Chinese Slang 101: A-OKAY
That nod of approval, the a-okay hand signal .. all these signs that’ll mean the green light.
Whether it’s getting the okay on building a new project you’ve presented to the boss or that new approval on your credit card application, I don’t think it’s as interesting and rather funny as how this phrase can be in Chinese.
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)
Breakdown of the Phrase
我看行 (wǒ kàn xíng): I see no problem; I think it’s okay; I guess so
Literally, this Chinese slang phrase would be translated as “I see okay” or “I see all right.” This phrase is commonly used now in response to a question or situation that needs your input or opinion.
我 (wǒ): I
看 (kàn): see
行 (xíng): okay, alright
Where “I see no problem” Came From
All thanks to a movie released in late 2007 that extended the new year’s greetings and cheer of 2008, 命运呼叫转移 made “I think it’s okay” the popular slang phrase it is today.
The reason this phrase became so popular was because of how it was said in the movie.
One scene of the movie takes place in the countryside where actor Ge plays the role of a migrant worker. One night, an infertile villager timidly asks Ge if he should “try again” tonight.
The delivery of Ge’s response resulted in an explosion of laughter from the audience. He replied in such a serious manner saying, “我看行 － I think it’s okay.”
Along with the movie, this phrase also became popular from China Mobile’s commercials!
Let’s take a look at some examples used in the wild!
1. Example A:
2013 xìng fú chéng dū wǒ kàn xíng
2013 Happy Chengdu, I see no problem!
2. Example B:
zhuān zhù chūn yùn 30 nián, tiě lù, wǒ kàn xíng
The focus is on the spring festival “immigration” for 30 years, railways, I see no problem!
3. Example C:
jiāng làng fèi rù zuì, wǒ kàn xíng
Wasting is a crime, I see no problem!