MSG033: Hottest Words of the Year of the Rat (Part 1: Caiwei Chen)

MSG033: Hottest Words of the Year of the Rat (Part 1: Caiwei Chen)


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1. 打工人 (dǎ gōng rén)

“Laborers,” an ironic self-address used by the working class to commiserate and bond

2. 内卷 (nèi juǎn)

“Involution,”or curling inward, referring to the way competition forces people to put forth increasingly more effort and labor without receiving more benefits or creating better output. Originally a dry sociology term, it’s become hot as an explanation for many of China’s woes.

3. 凡尔赛 (fán ěr sài)

“Versailles.” It’s become a buzzword for rich people showing off their (usually inherited, as opposed to earned) flashy lifestyle.

4. 阴间 (yīn jiān)

“The underworld,” or the dark place. Used in the way the kids are using “cursed” these days, to describe something you see online that you wish you hadn’t seen.

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MSG is bringing you the delicious Chinese learning content that you need. We go inside the language to bring you the culture and stories behind the words that your textbook just isn’t giving you.

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