Glossary of Chinese Go jargon

Under construction.

The Chinese language is awfully efficient for Go discussions. It has a wide array of terms to name moves, differentiating between certain moves that are called the same in English (and sometimes even Japanese). Moreover, you can throw in a particle to express a more or less important nuance in a single syllable.

This is troublesome if you want to make subtitles for Chinese videos:S It’s virtually impossible to fit all the information in.

Below I’m collecting terms I stumble upon. This may help those who are learning the language to access Chinese Go sources. But even if you are not interested in learning Chinese, perhaps you can get some concepts out of the list that you didn’t know existed before.

I’m doing this from scratch, so the list is incomplete. I’m fairly confident in my knowledge, but if you find mistakes, do tell me~

Also, this is a sticky, so on the main page the freshest post is below this one.

Prefixes

You can add one of these before a move name M. Note that some of them might be specific to Go.
The respective columns show:
Chinese particle, literal translation (sometimes useless), explanation.


bèi
The move is done to you. Passive voice. (You get M’ed.)

bu
not Negation.
單/单
dān
single Play M without exchanging anything before.

fǎn
reverse Counter-M. May be preceded by the same M from the opponent.
連/连
lián
in succession As a prefix, this means doing multiple Ms consecutively. Works well with ‘twice’ etc.

xiān
first Play M first (duh).

zài
again/then M is preceded by something else, so you “then play M”.

Move names

When adding affixes, we are looking at the terms as verbs. However, all of them also double as nouns (unless indicated otherwise).
The respective columns show:
Chinese word, most commonly used equivalent(s), literal translation (mostly useless), comments.


bān
hane You know what a hane is.
並/并
bìng
(narabi) Put a stone next to another without being induced to do so. Nobi.

chāi
extend to tear open May be followed by a number 一二三四 to indicate the distance of your extension.
長/长
cháng
nobi
extend
(stretch?!)
long You know what a nobi is, probably.
衝/冲
chōng
push to rush Push through. Japanese 出 de.

peep to sting A peep that threatens to cut.

atari to hit Synonyms: 打吃 dǎ chī, 吃 chī.
擋/挡
dǎng
block to block What it says.
頂/顶
dǐng
bump
點/点
diǎn
placement,
peep
point A placement/peep that may or may not threaten to cut.
斷/断
duàn
cut to cut What it says.
飛/飞
fēi
keima,
knight move
to fly You know what a keima is.

hóu
guzumi monkey A move in the shape of an empty triangle.
Synonyms: 狗 gǒu dog, 猫 māo cat and who knows which other animals.

tigermouth,
kaketsugi
tiger

kào
attach,
tsuke
to lean on Attach anywhere but below, usually with one of your own stones around.
擠/挤
(atekomi) to squeeze in Seriously, who says ‘atekomi’? Unfortunately, squeezing means something else in Go…

jiān
kosumi pointily sharp You know what a kosumi is.
尖頂/尖顶
jiān dǐng
kosumitsuke Sometimes called “kicking”.

jiē
connect to connect Connect stones together solidly.

descend
sagari
to stand Going down. (Nobi.) The downwards direction can be emphasised by saying 立下 lì xià.

pèng
attach,
tsuke
to touch Attach somewhere out of the blue.

take to carry Take something off the board.
退
tuì
draw back to retreat Draw back. (Nobi.) Japanese 引き hiki.

tuō
attach,
tsuke
to drag (?) Attach below.
壓/压
push to press Push from behind.

zhān
connect to stick Connect (“glue”) some stone(s) that would otherwise be captured. (Apparently, the character can also be read nián, resulting in some presumably idiolectical differences.)

zǒu
to go Universal term to bypass naming the move. (Verb only)

Suffixes

Add one of these after a move name M to express whatever is indicated. Note that some of them might be specific to Go.
The respective columns show:
Chinese particle, literal translation (sometimes useless), explanation.


diào
Play M out as an exchange in sente. In regular language it’s ‘used after certain verbs to express completion, fulfillment, removal etc.’ The semantic part of removing can be found in 斷掉/断掉 duàn diào to cut off, or 提掉 tí diào to take stones off the board. (“Do away with the exchange/stones.”)

le
The ultimate connector to rattle down unlimited moves. (E.g. ‘M了M了M了M’.)

wán
finish/complete Having done/exchanged M, something something.
一下
yí xià
once Exchange M once.
兩下/两下
liǎng xià
twice Exchange M twice, whereas the second exchange is not necessarily another M, but is considered as one entity with the first one. 三下 sān xià, 四下 sì xià etc. for three, four… times.
幾下/几下
jǐ xià
a few times Exchange M several times. Same as above.

zhòng
heavy M has the effect of making something heavy.

The following suffixes can be preceded by 得 de or 不 bu to add the meaning of the ability or inability to achieve the desired effect. For example, 尖得到 jiān de dào means ‘can get kosumi in sente’, and 扳不死 bān bu sǐ describes a hane that does not kill whatever it was trying to kill.
(I’m wondering whether 重 zhòng belongs in this category.)


dào
Get M as an exchange in sente. In regular language it’s a ‘verb complement denoting completion or result of an action.’

huó
alive M has the effect of making something alive.

dead M has the effect of killing something.

zhù
to stop M is also blocking something or otherwise preventing stuff. Can also be combined with 擋/挡 dǎng.

Infixes

Infixes are added inside of a word. (An example in English would be “fan-f*cking-tastic”.) How do you do that with move names if almost all of them consist of only one syllable?
So far I only found one interfix in relation to Go, so I’m not sure whether there is a regular pattern:


M 一 M (only if M is one syllable). Hypothetically and nonchalantly playing out a sequence starting with M. I don’t know how to explain this:S See example 4.

Examples

(My grammar skills are a little rusty~)
1) 打完不提是手筋。

手筋。
wán shì shǒu jīn
verb particle part. verb copula verb noun
atari finish [negation] take is tesuji
‘Exchanging atari without taking afterwards is the tesuji.’

2) 虎了扳了提比單提好。

好。
le bān le dān hǎo
verb part. verb part. verb preposition part. verb adjective
tiger hane take compared with single take good
‘Playing tiger and hane before taking is better than just taking.’

3) 壓完兩下發現已經斷不到了。

兩下 發現 已經 了。
wán liǎng xià fā xiàn yǐjīng duàn bu dào le。
verb part. part./
adverb
verb adverb verb part. part. part.
press finish twice discover already cut [negation] [past]
‘After pushing twice, [I] discovered that [I] can’t get the cut anymore [as a sente exchange].’

4) 如果這樣他簡單的扳一扳就夠了。

如果 這樣 簡單的 扳一扳 了。
rú guǒ zhè yàng jiǎn dān de bān yì bān jiù gòu le
conjunction adverb pronoun adv. infixed verb adv. adj. part.
if like this he simply hane [a little] already enough
‘If it’s like this, he can simply hane a little and it’s enough.’

Compound moves

When two consecutive moves are regarded as one entity, you don’t need any of those connector particles to describe them. The columns show:
Chinese, Japanese, English

扳粘
bān zhān
hanetsugi Hane and connect. (The most common 1st and 2nd line moves move.)
靠長/靠长kào cháng tsukenobi Attach (anywhere but underneath) and extend nobi.
靠退
kào tuì
tsukehiki Attach (anywhere but underneath) and draw back.
托退
tuō tuì
tsukehiki Attach underneath and draw back. (Cf. 托退定式 tuō tuì dìng shì = tsukehiki joseki.)

Chengyu

A 成語/成语 chéng yǔ is a ‘Chinese set expression, often made up of 4 characters or two couplets of 4 characters each, often alluding to a story or historical quotation’ that is also used in everyday conversation. Which means they can also be found in Go discussions.

騎虎難下/骑虎难下 qí hǔ nán xià ride-tiger-difficult-go down.
前功盡棄/前功尽弃 qián gōng jìn qì previous-work-finish-abandon.
無可救藥/无可救药 wú kě jiù yào no-can-save-medicine = beyond hopeless.
兄弟打架 xiōng dì dǎ jià brothers-scuffle.
一石二鳥/一石二鸟 shí èr niǎo one-stone-two-birds.
粘劫收後/粘劫收后 zhān jié shōu hòu connect-ko-collect-behind.
自生自滅/自生自灭 zì shēng zì miè self-live-self-perish.

One thought on “Glossary of Chinese Go jargon

  1. It happened to me not for the first time now, that I looked up your page and thought “ah, this glossary is stil on top, seems there are no news” and only realizing afterwards, that this actricle is just “pinned” to the top, because its “featured”.
    Maybe others have the same thinking and miss updates for that resons, so I just wanted to tell you about this.
    Great blog btw, keep it running!

    Like

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