How to translate 'Fuck you!' into Chinese?

So how to translate ‘Fuck you!’ into Chinese/Taiwanese?

I’m kind of interested in this. . .

Is the closest going to be ‘干你娘!’? (pronunced ‘gan li niya’ or ‘gan ni niang’)?

What if you just said “干你!”? Is that even gramatical in Chinese? And if gramatical is it an insult, or does it sound more like a statement-of-fact, invitation, or something else unintended?

I’m more interested in Chinese as it is spoken in Taiwan, because I guess in terms of insults that it is different from the Mainland.

I used to live in Taiwan, but now I’m over in China, and I’m getting confused. . . Can’t totally remember how people spoke in Taiwan. I seem to remember people saying ‘gan ni’, but it could have been foreigners making an ungramatical translation back from English.

Nobody in Shanghai uses ‘gan’ at all. But it somehow doesn’t feel right to use ‘cao’ or any of these other more mainland words.

So I want to clarify the grammar of ‘gan’ based swearing. Doesn’t matter if it is ‘Taiwanese Mandarin’ rather than northern mandarin. Just want the grammar to be right.

Can anyone offer some insights?

According to “Making Out in Chinese” it’s “Ta ma de!”

I would’ve gone with 去你的 (qu ni de) over 他媽的 (ta ma de). I was under the impression 他媽的 was a modifier rather than a stand-alone phrase. Along the lines of “this f**king thing” - 這他媽的東東

i thought the “gan4” for fuck was 幹 not 干… the last one being first tone and the true one for fuck being 4th… i could be wrong but isn’t 干 the 干 in 豆干? my favorite tofu… but hell, what do i know?

If you want to get into a brawl say “wo cao ni ma” I use with taxi drivers in Guangzhou.

In mainland China, 幹 does not have any negative connotations like in Taiwan. It simply means “to do” or “to work”, like 幹活兒 (gan4 huor2). In China, the verb “to fuck” would be 操 (cao4) or 肏 (same pron.) in an older form (which is no longer used, obviously, because of the rather lewd pictorial significance). So, in China, “fuck you” would simply be 操你﹗

Another, odd form I heard used a lot by Taiwanese in NZ - usually just after being smoked in an online game at a 'net cafe - was “我操﹗” I’m still not exactly sure where it sits though - is it “for fuck’s sake”, “fuck me”, “fuck you”, or what?

I can’t speak for the middle or northern parts, but down south people seem to understand and use gan4 and gan ni ma the same way as Taiwanese do.

I can’t speak for the middle or northern parts, but down south people seem to understand and use gan4 and gan ni ma the same way as Taiwanese do.[/quote]

Perhaps due to the large Taiwanese business community in those parts? I’ve only been in central and northern China, and they all used “cao” … they used “gan” too, but never in that context.

It’s possible that rather than being a function of the large Taishang community in the south that it’s a simple northern Chinese/southern Chinese difference.

So LittleBuddah, “操你!” is gramatically correct Mandarin, with roughly the same meaning as English “Fuck you!”?

Therefore “乾你!” should also be gramatically correct, no?

Or does it really need to be “干你(insert some unfortunate female relative here)!” to make sense?

I just can’t get used to that ‘cao’ stuff. Sounds all weird and northern.

I also figure that southerners in the Mainland use ‘gan’ pretty much the same way as Taiwanese. But I’m living in Shanghai so it is neither north nor south here. Can’t get any agreement from locals on what is correct. They mostly say ‘gan ni’ alone doesn’t work. But, at least some, Taiwanese say the opposite.

I’m definitely confused.

One thing you’re overlooking, Kiwi, is that swearing is very much culturally linked. You can’t always do a direct translation and end up with the same impact. While 乾你 might be gramatically incorrect, I can’t say I’ve heard it used much, if at all. 乾你娘, 去你的, and other such seem to be more common. But I could be wrong.

What does “fuck you” mean anyway? I always thought it meant something along the lines of “wow, that’s amazing”.

Maybe we’re not living on the same Taiwan, but I hear 「幹你」 all the time. My Taiwanese-speaking friends tell me that 「幹你娘」 is much more harsh (when spoken in Taiwanese) as opposed to 「幹你」 or 「幹你媽」.

Not having really research language evolution or having seen any theses on this subject (although I’ll be sure to ask at work!), having read lots of popular literature from the Ming-Qing period, both from northern and southern regions, I have always seen 肏 (cao) used to mean “fuck.” So, regardless, “gan” is likely a much more modern usage. It’s possible that it was something unique to the Minnan region that later spread via Taiwanese popular culture in certain areas and also in part by Taishang. A good place to look for this would be the Qing novel 《閩都別集》which is set in Minnan. I’m not sure if it appears in here, but someone might want to look … although it would take a while … hehe

And for those who think that looking at older Mandarin isn’t very relative for today’s colloquial speech, the character 屌 (diao3) was a slang term for “penis” as early as the Ming Dynasty, and today is still commonly used as a slang word for “penis.” So … interesting subject, believe it or not! :smiley:

Yeah, and that’s why in Taiwan you don’t describe a woman who is competent and able to do many things as “neng2 gan”, when you hear that phrase used commonly in northern China (at least it is included in textbooks coming out of northern China!)

Well, I don’t know if you would entirely discount that phrase. It’s just that her skills are a lot more… specialized in the Taiwanese context :laughing:

That’s normally “f*** me.” (I’m a prude when it comes to language.)

“F*** you” has a lot of meanings, the most general being a verbal attack. It isn’t “wow”, but rather an expression of strong disapproval with a person’s actions or words. It also implies either a desire for the person to receive some appropriate negative consequence for whatever they did to annoy you, or an expression that you would not consider aiding them as a result of that action or those words.

So, when you say, “F*** you”, you aren’t being nice.

Thanks for the insights everyone.

Like Little Buddah I figured I used to hear ‘gan ni’ quite a bit when I was living in Taiwan. But a bunch of Mainalnders have been telling me they don’t figure it makes any sense. Got me all confused. . .

[quote=“To which, despite the attribution of this post, Ironlady”]True, but I think it is the other way around – the southern dialects are more conservative and reflect the original Ancient and Archaic Chinese phonology, which had stops. Mandarin is the maverick dialect(s) that went to affricates j*. :slight_smile:

Terry @ had to recite the entire development of consonantal segments in Mandarin from Archaic Chinese to modern pronunciation once upon a time[/quote]

I wonder what Shanghai ppl usually will say >??? mixed ?? or maybe they say Shanghai language so nither are 幹 ,干 or Cao
maybe something else hehe 他們講上海話吧

例如 [color=darkblue]香蕉你個芭樂[/color] …哈哈 我隨便講講

i think gan in chinese Traditional big 5 will be this word 幹 and chinese simplified will be 干