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Erroneous vocabulary usage (e.g. "to put in Jingzhang Expressway" instead of "entering Jingzhang Expressway") can also qualify as Chinglish. Another common mistake is the use of "emergent" to mean "emergency" or "urgent". Many of these errors stem from misuse of, or errors in, dictionaries.
Some phrases are confused too. When explained something, most Chinese will respond with "Oh, I know," when the appropriate response would be "Oh, I see." This is because "知道 zhīdao" is usually translated as know under any circumstances. "When did you first recognize him?" is also sometimes used for "When did you first meet him?" because "认识[認識] rènshi" is usually translated as recognize as in "I recognize him from last week's party."
Some simpler errors occur with the use of see, watch, read and look at which are all one word, “看", in Chinese and may be confused with each other or just reduced to look. The situation of speak, say and talk is similar. So, someone studying English for several years might still say phrases like "Can you say Chinese?", "I am watching a book", and "Tomorrow I will look a movie."
Chinglish can be "created" by common patterns of grammatical errors. For example, excessive use of "the" when not needed (such as "The China is bigger than the France") and the excessive use of verbs with the "-ing" ending are common characteristics of Chinglish.
An excess use of "to", the use of "to" with modals (e.g. "I must to go"), the confusion of -ed and -ing adjectives (e.g. "I am very boring" vs. "I am very bored"; "I was surprised" vs. "I was surprising"), the overuse of "very" between "be" and an adjective (reflecting the use of "很" in Chinese), the use of "very" to modify verbs (e.g. "I very like it"), the use of the passive when the active is more appropriate, and wrong usage of verb tenses may also give rise to Chinglish phrases.
Often a Chinese grammatical pattern will be incorporated into English grammar, such as the classic examples of "I tomorrow go to Shanghai" or "I this morning eat breakfast".
Also, there is much confusion as to countable and non-countable nouns, use of plurals, and the use of "how much" and "how many" and "a lot of," "much" and "many." This leads to phrases such as "He has much money," "I want a soup" and "There are a lot of shoe."
Chinglish can also be more specifically a creole, that uses both English and Chinese vocabulary in the same sentence. This is particularly evident in areas that have both English and Chinese as official languages, such as Singapore and Hong Kong. (When specifically discussing the English dialect of Singapore, Singlish may be more appropriate.)
Some Chinese pick non-traditional English names, which they do not view as strange because they are not aware of English naming conventions.
Such names are derived from vocabulary they learned in their early English lessons, including names such as Apple, Space, Can, Sea, Mooncake, Magic, Spider, Thunder, Cloudy, Table, Bird, Eleven, Hifi, H20, Puppy and other names of animals, plants, weather phenomena, household appliances, days of the week or months. Some people have even unknowingly chosen swear words as names.
They might choose western products they like as their name, such as Cola or Nautica, or other more advanced words that may be picked for their sound or meaning such as Victory or Nation.
Also, names very easy to pronounce in Chinese, but not common in English, maybe be chosen, such as the very common name Coco.
Some others chose to use traditional English names but often pronounce it wrong or alter the spelling. For example, when the name Keith is often spelled as Keiv, Keif, or maybe even the more extreme Cliff.
Some chose names from other countries like Russian names or Japanese names such as Yuri or Jun. Since most European names are widely used in the English community, those will seem less "odd". However, Japanese names like Jun, pronounced like English name June, may cause problems in that they are unisex, whereas their English sound-alikes are traditionally bound to one sex.
These names may just be viewed as nicknames, and some Chinese may choose more common ones if they have to use their name in business or other more formal occasions.
Most (but not all) Chinese people living in Asia are given only Chinese names at birth, and choose their own English name at some point after they begin learning English (if they ever do). Although rare, some parents may name their child a Chinese sound translation of an English name, such as Wai-Man (Raymond) or On-Lei (Annie).
Although most Chinglish phrases originated from poor English, plenty of Chinglish phrases were created as language humour. For example:
1. Open the door see mountain (verbatim translation from a Chinese idiom, meaning "to speak straightforwardly" - 開門見山). Other such example may be "five flowers eight doors" (in Chinese, wǔ huā bā mén - 五花八門), which means "plentiful," and "people mountain people sea" (in Chinese, rén shan rén hai - 人山人海 ), meaning "a sea of people" or "a huge crowd".
2. Un-ding-able (it means "can't stand it". 頂 ding in Cantonese means "to stand against")(in mainland China, when people use "ding" on internet mostly means "Strongly agree, most appreciated" probably because it resembles the sound used in cartoons when a light bulb lits up. Another possiblity is that when in replied a post in forums, the thread will be pushed up towards the top, the action can somehow be described with a word with a similar pronunciation.) (English: To concur; derivation possibly onomotopoeic.)
3. You go see see lah (Go and have a look. - 你去睇睇啦) (please refer to Hong Kong English)
In early and mid-20th century, Chinglish was called "pidgin" (洋涇濱, or 洋泾浜) in Chinese, in a derogative manner.