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English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: Jay (IP Logged)
Date: September 01, 2007 07:36PM
Hi,
Some friends in China say Chinese people like to use the word 老外 to call foreigners (mostly westerners).
- (lǎo) old
- (wài) outside
- 老外 (lǎo wài) "old outsider" : foreigner
Is it pejorative?
Do you like to be called "laowai"?
Is their an English reciprocal word, to call asian people?

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: kwaijita (IP Logged)
Date: September 02, 2007 11:41PM
Better to be called 外国人 (wài guó rén).
- 外 (wài) : outside
- 国 (guó) : country
- 人 (rén) : people
Much better, hehe...
Some chinese words or phrases can't be taken literally...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/03/2007 06:23AM by Olive.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: wylxyy (IP Logged)
Date: September 08, 2007 01:51AM
here 老 is not a adjective, it is a adverb. it not means old.
do you know another chinese word 老板 ? 老板 means boss. here 老’s usage just like 老外's 老.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: budao_813 (IP Logged)
Date: September 11, 2007 06:13AM
here 老 is not a adjective, it is a adverb. it not means old.
do you know another chinese word 老板 ? 老板 means boss. here 老’s usage just like 老外's 老.


Agree point above.“老外” is not pejorative. the “老”word is sometimes “尊称” such as “老师” “老者”。

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: migrat (IP Logged)
Date: September 13, 2007 04:56AM
the pejorative of foreigner is guilao
鬼(gui):ghost
佬(lao):guy
LAOWAI is a neuter

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: demoore (IP Logged)
Date: September 16, 2007 01:22PM
Quote:
Laowai 老外 is not pejorative.
I've just reproduce an article from a Chinese journalist who analyse Chinese pejorative terms to call foreigners.
The journalist says that Laowai, just as Heigui for African descent has a racist connotation.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: JohnnyXiong (IP Logged)
Date: September 30, 2007 05:06AM
外国人 alien.(official/publishial)
老外 foreign guys. some as 老美(American guys) 英国佬(UK. guys)
鬼佬 pejorative terms. this words came from cantonese.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: Laeticia (IP Logged)
Date: October 08, 2007 03:17AM
I don't like my friend to be called "laowai" but agree that it's not a pejorative phrase. To be honest, even though it's not a pejorative term, it sounds pretty annoying sometimes by the people who say it in a strange tone especially when they see a foreign guy with a Chinese girl together. They will say" Hey, Look! That girl is with a "Laowai" I hate to be made gestures upon those! People have right to have a foreign bf or gf. To this point, Most Chinese people are not open-minded enough. Thet are unconscious racists which they never admit~By the way, i'm a Chinese, i don't mean to throw stones at my own people but it's the truth! Think about it.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: hmy672000 (IP Logged)
Date: October 30, 2007 09:16AM
All the things will be changed by time.
Before 2 of my best friends married foreigner and living a happy life, i also feel strange to see some pretty chinese grils with incommensurate foreigner and to be frankly that feeling may come from bias;but i think i am more open-minded now,anyone have right to choose his/her life and friends.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: zhangwanzhe222 (IP Logged)
Date: November 12, 2007 05:50AM
lao wai is better than waiguoren(foreigner)..^^
lao wai is sweet than wai guo ren i think....
usually i see foreigner i call they "lao wai"..
it sounds friendly...^^
maybe...
just i think ....

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: resinsoft (IP Logged)
Date: January 14, 2008 06:08AM
老外(old foreigner) is better than 鬼佬(ghost guy)
鬼佬 is 广东话or粤语(cantonese,speaked by hongkong people and guangdong people)
i don't like cantonese at all.

老外is a neuter.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: chinese hero (IP Logged)
Date: January 14, 2008 10:06AM
Hi Jay,Laeticia and my feelow Chinese folks!
please be onest,Laowai means Old Devil and you all know it's never and it has never been a nice term.I hope you all get,let,s not be too primitive to call our friends in an uncivilised way.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: resinsoft (IP Logged)
Date: January 17, 2008 05:04AM
laowei doesn't mean old devil,what the hell is that explanation come from!!!

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: chinese hero (IP Logged)
Date: January 17, 2008 08:59AM
Yeah!resinsoff, spare yourself some time to watch the Chinese movie"Knock About"in that context when little john was stating it to the evil master,what does it mean?please explain it to me!

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: xmotoboy (IP Logged)
Date: January 19, 2008 01:30AM
The word "老外" in chinese is not pejorative.
"老外" is the abbreviation of "外国人(foreigners)" in chinese.
"老" is not "old" in this word.
"外" is the abbreviation of "外国人" in this word.

Sometimes in china,people aways say "老弟" , "弟" means "Little brother" , but can you image your little brother is older than you?
Is impossible.So, In certain circumstances,"老" is not means "old", it just a word without meaning.

So,the word "老外" in chinese is not pejorative.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: resinsoft (IP Logged)
Date: January 20, 2008 04:29AM
chinese hero Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yeah!resinsoff, spare yourself some time to watch
> the Chinese movie"Knock About"in that context when
> little john was stating it to the evil master,what
> does it mean?please explain it to me!


can you make a snap-shot for that scene if you have that movie on the dvd or pc?
i don't know this movie,do you know the chinese name of it?

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: resinsoft (IP Logged)
Date: January 20, 2008 04:34AM
xmotoboy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The word "老外" in chinese is not pejorative.
> "老外" is the abbreviation of
> "外国人(foreigners)" in chinese.
> "老" is not "old" in this word.
> "外" is the abbreviation of "外国人" in this
> word.
>
> Sometimes in china,people aways say "老弟" ,
> "弟" means "Little brother" , but can you image
> your little brother is older than you?
> Is impossible.So, In certain circumstances,"老"
> is not means "old", it just a word without
> meaning.
>
> So,the word "老外" in chinese is not pejorative.

yes,you are right,some times it means a kind of respect

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: domanlai (IP Logged)
Date: January 22, 2008 11:04AM
鬼佬 used in cantonese is no more pejorative than 老外

It is only pejorative when used in mandarin because it is not a mandarin word and then it sticks to the litteral meaning of the first character.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/22/2008 11:08AM by domanlai.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: chinese hero (IP Logged)
Date: February 12, 2008 09:07AM
resinsoft Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> chinese hero Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Yeah!resinsoff, spare yourself some time to
> watch
> > the Chinese movie"Knock About"in that context
> when
> > little john was stating it to the evil
> master,what
> > does it mean?please explain it to me!
>
>
> can you make a snap-shot for that scene if you Hey, Iam back after a good search of the movie "knock About"am sorry i couldn't make a snap shot of it but it's a 1979 Hong kong movie and they speak in cantonese,it's chinese tittle is"Za jia xiao zi"it is directed by Sammo Hung kam-Bo and the starring is yuen Biao,others are Sammo Hung,Leung Kar-Yan,may be from there you can help me out,because at the restaurant,Lau Kar Wing(the fox) was called waiguoren,meaning foreigner.just watsch it towards the end after "Yi Pao"was trained by Sammo Hung Kam-Bo(the beggar)if you have time ,just watch the whole movie,it's not bad but it's funny.pliz drop something here.
> have that movie on the dvd or pc?
> i don't know this movie,do you know the chinese
> name of it?

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: Izus (IP Logged)
Date: February 12, 2008 10:00AM
i think the western worlds views are seeing lǎo as old....
not understanding what the word really means.
i know alot of married couples who call each other lǎo pó and lǎo gong.
so many dialects in zhōng guó.
part of learning the language is understanding the terms used, westerners can have closed minds alot of times.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: Dingke (IP Logged)
Date: February 19, 2008 02:14PM
In China,people often call others "lao"+"family name".For example,you know "姚明(Yao)",his friends mayde call him "老姚".
So here,"外国人(waiguoren)" is your full name and we Chinese treat "外(wai)" as your family name.
That's why foreigners are called "laowai" in China.It sounds friengly and close for us.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2008 02:15PM by Dingke.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: Mattb (IP Logged)
Date: March 05, 2008 09:31AM
As Jay asked in the first post, what is English reciprocal word to call Asian people? That is to say, what is a good response when they point at you and shout "laowai"? 老里?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2008 09:32AM by Mattb.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: resinsoft (IP Logged)
Date: April 07, 2008 10:27AM
i know it now.
the reason why foreigners don't want people call them"老外”doesn't because that word has any negative meaning itself.it just because people doesn't want to be called regionally.
any good english speaker guy can help me to make the above sentence more like an english pls.......thank you...

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: Smatt (IP Logged)
Date: January 14, 2009 04:26AM
what is a reciprocal word to call Chinese people?

i humbly suggest:

老中

my chinese friends seem to get a chuckle from it.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: Uberche (IP Logged)
Date: January 14, 2009 11:43AM
I always reply with 老内。 Not at all correct but usually seen as somewhat funny and usually after I say it they wont call me 老外 again.

And Laowai is at times neutral and at times a pejorative. It is NOT a friendly term. Foreigners don't like it so how could it possibly be thought of as friendly and nice? It's like white people claiming Chink is a kind term. It's a shortening of Chinese and we often shorten our friends names! Robert becomes Bob, Nicole becomes Nicki.

Saying it's nice because Lao is used for good sometimes isn't logical because it's also used for bad sometimes. Chinese is not so cut and dried as that. I find it hilarious that Chinese love to claim that foreigners just can't understand their language when they are the ones pretending that if a word is used for good in one place it must also be used for good everywhere... I don't know everything about Chinese but even I know that is just not the way Chinese works.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: E8l (IP Logged)
Date: January 14, 2009 10:56PM
If you want a true english translation of Laowai, its "Westerner"! Most Chinese in China only see the world as China Vs West!

Anyways laowai, the wai means outside. Maybe you can joke with Laoli, the li meaning inside like limian.

Or something like Bundi as local. Maybe call them LaoBundi! Could be rude but laowai sounds rude also hahah!

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: Uberche (IP Logged)
Date: January 15, 2009 06:19AM
E8l Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Or something like Bundi as local. Maybe call them
> LaoBundi! Could be rude but laowai sounds rude
> also hahah!

What is Bundi (what's the Hanzi?)? I'm not familiar with that word haha sounds like it might be better for getting Chinese to realize Laowai is not polite though...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/15/2009 06:20AM by Uberche.

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: Wenter2010 (IP Logged)
Date: January 15, 2009 05:26PM
what a freak...hehe

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: Dalanmao (IP Logged)
Date: January 15, 2009 08:49PM
如果我是“老外“,中国人是“老内“ 对吗?
If i am called "old outsider", then Chinese must be old insiders, correct?
confused smiley

Re: English equivalent for 老外 - laowai?
Posted by: Saka (IP Logged)
Date: January 15, 2009 10:02PM
Outsider, foreigner.

I don't know the connotation associated with 老外 enough to give a detailed response. But based on the input from people here, it looks like it's pretty neutral, and translates to a term to describe people outside the country (mainly westerners).

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