play kung fu

Sun14

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello, my friends,

I was wondering whether I can say play kung fu:

"I can play kung fu.."

Thoughts and context: I told my friends I can do kung fu. I was wondering whether the collocation is idiomatic.
 
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    No, that sounds really strange to me. Just stick with 'I can do kung fu'.

    Cross-posted.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think you might be giving a word-for-word translation from another language. I hear people talking about 'playing computer' here, but the construction is from Chinese and sounds strange to English speakers, who are happy about playing a particular sport or musical instruments, for example.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The word "play" is used for games, including games that are sports (lacrosse, football, tennis, baseball etc.).

    But "play" is not used for all competitions. It is not used for competitions in archery, rifle shooting, martial arts (judo, kung fu), boxing, wrestling, swimming, horse-riding, and many others.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I think you might be giving a word-for-word translation from another language. I hear people talking about 'playing computer' here, but the construction is from Chinese and sounds strange to English speakers, who are happy about playing a particular sport or musical instruments, for example.
    Yes they might mean enjoy the time on computer or play computer games.
     
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