Which Chinese words are more natural for you than native words?

I’ve studied a few languages (not a master of any of them), and with every one, a few words have been lodged so effectively that they come to mind faster than comparable words of my native tongue.

The top 3 for me:

  1. aiyou (when I’m frustrated, shocked or overly irritated)
  2. wei shen me (why?)
  3. hao a ([sounds] good!)

Anyone else?


Hao bang-a!
Hao ke-ai!

ma2 fan2
re4 nao4

Perhaps if I keep inserting them into English they will get adopted.

Ben Dan

I’m afraid all the chinese words I use in English are naughty words, sorry

Whatever happened to the “naughty words” thread? I can’t find it. If someone knows where it is can they bump it back up? :?

“ka-geena” or just “geena” (Taiwanese for “hurry up!”)
“hei-xiu hei-xiu”

Xiaoijie (which I now solely associate with Omni’s fantastic prose. Even words he made up like “waif” stick in my mind)
Kwaizi (probably because the English term is so stupid. "Chop"sticks? Where did that come from)

Don’t know if it’s Chinese, but…bian dang

Monkey wrote “…Chop"sticks? Where did that come from”

Sticks for your chops. Bai Chr.

Mei banfa
Bu Yi Ding

And lots of food vocab, I never used back home like
Doufu etc


bu yi ding
bian tai
chi fu le
you zi

You all sound like a bunch of sissy boys, with all those girlie words you’re spoutin’ :shock: :shock: :laughing: :laughing:

Dear Monkey,

Monkey wrote:

This comes from the Oxford English Dictionary web site:

chopstick 1

The cross-stick (of iron wire, whale-bone, etc.) attached to a deep-sea fishing-line a short distance from the sinker, from which the short lines bearing the hooks are hung.

1615 E. S. Britain’s Buss in Arb. Garner III. 642 Cod fishing…A chopstick is an iron about the bigness of a curtain rod, and a yard long; and, upon this iron, is a hollow pipe of lead, eight or nine inches long. c1682 J. COLLINS Making Salt 87 A Fisherman hath a Line of 90 fathom length or more, with a lead at the end of it called a deep Sea-lead, of about 6 or 7 pound weight to sink it, above which is a cross-stick called a chop-stick, with two Lines and hooks at them with baites. 187. BUCKLAND in Kent. Gloss. (E.D.S. 1887) Two old umbrella iron ribs make capital chop-sticks. 1880 Antrim & Down Gloss. (E.D.S.) Chop-stick, a small bit of whalebone attached to a sea fishing line to keep the snood and hook clear of the sinker. 1881 St. James’ Budget 5 Aug. 12/1 The Kentish rigwhich is the familiar chopstick with the two arms bent to an angle of 60

I tend to stay in either one language or the other; I don’t like switching between the two, so when I’m speaking to foreigners it’s mostly in English (there are exceptions, such as a bit of chatting at Orange last Happy Hour), and when speaking to Taiwanese people it’s mostly Chinese or Taiwanese, unless their English is native-level fluent.

This might have more to do with the company I keep, though: mostly either foreigners or ordinary local people, not many “well-travelled” locals who have lived abroad. When I do meet such people, all of the going back and forth between English and Mandarin strikes me as pretentious, perhaps because I’m not used to it. It irritates me when locals throw in (mostly inappropriate and poorly pronounced) English whenever they see a foreigner, so I try to do as little of that as possible in either language. Also, I find that I tend to shift gears, mentally speaking, when going from one language to another. Many people change their entire persona when doing so, because they take on a different character and attitude, so I find it difficult to go smoothly between one and another. Then again, I’m not exactly a social butterfly, either. :wink:


Thanks for that. The world owes you a big favor.

I’m not disagreeing here, but my experience – especially recently – is almost the polar opposite. I currently work for a large foreign company – but you wouldn’t know it is a multinational by simply walking into the office. I think I’m the only person in the company who does not have an ROC ID card.

Conversations – in meetings and casually – are normally a mix of 3 languages. But it’s very clear to me no one is trying to impress anyone here with their linguistics – people are simply using the most convenient word that comes up to them. In fact, when I’m part of the meeting or gathering (like during lunch), people make a great effort to use English. But when people are kicking back or just chatting, the lingua franca sounds like an even mix of Chinese and Taiwanese, with the odd English word or Corporate jargon stuck in now and then.

Ooh, almost forgot: the Chinese words that have ingrained themselves into my vocabulary: Mafan, Baituo! Xiaoxin! Meishenmeliaobuji! Zhenmeyang? and Wa Tiaobo

In my case its even worse, because you have to imagine me skipping up and down clapping my hands for “Hao Bang-a” and “Hao Ke-ai,” while for “Wo YAO!” you need to picture me screwing up my face and stamping my feet.


Some massage pimp was yelling that at me and a friend. After me friend told me what it meant, it has been my favorite Chinese phrase thus far.

I agree with Gus. It’s not (necessarily) pretentious. When I’m talking with my wife it’s all half English, half Chinese. That’s just the habit we had from the start. We go for the easiest words and ways of saying things, with whatever language.

Also sometimes when I’m talking with school principals and teachers, we talk in Chinese but use English for ‘industry’ terms for accuracy’s sake.