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Are you Chinsumer or antizen?
2012-11-16
By Xu Chi

"CHINSUMER," "sexretary" and "foulsball" - just three of several English words to describe Chinese situations that are spreading like wildfire on the Internet.

According to a list forwarded by pop music producer and songwriter Gao Xiaosong, "Chinsumer" stands for "crazy and rich Chinese consumers" who spend a lot of money shopping while on overseas tours, "sexretary" indicates secretaries involved in sex scandals with officials, and "foulsball" is for Chinese football that is full of fouls.

The list of more than 30 such words was an instant online hit and had been forwarded over 110,000 times by yesterday.

In contrast to "Chinglish," which is usually regarded as amusing but nonsensical, most of the words on the list are a combination of two words to give the original one an extended definition with a Chinese theme.

For example, "canclensor" is a combination of "cancel" and "censor" and refers to censorship of music or videos that sometimes cancels their content.

Earlier this month, Gao complained on his microblog that due to the current tightened "music censorship," songs to be broadcast by major TV stations could not contain unlucky words, such as "die."

However, the Ministry of Culture responded by saying it was just a rumor.

Another example is "circusee," a combination of "circle" and "see" to describe the scene where a crowd gathers in a circle to watch an accident, something often seen on Chinese streets.

Some words, such as "corpsend," "halfyuan," and "antizen," have sprung from news stories.

High charges

"Corpspend" refers to the high cost of salvaging a body to prevent it from being eaten by fish.

It follows several stories about families of drowning victims facing high charges from professional teams to salvage the bodies of their loved ones.

On October 13 in Qionghai City of Hainan Province, the family of a nine-year-old boy who drowned was quoted 20,000 yuan (US$3,206) to get his body out of the water. However, this made one young man so angry that he jumped into the river himself and brought the boy's body out.

"Halfyuan" refers to online commentators reported to be hired by groups, companies or even some officials to post online. They got the name after reports that they were paid half a yuan for each post.

"Antizen" refers to graduates who move to large cities like Shanghai to find work. Most such citizens live in small rented houses, earn low salaries and are constantly on the move to find better jobs - inviting a comparison to ants.

Many netizens have begun to create their own English words.

"All I can do after reading those buzzwords is 'smilence,' as I keep smiling and silent" was one comment.

Gu Xiaoming, a sociologist and professor at Fudan University, said the creation and use such buzzwords was common these days. But he warned about their effect on the proper use of English and said that they could upset some people with their negative connotations of Chinese life.

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