Catch Phrase | 散装英语(sànzhuāng yīngyǔ)

Writer: Debra Li  |  Editor: Stephanie Yang  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2020-06-23


“散装” meaning “unpackaged,” as opposed to “prepackaged,” is often used to describe food for sale in stores and markets. “英语” means “English.” Coined by Chinese TV host Liang Dong during an episode of “Dong-Wu Talk Show,” this term refers to the practice of dropping a few English words into a chiefly Chinese conversation. This is often seen in the behavior of joint-venture firm employees, returned overseas students or those who try to impress others as being chic and smart. A little bit derogatory, the term is best illustrated in a scene of the popular TV series “Ode to Joy,” in which a young man at dinner orders in Chinese sprinkled with English words, pronounced with a strong Chinese accent.


A: 丽丽的男朋友请大家吃饭,你去吗?

Lìli de nánpéngyou qǐng dàjiā chīfàn,nǐ qù ma?

Li Li’s boyfriend has invited us all to dinner. Will you come along?

B: 算了,不去了,我有点儿受不了他的散装英语,太装了。

Suàn le,bú qù le,wǒ yǒudiǎnr shòubùliǎo tā de sànzhuāng yīngyǔ,tài zhuāng le。

I will pass. I kind of cannot stand him dropping English words into his conversation from time to time. The guy is so pretentious.