Saturday, July 07, 2007

Chinese Words and Phrases 2: 帮我一个忙 bāng wǒ yīge máng

Bang wo yige mang means "help me out with something," generally prefaced by "could you..." and is a phrase to be wary of in Chinese. One of the unexpected bonuses of being a foreign teacher in China is the chance to be volunteered to help people you don't know improve their English. And thus a neighbor who is a chemistry teacher has dropped by with his 26-page research paper for me to look over before he submits it to a scientific journal. This is clearly a better use of my time than the 274 final exams I have to grade, and besides that makes for exciting reading. The title is "An Investigation on Synthesis and Photocatalytic Activity of Polyaniline Sensitized Nanocrystalline TiO2 Composites," and the first sentence is typical of the rest of the paper: "Polyaniline (PAn) sensitized nanocrystalline TiO2 composite photocatalystPAn/TiO2) with high activity and easy separation had been facilely prepared by in situ chemical oxidation of aniline from the surfaces of the TiO2 nanoparticles." I told him no on account of being too busy, leaving out the fact that I don't even understand it in English (my spellchecker backs me up by claiming most of these are not real words). Actually he's a perfectly nice guy who had me over for dinner the last time I helped him, but I have few outlets for sarcasm these days.

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