Chinese will send billions (literally!) of New Year’s greeting text messages today and tomorrow. And since the Year of the Horse begins tonight at midnight, this year there are lots of horsey word-plays (in addition to a proliferation of auspicious horse panties), just like the rabbit word-plays in 2011.
Here’s a real life example that we receivedearlier today, because these kinds of things are great for language learners, and you gotta have something with which to spam your address book.
“At once / right away / immediately” in Chinese is literally, “on a horse” 马上 (as in, you know, faster than walking). If you’re a first-year language student and your teacher sends you a text asking if you’ve arrived yet, you can reply in English “on a horse!” and they’ll think you’re really clever (if they’re clever enough to figure it out). Or roll their eyes.
Anyway, in this text “马上” does double-duty meaning “immediately” and “on the (year of the) horse.” So without further ado, mouseover the text for pronunciation and translation:
马年到，[your name(s) here]家人送祝福喽！
[Update 1] So lazy of me not to write out the English. Here it is:
The Horse Year has arrived. [so-and-so's]family sends blessings!
Wishing you and your family right away have money, right away have a house, right away have a car.*
Right away have good fortune, right away have good luck, right away have a vacation!
In short, good luck and everything as it should be in the horse year, immediate success! From the start prospering to the year’s end.
[*Remember: "right away" is a word-play on "on the horse".]
[Update 2] That Despicable Me minions Year of the Horse song video that’s been floating around? You can watch it and read a translation and explanation right here: On the Horse
More Chinese New Year text message fun:
More Chinese New Year 2014 fun: