n Monday, we posted an article on how to write a formal letter. Today, we’re going down a more colloquial route.
When I speak to people in English, I tend to use a lot of filler words such as “Um...” and “Like...” while I gather my thoughts. Perhaps I’m not quite as eloquent as most people.
For us, we say “那个” (nèi ge) to fill a pause. It’s the equivalent to “Um, uh, er, that is, that one,” etc.
The problem with “那个” (pronounced “nay-ge” or “nah-ge”) as a filler word is that it sounds a little similar the N-word in English. The famous comedian, Russell Peters, pointed this out in one of his standup shows. It is unfortunate that such a common word in the Chinese language can be so misunderstood in English.
I’ve even had friends approach me and ask me why Chinese people were so obsessed with saying the “N-word.” No, we’re not trying to insult anyone, and no, we are not trying to emulate certain rap lyrics. We are simply filling an empty pause as we gather our thoughts.