Anonymous Finger
any languages use some kind of repetitive phrase to mean “mediocre”: SO-SO English COMME CI COMME ÇA (com-see com-sa) French ASÍ ASÍ (ah-see ah-see) Spanish ऐसे-वैसे (eh-se wai-se) Hindi ŞÖYLE BÖYLE (shuh-le buh-le) Turkish ... and so on. In Chinese, the equivalent expression is 马马虎虎 (mah-mah-hoo-hoo)   which literally means “horse horse tiger tiger”. There are a lot of stories as to why “horse horse tiger tiger” means “mediocre” — some say it’s meant to refer to a painting that looks a little like a horse and a little like a tiger but is really just a mediocre mess. In any case, it’s easy to remember, and it’s often one of the first things new students of Chinese learn how to say. Like with “mah-mah-hoo-hoo”, the literal, character-by-character translations of Chinese words can be pretty interesting. The word for “maze” is literally “puzzle palace” (迷宫). “Everybody” is literally “big family” (大家). In parts of China, a scratcher lottery ticket is called a “scratch- scratch-happy” (刮刮乐), and so on.   his way of building words with characters really comes in handy with scientific and technical terms. For example, if you asked people on the street in Chicago which organ of the body is associated with hepatitis, some might not know. But in China everyone knows, because the Chinese word for “hepatitis” is literally “liver inflammation” (肝炎). Likewise, pneumonia is called “lung inflammation” (肺炎), while tuberculosis is “lung knot-pits” (肺结核). In English, many of our technical words are in Latin or Greek, so their meanings are obscure. This is why the Chinese term “twist power” (扭力) is probably a clearer word than ours, “torque” (which comes from Latin). Or in biochemistry, our word “protein” (which was coined based on a Greek word) tells us little, but the Chinese version, “egg white quality” (蛋白质) at least indicates that egg whites contain protein. Even compared to English words that don’t come from Latin or Greek, the Chinese version can sometimes explain a little more. Consider the small generator that runs off your car’s engine and charges the battery. We call it the “alternator”, but in Chinese it’s the “exchange generator” (交流发电机), with the word for “generator” (发电机) literally meaning “send-electricity- machine”. Still, there is at least one Chinese word that is deliberately vague: What we call the “ring finger”, Chinese (like Russian and a few other languages) calls the “anonymous finger” (无名指).
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Translations of Chinese finger names
Anonymous Finger
any languages use some kind of repetitive phrase to mean “mediocre”: SO-SO English COMME CI COMME ÇA (com-see com-sa) French ASÍ ASÍ (ah-see ah-see) Spanish ऐसे-वैसे (eh-se wai-se) Hindi ŞÖYLE BÖYLE (shuh-le buh-le) Turkish ... and so on. In Chinese, the equivalent expression is 马马虎虎 (mah-mah-hoo-hoo)   which literally means “horse horse tiger tiger”. There are a lot of stories as to why “horse horse tiger tiger” means “mediocre” — some say it’s meant to refer to a painting that looks a little like a horse and a little like a tiger but is really just a mediocre mess. In any case, it’s easy to remember, and it’s often one of the first things new students of Chinese learn how to say. Like with “mah-mah-hoo- hoo”, the literal, character-by- character translations of Chinese words can be pretty interesting. The word for “maze” is literally “puzzle palace” (迷宫). “Everybody” is literally “big family” (大家). In parts of China, a scratcher lottery ticket is called a “scratch-scratch-happy” ( 刮乐), and so on.   his way of building words with characters really comes in handy with scientific and technical terms. For example, if you asked people on the street in Chicago which organ of the body is associated with hepatitis, some might not know. But in China everyone knows, because the Chinese word for “hepatitis” is literally “liver inflammation” (肝炎). Likewise, pneumonia is called “lung inflammation” (肺炎), while tuberculosis is “lung knot-pits” (肺结核). In English, many of our technical words are in Latin or Greek, so their meanings are obscure. This is why the Chinese term “twist power” ( ) is probably a clearer word than ours, “torque” (which comes from Latin). Or in biochemistry, our word “protein” (which was coined based on a Greek word) tells us little, but the Chinese version, “egg white quality” (蛋白质) at least indicates that egg whites contain protein. Even compared to English words that don’t come from Latin or Greek, the Chinese version can sometimes explain a little more. Consider the small generator that runs off your car’s engine and charges the battery. We call it the “alternator”, but in Chinese it’s the “exchange generator” (交流 发电机), with the word for “generator” (发电机) literally meaning “send-electricity- machine”. Still, there is at least one Chinese word that is deliberately vague: What we call the “ring finger”, Chinese (like Russian and a few other languages) calls the “anonymous finger” (无名指).
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Translations of Chinese finger names