Character: 还可以

Pinyin: Hái Kěyǐ

Literal translation: “still can”

Actual translation:  “还可以” can be used to respond to someone asking you what you think about something.  For example, “Liaocheng zenmeyang?” What do you think about Liaocheng? “还可以,” meaning not bad, or alright.  I like this phrase for two reasons.  First of all when you say it right it has this rhythmic feel to it.  You could almost hear Jay-Z throwing it into a refrain, plus I love the fact that it can basically be translated into “still got it,” as in “Liaocheng’s still got it!”

Character: 飞机

Pinyin:  Fēijī

Literal Translation: “flying machine”

Actual Translation: Airplane.  The Chinese language was developed long before many of the modern comforts of today were around and since it’s a pictorial language they can’t just make up new characters for every new invention, so a lot of times they’re added together to achieve the desired purpose.  For example “huo ji,” meaning fire machine is the Chinese word for lighter.

Character: 马马虎虎

Pinyin: Mǎ Mǎ Hǔ Hǔ

Literal Translation: “Horse horse tiger tiger”

Actual Translation:  “So-so.”  I just like the idea of someone asking me how my dinner was, or how my trip to Jinan was and me responding by saying “Eh, you know, horse horse tiger tiger.”