Foreign loan words have always been one of the hardest parts of Chinese for me. Despite hearing it millions of times, I still don’t say 拜拜 instead of 再見, or other alternatives. I don’t know why, but for some reason, I just don’t like saying instead of 打電話, either. Above all, I have absolutely no desire to start throwing English words into my sentences like so many “trendy” people in 台北 do. I’m not happy with saying “打 tennis” instead of 打網球, and I have no idea why.

Maybe it’s because I already speak English fluently and don’t see throwing it into my Chinese as a sign of coolness. I don’t think that’s it, though. I always used to love using all the foreign loan words I could, when I was learning Japanese. I even found my self grinning and muttering things like offisu waka (office worker) or konpyuta saiensu (computer science) to myself during my first few months of learning Japanese. There’s something about how thoroughly loan words are turned into Japanese that I found appealing. Maybe it’s because the phonics of Japanese loan words are changed to fit the languages, where as Taiwanese people sometimes, but not always, try not to change the pronunciation of foreign loan words in Chinese?

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One weird thing that doesn’t fit the trend I mentioned above, is that I love foreign loan words in Chinese when they are company names and foods. I like 谷歌, 肯德基, and most of all, 雅虎

Has anybody else out there loved loan words in one language, but wanted to avoid them in another?