say all around. Shooooo-fuuuu. Use – “Wow, this bed is really shufu! Hard to believe we’re in a hostel.”
5. Mamahuhu (this one also sounds like it looks) – so-so. Another fun one just to say. Literal meaning is horse-horse-tiger-tiger. Why the word for “so-so” means horse-horse-tiger-tiger I have no idea. Use – “Ah, this food is mamahuhu”. Meaning – I kinda wish I was eating something else.
Until next time…