Bandit bagu: the new Chinese slang

Private argot in the public sphere. “Hearing the girl say ‘make a call’ (dǎ zhāohu), and ‘whack’ (bǎipíng), I gasped involuntarily, and felt a shiver on that warm spring day. That uncomfortable feeling lasted for quite a few days. This kind of hooliganish language has been popular for many years; people think nothing of it, and it has even entered the structure of social discourse. Regardless, someone who has been educated or who is a bit civilized should have an instinctive repugnance toward such language. This baiping and the widespread gǎodìng and fēngkǒu were not originally part of everyday speech, but rather pure bandit argot. I don’t recall that language during the Cultural Revolution, so I don’t know when it started. Even kids today know how to use it.”

Posted April 17, 2007

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