Chinese Internet is rife with new slang and lingo. However, Internet censors are quick to remove profane words and sensitive topics. To circumvent censorship, many netizens use homophonic versions of curse words. For example, the popular curse f**k your mother (pronounced càonǐmā) was replaced with ‘grass mud horse’ (pronounced cǎonímǎ), a word that happened to be a near homophone to the original. The grass mud horse has become a symbol for subversion in China. Other groups have created codes to discuss sensitive topics online. Censors have inadvertently formed a new Internet subculture surrounding creative linguistic subversion.
In China, Internet censors are accidentally helping revive an invented “Martian” language (Quartz)
Grass Mud Horse (What’s on Weibo)
Swear Words in Chinese (Transparent Language)
这是脏话吗？Is This a Dirty Word?
Context Information: Ted is an American student, and 韩 (Hán) is a domestic Chinese student. They are discussing Chinese curse words.
韩: 我以前也不知道我是读了一些东西才知道。3【挖槽】就是脏话我们都知道 (laughing)。
1. 挖槽 (wācāo) is a euphemism for the curse word 我操 (wǒcào) ‘f**k me’. The former is considered to be less harsh since its characters and pronunciation are similar but slightly different.
2. In saying 台湾语 (táiwānyǔ) ‘Taiwan language’, 韩 means 闽南话 (mǐnnánhuà) ‘Hokkien’, a variety of Chinese spoken predominately in Fujian and Taiwan. The phrasing 台湾语 (táiwānyǔ) might not make sense to the average person.
3. Here, 韩 means that he only understood the origin of 哇塞 (wāsāi) after reading some articles on the topic.
- 挖槽 (wācāo) F**k me!
- 哇塞 (wāsāi) Wow!
- 差异 (chāyì) Difference
- 台湾语 (táiwānyǔ) Taiwanese language
- 演变 (yǎnbiàn) To develop
- 过来 (guòlái) To come over; to cross over
- 融入 (róngrù) To integrate
- 脏话 (zānghuà) Bad words; curse words
- 耶 (yè) Sentence final particle expressing enthusiasm