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Forum trends: Laowai, is the term offensive?[10]-     [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2014-7-3 10:13:44 |Display all floors
Jona (US)

It's not rude but it isn't polite either. 'Non-Chinese' outside of China are referred to as 'laowais' so it basically refers to you an 'outsider' and while I do not believe it is meant with any insult it does label you as an outsider in a place you may have chosen to make your home.

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Post time 2014-7-3 10:13:45 |Display all floors
I have a friend, after he learnt how to say Laowai in Chinese, every time when some Chinese stared at him, he will point at himself and shout outook! a Laowai!(in Chinese).

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Post time 2014-7-3 10:28:08 |Display all floors
Usually it is small children that point and shout 'waiguoren!' I point at them and say 'xiao haizi (small child!)'
Migrant workers are also prone to gaping and commenting. To them I say: 'I only look like a foreigner. I'm really Chinese'. That makes them smile, disproving their misconceptions about foreigners.

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Post time 2014-7-3 10:33:29 |Display all floors
Like other languages, this is a slang. Most people use slang as it could describe closely. During isolation period, China really had limited contact with the rest of the world. Terms could be created due to common understanding and easy use.

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Post time 2014-7-3 10:46:35 |Display all floors
It's never bothered me at all to be called laowai or Gweilo. I call myself it all the time.  
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Post time 2014-7-3 12:11:55 |Display all floors
Me being green as a new tree in China, curious to the term "laowai". I can't seem to grasp the origin of the word. Being from the UK, we have many ways in which we can say foriegn person. Some which is offensive, and some are welcome of course. I have been using the word to describe myself, following with yingguo. I just hope, that what I am saying is correct in context.

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Post time 2014-7-3 12:52:11 |Display all floors
Personally, I hate the term even though I know it is not meant spitefully. I feel like it lumps me into the same category as all the other disrespectful tourists and those that are working here but dislike the country, customs or the people. 外国人 is at least a more respectful form. Thankfully, most of the time it is the latter and only occasionally do I hear groups referring to me as '老外‘. '外国叔叔‘, ‘外国哥哥’ are both also much nicer.
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