Teacher Appreciation Day

The fat lady took a little too long to start singing.

My fifth teacher Appreciation day in China. We were taken to a hotel up the road from the big Carrefour on 八宝街. The room was fitted out with a well-equipped stage: sound system (complete with ear-splitting feedback), lights, smoke machine (make your own pollution indoors), bubble ma­ch­ine, and snow machine. There we watched some fairly polished acts and reflected on how pitiful our own offering was going to be.

Actually, It could’ve been worse.

One of the sketches dragged on and on and on, which is not something that you could accuse us of. Ours was short and sharp, although we did perform it three times. One of the highlights was the troupe of face changers, including a puppet face changer which is not something I’ve seen before.

As well as a sexy dancing girl (natch), we also had a band of sexy girls playing traditional Chinese instruments. One of the members definitely liked to perform for an audience. If this was a few hundread years ago, she would’ve been a 姬 (jī), which not only means “professional female singer”, but also “concubine”. It was also a complementary term for wo­men in ancient China. I assume that this might be how the homo­phon­ous 鸡 “chicken” comes to have its slang sense.

We got fed afterwards, and the whole thing was over by about 7pm.

Meanwhile, the weather here has turned wet with an extra thick slice of greyness. Very dull and dingey[1] this morning. I felt like going straight back to bed and hibernating.

1. Dingy? The spelling of this word drives me mad. I never know whether I should leave the -e in or out. If I leave it out, I’d be inclined to read the word as ding + -y. If I leave the -e in, it seems misspelt.

4 thoughts on “Teacher Appreciation Day”

  1. I’d forgotten about 妓 (the word, that is; I encountered it just recently in connection with the name 浔阳 Xún Yáng, although I haven’t gone through the tortuous process of trying to translate what her story is about).

  2.  My Concise Oxford Dictionary has dingy (-j-) a. Dull-coloured, grimy looking…(perh. f. DUNG + Y). There is no alternative spelling with an e. Your uncertainty is far from uncommon as our experience of spelling and mis-spelling incudes countless examples of of e being inserted or left out before y in words ending in y or ey. I can never remember if your cousin is Tracy or Tracey. 

  3. I have no problems with Tracy. If it has an -e-, I’d call it a surname.
    That whole "dingy" thing has driven me mad more than once trying to work out whether there should be an -e-. The curious thing about this word is that "dinge" (n) is almost dead in the water. I feel that I reconstruct it from "dingy" (i.e., back formation) rather than use it as a base for the adjective. It’s definitely a marginal lexical item in MnE.
    Unfortunately, a search via Google pulls in innumerable hits for the German "Dinge" (inflected form of Ding "thing", I guess), so it’s hard to gauge accurately how many hits are specifically for "dinge". "Dingey" [sic!] gets 54,400 hits, but "dingy" 2.76 million, but quite a few of those seem to be a misspelling of "dinghy" (unless that can also be spet "dingy").
    Bah! I wish I’d never asked this question.

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