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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"? mdbg.net/chindict/… – BertR Jun 3 '12 at 15:26
  • yeah, expecting some authentic expression; maybe there isn't one – sma Jun 3 '12 at 15:31
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    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
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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:

1、老乡的范围可大可小。比如在市里看到同一县的人,在省里看到同一市的人,在全国看到同一省的人,都可以算做老乡
2、以前解放军对百姓们的称呼。

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:

无论是因为工作漂泊在外,还是因为求学进去在外,一句老乡拉近了你我彼此之间的距离。
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  • Unfortunately, the meaning "1" for countryman is dominant, so this doesn't work 100% as a translation for 老乡. – Colin May 12 '17 at 5:38
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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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  • But 老乡 may not be pals, just people from the same hometown. – Lillian Chia Jun 15 '19 at 9:02
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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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The English term that is closest to 老乡 is "country folk" or "countryman"

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/folk

  1. plural : a certain kind, class, or group of people : old folks | |just plain folk | country folk

Folk is always plural.

  • You can describe or address a group of 老乡 as "folks"

  • to describe one 老乡 , you can say "that countryman"

  • to address one of your own 老乡, you can say " Hey, fellow countryman!"
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In Guangdong, especially in Guangzhou the term 老鄉 is used ironically as a derogatory term for someone from a different province or by Cantonese speakers for someone who don't speak the language.

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0

Probably best to use "someone/people from the same/my hometown".

There are some other options which would work in specific contexts, though:

paisan

which is an Italian loanword to American English. It can mean someone from the same hometown or region.

You could even use:

laoxiang or lao-hsiang

as long as you explain it to anyone who might not be familiar. It has become used in English since the 1990s.

And perhaps, lightheartedly:

hometown mafia, analogous to phrases such as PayPal mafia

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I can't help but think of "homeboys"/"homies"

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  • This does not mean what you think it means - 老乡 means someone who was from the same region that the person was born/raised in, and "homeboy" definitely doesn't mean that. – Qwerp-Derp May 22 '17 at 8:50

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