In what contexts can
老乡 used? How do they translate to English?
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:
- 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.
- The PLA used to address the commoners this way.
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?
The English term that is closest to 老乡 is "country folk" or "countryman"
- 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!"
Probably best to use "someone/people from the same/my hometown".
There are some other options which would work in specific contexts, though:
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