TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › Language Confusion
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Language Confusion

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I just read an article (from a Houstonian Chinese newspaper) that speculated that a lot of racial tension and violence in Southwest Houston are due to a single language confusion.

Apparently the Chinese word for "that" sounds EXACTLY like the English word for "the N-word".

Moderators, please edit or delete my post if I am not supposed to use the N-word. I swear no offense is ever meant.

My mother immigrated to Southwest Houston this year. She invited us for Chinese New Year. It was the first time my mother had seen my husband (right before our marriage). Hubby is a Caucasian.

After dinner, hubby pulled me aside and whispered "Your mom is not a racist, is she"???

I was like "What the ______________ ???"

He said "She kept saying over and over again "the N-word" at dinner"

I was like "What N-word? .......Oh THAT"

Turns out Mom was just tring to get him to eat the pig intestines in the traditional Chinese New Year feast. She kept pointing at the dish and sayinig "That's good. That's really good"

I swear hubby was gonna puke. .

If all this violence and racial tension is due to a simple language confusion, it would simply sadden me.

I could imagine someone getting very offended when a Chinese person points at he/she and say "the N-word". The unfortunate thing is that the Chinese person is probably pointing at something that's not a person and saying "Look at that!!!".
post #2 of 13
Well, to me it underscores the importance of becoming familiar with the culture you are living in or visiting. I know when I have visited foreign countries, I have received little "cheat sheets" that list common behaviors that are considered rude in the host country. For example, holding up two fingers in a V shape is a fairly common gesture of casual greeting in the US but in other countries it is an obscene gesture. It's important to know these things.

Likewise, if a common word in your language is the same as a very offensive word in another language, you should be made aware of this so you can modify your language accordingly.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by semiferal

Likewise, if a common word in your language is the same as a very offensive word in another language, you should be made aware of this so you can modify your language accordingly.
That was what the article was about. It warned against pointing at people and saying "that" in Chinese.
post #4 of 13
Whats the N word?
post #5 of 13
You hear it often in 50 cent and Snoop songs...
Its a hateful word when stated by races other than Blacks amongst themselves...

It rhymes with Tigger.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loveysmummy
Its a hateful word when stated by races other than Blacks amongst themselves...
I really don't understand that either. I would be offended if anyone called me cracker or white trash or something if they were white black or asain or any race.

Its a hateful word period. No matter whose mouth it comes out of.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yeah, that's why the newspaper warned Chinese people not to say the Chinese word "that" around other people because it sounds like the N-word.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phenomsmom
I really don't understand that either. I would be offended if anyone called me cracker or white trash or something if they were white black or asain or any race.

Its a hateful word period. No matter whose mouth it comes out of.
I hear you and understand what you are saying...

However, from what I have gleaned from black mates is that they feel that they now "own" the word due to it being used as a hurtful and powerfully oppressive term for so long....They feel that they have taken the power back now when they use it in casual banter and conversation with each other.

I know some people still don't like it but I would say that 90% use it with each other liberally...though they would get offended if a white or other race I suppose used it in the same context (even jokingly)...
I don't.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
I personally think it is really unfortunate that the Chinese word for "that" sounds so much like the N-word.

My mom is a bit of a nervous talker, and sometimes she uses the word "that" a dozen times in a sentence. I try to warn her not to use the word "that" in public, but she doesn't seem to get it. She thought it should be obvious that she is talking in Chinese.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by shengmei
She thought it should be obvious that she is talking in Chinese.

I actually agree with her. I would think so too.
post #11 of 13
I actually giggled when I read your 1st post shengmei.

All I could picture, is your family sitting around the table, festivities in order, and how tense it must be, meeting the in-laws etc, your poor sweet mom, doing her best to make her new son-n-law feel welcome, and then your hubby's face like "huh?! what?!" Not knowing how to respond....


You would think that most people would understand that a person speaking another language is doing just that, speaking another language. But unfortunately at this day & age, it seems alot of the younger generations are looking for problems (speaking generally, of course). It's a sin that you have to worry whether or not your mom will be offending anyone...
post #12 of 13
My boss is Chinese, and I hear her use that word frequently when talking to other Chinese speakers. It really threw me for a loop the first few times I heard it, especially since she'll often speak what I call "Chinglish" a mix of Chinese and English, if she's talking to a Chinese-English speaker. But I figured out that it must be a Chinese word. Now I know exactly what it means.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurrPaws
especially since she'll often speak what I call "Chinglish" a mix of Chinese and English, if she's talking to a Chinese-English speaker.
Yap. That happens very often around here.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: IMO: In My Opinion
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › Language Confusion