Tag Archives: F

Don’t say “f**k” or “sh*t”

The Chinglish I’ve posted on To Take Notice of Safe.com are all “civilized Chinglish”. Out on the Web, however, you can find mangled Chinglish which even have the dreaded F-word and S-word in them, like F**k the certain price of goods or Electrical toilet, please do not s**t.

Apparently, Chinglish, too, is an obnoxious “language” so-called.

How Not to “F**k”

The dreaded F-word in Chinese is (WARNING: Coarse language!) 肏, but is often remixed as 操, especially in North China. This has the intercourse-ish meaning and is also used when you’re in a Vesuvian temper. However, the Chinese also use the characters 日 and, in particular, 干.

The trouble with all this, of course, is the character 干. Far from just being a swear-ish-character, this also means “dry”, especially in simplified Chinese. (In traditional Chinese — this gets better — you want to avoid 幹, which is the curseword, and 乾, which means “dry”.) Some foods just aren’t all that wet, so to speak, so we have “dry foods”, which is 干食. Unfortunately, this easily translates into “F**k Foods”.

But why pick f**k” for the character 干? Some writers of Chinglish want their signs to have more character, or appear more humanized (“keep out”, as opposed to “inhibition astraddle transgress”, so to speak). So they turn to imported “slang US English dictionaries” (and there are plenty of them) and their ilk. Unfortunately, they take the off-colour words (like “f**k” for 干) as “standard” and write them out for the world to see — in Chinglish.

Fortunately, I have yet to see a single Chinglish sign with my very own eyes bearing the F-word on them…

How Not to “Sh*t”

Some of us never left a farm, and as a result, appear a bit less “civilized” than others. Others just don’t give all that much and forget to dump their bad habits. I’ve seen about a couple dozen gents in Audis who decided to “water the grass” on the freeway (they must have been like me, guzzling way too much mineral water). Some of us, too, can’t hold it when nature makes a call, and dump it just about anywhere.

The problem is more pointed in China, where, unfortunately, we have the odd guy letting it out outside of the public conveniences. As a result, there is more than one park that has apparently had enough and, as a result, posted a signpost telling people “禁止大便” (don’t drop your droppings here). Unfortunately, that sign sometimes gets translated, word-by-word (sans the politesse filter) to “No Sh*tting”. (Its minor sibling, “禁止小便” or “禁止便溺”, is sometimes referred to as “No Urinating” instead of “No P*ssing”).

Probably the best thing to do is just to dump these signs, especially in big cities where there are a lot of expats. Most of us know that to dump it all out in the dead centre of a park is not a good idea.