Gongfu, as I have said before, means meritorious action, or acts or merit. LiÃ n is often translated "practice or train," as in "I practice gongfu." The character for liÃ n is made up of the characters for "silk floss" and "card," implying a sorting out process. If we look at the homonyms for lian we see that it means to link together, chain, to connect, a continuous flow, ripples, to refine (and thus "lotus" because these flowers are purity that rises up from the muck), and to smelt ore.
Lian actually means is "to link together in one continuously unending process." "liÃ n gongfu" means to continuously link together acts of merit. The word liÃ n is used for all types of gongfu.
So next time someone says they are learning or studying Taijiquan, say: "You mean you are linking, sorting out, refining and smelting together acts of merit into one continuous flow?"
"Yo, that's fresh!"