The other day, I came across a question on a Tianya Forum: do we really call Donald Trump 川普 (chuānpǔ)?
Donald Trump (川普)
川普 is the transliteration for Trump, and in Chinese is short form for Sichaun Mandarin 四川普通话 (sìchuān pǔtōnghuà). For the uninformed, Sichuan is the home of spicy food in China. The Sichuanese accent also takes after the flavor of its food: spicy and bold… some would say just like Trump.
Nicknames are quickly getting more and more popular and accepted in daily Chinese life!
Adam Levine (骚当)
When Adam Levine takes a picture of himself half-naked, or winks at the camera (like this), I can’t help but think of the nickname his genius Chinese fans have given him: 骚当 (sāo dāng). Adam is 亚当 (yà dāng) in Chinese. 骚 (sāo) is an adjective describing people who are full of coquettishness. There you go: coquettish Adam.
Jennifer Lopez (洛霸)
If you’ve seen J Lo’s “Booty” music video if might not surprise you that J Lo’s nickname is “Lord of Butt”. Lord of Butt was mingled with 洛佩兹 (luò pèi zī), the transliteration of Lopez and Chinese wisdom, giving us the ultimate nickname: 洛霸 (luò bà). This nickname is genius. 洛霸 sounds like Lord of Butt, and suggests both 洛佩兹 and 霸. 霸 refers to both 霸王 bà wáng (the conqueror) and 霸气 bà qì (dominant).
Taylor Swift (霉霉)
I bet some of you already heard of Taylor Swift’s nickname 霉霉 (méi méi), and looked it up only to be confused: bad luck twice? Let me have the honor of cracking the riddle for you. At first, everybody called her 小美女 (xiǎo měi nǚ), which is obvious: she is young and gorgeous. There were several times where she tried to reach the top of the charts but came up short. Her fans got frustrated and said it was bad luck for their 女神. Since the sounds of 美 (měi) is quite similar to that of 霉 (méi) that’s how 小美女 turned into 霉霉 (bad luck).
Justin Bieber (丁日)
Justin Bieber’s initials are quite meaningful in Chinese. JB is the the acronym for 鸡巴 (jī bā), a colloquial term people use when talking about men’s genitals. In the eyes of creative Chinese people, the letter J and B look like the Chinese characters 丁 (dīng) and 日(rì). That’s what we call Justin Bieber: 丁日. As for 丁日’s more profound meanings…maybe when you’re older 😉
Feel free to spread the Chinese wisdom to your friends! If you’d like to read the other article in the series through this link: http://www.goeastmandarin.com/blog/2016/4/11/best-chinese-nicknames-for-western-superstars