I’m thinking of making a t-shirt. What is the Chinese character for Fu as in Google Fu? I assume it’s the same as in kung fu, but I’m not sure which of the two characters is which. What is the translation?
Fu is 夫.
Google-Fu would be 谷歌夫, which, in Chinese, sounds more like a drowning panda than anything suggesting search prowess.
Sounds like a movie: “Drowning Panda, Hidden Dragon”
Actually, drowning panda sounds about like Google’s relationship with mainland China right now.
I know kung fu (gong fu in modern transliteration) means something like “great skill.” Does fu by itself or in combination with other words mean “skill,” or would google fu mean something like “great Google”? (Which sounds like the sort of exclamation a silver-age superhero who was bitten by a radioactive webbot would make.)
I was always under the impression that Chinese is not Phonetic but Pictographic, how come there’s a character for Google?
According to Wikipedia, kung fu means something more akin to “[great] human achievement”. That it came to denote all Chinese martial arts is somewhat of a mistranslation, Wikipedia implies.
“Fu” supposedly means “man”, so Google-Fu would be Google-Man. And as far as I know, “Fu” isn’t really used in everyday speech; it’s archaic and roughly similar to “sire”, a term of respect for a male person.
The whole “whatever-fu” meaning “good at whatever” thing is, according to Wikipedia, just a hacker culture invention that went mainstream.
The characters are somewhat pictographic, but they still correspond to certain spoken sounds.
In Mandarin (which is one of several verbal dialects of Chinese), “谷” sounds like “Goo” and “歌” sounds like “Guh”. It’s just an approximation of the way the word sounds in English. English speakers do the same thing in reverse, calling it “kung fu” instead of “Chinese martial arts”. The characters 谷歌 taken literally instead of phonetically would mean something like “valley song”.
How do we get from there to drowning pandas?
Are there characters - in Mandarin, for most single syllable sounds? Thus allowing a fair approximate transliteration of most if not all english words?
Go straight down the hall; third door on your left. You might want to take your shoes and socks off.
It lacks a cite, but the 1981 copy of Jargon.txt cited in the Hacker article doesn’t list ‘-fu’. I remember first encountering the ‘fu’ as a free morpheme in the late 80’s from Joe “Bob” Briggs’ Drive-in Theater on the Movie Channel. He used it to describe any kind of fighting, as in: “This movie’s got everything – gun fu, lawn-mower fu, emory-board fu…”
In the 90’s I remember friends chopping eachother on the shoulder and proclaiming, “My 60’s secret-agent fu isn’t working!” Later I recall it developing into phrases like “My driving fu is strong!” – around the time that you could catch a lot of old, cheaply produced kung fu movies started showing up on cable.
It depends on how approximate.
In this instance, the translation comes out sounding more like “Gu-guh” than “Google”.
Mandarin has a fair number of similar sounds, but because Mandarin characters each have distinct, individual sounds, it’s hard to use them to recreate the flowing words of English where the pronunciation of any given letter is modified by ones adjacent to it.
In my experience, Chinese speakers of English tend to pronounce English words in artificially-separated staccato bursts; the monosyllabic “hope” comes out as “hoe-pooh”, “love” would be “la voo”, etc.
The correct phrase would be “great Googley-moogley”
Ah, valley song of
Google-Fu, Drowning Panda
Pass the Jew-ear juice
You’re big. You’re hungry. You find a fresh grove. You eat it all while singing merrily to yourself in your little mountain valley. Then, while dancing, you trip and fall into a river. Google Google gasp gurgle gurgle pant pant googuh googuh swallow gooooo…guhhhhhhhhhh.
Ku Ee De
And I’m pleased to report that this thread is now Google’s top hit for “drowning panda”
We are Number One, son!
If it only had one horizontal stroke, fu would be ren (person). What does it mean with two horizontal strokes?
Practice, practice, practice.
No. One horizontal stroke is “dai” or "tai"meaning “big”, as in Typhoon or Tai-pan. “Ren” is no horizontal strokes.