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更新时间:2014-6-3 13:25:09 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

OMG: In China, This Language Teacher Has Swag

Jessica Beinecke gets this reaction a lot: She's walking down the street in a Chinese city, and she'll be recognized by one of her 400,000 Weibo followers or even one of the 40 million who have watched her videos. With platinum blonde hair and big blue eyes, the young woman who has taught Americans how to say 'twerk' in Mandarin and students in China how to talk about 'House of Cards' stands out.

'They'll say, 'Eh? Bai Jie?' And then we'll take a selfie,' says the 27-year-old Ohio native who takes learning a language to a whole new level.

Ms. Beinecke, known to her Chinese fans as Bai Jie ( ), has made a name for herself since 2011 with her bright, funny and short explanations of English slang -- including 'twerk,' 'swag,' 'freaking out,' 'awesome,' and 'life hack,' as part of a daily Voice of America online video program called OMG Meiyu, or OMG American English.

She says she chose her name in college to sound a bit like her given name. Directly translated, bai means white and jie means 'clean' or 'pure,' she says. Step aside, Justin Bieber.

Apart from her work with OMG Meiyu, Ms. Beinecke also has two new sites she developed herself and launched in January: Crazy Fresh Chinese, which teaches Chinese terms to English speakers, and Bai Jie LaLaLa, which like OMG Meiyu teaches English expressions to Chinese speakers.

Thanks to such work, she's got a Chinese following that can reach a certain level of fanaticism. One of the top Google search terms under her name is 'Jessica Beinecke boyfriend.' When her male followers ask if they can be her boyfriend, she says, she handles it accordingly: 'I just write, in Chinese, the words for 'ha ha,' and put a smiley face and just move on. I say, 'thank you.' It's a compliment.'

On the comments section for her Voice of America videos, fans offer English-language tributes such as 'Bai Jie is very lovely' and 'I love Bai Jie. Hope she was my girlfriend.'

This is not your mother's language instructor. Ms. Beinecke is cheerful to a fault, throws in a goofy giggle in the middle of her mini-lessons -- which can be as short as 30 seconds -- and seems to have an unerring sense of what her followers might want to understand. For Chinese-language students on her Crazy Fresh Chinese site, that includes how to say 'House of Cards,' the popular U.S. television miniseries that explores the machinations of Washington's power struggles. As part of those lessons, she dressed up as the characters Frank Underwood, Claire Underwood and Zoe Barnes and gave lessons on terms like 'Friends make the worst enemies' and 'conniving.'

And in the 700 OMG Meiyu broadcasts she's made so far, she offers English-language students almost an urban dictionary of the kinds of terms young people use, like 'get over it,' 'wakey wakey,' 'tough love,' fantabulous' and 'my bad!'

Young people are tired of lessons that slog through statements like 'I have three people in my family' and 'we have a dog' and 'we live in a house,' she says. 'It's a little dry. I kind of spice it up and give them something to use. They can say when they go to Starbucks, 'Hey, get me a zhong bei dou na tie -- give me a medium soy latte. It's something they can use in the moment. So I think that's what really connects.'

She is also developing a following among U.S. high school and college students. 'The looks on their faces when they learn there's a word for swag and twerk in Mandarin, they instantly have this new connection to Mandarin and they can more instantly relate to a language that they thought up to that point was foreign to them,' she says.

Ms. Beinecke introduces twerking on her Crazy Fresh Chinese site by giggling and announcing: 'This is the most important Mandarin lesson you'll ever have in your entire life.' She goes on to repeat the words dian tun wu, adding, 'It literally means 'electric butt dance.' Oh yeah.' And then she dances a bit with her arms in the air.

Recently in Beijing to talk about the 100,000 Strong Foundation, which encourages American students to study in China, she also visited a middle school in Beijing. 'This seventh-grade girl came up afterwards and very quietly said, 'Bai Jie, I drew this for you,'' she says. 'It was a really pretty cartoon of me and under it in very pretty writing, it said 'Jessica.''

Another student in Chengdu drew a portrait of her in a hat with big glasses, as an illustration of the word 'swag' ( fan'er). 'It's on my wall in a very narrow hallway,' she says. 'My boyfriend won't let me hang it out in a prominent place.'

She thinks her viewers feel close to her because of the intimacy of her shots: she shoots her videos with a cell phone camera and talks directly to the viewer. 'It feels like we're having a one-on-one conversation. And that's on purpose,' Ms. Beinecke says.

Her formula seems to be working. She says, 'I just think young people have so many similar interests, and for them to have an opportunity to connect in a real way with those with similar interests, is something I hope to provide every day. And to do it in a way that also addresses their attention span.'

拜内克(Jessica Beinecke, 中文名:白洁)经常会碰到这种情形:当她走在中国某个城市的大街上时,会被她的40万个微博粉丝之一或是观看了她视频的4,000万网友之一认出来。凭着淡金黄色的头发以及大大的蓝眼睛,这位教美国人如何用普通话说电臀舞以及教中国学生如何说《纸牌屋》(House of Cards)的年轻女孩总是很显眼。


拜内克的中国粉丝叫她白洁。她从2011年开始主持一个名为《OMG美语》(OMG Meiyu)的美国之音(VOA)在线视频节目,凭藉对英语俚语(例如电臀舞、有范儿、抓狂、太牛和生活妙方)的新颖、有趣而简洁的解释而名声鹊起。


除了在《OMG美语》的工作外,白洁还在1月份开设了两个由她本人开发的新网站:《疯狂新鲜汉语》(Crazy Fresh Chinese)和《白洁啦啦啦》(Bai Jie LaLaLa)。前者教说英语的人汉语词语,后者教说汉语的人英语表述。



白洁不是那种古板的语言老师,她非常活泼。在她的那些短到仅有30秒的迷你课程中,白洁时不时会发出傻乎乎的笑声,而且她似乎纤毫不漏地明白观众想要了解什么。白洁在《疯狂新鲜汉语》网站上教学习汉语的人怎么说《纸牌屋》中的一些语句 ,这是一部大受欢迎的美国电视剧,讲述的是华盛顿的政治斗争。在授课时,白洁打扮成剧中人物法兰克(Frank Underwood)、克莱尔(Claire Underwood)和佐伊(Zoe Barnes)的样子,向观众解释“朋友是最可怕的敌人”(Friends make the worst enemies)和“狡诈的”(conniving)这样的句子和词汇。

白洁目前已经做了700期《OMG美语》节目,可以说她几乎为英语学习者提供了一部都市词典,内容涵盖了年轻人使用的各种词语,例如“忘掉过去”(get over it)、“起床了”(wakey wakey)、“严厉的爱”(tough love)、“棒极了”(fantabulous)和“对不起”(my bad)等。