What does " no ticky, no shirty " mean ?

The ungrammatical phrase "no tickee no shirtee" also known as "no tickee no washee," speaks about a Chinese laundryman's power over a laundry transaction, wherein the Chinese laundryman refused to relinquish freshly laundered shirts to a white man, who has innocently and unintentionally lost his claim ticket.

The phrase is a fine example of a linguistic phenomenon; when people learn a new language, they layer their new vocabulary on top of the grammatical structure of their native language, like for the Mandarin Chinese phrase: ”mei(2) pian(3) yi(1) mei(2) chun(3) yi(1)”; which literally means, “no ticket, no shirt”.

Of interest, Google pulls back on an announced update to Google Now that would've allowed multilingual people to switch at will between languages. Find out more at CNET.

Updated on Thursday, July 03 2014 at 09:14AM EDT