Putting English words in Mandarin sentences is of course extremely common in Taiwan and elsewhere in Asia, generally because this is thought to look cool and modern. But last month I was surprised to see Mandarin sentences with just English’s -ing added — and not one but two examples of this.
The image here is from a poster for the DPP’s presidential candidate, Frank Hsieh, that came out in March but which I didn’t see until a few days ago. It reads 台灣維新ing (“Táiwān wéixīn-ing“): “Taiwan is modernizing.” (Click the image to see the whole poster.)
The other example I noticed was in a newspaper headline about the Hong Kong pop diva Faye Wong: 明年拚老三 天后暫不復出 李亞鵬王菲 積極做人ING (Míngnián pīn lǎosān — tiān hòu zàn bù fùchū — Lǐ Yàpéng, Wáng Fěi jījí zuòrén-ing. “Next year work hard to produce third child — superstar temporarily not appearing — Li Yapeng and Faye Wong are energetically working on making a baby.”)
There are several other interesting things about the Faye Wong headline, such as the way in most other contexts zuòrén (lit. “be/make a person”) means something like “be a mensch.” But I don’t want to digress too much lest I never finish this post.
In both of these examples, -ing is used to emphasize the currentness of the actions. But it is of course possible in Mandarin to stress that something is going on now — and to do so without borrowing forms from English. For example, with zài:
- Lǐ Yàpéng, Wáng Fěi jījí zài zuòrén
- Táiwān zài wéixīn
Has anyone seen or heard other examples of this -ing grafting?
- 明年拚老三 天后暫不復出 李亞鵬王菲 積極做人ING, China Times, November 30, 2007
- “Táiwān wéixīn-ing” — Xiè Chángtíng quánguó xiàoyuán xúnhuí yǎnjiǎng (「台灣維新ing」謝長廷全國校園巡迴演講), Frank Hsieh’s blog, March 27, 2007
For lagniappe: lyrics to the Faye Wong song “Bù liú” in Pinyin, which has lots of examples of Mandarin’s bǎ.