Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Funniest uses of the word "maybe" by native-speakers of Chinese

Me: And what did you do last week?
Student: Maybe I went to Shanghai.
Me: Maybe? Maybe you went to Shanghai, maybe you didn't go to Shanghai?
Student: ...
Me: Okay, so you went to Shanghai. [cue lesson on adverbs of certainty]

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Student: Maybe Cherry won't come to class today. [See my article Funniest 'English names" chosen by Chinese speakers
Me: Oh, why is that?
Student: She's in hospital. She ate some bad food. [Let's not go into details, but extracting the oil from leftover food to save money on cooking oil is just wrong. Yet this practice is widespread in small restaurants in the city where I live and in other cities in China. You can see the blue bins of leftover food being picked up, and it's some person's job to extract the oil and presumably heat it, cool it and bottle it. People get stomach problems all the time from eating food cooked in this "gutter oil" ("地沟油" Dìgōu yóu)See my article Shocking but true phenomena (not only) in China]
Me: Sorry to hear that. If she's in hospital now ... then I think we can say she definitely won't be coming. Maybe we can say she's definitely not coming ...
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Me: What would you eat if you were the leader of China for one day?
Student: Maybe some fruit. [See the full dialogue in my article Funniest Responses to Simple Questions