I was thinking about using this Log post by Victor Mair for LH because of the video with its wonderful rapid-fire exchange in Modern Standard Mandarin (MSM), Wuhan topolect, and Dongbei (Northeastern) topolect and the explication of the various varieties used, but one of the insults involved (gè bānmǎ ‘this zebra’) prompted a second post which is even better, explaining exactly why and how “zebra” became a term of abuse. I will quote the conclusion and urge you to go read the whole thing:

The denizens of Wuhan have a reputation for being rude and foul-mouthed. I’m sure that there must be plenty of polite, elegant, well-spoken individuals in Wuhan, but people from other parts of China — even where swearing is prevalent — are often stunned by the ubiquitousness and creativity of Wuhan profanity.


  1. David Marjanović says

    Best comment:

    “hmmm… thanks for the explanation about 日. I always thought it refers to what you do with an 一 and a 口, but it looks like the phonological explanation is correct.”

  2. SFReader says

    I always thought etymology of 姦 must have an interesting story (strictly XXX and NSFW)

  3. And what about 嬲?

  4. Jim (another one) says

    “And what about 嬲?”

    Oh no, you didn’t…….


  1. […] Hat notes the Chinese of Wuhan, apparently marked by a willingness to […]

Speak Your Mind