Posts by Leonie McKeon
Mandarin Chinese – the Order of Words is from Biggest to Smallest

Mandarin Chinese – the Order of Words is from Biggest to Smallest

Chinese culture is hierarchal. As language and culture reflect each other hierarchy is also found in the Mandarin Chinese language. This is specifically found in the ordering of objects and other things such as time by their size. What this means is that when describing something the largest or most important term or reference will...

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Chinese Names

Chinese Names

Chinese people’s names are differently shaped to the ways in which people’s names are structured in most Western cultures. In Western cultures everyone has given or personal names, which are the names those close to you use. Western people also have family names. Family names are the names that are shared with parents, siblings, and...

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Chinese Culture – Feng Shui

Chinese Culture – Feng Shui

Feng shui 風水 is an ancient art that originated in China over 3,000 years ago, and is key aspect of Chinese culture today. In literal translation, ‘feng’ means ‘wind’ 風 and ‘shui’ means ‘water’ 水.

Here is how you pronounce these Mandarin Chinese words correctly:

The pronunciation of ‘feng’ is ‘eng’ which is the combination of ‘ir’...

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Chinese Culture and Mandarin Chinese Language – Context Matters

Chinese Culture and Mandarin Chinese Language – Context Matters

Context refers to the environment, or circumstances within which something happens.  Different cultures can be described as being high-context or low-context.

Low-context cultures tend to be logical, linear, individualistic, and action-orientated. Decisions are made based on facts, as opposed to intuition. Communicators are direct, straightforward, and aim to be efficient. To ensure clarity of understanding,...

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Mandarin Chinese – Traditional and Simplified Chinese Characters

Mandarin Chinese – Traditional and Simplified Chinese Characters

Chinese languages are written using Chinese characters. Each Chinese character represents one Chinese word. There are 50,000 characters in the Chinese language. An educated Chinese person generally knows approximately 8,000 Chinese characters.

In the mid-1950s the People’s Republic of China introduced a standardised character set, known as ‘simplified Chinese characters’. The objective of this was to increase...

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Chinese Language and Hierarchy

Chinese Language and Hierarchy

Chinese society is hierarchical, which focuses on “respect” for the person who is perceived to be holding high status within the Chinese social structure. The concept of hierarchy is heavily influenced by Confucianism, which emphasises loyalty between family members and towards people who are of high status.

To communicate effectively with a Chinese person, understand their...

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The Importance of the Mandarin Chinese Language

The Importance of the Mandarin Chinese Language

Mandarin Chinese is the official language of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). Mandarin is also widely spoken across Asia; in fact, it is the most widely spoken language in the world. More than one billion of the world’s people are Chinese speakers.

There is sometimes confusion about the difference between Mandarin and Chinese. Mostly when...

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The History of Pinyin

The History of Pinyin

The first Westerners to develop a system to pronounce Chinese characters using the Roman alphabet were Thomas Wade and Herbert A. Giles. They published a Chinese-English Dictionary in 1892. In the 1950’s the Wade-Giles system was entirely replaced in mainland China by the Pinyin system.

Just like the Wade-Giles System, the Pinyin System is a phonetic...

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Pronouncing Mandarin Chinese using the English Alphabet

Pronouncing Mandarin Chinese using the English Alphabet

The Pinyin System is a phonetic system used to pronounce Chinese characters using the English Alphabet. For example, 上海 are the Chinese characters for the name of the city Shanghai. Shanghai is the Pinyin for those characters. Pinyin was developed in the mid 1950’s and translates literally to “spell sound”. The purpose of Pinyin is...

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