- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Plume; Original edition (November 24, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0452295564
- ISBN-13: 978-0452295568
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Niubi!: The Real Chinese You Were Never Taught in School Paperback – November 24, 2009
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Eveline Chao is a freelance writer based in Beijing. She is extremely fortunate to have foul-mouthed Chinese friends willing to teach her words that most Chinese would be too embarrassed to reveal to a foreigner.
Chris Murphy is an artist and illustrator. He has worked with the Boston Globe, New York Times, United Healthcare, American Greetings, Forbes Magazine, Houghton Mifflin, Weekly Reader, Highlights for Children, Plume Books, Hallmark Greetings, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, IBM, American Comedy Network, Dutton Children's Books, Designer Greetings, Xerox, ING, and many others.
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Read reviews that mention
Showing 1-5 of 43 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Most formal education on foreign languages teaches an artificial "classroom" version of the language. As a simple example, language lessons will teach one how to order tea and stop there. In the real world, however, even such a simple task will require real world vocabulary. I was stopped cold on the first attempt to order tea by questions such as, "Green tea or black tea?"
In contrast, this book makes good on its title, teaching "Real Chinese", usable for real situations, including lots of slang terms,
I would recommend this to anyone trying to learn Chinese for real everyday use in China. Further, I would note that many of the chapters would be especially valuable to students and other young people trying to prepare for social encounters.
I have shown the book to several of my Chinese friends and they have generally endorsed the content as accurate and timely (representing real world usage in mainland Chinese cities in the 2012-2013 timeframe.
So mostly I'm positive about this book, and I recommend it highly. But I'll concentrate on the negatives, just because it's difficult to judge a slang book, and to let other buyers know what they're getting into. My first complaint is that while the book is largely accurate, it isn't entirely. Maybe a couple percent of them are off. I don't think it's just the vagaries of slang or regional differences, because I asked several people here in Shanghai about them, and they all told me "no way." Anyway, it's worth double checking favorite terms.
Secondly, this is (for the most part) Beijing slang. OK a lot of the vocabulary is universal, and that's particularly true to the (really excellent) Internet slang section. On the other hand, there's a lot of words that I don't think most people would say in Shanghai. For a non-native speaker to use many of these words would be bizarre. I wonder, do people in Beijing swear a lot more? Even though she addresses the issue in the introduction, I think the author drastically overestimates how often and how deeply people swear. And a whole lot of the insults would instantly lead to a fight. Oh yeah, and the book is missing common Mandarin slang words that are used in Shanghai.
Third, it's CRAZY that this book has pronunciation guides for people who don't even know pinyin. If you don't speak Chinese pretty well already, don't try this book. You'll just get in trouble. Maybe it can be read for the cultural notes, but personally I found the cultural notes could sometimes get a little cartoony, particularly in the introduction, about the marijuana smoking pro-democracy rock singers...
Finally, I wish the book had better notes or division about which slangs were common, and which ones weren't. The most common words are often pointed out, but not always. And there's a whole lot of pages given to slangs that are hopelessly obscure. There is a "top 25" list at the end of the book, it could have used a similar section at the end of every chapter.
While a main component of this book is dirty language, "Niubi!" goes beyond that. I studied Chinese out of textbooks for a good 4 years and feel that generally they aren't made to help you get out and have real conversations with real people, but instead focus on teaching you to read the paper or to have 'civilized' impersonal conversations. I really wish this book would have come out a couple years earlier so that I could have learned this type of vocabulary more efficiently.
This book in the end is a really good book for any student of Chinese. Beginners will get a better sense of the authentic daily vocabulary that Chinese people actually use, and more advanced students can learn about the vocabulary used in certain sub-cultures within in China (internet culture, gay culture etc). The only way I think this book could have been better is if the author put more of the trickier words into sentences to help with usage and context. Overall very pleased and would recommend to anybody interested in Chinese.