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Winter Olympics Spotlight: What does Chinese Dialect 格路 (gé lù) Mean?

Many people, if asked a question, “What is the language in China?”, would respond by saying, “Chinese? Chinese Dialect?”

They are not entirely wrong. After all, the Chinese language is a collective term of all the dialects used in China. However, China is a diverse country. Such is the case with their dialects. They have their own Chinese dialect. Specific regions have specialties and variations of languages.

Contrary to popular belief, there are many dialects in China. There are officially eight dialects still used to this day. Each of these is a language of its own. Plus, these dialects also have regional variations. That means the actual number of languages in China can rise to 300 or even more.

In the Winter Olympics, an athlete demonstrated the diversity of language in China. That is what we will tackle today. A word from an authentic northeast dialect, 方言 (fāng yán): “格路”(gé lù). 

Why this topic

Gao Tingyu is currently the best speed skater in the world. He first cemented his career in the record by clinching a bronze medal in his debut Olympic meet in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. This feat was monumental. After winning the bronze, he became the first male speed skater to win a medal in the Olympics. 

Gao Tingyu-格路-gelu
Chinese Dialect gelu- Image from Internet

However, his glory and esteem do not stop there. He took the threshold even higher. In the recent Winter Olympic Games held at the National Speed Skating Museum in Beijing, Gao finished strong with a time of 34.32 seconds. Consequently, he won the gold and set a new record. His time is .09 faster than the previous record. His fame and athletic prowess makes people want

In Gao’s after-game interview, they asked him his one-word description. A little flushed, he replied that he was a “格路 (gé lù)”. However, because this word originated from the northeast dialect, the majority of people are unaware of this description.

The word “格路 (gé lù)” comes from an authentic northeast dialect, 方言 (fāng yán). In this dialect, 格路 (gé lù) directly translates into “exceptionally different.” Gao Tingyu used this word to describe him with a sense of self-mockery. Perhaps he is humble too, as he is unaware of how he is “exceptionally different.” 

Now that we are aware of what “格路 (gé lù)” means, let us explore its knowledge point.

Key Knowledge Points

①格路(gé lù): the second tone and the fourth tone. = offbeat, unconventional

This is a dialect vocabulary in Northeast China.

②方言 (fāng yán): the first tone and the second tone. =dialect

For examples:

 Tā zhè gè rén yóu diǎn gé lù.

 他 这 个 人 有 点 格路。

 He is sort of offbeat.

Zhōngguó dōngběi fāngyán hěn xǐ nǎo.

中国 东北 方言 很 洗 脑。

Northeast Chinese dialect is brainwashing.

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