An initial 4A N2...?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat Jun 29 10:53:46 UTC 2002

>... in their e-mails, 881 was used as an ending.  ... pronouncing the
>numbers gives you something that sounds very much like "bye-bye" (or, I
>guess "buh-bye").

"Ba ba yi" in Chinese I think: /babai/ or close enough, ignoring tone.

Here is a list of these things in English and Chinese:

I can't explain the Chinese ones completely. For example, "520" = "wu er
[ling?]" means "wo ai ni" = "I love you" (a very common one of course),
"530" = "wu san [ling?]" means "wo xiang ni" = "I miss you", etc., so
apparently these are at least partly phonetic (allowing a lot of leeway),
but maybe I'm reading the zero wrong. Some of the translations are opaque
to me, for that matter. I hope somebody will fill me/us in. "881" is
'translated' here as "bai bai", phonetic for "bye-bye" although I'm pretty
sure the numbers are derived from "ba ba yi". Note "8084" which may be
orthographic (= "BABY"), 'translated' as "bao bei" (lit., "precious
object", orig. "precious shell" I think) = "sweetheart" or the
coincidentally phonetically felicitous world-English "baby".

There are larger lists of these Chinese codes on the Web. Somewhere I read
that the #520 bus in Taipei was specially decorated for Valentine's Day.

The English codes on this page are mostly orthographically based, I think,
with numbers which resemble the letters (again, with a lot of leeway). I
wonder whether these are English codes used specifically by Chinese, or
whether they are US-an or world-English: "I sorry", "I marry you" seem a
little awkward to me; as for the "booty call", hmmm.

-- Doug Wilson

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