3Q for Thankyou in Chinese

The following tweet by John Pasden, of Sinosplice, caught my attention a week or so ago:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/sinosplice/status/127231232110100481″]

If it’s not immediately apparent what it means then try saying “3Q” out loud, which in Chinese would be “三Q”. The pronunciation really isn’t far off the actual English pronunciation for “thankyou”.

After reading the tweet I wondered if native Chinese speakers actually use tricks like this to pronounce words from English (and other languages) until I saw the following subtitle during an episode of the Japanese cartoon 我們這一家(我们这一家 wǒ mén zhè yī jiā )which, by the way, has an excellent Chinese dubbed version:

3Q Thankyou

In the above image one of the characters is saying ‘3Q’ (thankyou) in response to the offer to share a portion of chips at a fast food restaurant. Though I think that 3Q is used here as a 流行字, rather than a pronunciation trick to enable a non-English speaker to say ‘thankyou’.

I’d be interested to know of any other similar pronunciation tricks so if you know any please post in the comments below. I know that there’s an image from the Beijing Olympic games that shows the tricks taxi drivers were using to be able to pronounce English words, if anyone has this please post it.

4 responses to “3Q for Thankyou in Chinese

  1. This reminds me of a joke I heard a little kid tell in Miaoli, Taiwan (translated from Chinese):

    “Do you know Chinese has three ‘Q’s? ‘3Q’ (Thank you), ‘No Q’ (You’re welcome), ‘4Q’ (**** you)!”

    The last one is made up (where this kid got it from, I don’t know!), but ‘3Q’ and ‘no Q’ are pretty common among teenagers and the younger generation, especially when they want to be cute.

  2. As a non-native speaker of English, I have to admit that I find ‘3Q’ a rather good transcription (besides the missing th, of course, but how many Chinese bother with that anyway?).

    And yes, of course Chinese use transcription in order to learn the correct pronounciation. Just get any of the cheaper ‘100 phrases in English’ books and you’ll see stuff like 狗的 for good (I forgot the transcription for morning).

    Admittedly, that isn’t a phenomen found only with Chinese natives: Germans regularly transcribe every foreign language (even English or French) into something more readable and “easier” to pronounce in the same kind of books.

  3. My Chinese friend uses these kind of “trick” reminders all the time! You should see his notebook–it has the English, Chinese meaning, and then what it sounds like in Chinese.

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