24 April, 2011


More nominative determinism

Speaking of nominative determinism in a Chinese context, as we were.

A good friend of mine visited her dentist for treatment. Her dentist is called Mr Ng. Which is entirely appropriate, considering the sort of conversations one has with dentists.

Dentist: Right then, I'm going to have a good scrape round that rotten cavity with this evil-looking hook. It's going to hurt like hell, I'm afraid. Well, I'm not really, and you're well strapped in. Is that OK? [Smiles evilly.]

Patient [sweating profusely and with a mouth already packed chock-full of dental hardware]: Ng! Ng!

Dentist: Good.

Patient: Aaaargh!

Note that it doesn't matter what the patient actually means by "Ng! Ng!". The exchange is entirely phatic in nature.

Oh. And just when was my friend's session with her Chinese dental practitioner? Well it couldn't really have been any other time, could it? Two thirty.

Bastard, you crept up on me with that one!

Spike Milligan forever.

The Chinese character pronounced 'ng' (eng) in Cantonese is pronounced 'wu' in Mandarin.

My dentist is also Dr. Ng, and I use both pronunciations during his drilling.

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