Today we bring you a Chinese slang word that is short but sweet: 娘.
娘 (niáng) traditionally has the following meanings:
- mother or mom
- form of address for older married woman
- a young woman (eg. 姑娘 – gūniang – ie. young girl; 新娘 – xīnniáng – ie. bride)
But among young people 娘 has also come to mean “girly,” mainly when describing guys. It’s a funny word and very similar in tone to “girly” so don’t be surprised if your Chinese friends crack a smile when you say it. (It might be better not to use it when you play basketball though.)
Observing 娘 in the wild shows 3 main usages.
First, you can just say that a guy is 娘, and you can use the general modifiers (eg. 很，真，太，这么) to describe it.
“tái dāngjú guānyuán mà mǎ yīng jiǔ “hěn ～”，tiǎoxìnxìng yǔyán yǐnfā pīpíng 。”
“Taiwanese official’s provocative language draws criticism when he calls Ma Yingjiu ‘girly’”
“zhōngguó nánhái tài ～le ，zěnme zhěngjiù ？”
“Chinese guys are too girly – how do we save them?”
“jiěmì: nánrén wèishénme zhème “～””
“Cracking the code: Why guys are so ‘girly’”
Second, you can say that some behavior is 娘。You just say the behavior, and then add a 很娘, eg.:
“nánrén dǎ sǎn hěn ～？”
“Is it girly for guys to use umbrellas (to block the sun)?”
Third, some other phrases have appeared that build on top of 娘：
1) 娘娘腔 (niáng niáng qiāng): girly way of speaking
“wèishénme yǒude nánrén “～”？”
Why do some guys have a girly way of speaking?
2) 娘里娘气 (niáng lǐ niáng qì): broadly describing behavior, actions, and manner of speaking which lack manliness
“táng táng sān chǐ nán kěn zhǐ jiǎ ，shuí shòu déliǎo zhèzhǒng “～”？”
“Fully grown man biting his fingernails – who can stand such girliness?”
We hope you have fun with this word!
And we hope you’ll give FluentU a try!
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