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A first-time job seeker is interviewed by HR.

  • HR: 小姐貴姓?

  • Job Seeker: 敝姓魏.

  • HR: 魏什麼?

  • Job Seeker: ?? 我爸爸姓魏啊!

Q: What's wrong, and how to avoid?

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  • 1
    The standard way of asking given name is "大名?"
    – joehua
    Sep 2, 2022 at 1:50
  • 1
    This is just a joke. In real life, the question the HR would have asked is 小姐貴姓大名? which would have avoided the "problem" Sep 2, 2022 at 2:40

2 Answers 2

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This is a pun. And puns don't translate well.

HR: 小姐貴姓?

HR: What's your last name, Ma'am?

Job Seeker: 敝姓魏.

Job Seeker: My last name is Wei.

HR: 魏什麼?

HR: Wei who? meaning: what is your given name?

Here's the pun:

魏什麼 Wei shenme (Wei-who?)

為什麼 Wei shenme (Why?)

Job seeker thinks HR is asking her: Why is your last name Wei?

Hence the answer:

Job Seeker: ?? 我爸爸姓魏啊!

Job Seeker: ?? Because my father's last name is Wei!

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  • Excellent answer. "Wei who?" is a unprofessional/polite way of asking another person's name, that the rudeness is to be avoided. The job seeker may well understand the intent of the question but chose to return the favor, jokingly or not. :)
    – r13
    Sep 2, 2022 at 16:10
  • Yes, "Wei who?" is very casual, and so is 魏什麼 /Wei shenme/. In real life, it probably won't happen in a job interview.
    – monalisa
    Sep 2, 2022 at 22:54
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I believe this conversation is just a joke...

Seriously, let's see the problem here first:

Q: What's wrong?

A: and 为(為) has exactly the same pronunciation in Mandarin. That HR was just asking the given name of the job seeker, since he/she had known the surname from previous question.

and how to avoid?

You don't. This is just a bad joke ... Given the context, nobody would mishear the meaning. If he/she did... well, I guess the interview could end early.

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  • I think for the sake of new learners to the language, could you tell what exactly is the "joke"? Sep 2, 2022 at 2:32

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