No, 7 written as ‘7’ never means ‘penis’, not even in Hong Kong…

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The current prize winner for most desperate attempt to earn negative attention during an iPhone launch goes to Quartz:

The slogan for Apple’s new iPhone 7 translates into “This is penis” in Hong Kong.

Image via Quartz.

7 written as 7 always and only means 7. It also doesn’t “translate” into anything in Hong Kong.

I only took Cantonese, the language spoken in Hong Kong and Guangdong, for a year — the tones were too complex and I switched to Mandarin for another two years — but for obvious reasons I was taught about sound collisions early on, including this one. At least enough to call bullshit on Quartz:

When pronounced in Cantonese, if you didn’t actually speak Cantonese and got it wrong, you could mistakenly say a very similar sound that means “penis”, same way that if you said 4 in Cantonese you could mistakenly say a very similar sound to “death”, but that’s a factor of the language, not of Apple’s marketing.

Thank you for your visit on this page No, 7 written as ‘7’ never means ‘penis’, not even in Hong Kong…

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