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Niubi!: The Real Chinese You Were Never Taught in School

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  168 ratings  ·  29 reviews
How to talk dirty and influence people--in Chinese!

You can study Chinese for years, but do you really know how to talk like a native speaker? The next book in Plume's foreign language slang series, Niubi! will make sure you learn all the colorful vernacular words and phrases used by Chinese people of all ages in a variety of situations, including flirting and dating, whee
Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 24th 2009 by Plume Books (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  168 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Jordan Kostelac
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: china
I have read a few books detailing "real Mandarin" and this is by far the best. Not only does it tell you slang but often gives a detailed explanation of the cultural context and that is what sets this book apart. It creates a fun learning experience rather than just teaching you how a slang phrase is said in Mandarin. Like many things crossing a language barrier the expression may fit in your native though process and not be correct in context in another language. Anyone of adult age or close to ...more
Lindley Walter-smith
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really fascinating, not so much for memorising the words as for the explanations and cultural knowledge attached to them. It was particularly helpful and fascinating to see coverage of gay and lesbian culture and slang, given that it's completely ignored by textbooks. The stuff on gender politics was great, too. ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a great, funny, and comprehensive overview on cursing in Mandarin Chinese.

Almost all of the curses that I heard during my time in Taiwan are featured in here, so if you memorise all of these you will never be short of a good retort (in real life OR online)! The assessments on the "severity" and tone of each phrase is spot on (at least according to my own my experience), and the explanations are both entertaining and enlightening.

The division into themes is useful and clear, and makes it
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Actually I was - but only because my lăoshī was a saucy linguistics grad who warned me not to practice the tricky phoneme or on the street, or ever to shout “3-8!”.

Anyway this is funny and valuable for understanding the place’s (otherwise inaccessible) working-class or web or queer registers – and for generally not seeming like a prig.

So: language is fossilised sociology; Chao excavates what would take us decades. She begins with slurs of all sorts, but doesn’t list any homophobia – claimi
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference, non-fic
I need a paperback version of this book.
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
For sure I will learn about ten of the best curses and put downs, and when some idiot cuts me off on the freeway will unleash all I know.

Wish there were more stories and anecdotes because everyone loves a good story. But it just goes to show people are people no matter what skin and country they are born into. Yes folks we are all the same.

Not knowing much of the language I would never dare to try to use any of these slang terms with a native speaker, man would that get me into deep trouble very
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Overall this book is well researched, well organized, comprehensive, and very good at accomplishing its purpose of teaching Chinese slang and obscenities to foreigners. The biggest issue I noted was some weirdnesses and outright mistakes in the pronunciation guides -- but in other places the pronunciation guides are better explained than many more traditional teaching-Chinese texts. (And besides, no one was ever going to learn correct Chinese pronunciation from a written guide anyway.)

The book
David Nealis
Awesome title:The Chinese slang term "Niubi!" sums up this book!
This is the perfect book for the person who has a basic understanding of the Chinese lang and wants to learn how to express themselves in a way you won't learn in school.
Not all of the book is profanity, there are some very funny sayings like " Wangba kan ludou, kan dui yan le" - buy the book to find out the meaning - it is well worth it!
This was totally brilliant! Gives you a great insight into swearing and the language itself. I particularly liked the chapter on Internet use and the creative ways people have come up with for getting around Internet censorship. I also loved the concept of soy sauce guy. There is so much in here and I definitely recommend it to students of Chinese language and culture. It's really educational and very funny as well! ...more
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
As an ABC, I found this to be extremely informative, especially since my parents were never the type to use these words and my exposure to "real" Mandarin has been limited. This book is basically a list of words to say for every occasion that requires cussing or slang. It does assume that you already know at the very least the basics of Mandarin, but one could have gathered that from the title. Definitely a fun read with words worth memorizing and using. ...more
Cindy III
Pretty much like the title says. One gets a bit of knowledge about the more colloquial lingo of chinese mandarin and history on why or how it came about. Personally I'd like to know if I have just been insulted in any language I've endeavored to learn and don't have the guts to ask someone to teach me. Especially for a girl wanting to know profane language. ...more
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is not your brother's how-to-hook-up-with-locals-on-study-abroad phrasebook. It's an informed, humorous, and often hilariously profane guide to vulgarities and slang even some of my Chinese friends found novel. Anyone who doesn't speak like Tom Brokaw in English shouldn't speak like a Putonghua instructor or a CCTV broadcaster. This will help. ...more
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really interesting and enjoyable to read! Love learning about language and subcultures in China - also helpful in sooo many ways... I can now navigate through a forum in Chinese with some idea about what is going on and why things don't actually mean what they mean. ...more
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I remember almost none of the new curse words and vulgar phrases I learned in this very entertaining and enriching book, but I did come away with a renewed love for Chinese. What an amazing and hilarious language! Highly recommended!
Lara Cowell
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highly entertaining manual that'll have readers spouting Chinese profanities in no time--like the use of both Chinese characters and Pinyin romanization for linguistic clarity. The slang, obscenities, and idiomatic phrases also provide a fascinating look into contemporary Chinese culture. ...more
Jagatheesan Jack
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is Niubi! (pun intended). Most books for learning Mandarin will start with the polite "Nihao" and so forth. Niubi gets straight to the unfiltered and uncensored territory. The explanations on the euphemisms are also amusing to read. ...more
Aug 08, 2011 added it
Very useful if you want to make Chinese people embarrassed and laugh at you, deliberately. Not just from mispronouncing stuff.
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I thought this was much better than Dirty Chinese. It even includes internet speak!
Chi-Chu Tschang
Nov 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't stop laughing as I read through the book. ...more
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Easy to read, detailed definitions of Chinese colloquialisms and swear words. (Assumes some prior knowledge of Chinese, though.)
Jun 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Similar to Dirty Chinese.
Daniel Jeffries
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Just ordered this book. Studying up on the fun stuff for my sci-fi novel set in China.
Oct 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Now I know how to say damn and fuck in chinese. Yay.
Celia Burn
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Decent context and description of various settings, locations and types of relationships you would say certain phrases, but quite a few printing errors where a character is completely missing, extra pinyin is added after the wrong phrase or the phonetic spelling is for a different character. The book isn't riddled with errors, mind you, but I did catch singular errors every few pages. Read it more for the context of the chapters and not to learn the phrases themselves. ...more
Aug 19, 2022 rated it it was amazing
"NIUBI!" is a book full of chinese vocabulary that you would never learn in a classroom! Evelyn Chao has descovered me a whole world of words related with s*x , prostitution , gay vocabulary, swearing and many other topics. I think all of them are useful, but I am not gonna use them in class for sure! 哈哈哈 (hahaha) ...more
Jul 19, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: elibrary
Vinh Khang Nguyen
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really effective slangs and further explanation, to some extent rude and real dirty.
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent reference book if you're learning Chinese / living in China. You'll surprise your friends more than once with these witty and cunning expressions! ...more
Greyson Harris
rated it liked it
Jan 18, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Jan 14, 2022
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I'm a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York. I previously spent 5 years living in Beijing, China, where I spent a lot of time jotting down dirty words I overheard and asking Chinese friends inappropriate questions about what they say in bathrooms, bedrooms, and brawl-rooms. Eventually, I put it all together into a book, called "NIUBI! - The Real Chinese You Were Never Taught in School."


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