6 English-Chinese Differences English 101 Student Should Know

English-Chinese Differences English 101

Let’s agree that Chinese and English are two totally different languages – pronunciation, grammar, written form, expressions – it all differs. From a broader perspective, there are some major differences between.

  1. English emphasizes the structure, while Chinese focuses on the meaning. In English, it is very common to see one long sentence with a  long modifier, and pronouns like “we”, “she”, “they” in addition to “that” and “which”, to avoid recurrences. The sentence could be very long and complicated, this is especially obvious in legal articles. However, in the Chinese language, generally sentences are shorter and even if it’s a long sentence, it would be divided into several short sentences or phrases by comma.

Let’s look at some examples:

  • The sights of Beijing are so numerous that one can spend several weeks here and leave without having seen all of the important ones.
  • 北京的名胜很多,一个人就是在这儿呆上几个星期,离开时也无法把所有重要的景点看完。
  1. In English the passive voice is very commonly used. Unlike English, Chinese usually uses the active voice. Let’s take a look at some examples of the Chinese active voice to translate English passive voice:
  • Tea is drunk widely all over the world.
  • 世界各地的人们都喝茶。
  • But sometimes the tables were laid outside in the gardens of stately homes.
  • 但有时也把餐桌摆到豪门大宅的花园里。
  1. In Chinese, idioms are a frequent occurrence, most of them are short four characters. Their goal is to make the expression more vivid, live and compact. In comparison, English is not so rich in this genre. Here are some examples:
  • The gentleman is not a tool.
  • 君子不器。
  • Here come friends afar, how exceedingly happy we are!
  • 友朋自远方来,不亦乐乎?
  1. English is a Latin language, you can guess the pronunciation from its spelling, while Chinese is a character language, it can’t be spelt and you can’t guess the pronunciation from the characters in many cases. Some foreigners use “spelling” this word on the description of the Chinese language, obviously they have no idea of this language. It is not a romanization language, and can never be spelt.
  2. English has far less dialects and accents than Chinese. Due to historical and geographical reasons, the dialects and accents in English don’t have too much difference as that in the Chinese language. The commonly seen word Mandarin actually is a “standard dialect” of Chinese, and it’s not a written language, just a sort of spoken language.
  3. The written form of English is quite simple, while in Chinese it’s varied and that’s the cause of Chinese calligraphy. In English, there’s no variation of the written words, while in Chinese there’re simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese. And dating back to the ancient times in Chinese history, there were running hand, cursive hand, clerical script, etc.

The English and Chinese languages are 2 polar means of communication. Though it’s hard to find points of them, it’s still possible and crucial to master these two languages. We wish you good luck and hope that our service will help you with that.

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