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Chinese joke (untranslatable)
Posted by: Jay (IP Logged)
Date: April 20, 2007 11:58PM
某新员工申请去国外出差,领导批复"go a head"
他说go a head,是说“去个头”!”

Re: Chinese joke (untranslatable)
Posted by: JayVee (IP Logged)
Date: April 21, 2007 03:29PM
很可惜!我看不懂the punchline!!! Everything else 看得懂!
I suppose that's why it's "untranslatable", because of the idiom???

Re: Chinese joke (untranslatable)
Posted by: Jay (IP Logged)
Date: April 22, 2007 12:09AM
Haha JayVee, you've got to know the 个头 expression to understand the joke.
It's used in oral Chinese, for an unreal wish, a ridicule request, a boasting statement, to express your incredulity by adding 个头 after the verb.

To add 个头 will often correspond to the "in your dreams" in English.
- 我想国外 : I want to go abroad
- 个头 :"in your dreams", (here the verb is 去).

But what would be the literary translation of 去个头?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/22/2007 12:10AM by Jay.

Re: Chinese joke (untranslatable)
Posted by: JayVee (IP Logged)
Date: April 22, 2007 04:08AM
哈哈!很谢谢你Jay.很有意思。看来你的中国话水平很高,我有一个关于“头”的untranslatable 问题!
请问:我看到这句话 - “你这是死人头像”。。。但是我看不懂。查词典了才找不到。
Do you have any idea what the meaning is pls?!
BTW, isn't the literal translation of "去个头" just as you said?

Re: Chinese joke (untranslatable)
Posted by: Jay (IP Logged)
Date: April 22, 2007 07:25AM
In your sentence 头像, means a sculpture or a portrait of a man's head, and by extension a head.
死人头像 probably means dead man's head?

To express the english "in your dreams", you just add 个头 after the verb.
- 我可以三十瓶啤酒:I can drink 30 bottles of beer.
- 个头!(let me laugh /30 bottles in your dreams)

A variation of 个头 (literary a "head") is also 个屁 (literary a fart, or an ass)
- 我可以一头牛:I can eat a whole cow.
- 个屁!(let me laugh / in your dreams)

Did you get the meaning of the 个头 or 个屁 construction? My English is limited, it's hard for me to explain this pure oral sentence.

In the joke, the boss means 去个头 (in your dreams you can go abroad), and then translate it literary : 去 (go) 个头 (a head) : "go ahead"...

Re: Chinese joke (untranslatable)
Posted by: JayVee (IP Logged)
Date: April 23, 2007 04:02PM
Thank you for your clear explanation, I think your English is far from limited . . .!
Is this "动词 + 个头" construction mainly used in South China? I can't remember coming across it in the north??

Re: 个头
Posted by: Laeticia (IP Logged)
Date: April 23, 2007 10:50PM
To JayVee,

"个头" not only used in south but north as well. In other words, this usage is widely used nationally for oral Chinese. It's a very funny using instead of dirty one. winking smiley

Re: Chinese joke (untranslatable)
Posted by: songlh (IP Logged)
Date: May 01, 2007 07:49PM
个头can also be replace by "个鬼",for example" 好个鬼", means not as good as you said.

Re: Chinese joke (untranslatable)
Posted by: JayVee (IP Logged)
Date: May 02, 2007 03:06PM
Thank you for "hao ge gui".
Is this and " tou" something like teenagers would mean when they say "whatever..." (= meaning "I don't think so" or "you are way off the mark") ?

Re: Chinese joke (untranslatable)
Posted by: jayasme (IP Logged)
Date: May 05, 2007 06:26AM

Re: Chinese joke (untranslatable)
Posted by: jinny von (IP Logged)
Date: May 07, 2007 08:56AM
so funny,but how to say means like"hao ge tou"?

Re: Chinese joke (untranslatable)
Posted by: junedo (IP Logged)
Date: May 18, 2007 11:18PM
很有意思的一个中国笑话the finger smiley

Re: Chinese joke (untranslatable)
Posted by: Molly (IP Logged)
Date: June 27, 2007 06:10AM
I have one also about the translation story

1 Chinese guy named Wang,boasts his english is pretty good.
1 day in a pub,Wang and his friends saw a pretty blonde.One of them want to chat her up,but he can not speak English,he asked Wang for help
Wang and this friend came up to the girl , this blonde smiled to them and asked "How are you"
Wang translated it to his friends"怎么是你"

Then the girl asked "How old are you?"
Wang translated again"怎么老是你"


Posted by: pooh (IP Logged)
Date: July 08, 2007 03:48PM
hi I am studing chinese at Ain Shams university ,faculty of languages,my name is maha,ilive at cairo,ilike china and chinese language very much,i want any chinese one to help me to improve my chinese,thanks to anyone who will help e_mail is [email protected]

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