idiom: hire a window

I have heard of this idiom "hire a window" from one of my non-native English speaking friends. He said it means that you cheat on major assignments, exams, and other academic work by hiring someone to do them for you. I tried to look it up in dictionaries, but I could not find it. Then, I asked him where he heard it. He said he doesn't remember. I am pretty sure he made a mistake.

If it is wrong, what is the correct idiom?

Thank you very much for your help.

Original Post

Ansonman,

I have spoken English all my life (or at least since I was a few weeks old) and I have never heard this phrase before.  Since your friend is not a native speaker of English, since he doesn't remember where he heard the phrase, and since you can't find any other reference to it, I say ignore it and don't use it.  If and when you do find other confirmation of this as an idiomatic phrase, please let me know.

Thanks,

DocV

PS to anyone else who reads this:

If you are familiar with this construct, or something similar enough so that Ansonman's friend might have got it slightly wrong, please let me know also.  If you can cite a reference from a book or an article, that would be enormously helpful, and I thank you.

ansonman posted:

I have heard of this idiom "hire a window" from one of my non-native English speaking friends. He said it means that you cheat on major assignments, exams, and other academic work by hiring someone to do them for you. I tried to look it up in dictionaries, but I could not find it. Then, I asked him where he heard it. He said he doesn't remember. I am pretty sure he made a mistake.

If it is wrong, what is the correct idiom?

Thank you very much for your help.

Is your friend a Chinese or someone from Hong Kong, Macao or Guangzhou?

In Cantonese, we call it “hire a gun” transliterally to mean that a third party is being asked or engaged to do examinations or to write study assignments on one’s behalf.

The  words “gun” and “ window” sound the same in Cantonese.  

This means that someone has been “creative” and made up the term “hire a window”, which, of course, makes no sense at all.

Thank you, Terry, for this valuable insight.

Ansonman, is your friend from southeastern China, and is it possible that some aspect of the phrase got lost in translation?

In the United States, the term "hired gun" once literally referred to a professional assassin.  In more modern usage, a band might go on a concert tour with an extra keyboard or horn player, or even a substitute guitarist because the regular guy was sick.  Later on, someone might ask "Wasn't Jerome a member of your band at some point?", and we might answer "Not really.  He was more of a hired gun.".

Ironically, a world-class drummer that I worked with for several years ended up joining a band called The Hired Guns.

It makes me think about forming another band called The Hired Window and performing concerts in Guangdon.

DocV

Thank you for the correction, Terry.  I'm not able to do the actual Chinese spelling on my computer.  But, of course, when we are actually using Chinese characters, a question like "How do you spell that?" just doesn't make sense.  "Guangdong" is spelled "guang dong".  Of course, it used to be transliterated into our alphabet as the even more misleading "Canton", which is still reflected in your use of the word "Cantonese".  I suppose that really can't be avoided, though, since English speaking people still refer to "the Cantonese language (or dialect)" and "Cantonese food".  In my experience, it does no good at all to point out to a fellow English speaker that "mandarin" is not a Chinese word.

Whatever.  I realize it's a bit early to say this, but xin nian hao.

DocV

Maybe you know that the spelling of “Guangdong” is a Mandarin pinyin (pronunciation).  Actually, the spelling of “Canton” is not a Mandarin pinyin.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/shor...of-guangzhou-1495124

https://www.britannica.com/place/Guangzhou

These articles tell the difference between Canton, Guangdong and Guangzhou. 

Wan Shi Ru Yi, DocV.  Note - these are Mandarin pinyin (not Cantonese).

 

 

 

Thanks again, Terry.  My knowledge of Chinese is so limited that I would never dare to propose to say that I agree or disagree with you on any point.

My understanding is that the languages that we English speakers commonly refer to as Mandarin and Cantonese are mutually unintelligible when spoken, but are mostly the same when written, as Chinese characters reflect ideas but not pronunciation.

When I was young, Beijing was always spelled "Peking" and Mao Zedong was always "Mao Tse-Tung".  I'm tempted to believe that the earlier spellings reflected British colonialism (as exemplified by their occupation of Hong Kong), and that newer spellings, which I think more accurately reflect standard pinyin, have resulted from increased dialogue between China and the western world, which were partly stimulated by our president Richard Nixon's visit to China in 1972.

When I see actual pinyin romanization, I think it always reflects the so-called "Mandarin" pronunciation rather than the Cantonese.  What do "Guangdong" and "Beijing" sound like in Cantonese?

I welcome any corrections you may have to offer me.  I am here on this forum not only to teach, but also to learn.

DocV

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinyin

You can see that the Pinyin system is a relatively new one developed in 1950s.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik...es_of_Beijing#Peking

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_Beijing

The word “Peking”  was created by French missionaries in 1700s.

https://nationalinterest.org/f...ave-10525?page=0%2C1

From “Peking” to “Beijing” - yes,  when I was young, I used the word “Peking” instead of “Beijing”.  

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