Sand Dragon or Salon?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that as the Chinese language has thousands of years of history, that every word would be equally draped in importance. Well, that’s not always the case, and sometimes Chinese words are used just for their sound.

In the image you can see the word 沙龍(沙龙 shā lóng)meaning “sand dragon”, a cool word I’m sure you’ll agree. Though, actually, this word is a phonetic translation of the word “salon”, I had to read it aloud to make the connection.

The text reads:

日本專業沙龍品質(日本专业沙龙品质)
rì běn zhuān yè shā lóng pǐn zhí
Japanese professional salon quality

沙龍 (沙龙)

Pinyin: shā lóng
English: salon

  • Ken

    Several years ago I took my sister, who had less Chinese language experience than I, into a small drink shop in Taiwan. I told her what various drinks were, but I could only guess that the 拿鐵 (nátiě) drink, of which I had never heard, had iron in it….

    Nope. As you likely know, and as I subsequently learned, it’s a phonetic translation of latte.

  • Devin

    One time I was talking to a Taiwanese person about getting my hair cut, and I said I was going to a 沙龍. I got a weird look until it dawned on them — apparently this tends to be a written convention, and Taiwanese people tend to say 髮廊 (fa3 lang2). Also, 沙龍 sounds the same as 殺龍, which I guess is another reason to avoid saying it…

    But that’s just been my experience anyway.