China Elevator Stories
“Go Die, Idiot!”
Chinese people commonly think I’m insulting my husband.
Sometimes people in China will hear me tell my husband: “Go die, idiot!” They’ll turn their head, surprised that a Western woman would talk like this with her Chinese husband.
I’m not actually this rude. Let me explain.
What people understand in Chinese is not what I actually tell my husband. What do I say?
Ever since one of my colleagues asked me how to say goodbye in German, saying this German word has become a running gag in my company. Goodbye is “Tschüss” in German. It sounds just like the Mandarin Chinese equivalent of “go die” (去死).
My husband and I call each other “Schatz” (which is a common German endearment couples use, that has the meaning of “treasure”). “Schatz” sounds like the Chinese word for idiot (傻子).
So every time I say “goodbye, honey”, Chinese will think I’m randomly insulting my husband.
Are there any words in your native language that sound like Chinese?