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房奴: a bittersweet title for house owners with mortgage

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Today, we are going to introduce another term called 房奴 (fángnú). It is one of the 171 newly-born Chinese words published by the China Education Bureau. Literally it means "the house's slaves" or "mortgage slave".

今天,我们将介绍另外一个词 —“房奴(fángnú)”。“房奴”一词是中国教育部公布的171个汉语新词之一,其字面意思为“房屋的奴隶(the house's slave)”或“房贷奴隶(mortgage slave)”。

房奴 (fángnú) refers to a group of people in China who buy houses by taking a loan from the bank and have to spend 30% to 40% of their income to pay off the mortgage. For these people, even though they enjoy the joy of having a house, they have to suffer the pressure of debt, the loss of life quality, etc.. They are afraid of being ill, out of job, and have no time to lead a joyful life. To many people, the house is no longer a joy, but a burden, because they have to spare no effort to support the mortgage, to make a living, becoming the "slave" of the house, thus came the word 房奴 (fángnú). 

“房奴”是指向银行贷款购房并将30%-40%的收入用于偿还贷款的人。这些人虽然有了房子,却要承担相应的还贷压力,使得生活质量下降。他们担心生病、害怕失业、无暇享受生活。对大多数人来说,房子已不再是一种享受,反而是一种负担,因为他们得倾尽全力去还贷、谋生,成了房子的“奴隶”。“房奴(fángnú)”一词也便应运而生。

From ancient time to nowadays, Chinese people have a rooted tradition –they have always wanted to own their own houses. In Chinese people's mind, if you want to have a family, you'd better own a house first. Now it is quite common for people to take mortgage loans, although everyone knows that it will take them many years to pay off their housing loan. People who have very tight budget but still bought a house with the help of loans are called "房奴 (fángnú) mortgage slaves." Chinese tradition of owning a house leads to more and more mortgage slaves in China nowadays.

从古至今,中国人都有一个根深蒂固的传统 – 他们都希望有自己的房子。在中国人看来,房子是成家的前提条件。虽然每个人都清楚他们需要花很多年去还贷,但他们仍然向银行借贷。“房奴(fángnú)”就是指那些预算非常紧张、但仍然贷款买房的人。受到传统观念的影响,如今越来越多的人成了房奴。

As is known to all that China has the largest population in the world. Having a dwelling place has always been a dream for those who can't afford a house. Many people refused to be a slave to the mortgage, they choose to rent or buy "tiny" houses. So come the word 蜗居 (wōjū), live like a snail. 蜗居 (wōjū) is very popular in conversational Chinese, it comes from the most popular TV series in 2009. It is about a new couple struggling for buying their first houses.

众所周知,中国是世界上人口最多的国家。对于那些无力买房的人,拥有自己的住房一直是他们梦寐以求的事。很多人都不想成为房奴,因此他们决定租房或者买一套很小的房子。“蜗居(wōjū)”一词便由此而来,因为他们像蜗牛一样生活。“蜗居(wōjū)”一词在日常对话中非常流行,它出自于一部非常火的电视连续剧。该电视连续剧于2009年开播,主要讲述一对新婚夫妇为买房奋斗的故事。

Examples:

A:你每天这么起早贪黑的工作,为什么呀?

      Nǐ měitiān zhème qízǎotān hēi de gōngzuò,wèishén me ya?

      Why are you working so hard?

B:哎呀,别提了,年初买了一套房子,现在也成了房奴了。

      Ai ya, bié tí le , niánchū mǎi le yí tào fángzi , xiànzài yě chéng le fángnú le。

     Oh, say no more about it. I bought an apartment at the beginning of this year and I am a mortgage slave now.

2016-06-21

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