Can you help me about an English phrase"long time no see"?
February 9, 2010 10:51pm CST
Is the phrase "Long time no see" a real English speaking way? It seems like the Chinese speaking way, and many teachers have told me that this phrase is not right in the English grammar. But I have seen it in many English movies. Can some English native speakers tell me whether it is right in English? Thank you.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Feb 10
Hi, ricoc123. It is an English phrase that is specifying, "I have not seen you in a long time, where have you been lately." It is like the person is very surprised to see the person and they wonder where have this person been hiding to. That is my response to what this phrase means.
11 Feb 10
Even though English is not my native tongue, I have a long lived love story with language. You are right about it being uncorrect from the point of view of grammar. It is a short cut from "I has been a long time since I last saw you". But in all languages, the correct grammar is not the only important part. If you understand the meaning, then it is ok. Take, for instance the word (?)"ok". It is said worldwide now. It comes from a badly spelled short cut to say "all correct". With the internet, we are learning a lot of short cuts in every language. I bet you have them in chinese too. I hope I have been of help to you. And welcome to mylot!
• Cambridge, England
28 Sep 11
"Long time no see" is a colloquial expression in English which, I believe, comes from Pidgin (through British sailors' contacts with China and many other countries). As you suspect, it may have originated in China as something which Chinese speakers with limited English would commonly say or, as someone else has said, may come from the English spoken by Native Americans. There are a number of English sayings or expressions of a similar nature which came into the language as a somewhat humorous imitation of non-English speakers. "Chin chin!" (meaning "Cheers!" or "Good health!" when drinking) is one that comes to mind. "Softly, softly, catchee monkey" is another.