Hmm.. “hatch your bets" could be a mondegreen.


  • Spoonerisms are what you get when a speaker mixes up sounds, making phrases such as “better Nate than lever.”
  • Mondegreens are what you get when listeners mishear words; for example when people think the song lyrics are “Sweet dreams are made of cheese" instead of "Sweet dreams are made of this.”
  • Eggcorns are what you get when people swap homophones in phrases, such as spelling “duct tape" as "duck tape.”
  • Malapropisms are what you get when someone substitutes a similar-sounding word for another, such as “He’s the pineapple of politeness" instead of "He’s the pinnacle of politeness.”
Hedge your bets and hatching

Being the geek I am, I was curious about the origin of the phrase “hedging your bets.”  It obvious from the stock market, but before that?

Webb Garrisson believes that it was derived from using plants to delineate property, and the meaning of the word eventually expanded to mean safeguarding. “As a result, we say that a person who wagers on several horses rather than only one hedges his bet. Many a person manages to hedge by avoiding direct promises and unqualified commitments.”

Along the lines of horse betting, I stumbled upon this forum thread where the terminology completely went over my thread:

I don’t see hedging as a losing proposition all of the time, and I don’t see stacking as hedging. In a 8 horse field, there are 336 possible trifecta combinations. Covering 12 of those combinations in a 12/1234/1234 tri stack is not hedging. It is handicapping likely possible outcomes, and maximizing your chances to cash.

There’s something great about stumbling into another sub-culture and experiencing that shock of specialized language.  If one only had enough hours in the day to learn everything..

The best find from all this internet meandering though, was the Eggcorn Forum, which is seems to be language forum focused on garbled metaphors.  So “hedge your bets” has transformed into “hatch your bets"—patiently sitting on one egg, or bet.

这个, 那个, 但是 the 呢? This, that, but what about “the”?

I was trying to write to someone in Chinese the simple idea of “I miss the ocean,” but it didn’t sound right without the English definite article “the.”


I miss oceans. I miss great oceans. No, I miss the ocean.

I had to resort to using reverse-Chinglish, or Zhonglish, for the time being.

我真怀念 the

wǒ zhēn huáiniàn the hǎi

La vache.. Fransays est muy difficulto.

French is work.  I spent a good part of last night trying to call out a friend in French without any success.  Trou du cul! True du cooo! Tu d’accord!?   However, my blunders were redeemed when one of the girls said I sounded like a frog.

Uniqlo / Yōuyīkù / 优衣库 / Extraordinary Clothing Store

In class today, we covered the word for clothing,  (yī), which brought us to Uniqlo because the Chinese translation is yōu   (yōuyīkù).

The name is a great brand translation since the  (yōu) means extraordinary. In the traditional style, it’s written as .  Yōu didn’t always mean extraordinary.  On the right side, the top character is page, 頁 (yè), which originally meant face. In the middle is a heart, and below it is the character for walking slowly.  Originally, 優 referred to a worrier.  Its meaning might have evolved because a worrier, someone who cares a lot, may eventually become someone extraordinary. (And later 優 got simplified to 优 because 尤 has a similar sound and it also meant something that stood out.)

As for , at the time we did not know which character was used and thought it was either  (pants), or  (a loanword for “cool”).  It turns out Uniqlo uses , a warehouse. 

Not bad, but 优衣酷extraordinary clothing cool, would’ve been some awesome Engrish branding on par with Coke’s 可口可乐.  And very fitting for a company such as Uniqlo.

It’s no longer enough to be bilingual

Hanging around 外国人 who already speak a 语言 other than 英文 and are here learning Chinese, is making me feel like 我需要再多学一种语言.

我好囧阿! —I’m a good window?

In Chinese, there is an archaic character, 囧 (jiong3), which referred to the old ricepaper windows overlaid with wooden patterns. It fell out of use because houses were no longer built with such windows, but in the past decade internet users started to use this character as a emoticon, thus bringing the word back with a new meaning.

我好囧阿! (wǒ hǎo jiǒng a,  I’m so embarassed!)