Tag Archives: homophone

Impart means promiscuous party in China


“‘Impart’ is a more universal folk language that has just been created not for long. But it’s a folklore that’s widespread in China. It is because impart is a homophone for the word ‘yin pa’ which directly translates as promiscuous party.”
“I think it’s because people in China think we don’t study and do sex every day.”


FG is a USC student who studies History and Economics. He is currently in Ireland. FG and I are both considered international students in China. International students can also mean students who study internationally, rather than foreign students. F thinks that the Chinese use word “impart” as “promiscuous party” signifies the stereotypes mainland China has toward international students. They think international students are all rich second generations that paid their way to education who don’t study and who have sex every day.


“Impart,” yin pa,” or “淫趴.”

I don’t really agree with F’s perspective. I don’t think it’s a stereotype toward the Chinese international student, but more toward the American people. People who use “impart,” as promiscuous party is often making jokes. The goto phrase is “ni men kai impart bu han wo,” or “你们开impart不喊我,” which means “why do you have a promiscuous party without me?” This is obviously more trifle than serious.

There is a rising trend of English homophones with Chinese words as a new genre of folk speech in China. I think this is due to the rising level of education and globalization through social media that had connected the two cultures closer. Another example of an English homophone in Chinese is “lash,” which is similar to the Chinese word “la shi”, or “拉屎” which means shit in China. I wonder why it’s always the sordid words that get popular with their English homophone.

Avoid the Deadly Four

Click here for video.

“One of my friends told me that in Chinese culture, the word “four” has a similar pronunciation to the word for “death”. So if you go into buildings in like Hong Kong or whatever, they skip the number four, so you know how we as Americans, some high rises don’t have thirteen, they don’t have four. Not only that, but they also skip the entire forty level too. So you go from thirty nine not to forty, but to fifty.”

The avoidance of “four” because it sounds like “death” in Chinese culture is a classic example of homeopathic magic. The thinking centers around the belief that the word invites death because of the way it sounds and the more that it is invoked, the more death and bad luck it invites. The idea that uttering a word can bring bad luck is common, such as the taboo on the word “Macbeth” when inside the theater.

Hotels and apartments have an incentive to omit the number four from much of their buildings because living on a fourth floor room would be seen as living in the shadow of death. For these businesses, it is a smarter move financially to exclude these floors because clients or customers would refuse to associate with them. It’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid the number four.

Interestingly, both South Koreans and Japanese also have an aversion to their “four” word as it is pronounced very similarly to the Chinese “four” and their word for “death” is very similar to the Chinese word for “death.” Of course, Korean and Japanese are strongly believed to have originated from Chinese, and because traditions and superstitions are carried through language, it is reasonable that these two cultures would also avoid the number four.