06 October 2010

chi feng

I have previously discussed calques, the word-for-word translation from one language into another, e.g. mouse trail (from Malay jalan tikus) and kenderaan pacuan empat roda (from English four wheel drive vehicle) (here).

In fact, there are similar calques between all the regional languages. An example is Malay makan angin (lit. 'eat wind'; "to go for a walk", "to go on vacation") becoming 吃風 (chī fēng) in Chinese, though maybe this should really be shown in Hokkien, as jia hong. I have never heard this usage in Taiwan, and I don't think it would be understood in Mainland China, but my UBD colleague Low Kok Wai tells me it is common in the Chinese spoken in Singapore.