Chinglish – China’s Most Beautiful Creation

deformed man

One of the best things about living in China is the daily experience of being confronted by the most creative version of English ever, anywhere and anyhow.    Known affectionately to all expats living in China as Chinglish (Chinese/English), this is an art form that the Chinese government with typical governmental lack of humour wants to suppress.  They claim to find it demeaning to the Chinese people…  Silly of them, the world loves this way of using the English language.

The example above is typical of the genre, obviously the Chinese version is saying something to the effect of “Handicapped Toilet” or words to that effect…  But thanks to making a wrong choice in a spelling corrector or dictionary, we end up with a truly wonderful phrase – one that sparks the imagination, makes a dull and unexceptional phrase into something that stops you in your tracks and makes you actually think about the information you are being given.

Here for example is a warning that anyone with an ounce of sense will take very seriously indeed.   And as I said above, it is worded in such a way that you would stop and think about it if you happened to be confronted with it.


It is certainly clear enough in its message wouldn’t you say?  So neatly phrased that it really works.

This is the main reason I love Chinglish, and sent the years I was living and working in China searching for examples of this (to me) art form.   Of course I know it is absolutely not intentional, and the good souls who create these signs believe and hope that they have used the correct phrase in English,and have no intention whatsoever of creating a sign that people all over the world will want to collect – But that is what they have achieved.

Mark you, this “skill” is absolutely not restricted to the Chinese, I recall seeing on the English version of a menu in a restaurant in Spain a dish called “Putrefied Veal” – the mind boggles at what on earth that might be!

So, here in no particular order are a few more superb examples of the happy misuse of dictionaries in China for your amusement and pleasure.   And of course, should you ever go to China, be sure to look out for more examples of this version of English.

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Not sure what to make of this one…….


This seems like very good advice to me.


And this seems sensible too….   one should be careful of landslides.


This is odd, how on earth do you do that?


Would seem a good idea to walk the other way on seeing this one!


 So much nicer than “Keep off the grass”

So there you are, a small selection of the millions of examples of this glorious version of English for your pleasure.

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