You live and learn don’t you? It was only after posting about Google Translate yesterday that using the term ‘Chinaman’ is considered derogatory.
In my defence, I thought it was probably preferable to using the phrase ‘simplified’ or ‘traditional’ Chinese as Google Translate describes it, and to be honest, ‘Chinaman’ isn’t a word that I use that often.
Actually that’s not true. As a fan of cricket, the word ‘chinaman’ (no cap) is used to describe an unorthodox left-arm spin bowler’s delivery when the ball pitches on the offside for a right-hand batsman, then cuts in towards leg as shown above.
I suppose this term does have derogatory origins, especially as it is also known as a ‘wrong ‘un’. It came into use in 1933 at a Test match between England and the West Indies at Old Trafford in Manchester.
The orthodox left-arm spinner, Elliss ‘Puss’ Achong, a player of Chinese descent, had Walter Robbins stumped from a surprise ball that cut back in the manner described.
As he walked back to the pavilion, Robbins said to his teammates ‘Fancy being done by a bloody Chinaman!’, leading to the popularity of the term in England, and subsequently the rest of the world, or at least the civilised bits that play cricket.
But back to Google Translate, Yorkshire Pudding also questioned why Liverpudlian wasn’t on the drop-down list. I can’t provide an answer, but it did remind me of the Scottish Parliament website that used to include Scots Dialect as one of its language options.
It greeted visitors with ‘Walcome tae the Scottish Pairlament wabsite’ and ran on in similar vein through the whole machinations of government.
I haven’t been able to ascertain when or why the Scots dialect was dropped from the website. Perhaps because of a 2010 study that found that 64% of Scots adults didn’t consider it to be a language, even though 85% claimed to speak it to some degree or other.
I find it rather sad that this entertaining bit of the interweb should have vanished, but you can find other examples of pittin the mither tongue on the wab.