Catch Phrase | 塑料普通话(sùliào pǔtōnghuà)

Writer: Debra Li  |  Editor: Stephanie Yang  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2020-06-22


“塑料” means “plastic,” and “普通话” means “Mandarin,” the standard spoken Chinese primarily based on the Beijing dialect. Chinese netizens use this term to refer to the substandard Mandarin spoken by some people, often with a strong accent influenced by their local dialect. The word “plastic” in Chinese slang means “of very poor quality,” as gamers of the popular online game “Honor of Kings” are rated from top down as “diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze,” and some joked that there is another group of “below the entry level” players labeled as “plastic.”


A: 你直接跟我说粤语吧,我听得懂。

Nǐ zhíjiē gēn wǒ shuō yuèyǔ ba,wǒ tīngdedǒng。

You can just talk to me in Cantonese. I can get it.

B: 大哥,你怎么知道我是广东人?

Dàgē,nǐ zěnme zhīdào wǒ shì guǎngdōngrén?

How do you know I am Cantonese, buddy?

A: 听你的塑料普通话就知道了。

Tīng nǐ de sùliào pǔtōnghuà jiù zhīdào le。

I can tell from your poor Mandarin.