Culture 

8 Things People Say When They Think You Don’t Understand Chinese and How To Respond

We don’t blame locals for assuming most expats can’t speak Chinese because a lot of us can’t. But, all the same, when you can understand enough Chinese to hear people’s public remarks, conversations can get really funny really fast if you’re armed with the right phrase.

1.  “Look, a foreigner.”
Where? I don’t see one.
哪里? 我没有看到一个外国人。
Nǎlǐ? Wǒ méiyǒu kàn dào yīgè wàiguó rén.

2 “He/She is so fat.”
I’m wearing a costume.
我穿着一套戏装。
Wǒ chuānzhuó yī tào xìzhuāng.

3. “She is so beautiful./ He is so handsome.”
Please don’t stare. You’re embarrassing me.
请不要盯着我。 你让我难堪。
Qǐng bùyào dīngzhe wǒ. Nǐ ràng wǒ nánkān.

4. “He is so tall.” 
I’m tall because I never drink hot water.
我很高,因为我从不喝热水。
Wǒ hěn gāo, yīnwèi wǒ cóng bù hē rè shuǐ.

5. “Look, twins!”
Do all foreigners look exactly alike?
所有的外国人看起来都一样吗?
Suǒyǒu de wàiguó rén kàn qǐlái dōu yīyàng ma?

6. “Foreigners should really learn to speak Chinese.”
Oh, we’re not in Thailand?
哦,我们不在泰国吗?
Ó, wǒmen bùzài tàiguó ma?

7. “Look, foreign children!”
They’re not foreigners; they were born in China.
他们不是外国人, 他们在中国出生的。
Tāmen bùshì wàiguó rén, tāmen zài zhōngguó chūshēng de.

8. “Are all of those children hers?” 
No, I kidnapped them all.
不是,我绑架了他们。
Bùshì, wǒ bǎngjiàle tāmen.

 

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Vanessa Jencks founded China Family Blog to connect internationally-minded parents through semi-humorous stories and China-life-and-parenting fails. She is the former managing editor of beijingkids magazine; see her previous work here. She is also the founder of the 600+ member organization, Innovative Educators

WeChat: vanessajencks
Email: chinamomsblog@gmail.com


Photo: Quasic (Flickr)
Gifs: via GIPHY

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