Saturday, March 19, 2005

Foreign Frog

Reader Erin Delgado emails:

"I used to wear this shirt quite a bit. I always assumed that the characters translated to 'dolls' because that is the brand name - 'dawls'. However I once wore it to Chinese restaurant and the waitress seemed a bit shocked by the shirt and now I only wear it in the privacy of my own home. However I am extremely curious as to what it actually says. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks, Erin Delgado"

The phrase on the shirt does not say "dolls", but "foreign frog".

= ocean, sea; foreign; western
= frog

The correct "dolls" is 娃娃.

I don't know why the waitress was shocked by the miswritten shirt, unless it means something else in sexual slang.

Update: From, here are some alternative definitions for "frog":

5. A promiscuous girl who "jumps" from bed to bed (like a frog).
6. Slang for a females genitalia since the clit can look like a frog's tongue jumping out to grab a fly.


  1. hehe
    The Chinese restaurant waitress didn't expect a preson wearing a shirt with Chinese characters, and further more two characters are miswritten.
    Foreign frog :)

  2. It should be pointed out that the correct double character for baby as it appears in Dolls, 洋娃娃, is very similar to the frog character 蛙 the way they are written and pronounced.

  3. Thanks Gin, "Mr. Obvious". Tian has already pointed that out, duh!

  4. I think the waitress was shocked, or rather amused, in the same way we English-speakers might be shocked or amused seeing a foreigner wearing an "Engrish" T-shirt in an English-speaking environment.

  5. I think she was more amused than shocked! :)

    -Ken L.

  6. I thought this shirt is quite clever because the brand is 'dawls' which is the same pronunciation as 'dolls' but written "alternatively".
    This is reflected by the chinese '蛙蛙', same pronunciation as '娃娃' but different words.
    Therefore this could be a delibrate "mistake"

  7. i think if they wanted to make a deliberate mistake, they should have invented a new character, instead of using the similarly sounding one for frog. "dawls" isn't a real english word, so they shouldn't have used a real chinese word. they could have attached another radical to the 圭 phonetic, or even to 娃 itself.

    also, 娃 is second tone, while 蛙 is first tone, so they are not in fact pronounced the same.