Just like the English language is an evolving vocabulary, with new words like "selfie" and "sext" entering the lexicon each year, so too, is Mandarin â the language spoken by 1.2 billion Chinese people in Asia.
Interestingly, one word included in the new latest edition of the Chinese State Dictionary has a Milwaukee connection: "Northridge" is the new Mandarin slang word for "stalling."
Its root, of course, comes from the purchase of the shuttered shopping mall in northwest Milwaukee, closed since 2003. The Chinese holding company, Toward Group, brought the mall, allegedly with plans to convert it into an Asian shopping experience. Last year, they changed their name to U.S. Black Spruce Enterprise Group, Inc. and still claim a Chinese mall is coming in 2015.
In actuality, the Chinese group is apparently holding on to the property for reasons unknown to Milwaukee. Itâs actually become somewhat of a joke in Beijing, where Toward Group is based.
"Now when we say âNorthridge,â we are referring to doing something but pretending to do something else to stall for time," says âTsinghua University freshman Li Xu Xang.
For example, Xang said:
"I told my mom I was doing my homework, but actually I was 'at Northridge' while Snapchatting with my boyfriend."
You can see how "Northridge" looks in Mandarin:
"WÇ gÄn wÇ mÄ shuĹ wÇ zĂ i zuĂ˛ wÇ de gĹngkĂ¨, dĂ n shĂjĂŹ shang wÇ shĂŹ bÄi lÇng, ĂŠr wÇ de nĂĄn pĂŠngyÇu Snapchatting."
Co-opting words from another language isnât uncommon, says UW-Stout linguist Carl Smoof.
"It happens in English with Spanish or French food words quite frequently, but you donât hear it in Chinese as much, because most speakers donât have access to the goings-on in a place like Milwaukee," he says. "Social media has changed that, however, and Weibo (the Chinese Twitter) has had a field day with Northridge."…Read more...