Your Chinese Is Not Standard

OK, so you know a thing or two about China. You may even speak great Chinese. You’ve been called an “Old China Hand” on more than one occasion. The real question now is… are you arrogant enough? Well, this t-shirt should help you along on that path. If someone’s 普通话 (Mandarin Chinese) is not 标准 (standard), then they need to know!


Your Chinese Is Not Standard

Possible uses for this shirt include (but are not limited to):

– Humiliating your fellow students of Chinese that are below you. They probably don’t realize that their bad tones and poor palatals hurt your ears. This will tell them.

– Humiliating the nice, hard-working peasants from the countryside. You can understand your Chinese teacher just fine, but you can’t understand these folk when they speak “Mandarin.” They need a wakeup call!

– Humiliating everyone in the south. Because you could walk through any city south of the Yangtze, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone this shirt’s message doesn’t apply to!

– Humiliating yourself. Wouldn’t it be great to wear a shirt that tells people their Chinese sucks (in Chinese), but you don’t even speak the language yourself? I think you should do that.

Anyone who wears this shirt in China is plenty to end up with a story or two. Be sure to share them with me.

[The opinions expressed here may or may not be real, but this is a real shirt. Please support Sinosplice by buying it or something else in the Sinosplice Shop. Thanks!]

John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Ha ha, nicely put. Some foreigners certainly think they know how to speak Chinese better than Chinese people.

  2. Interesting. We were just talking at luch about t-shirts that could get you beat up.

  3. Das Mensch Says: July 29, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    Excellent! It’s great to be able to start a fight by merely turning in the direction of people. Other ideas for provocative T-shirts would be, “Mao smells of elderberries” or “The capital of China is Taipei.”

  4. Its just the successor to the please speak pu tong hua T-Shirt. I know that sold well from what you told us, but this one seems very direct.

  5. This shirt will certainly save me time!
    Das Mensch, how about Chen Shui Bian is the the elected leader of China?

  6. Das Mensch, “The Capital of China is Taipei” is too funny, what a great way to start fights with random people! You should make your own clothing line.

  7. Come on, everybody knows the capital of China is Nanjing.

  8. Come on, everybody knows the capital of China is Nanjing.

    WRONG. It is Xi’an. Or Chang’an for any purists.

  9. yeah, I’d like to wear that under a shirt, so that everytime someone says my mandarin is more standard than theirs (which is always wrong, getting “sh” and “s” right doesn’t make up for random tones and vocabulary of a 6 years old!!!!) I could just say 我知道!and reveil that Tshirt.

    See who actually meant it!


  10. A friend once showed me a short movie made by a Chinese-American college student. The theme of the movie was “Why don’t Asian women like or date Asian men?” It was utterly hilarious, and throughout it the guy who made the film was wearing a t-shirt that said “白人看不懂.” I think that should be your next t-shirt.

  11. lilongyue:

    I saw that clip, and wanted that shirt so, so, SO badly. I still do.

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