Actually, the lingo is made up of both Indian, Chinese and a few English words (often mispronounced) expressed more or less in accordance with Chinese idiom. In spite of its limitations, it works surprisingly well. It is not as easy as it seems, however, and any Chinese can soon tell if you are a newcomer. Nevertheless, we advice you to master at least the most common words and phrases listed below. It must be stressed, however, that you have to take caution. Do not try your pidgin English On every Chinese. If a Chinese can speak good English his dignity is highly offended if he is spoken to in pidgin. Try English first and if necessary break into your pidgin:
Maskee: Never mind
Talkee he: Tell him
No wantchee: I don’t want that
Can do: That will do
No can do: That wil not do
My no savvy: I don’t understand
Pay my: Give it to me
Pay my look see: Let me look at it
Bym-bye makee pay: I’ll pay later
Pay chow: Serve food
Catchee one piece rickshaw: Get a rickshaw
My wantchee: I want
My no wantchee: I don’t want
Cumshaw: A tip
Catchee chop chop: Fetch quickly
No b’long plopper: This is not right
No squeeze: No overcharging
Walkee-walkee fish: Live fish
Joss House: Temple
Pay Master chit: Give Master the letter
B’long Shanghai side: To live in Shanghai
Chop chop: Quickly
B’long my pidgin: That’s my business
Catchee baby: To have a baby
Learn piecee: Apprentice
Savvy box: Brain
How-fashion?: What for?
Amah: Chinese nurse or maid
My catchee chow: I’m going to eat
Chit: A note or letter
What thing?: What is that?
This side: Here
Talkee my: Let me know
This b’long my: This is mine
What fashion no can?: Why not?
Talkee come morning time: Tell him to come in the morning
This b’long number one: This is very good
Three piece man come diner: There will be three guests for dinner
S’pose no can do catchee coolie: If you can’t do it get the coolie
Missy have got?: Is Mrs. - at home?
What side my room?: Where is my room?
This price b’long true?: Is this price genuine?
S’pose catchee two piece can more cheap?: Will it be cheaper to take two?
My wantchee walkee: I want to go for a walk
Pay two piece: Give me two
Can puttee book?: Is the bargain settled?
This article has kindly been put at Shanghai Modern’s disposal by The Standard Guide Book All About Shanghai and Environments.
Imagine being unable to communicate with the barber. What a peculiar hairstyle you would get!