Tag Archives: sport culture

Slogan: “Two lines, one stripe, 干!”

Text: “两横,一竖,干!”
Pinyin (Simplified): liang heng, yi shu, gan
Translation: Two horizontal, one vertical, fight!

G is a Chinese international student from Anhui Province, Hefei City in China. During high school, he played in a soccer team.
G: “It’s about my soccer team in high school. It’s what we do before game. It’s a like slogan that we do before a game. Every player comes and together to form a circle and we put our hands together and we yell it. And the slogan goes “两横,一竖,干!” It’s not really a good translation, it’s like fighting but not in a good way. We’re using it positively but not in a good way. It’s almost near “f**k” but it’s a positive way we’re using it.”

There is an interesting juxtaposition to be mentioned with the positive denotation of such a negatively connoted word in this chant. This folk phrase, or folk chant is said for good luck and to release tension. It invokes a feeling of unity and comradery between players, which completely changes the meaning of the word in this specific context and therefore, changes the tone of the chant. On the surface level, it is merely a saying that describes how to write the word “干“ in Mandarin. The word itself, as G describes, means something negative and almost taboo whenever spoken aloud in a social setting different from this one. Perhaps because of the presence of the specific competitive sport team-player like atmosphere and tension about competing at all, this phrase seems to take the aggression of the phrase and repurpose into a chant of good luck and release of nerves. The act of doing it with fellow team members joins this community together and that they have something to share strengthens their bond. The meaning changes once it is uttered aloud in this context, making this folklore exclusive to this group of people and therefore only understandable to those who can understand the context that it is said in. This phrase has the exclusive purpose of bringing good luck and releasing tension similar to that of a charm.

“You shank it, you shag it.” Saying in soccer

Main Piece

Informant: “You shank it, you shag it.”

 It’s kinda like a motto you just say with friends when you are kicking the ball around. Whenever you are just messing around with friends, or at practice and you try and make a goal and you miss it, like completely,  you have to go get it. We are not there to shag balls for other people, especially if they missed super badly. So we just say it kinda as a rule.


The informant is a great friend and housemate of mine, who is currently a senior at USC studying Health and Human Sciences whose family is living in a town four hours outside of Denver, Colorado. Coming from a military family, the informant has lived in various areas, the most memorable for him was New Orleans. The informant is half Korean and half Caucasian, and is a sports fanatic having played soccer for most of his life. The informant is also a very big raver, as he enjoys going to several festivals a year, originally beginning to attend in his senior year of high school. 


While playing soccer for fun one day my informant taught me this quote that him and his friends from his soccer teams would frequently use. When he was willing to participate for an interview I brought it up and asked him to explain it to me. 


This use of folk speech and proverb set general rules and boundaries while soccer players are kicking and shooting goals. Being used in high school, it could reflect the morals and values coaches want to pass down to their players as it encapsulates the general notion of accountability and responsibility in a very pithy way. The alliteration also might help people use it more as it is easy to remember and to say.