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In China, when you walk on the street, the word "Lao Wai" will undoubtedly be accompanied by your eyes, panting, or even openly pointing. Even in today's international community, foreigners in Asia are often a new thing or a spectacle, especially in rural areas or remote areas with fewer tourists.
Children in particular don't apologize. They may be bold enough to point you out to their parents and then come and pull your armpit hair to make sure it's real. And you often have good locals shyly asking to stand next to you and take photos! Lao Wai is not the only word for Western tourists in Asia. Almost every country has at least one widely used word for foreigners.
Laowai in China
Foreigners (sounding like "law Wye") can be translated into "old outsider" or "old foreigners". Although people are excited to talk about your existence, you will undoubtedly hear the word many times a day, but their intentions are rarely rude.
The word "Laowai" is often jokingly called "foreigner". Calling yourself "Laowai" will surely make the hotel staff laugh. Besides understanding foreigners and how to say hello in Chinese, understanding some common expressions will help your communication.
Although the word "Laowai" is not derogatory in itself, anyone who has been in China for some time will understand its meaning when describing foreigner in a certain way: the unlucky and sentimental westerner, usually male, seldom speaks Mandarin, who treats China and its culture with ignorance, condescension and blame.
Why do some foreigners still think Lao Wai are derogatory words of "foreigners", rather than intimate or?
The meaning of words is determined by their usage. When the word "nigger" was first used, white people did not have that meaning either. But over time, the use of the word "nigger" has shaped its meaning. It's the same with foreigners. How does it make me feel when I'm walking down the street and within 15 minutes five people are shouting "Laowai" at me and snickering with their friends? ? People who call me a "gringo" never want to talk to me. They are always passers-by, bystanders, and they almost always have a group of friends to impress with them. They can shout "banana" at me in the same way, and eventually "banana" becomes a derogatory or insulting word. Rarely does anyone say "foreigner" to my face. That's what they say when you walk past them. Our friends never call us gringoes. Our parents corrected their children when their children called us gaijin in front of us. Whites used to think "nigger" was a word they could use - they had to be taught not to use it. So did the Chinese. My Chinese friends would insist that it wasn't a bad word.
Respectful words like LAOSHI (teacher) or Laozi (famous philosopher)? Even after living in China for many years, they still don't understand?
"Lao" is a common saying. Not in official Chinese. "Foreigner" is just an informal term for "foreigner". Not bad at all. however
For non Asians in China only. We Chinese don't really call Korean or Vietnamese "foreigners" because they seem too close to us.
If you want to think foreigners are a derogatory term, it means you want to be offended. This is our language, so I think we know our language better than some foreigners who have only learned Chinese for a few years.
Foreigners are called "Laowai", a term used in China for brotherhood or close friendship, such as "Lao Li", "Lao Zhang" or "Lao Wang". As some foreigners know, "foreigner" is a term of respect and intimacy in Chinese, which shows that Chinese people's attitude towards foreigners has changed: Chinese people begin to treat foreigners equally and accept them as close friends. Considering this, "foreigner" is neither a bad word nor a negative meaning. The change of appellation of foreigners represents the evolution of history and the progress of society. Most foreigners can understand and accept it.