help bg
Go Back

Some Interesting Chinese Knowledge

For any one language, it is closely attached with the corresponding background cultural knowledge. If the students who learn Chinese in China want to study better, it is inevitable for them to learn some relevant culture.

To enrich Chinese language learners’ language knowledge, we will learn some interesting Chinese knowledge which has close connection with relevant Chinese culture in the following parts.

The first one we will learn is the third person pronoun “她” and “伊”. Actually, there were three in ancient China,”伊、渠、他”. In today’s Mandarin, we have only “他” and “渠” and “伊” are used only in some dialects. During the time of the May 4th Movement, “伊” could be seen in the literatures. But then it was replaced by “她”, which was created by Liu Bannong in 1926. Those who study Chinese should understand that “他” and “她” only applied to distinguish written Chinese. It sounds no difference in oral Chinese.

Foreign learners who learn Mandarin in China may have heard of the word “书香”. It originated from a kind of fragrant herb named “芸香草”, which can functioned to prevent moth from eating the books when it was placed in the books. Therefore, the man of letters are called “书香门第” and many words with “芸” are created like “芸帙、芸编、芸签、芸窗、芸阁”.

One professor ever said that there is no pure language except for the primitive language. “阿弥陀佛” is originated from the Indian, “自由” and “平等” derived from the translation of the Buddhist Scriptures. So Chinese is language no longer pure. The better the language developed, the more impure it is. English is a typical example.

In ancient China, there are different addresses for different ages. The following ones can be taught atChinese school in China. “汤饼” is for children just born three days before. “初度” is for one-year-old children. “生小” is for children in their infancy and “龆龀” for the childhood, which can also be called “垂髫、总角”. What’s more, “教数” is for age of nine, “外傅” for ten, “舞勺” for thirteen, “若冠” for twenty, “而立” for thirty, “不惑” for forty, “知天命” for fifty, “花甲” for sixty, “古稀” for seventy and “耄耋” for the age of eighty or ninety and “期颐” for one-hundred-year.

There is a very interesting address in ancient China, that is “爹爹” and “哥哥”. The original character of “哥” is “歌” and people call father with “哥”. Students learn Chinese language in China may think it is unbelievable, so the following evidences are provided. The book《旧唐书•王琚传》says “玄宗泣曰:’四哥仁孝,同气惟有太平’,睿宗行四故也。” and “年始五岁,乃于家啼哭,唤歌歌娘娘” in the book 《搜神记》

The calling “令堂” is also often seen when learning Mandarin Chinese, which means “your mother”. “令” is a term of respect. The front part of the house in ancient China is called “堂”, where is the place the mother live. The wall in the east and west is named “序” and the part at the back of “堂” is “室”.

Another term “先生” originated from the Analects of Confucius is often seen when students learn Mandarin, which have been called over three thousand years. In the ancient times, people often called the aged teachers or the knowledgeable and moral elder “先生”, both for men and women.

There are some elegant and wonderful names for the very ordinary food. Here are some interesting examples for learners study in China. We call the bean sprout as “龙须菜”, eggs as “芙蓉”, chicken feet as “凤爪”, we name “白玉” for tofu and “步步高升” for the bamboo shoots and sparerib soup, etc.

Mr. Zhou Guangyou, the 104-year-old economist and linguist, ever joined in the national character reform conference, formulating the scheme for the Chinese Pinyin, is regarded as the Father of the Chinese Pinyin. He made great contribution to how to learn Mandarin better.

This interesting knowledge is helpful for students to enrich their language knowledge during the process of learning Chinese.

Please use vertical scrolling on your mobile device.