Taiwanonymous

March 31, 2006

Chinese that you won't learn in a "Practical Audio-Visual Chinese" textbook

I've been sick, but I'll make an effort to get in a post this week. This is the first installment of "Chinese that you won't learn in a Practical Audio-Visual Chinese textbook." Today's lesson: how to describe the victory symbol that Asians love to flash when they have their photo taken.

to show victory (V) sign: 比ya

The verb is bi3 (比), which means to gesture with the hand. That which is gestured is ya (or yeah), which is a declaration of how happy one is or how unbelievably cool the picture will be. The "yeah!" should be exclaimed as if you were an excited but quiet ten-year-old who just learned that he won an award for coolness. It is possible to make a V with your fingers without saying "yeah," but it is not recommended. What do you mean "it's too hard"? Come on, even a baby can do it. Look, the baby is shaming you with his effortless mastery of the victory sign.

7 Comments:

  • Interestingly, the Taiwanese students I've discussed this with say that the letter is a "Y" rather than a "V"--I guess they consider the forearm a part of the letter?

    And my wife tells me that this trend probably came from Japan (which is not surprising, I guess).

    By Blogger Jonathan Benda, at April 01, 2006 12:01 AM  

  • That's interesting, I hadn't heard that, about it being a Y. It's reasonable that this probably came from Japan, but I've never heard Japanese people make the "yeah" sound to go with it.

    By Blogger Taiwanonymous, at April 01, 2006 1:11 PM  

  • And if I never see anyone, as long as I live, make this moronic hand sign when they are having their photograph taken, I will be happy. Why is it that such a high percentage of Japanese and Taiwanese seem to lose any ability for natural expression and pick this--the lowest common denominator of photographic interest?

    By Anonymous taiwantiger, at May 10, 2006 3:40 AM  

  • All you've wanted to know about the v sign!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_sign

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 15, 2006 11:13 PM  

  • “丫头”的丫。

    By Blogger Joseph K, at January 05, 2008 12:23 PM  

  • In case the previous comment wasn't understandable, I was saying that the so-called Y is actually a Chinese character: 丫 (pronounced yā), as used in the word 丫头 / 丫頭.

    By Blogger Joseph K, at January 05, 2008 12:31 PM  

  • The "yeah!" should be exclaimed as if you were an excited but quiet ten-year-old who just learned that he won an award for coolness. projector installation toronto

    By Blogger jowdjbrown, at March 23, 2016 2:16 PM  

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