Thursday, March 25, 2010


Just thought I'd share how you'd praise somebody as 有種 in English :)

Over on LCL's blog about Sergey Brin, I commented earlier:

"I have to admit I'm having a mad crush on Sergey Brin. He has heart, brains, real guts (and by extension, balls), youth, looks, AND money. And in that order. Too bad he's already taken."

In Cantonese Chinese, the above could be translated as:


Other words for "balls" (i.e. in the sense of being "ballsy" enough to do XYZ rather than simply to denote testicles) include (to be prefaced by the verb "to have"): "gonads" (quaint term so as not to scare the kids)/"cojones" (Spanish, adopted in colloquial English on both sides of the Atlantic, though perhaps more so in the States).

And while we're on the subject of adjectives deriving from male genitalia, "ballsy" is not to be confused with "cocky". The former is a positive attribute; while the latter is best applied to someone who shall fit the epithet of a "prick" or a "dickhead" or a "jerk".

千祈千祈米亂嚟用咗"nuts"或"bollocks"呀, 雖然兩個字都可翻譯成『睪丸』, 但係意思就變晒了!(Although of course one could also describe Brin as being nuts to abandon the mainland Chinese market, but then you would be berating him for being crazy rather than praising him for having the balls to stand up to the CCP. Bollocks, on the other hand, mean something else altogether. The Americans never EVER understand how this most versatile of English swearword is to be properly used, with the result that they almost always end up having the Irish and the Brits laughing in their faces whenever they try to sound cool and say bollocks with an American accent. Best leave proper swearing to the grown-ups, kiddos.)

Okay, I have talked enough bollocks. (Seriously, I don't know what came over me. Consider this my humble contribution to public service translation).


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At Fri Mar 26, 12:29:00 a.m. GMT, Blogger laichungleung said...

I can't speak for other Americans but I really not so sure how to use bollocks without sounding contrived. Anyway, I don't curse that much. Haw haw.

Should I now call you Miss Siu now?

At Sat Mar 27, 12:53:00 a.m. GMT, Blogger Snowdrops said...

Haha, I actually have quite a specific American in mind when I wrote that. She is an established lecturer having lived in Ireland for more than a decade now, with her own little kid and all, and yet she still has no idea that "bollocks" is actually quite rude and thinks that it's just another term for balls.

And while I admit to stealing from Mr. Siu's blog title, I'd have thought that my advice is way better than his, no? And here I was thinking I could steal his business! How disappointing that I'm just seen as another also-ran! Oh well :P


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