chop, chop

tiantian888

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello, there. I am reading a short story written by a British writer. The heroine often uses "chop, chop" to ask the others to hurry up. I'm wondering whether this is a commonly used expression in Britain. Thanks for your help.
 
  • valskyfrance

    Senior Member
    FRANCE, FRENCH
    Hello, there. I am reading a short story written by a British writer. The heroine often uses "chop, chop" to ask the others to hurry up. I'm wondering whether this is a commonly used expression in Britain. Thanks for your help.

    hi,

    I found here in the WR dictionary : 5 chop
    move suddenly Category Tree: movechop
     

    tiantian888

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you very much as your explanation is very important to me. If I didn't know it was rather out of date, I would use it quite often, then I may become a laughing stock. Thanks a lot.
     
    Hello tiantian888.

    This expression could be considered as rather "middle-class" or deriving of a private school education. I have heard mothers hurrying their children in the playground of a local private school with the words, "Chop, chop Henrietta. We are very pressed for time!"

    I heard that "Chop-chop" is a pidgin Cantonese phrase for "Hurry up!"


    More modern phrases to capture this sense of urgency would be, in my opinion:

    "Come on, hurry up!"

    "Get a move on!"


    Hope this helps.
    Bye for now

    BONJOURMONAMOUR
     

    tiantian888

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Hello tiantian888.

    This expression could be considered as rather "middle-class" or deriving of a private school education. I have heard mothers hurrying their children in the playground of a local private school with the words, "Chop, chop Henrietta. We are very pressed for time!"

    I heard that "Chop-chop" is a pidgin Cantonese phrase for "Hurry up!"


    More modern phrases to capture this sense of urgency would be, in my opinion:

    "Come on, hurry up!"

    "Get a move on!"


    Hope this helps.
    Bye for now

    BONJOURMONAMOUR

    Thanks from Tiantian. This is very helpful.
     

    Zephyros

    New Member
    Thai-English
    Personally, I think the word sounds very 'demanding' ..

    I don't know, i might be wrong, but from the sound of it -- when you say 'chop-chop' to anybody, it sounds like you are "Demanding" not "Asking" someone to be "quick"

    ..
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I haven't heard it in years in the U.S.

    Moreover, it sounds a bit ethnically demeaning, at least to me, since it dates back to the days when Chinese in the U.S. tended to be in the lower economic class, e.g. laborers imported to build railroads.
     

    Lis48

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Tiantian888, do you think it possibly could be a corruption from the Cantonese gup gup (急 急) because that means hurry hurry doesn´t it? I read once that chopstick came from that because food was eaten so quickly by the Chinese immigrants using them.
     

    tiantian888

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Tiantian888, do you think it possibly could be a corruption from the Cantonese gup gup (急 急) because that means hurry hurry doesn´t it? I read once that chopstick came from that because food was eaten so quickly by the Chinese immigrants using them.
    Perhaps you are right Lis48 as we often urge the others to hurry up by "kuai kuai". Thanks for your explanation. :)
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    I'm reviving this thread because I'd like to find out what the connotations of 'chop-chop' are in British English. Having read this thread I gather it's rather old-fashioned and not very frequent, and, possibly, used by certain social stratum (middle-class). I have no particular context in mind, but, for example, what would it sound like if I used it to hurry up my friend (a native speaker of British English)? Would it be rude?
     

    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    I heard it in the US in the 1960s but not since then. It was before political correctness , I don't think it was offensive then.
     

    Lis48

    Senior Member
    English - British
    If someone said it to me, I would feel as if I was being treated as a child and find it rude and patronising.
    But I would say it to my little grandchildren if I wanted them to hurry up.
    Yes it certainly has middle/upper class connotations for me, as it reminds me of something people would say to servants in colonial times.
    Very condescending if used between adults so just use it for children.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I agree with previous speakers, Thomas: it's peremptory, (fairly) rude, patronizing, and smacks of the master/servant relationship.

    Having said that, I use it with my partner ~ tongue in cheek:) If your friend has a sense of humour, and you say it with a wink, you might escape a punch on the nose.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I haven't heard anyone use it in years: I think these days it would just sound a bit quaint rather than rude or offensive, although it would depend who you said it to. When I was about eight we lived in Hong Kong for three years and my recollection is that we picked it up there as a phrase with Cantonese origins. We used to say it all the time back then - but only ever amongst our family and friends.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I might still use it to my children. I've also been watching Australian Masterchef. Plenty of chop-chopping there. Doesn't sound rude or offensive at all.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I haven't heard it for years and have only heard it used by exactly the types Bonjourmonamour mentions in her post. What are known as 'yummy mummies' nowadays talking in plummy voices to their sprogs. The first person I knew who used it, had had a governess and servants, and definitely came from an upper-class military, colonial type of background. :)
     

    MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    I agree with justKate, and I actually haven't found it to be particularly derogatory. I actually have a friend that uses the term and he's half Chinese... Though perhaps he finds it semi-offensive...
     
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