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In what contexts can 老乡 used? How do they translate to English?

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I guess you are not satisfied with "fellow townsman; fellow villager; sb from the same hometown"?… – BertR Jun 3 '12 at 15:26
yeah, expecting some authentic expression; maybe there isn't one – pegausbupt Jun 3 '12 at 15:31
I guess "fellow townsman" and "fellow villager" will be the best what you can get – BertR Jun 3 '12 at 15:33
Can we improve the question body? @pegausbupt please write more context and add detail. – Alenanno Jun 3 '12 at 15:47
Thanks for the edit, but it's still insufficient. The question is too open-ended. @pegausbupt In what situation you'd use this translation? We don't want answers to list every single possible situation. – Alenanno Jun 3 '12 at 23:36

An appropriate word would be countryman

noun, plural countrymen.

 1. a native or inhabitant of one's own country.
 2. a native or inhabitant of a particular region.
 3. person who lives in the country.
 4. an unsophisticated person, as one who lives in or comes from a rural
    area; rustic.

Meaning from Baidu:


Translated to English:

  1. The usage of this word is flexible. For example, it can be applied to those living within the same district of a city, the same city within a province, or the same province within the country.
  2. The PLA used to address the commoners this way.

Usage example:

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It shouldn't be using technical translation. Because 老乡 the word itself is very informal and make people feel warm and relax.

I would use pals from hometown if I need to explain this word to foreigner

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老乡 is a bit narrower than, but related to the Yiddish לאַנדסמאַן - landsman (with "a"s like the "o" in bottle and a true "s" like pass, not a /z/ like pans). That word, according to Wikipedia, has made it into English as landsman, though I don't think it's widespread (I haven't heard anyone but my mom use it - and then only when describing the Yiddish word).

If you don't like that, maybe an even broader term like compatriot, perhaps? or homey?

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