Things were better in Chinese class today. I still giggle everytime my teacher says xiaojie, although she insists that it means miss. I’m not saying she’s wrong, but I’m pretty sure I would have gotten into big trouble using that as a form of address in Yantai.

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0 Responses to ??

  1. Stuart says:

    Xiaojie is a perfectly normal form of address (despite the fact that it has come to mean something nefarious). For instance, Zhang Xiaojie still means Miss Zhang in every province in China, and people still use it that way. It is also used to address waitresses. I’ve heard Chinese people say this many, many, many times. Plus, I’ve used it myself with no adverse effects.

  2. Meg says:

    I was told that it meant hooker, and so it’s not an appropriate address for waitresses, etc. and I should use fuyuan, (unless looking for extra service!).

    Maybe it’s regional?

  3. Stephen says:

    It means both, depending on the context. At least that’s how my Mandarin prof explained it. If the girl is wearing hookerish clothes, then xiaojie probably means hooker.

  4. The Humanaught says:

    Stephen’s pretty much right, though there is a bit of a geographical commonality to it.

    In the North East I never heard Xiao Jie used in restaurants… mostly because FOOOYUAR! is just more fun to shout across a smoke-filled dongbei fandian.

    Here in Suzhou, the people are noticeably softer in their conversations and fuwuyuan shouts are frowned upon (hell, they probably spit in my food anyway). Xiaojie is the norm here everywhere from restaurants to clothing shops to little red-lit barber shops (in which the xiaojei’s provide the extra services).

    It’s completely contextual… very similar to the word “madam” in English.

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