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Taboo topics and words?


Cyberian

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Hi,

What are some taboo topics in China?

1. I would like to know both political, cultural, sexual, etc. topics that are not a good idea to talk about. Some are very obvious, but I would like the review.

2. What are some words 'forbidden' to be used? I am not talking about cursing words. Stuff like calling a Manchurian a Northeasterner instead. I also hear that calling a lady/woman 'Xiaoje' (spelling? I don't knwo pinyin nor speak Mandarin) can mean prostitute.

I wouldn't want to be pulled over by an officer or be slaped in the face by a woman.

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Xiaojie= young woman or miss, strangely a prostitute is usualy a young woman, would an English female object to being called miss because of this?

Tongzhi= acording to my dictionary means Comrade but I have heard that it also means a male homosexual

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I read somewhere that calling a young woman 'Xiaojie' can be offensive in the Mainland. Because it is also used for calling a prostitute.

I was always under the impression that officers should be called 'Tongzhi', no? If not, what do I call officers if I wanted to ask the officer a question?

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So let's be clear is it, is it not, correct on the Mainland to use "Xiaojie" to attract a woman's attention (a waitress for example)? I've witnessed that done in Taiwan. Is there are scenario where that would be offensive (assuming it is used in a polite manner along with "dui bu qi" or "qing wen")?

Thanks

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So let's be clear is it, is it not, correct on the Mainland to use "Xiaojie" to attract a woman's attention (a waitress for example)?

IMHO, 小姐 is getting popular and becoming less offensive. But to be safe, you can call them 服務員.

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I think it is always fine (and perhaps most popular, at least in mainland) to call:

young lady: 小姐 (very few of them would be offended, unless you speak to them in a flirtatious tone)

old woman: 阿姨

extremely old woman (like >80): 老奶奶。

young man: 先生

old man:先生

extremely old man (like >80): 老大爷(popular in northern China, perhaps not in the southern, not sure).

young boy and young girl (like <10):小朋友。

girls younger like than 15: 小妹妹

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Xiaojie= young woman or miss, strangely a prostitute is usualy a young woman, would an English female object to being called miss because of this?

Tongzhi= acording to my dictionary means Comrade but I have heard that it also means a male homosexual

May I suggest that we not take wild guesses or use the dictionary for such things?

Tongzhi means gay in Taiwan.

In Taiwan, xiaojie is THE way to address a woman, though there are other words one can use.

Skylee, what can one call a women who is not actually an employee somewhere? Let's say some lady drops her wallet and you want to get her attention?

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Skylee, what can one call a women who is not actually an employee somewhere? Let's say some lady drops her wallet and you want to get her attention?

See seagate's reply.

I was in a restaurant in Xi'an a couple of years ago. And the "waitresses" there simply ignored me when I called them 小姐. I could not get any attention until I yelled 服務員 like other people did. But I think in places like Shanghai and Guangzhou, 小姐 is not offensive now.

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Are you sure?

Because it is common to refer the late leaders with that title. Such as Xiaoping Tonzhi.

Some of the history books I have read contains quotes from icons that frequently uses the term 'Tongzhi'. And they are not gay.

What is the common term to call an officer now?

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Ok, tongzhi originally means comrade, but now also means gay. There's no doubt which of the meanings is meant when you're talking about Xiaoping tongzhi. And maybe you can also use it to officers, I do not know. Personally, I'd use xiansheng, just to be sure. But that's just me, maybe it's very correct to say tongzhi.

Tongzhi definately also means gay. A tongxue of mine is researching gay culture and literature and the like, on the mainland, and calls it tongzhi-culture.

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