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房奴: a bittersweet title for house owners with mortgage


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). 


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.




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

      Why are you working so hard?


      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.


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