Or something like that, whatever Chuck D was saying.
look for a moment at China through the eyes of young [American] athletes on their first visit, and China can feel, once again, like a new frontier.
Take, for example, Mandarin’s most unfortunate homonym. The English word “that,” when used as an adjective to indicate something as in “that glove,” is translated as neige and pronounced “nay-ga.” It also is used routinely as a space-filler akin to “umm” in English. But as American visitors frequently attest, neige can sound uncomfortably close to the n-word.
“We spent the whole first week thinking, ‘What?'” said one U.S. boxer.
The confusion is hardly unique to the team. Robert Davis, a fluent Mandarin speaker who heads China programs for the Chicago Public Schools, has escorted more than 150 Chicago principals and administers to China in the past eight years, many of whom are African-American, he said. He discovered long ago that he should feature a discussion of the word neige in his pretrip orientation.
[From U.S. Olympic team learns to roll with the punches on trip to China — chicagotribune.com]