Short-lived, vulgar, catchy, unsophisticated… just some of the negative adjectives that come to mind when one thinks of internet slang. But internet slang as a part of Chinese internet culture offer glimpses into the nation’s millions of internet users’ psychology. While most of the phrases disappear after a period of time, many stay to become a constant term in the internet language. Some of them have made their way into the dictionary. When it comes to internet talk, a great deal revolves around the exploitation of homonyms, whether for coining new buzzwords, voicing grievances, or commenting with wittiness and irony. A New York Times article discusses internet language in China, specifically satire:
“Coded language has become part of mainstream culture, with the most contagious memes tapping into widely shared feelings about issues that cannot be openly discussed, from corruption and economic inequality to censorship itself. “
A new wave of internet slang that has appeared recently on China’s virtual public sphere features newly coined internet chengyu. All are words with four characters, and each word is an acronym of a full sentence in which hides quiet dissent, dissatisfaction, and forced inaction.
Rén jiān bù chāi: rénshēng yǐjīng rúcǐ jiānnán, yǒuxiē shì jiù búyào chāichuān
Life Difficult No Expose: Life is already difficult enough, some things you don’t have to expose.
• “Recently a lot of people like to say “my little buddies and I were all stupefied!”. Are they pretending they actually have friends?”
• “There is so such thing as “indecisive compulsive disorder”. There’s only having no money…”
Lèi jué bú ài: tài lèile gǎnjué bú huì zài ài
Tired Feel No Love: So tired feel like I won’t love any more.
Example: “Looking at how Chinese football is doing, I’m already 累觉不爱.”
Shè bìng wǒ yào: shèhuì shēngbìng le, wèishéme ràng wǒ chī yào
Society is sick, why am I taking the medicine
Example: “The state cannot keep up with the pension, so it is solving it by extending the retirement age. Makes one want to exclaim 社病我药.”
Dì mìng hǎi xīn: chī dìgōu yóu de mìng, cāo zhōngnánhǎi de xīn
Destined to eat gutter oil, but concerned with Zhongnanhai affairs.
Example: “These people are fighting about Diaoyu Island again, don’t be so 地命海心, worry about your own fate first.“