My Shanghainese friend frequently says 外地人 in slightly negative/hostile context. I understand the meaning of 外地人, which is people from different city/province.

However, is it a derogatory term? Or is it just a normal word in and of itself but sometimes used negatively depending on context (this is true in Japanese word).

And is it rude to say 外地人 to people from rural living in developed city (especially Shanghai but also Hangzhou, Beijing, etc...)? I only talk with 1980s and 1990s, FYI. And if it is not rude, is there any such word that is considered derogatory?

  • 外地人(outsider/ non-local people) is a plain term, not derogatory at all. It is just the opposite of 本地人(local people) – Tang Ho Aug 11 '17 at 5:54
  • Literally, 外地人 just means people coming from other places, which is a neutral word. However, you should avoid say it in Shanghai as Shanghai is famous for its discrimination towards non-local people and the city itself is such a context that makes 外地人 into a derogatory word. – Harry Summer Aug 11 '17 at 9:50
  • On local forum of Shanghai (宽带山论坛), 外地人 and WDR are even banned due to the potential discrimination. – Harry Summer Aug 11 '17 at 10:46
  • I have heard overseas Chinese here (USA) call people white/black/hispanic/etc. people 外国人 within the states haha; I think an important thing is this general "in-group" and "out-group" distinction. – haksayng Aug 11 '17 at 17:17
  • The way they speak is the key. There are always that kind of people, you know. – dan Aug 12 '17 at 2:03

Like what they said, 外地人 is a neutral word. But I think the meaning has changed, especially in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou where the economic level is higher than other cities. The natives whose father or grandfather or great-grandfather lived there don't like people from other place. So if you are from other place, and you talk with someone who are from other places too, it is ok to say the word. But if you are from Shanghai, but the one you are talking to is not, it is better for you not to say the word.

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