Chinese Urban Dictionary: RongGeng

By Mia Li, March 17, 2020

0 0

ronggeng / róng gēng / 融梗 verb. to re-purpose other people's cool phrases into one’s own speech to make oneself sound more interesting in social occasions

 The third act of the 007 movie Skyfall is basically Home Alone.

 It’s inspired by it. Movies can ronggeng too.

 Can't the writers come up with anything new? It's 007 for God's sake.

 Great artists steal.

Popularity is an important form of social capital, not just in high school, but in adult life as well. No matter what age we are, we all want to be popular, the life of the party, and light up any room. Unless you win the genetic lottery and look like Disney royalty, your best chance is probably to have this hard-to-define quality of ‘charisma.’

The good news is charisma can be learned; the bad news is that it is difficult to be originally charismatic – you probably have to begin by imitating other charismatic individuals. Maybe you’ve heard someone using cool phrases and said to yourself, I’m going to start saying that. Congrats, you’ve learned to ronggeng – the act of re-purposing other people’s fun language into your own to seem more charismatic.

Rong literally means to melt or join, and geng is a punch line or a clever thing to say. Ronggeng is the art of taking someone else’s clever thing to say, joining or ‘fusing’ it into your own speech and pass it off as if you thought of it. It is you remembering and re-using a clever compliment, funny punch line or sick burn you heard someone else say in future conversations.

However, ronggeng is controversial because it is very close to plagiarizing. A key difference is whether you can put your own spin on it. Ronggeng is what Hunger Games did to Battle Royale or what Lion King did to Hamlet. You have to adapt the original and not just copy it. Don’t just call money a “beer token” if you can't hold your brew. Don't call tequila “a way to get police around at 4 in the morning” if you are not the edgy type and always go home at 9pm. Another way to ronggeng is to update a phrase with a fresh reference. Instead of saying “love at first sight,” say “love at first swipe” if you are chatting on WeChat.

For ronggeng to work for you, you have to be savvy, confident and have enough self-awareness to know what you can and cannot pull off. Remember, there are no new ideas under the sun. When it comes to banter, we are all standing on the shoulders of giants. Go forth, kiddos.

Read more Chinese Urban Dictionary

more news

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Yunv Wugua

Literally meaning “rain girl has no melons,” the phrase makes little sense – who is rain girl and why doesn’t she have any melons?

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Zhuxin

Sometimes, when you make an offhand comment or are just thinking out loud, a certain type of person assumes that you mean things you don’t, or goes hunting for the ‘hidden motives.’

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Renshe

That person you see yourself as on social media is called renshe, which means "character design."

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Anli

Welcome to the hyper-corporate and hyper-consumerist China, where names of international conglomerates and their business models are everyday verbs.

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Qiushengyu

We all know that the best way to make a person prove his or her love for you is to torture them.

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Gaojihei

Conversation is the playground of the wits and your gaojihei game will keep your audience on their toes.

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Fengkou

From Jack Ma to Elon Musk, everyone is looking for the next fengkou.

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Ningmengjing

Welcome to the People’s Republic of Envy.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at thatsonline for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in China With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Subscribe

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Magazines!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.