Happy Every Day

22 Jul 2007

If you have ever taught English in China, you have mostly likely heard the saying, “happy every day” (天天快乐) from your students. This ridiculously cheerful saying was my inspiration for this simple t-shirt design:

happy every day

Is it being sarcastic? Ironic? Wear it and find out what everybody else thinks.

Happy every day” is available in the Sinosplice Store for less than past t-shirts sold for. (Extensive research has revealed a shocking truth: people like cheap stuff!) Thank you for the support.

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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

Comments

  1. So far is your best design, John. Go ahead!

  2. ChinoChano,

    Thanks. I’m aware that the ones I’ve posted so far have been composed of just text and geometric shapes. I’m shy about it, but I’m slowly moving toward more creative/artistic designs. This one, for the first time, incorporates a (very small) hand-drawn element. I know, it’s just a tiny step, but I’ll slowly expand that element in the designs.

  3. John,

    You’ve inspired me to go ahead and create a Xinjiang-themed CafePress store for The Opposite End of Chiuna. You can check it out at cafepress.com/xinjiang.

    Has anybody actually ordered your stuff yet? Just wondering.

  4. your foray into the t-shirt business reminds me of a simpson’s episode i just saw where bart writes random funny quotes on t-shirts and they sell like hot cakes before some magician takes the business away from him. i hope you don’t suffer the same fate! 😉

  5. Stay away from magicians!

  6. Richard Says: July 23, 2007 at 1:24 am

    What’s the context of the saying?

  7. Man, who doesn’t want happy every day.

  8. Yes, happy every day is a very common Chinglish phrase produced by my students. It’s a lot of fun on the t-shirt! I’m wondering though…in the context of the classroom, how to best correct it. It’s easy for me to say “that’s not good English” but then I find myself floundering when the students want an equivalent they can use.

    I might commonly say “Have a great day!” but this does not satisfy my students. Any ideas?

  9. I would go with something like, “Good luck in the future!”, which isn’t a translation of the words so much as a translation of the core meaning of 天天快乐. Being happy everyday sure would be a stroke of continuing good luck, right?

    Another candidate might be, “I wish you all the best luck!”. Of course, many of you will likely disagree with me.

  10. Nicki,

    Why not just explain to your students if they think someone can really be “happy every day,” then they’re living in a fantasy land? Explain to them how hard and cruel life is, and if they think otherwise, than they’re merely sheltered and delusional?

    They’ll like that. 🙂

  11. michael,

    I haven’t gotten many orders for the new stuff, but the old “Please Speak Mandarin” shirt has gotten a fair number of orders and continues to sell. I’m not sure whether it’s because it’s somehow especially appealing, or because it’s featured on the main page rather than being buried in the blog, or what. I’ll figure it out.

  12. Richard Says: July 23, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    Will you make a “Please speak Shanghainese” shirt?

  13. Richard Says: July 23, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    Or, if you want to be more generic, a “Please speak fangyan” shirt.

  14. Good stuff, but I’ve heard of people having problems sending things to China, is this true?

  15. Nicki-
    I would take the “Happy Every Day” question and turn it into a chance to teach your students how you can not directly translate everything, and need to learn a language within the context of itself, rather than the context of your own language. For example, in English we often say “What’s up?” Translated into Chinese this is 上面有什么东西? (shang4 mian4 you3 shen2 me dong1 xi). This will make absolutely no sense to a Chinese person. This is a valuable lesson for anybody learning a second language.

  16. Thanks, John, I’ll just give them a quote from my favorite movie then…”Life is pain! Anyone who tells you differently is selling something!”

    You don’t tell me differently and yet you are selling something…. :o)

    I think Ben is right about not being able to translate everything literally. Makes for funny t-shirts when you do, though!

  17. 大家好,我是个newbie(不是中文的牛B),我也正在学英语,我相信大家都能看懂我的话.在看了大家的评论后,我受益匪浅. 学第二种语言时也让我感到两种不同文化之间的碰撞, 有时互译得太”literal”了没意思, 保持愉快心情就好了. happy everyone & happy everyday &month&year!!!!!!!! 🙂

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