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Slow Chinese 62
Today, the most popular online word is surely “geili”. This word is not hard to understand and it is easy to use. You will come across it nearly everywhere in China right now; it truly is geili.
It is said that the word geili is from the northern dialect, and it means pleasurable or fun, providing inspiration to people, or making people feel powerful. But the reason why it is suddenly so popular must be credited to the humorous Japanese cartoon, “Journey to the West: the end of the trip”. Interested readers can look it up online. In fact, this cartoon contains nothing of serious note, but its dubbing into Chinese is very funny. It uses many popular internet terms as well as dialect. In this episode, when Tangseng and his disciple arrive in India at the end of their journey, they discover nothing apart from a small flag, on one side of which is written the two characters of the word ‘Tianzhu’ (India). Thereupon the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, feels great disappointment, saying, “This is Tianzhu? Not geili…” Following this episode, the word geili started to spread online.
The word geili can be used to describe a thing or an event. For example, “This movie is really geili!” or “Chinese football is really not geili.” etc. Geili can also be used as a verb, in which its meaning is to cheer on. For example, “Geili Geili Japanese!” I have even seen an English version of geili on the internet: “gelivable”. Now that’s really geili…
Neil Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org)