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Words to Know

March 18, 2010

As we continue on with our series of words to know, we’re going to diverge for a moment and hop an imaginary plane over to Asia to examine how the Chinese think about transit.  For those of  you who don’t know, following a scholarship program and a year of Mandarin courses in college, I went to China to hang out for a little while, try out my new language skills and all.  Now, many years later, I talk to myself in Chinese so I can retain these mad language skills.  I feel like knowing Chinese is a useful skill, and don’t want to loose it.

That being said, last night, as I was talking to myself, I realized something.  I realized that the Chinese like trains.  A lot.  A whole lot.  Now when I was over there, I did take trains quite often around the country.  In fact, my first trip in a sleeper car was from Shanghai to Guilin.  They rely much more heavily on transit than we do in America, much like the rest of the world.  But why do I say the Chinese love trains so much?

Because the Mandarin word for “go” is 去.  Yea, I know that means nothing to most of you.  But the pin yin for this character is “qu”, which for you Americans is pronounced “choo.”  So in China, if you want to go somewhere, it’s by choo choo!

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