Chinese and Jewish Ma Jong Cultures

In New York, one can walk through both solidly Jewish neighborhoods and completely Chinese neighborhoods and hear the same strident, even merry, clickety clack of ma jog tiles.  Players in both worlds have developed their own cultures and phrasing. For instance, the Chinese phrase for the sound the tiles make when they are mixed up translates as “twittering of the sparrows.” In Jewish-English, it’s merely “smooshing.” This story explores both worlds.

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