和 为 贵

 hé wéi guì. Harmony is prized.

Here is the general introduction to concepts at the core of Chinese society and relationships including guanxi, renqing, mianzi and keqi. Can you tell about the common expressions in mandarin Chinese fluently and immense yourself into Chinese culture?

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–Personal network 关系(guānxì)

Throughout much of China’s history, guanxi has been and remains a deep seated concept that lies at the core of Chinese society and the relationship between the people within it. Simply put, guanxi can be seen as who you know and what they perceive to be their obligation to you.

In China, an established network of quality contacts can help accomplish almost anything, and thus having good guanxi is a very powerful asset.

–Human sentiment  人情 (rénqíng )

Closely intertwined with “guanxi” is “renqing” an important vehicle in Chinese social exchanges. “renqing” which literally translates as human sentiment or human emotion is defines by one western scholar as “covers not only sentiment but also its social expressions such as the offering of congratulations, or condolences or the making of gifts on appropriate occasions. The rule of ”renqing” in Chinese society as fellows: “If you have received a drop of beneficence from other people, you should return to them a fountain of beneficence”.

A Chinese who has done a favor for you automatically feels that he or she is owned a favor from you in return. Actually “renqing” follows Confucian notion of reciprocity. There are many Chinese expressions that associated with “renqing”, such as giving somebody a “renqing” (song renqin) owing somebody a “renqing” ( qian renqing) ect..

–Face 面子 (miànzi)

Face is the concept of Mianzi . In Chinese culture, losing face, saving face and giving face is very important and should never be forgotten. A person can lose face as a result of losing his or her temper, confronting an individual or putting them on the spot or acting in an arrogant manner or failing to show appropriate respect.

Surface harmony is the art of maintaining composure and remaining polite and courteous. As an argument in a public place or a manager publicly scolding a subordinate would cause a loss of face, intermediaries are often used to deliver bad or unpleasant news. Surface harmony is seen to be of higher value than personal emotion and thus proper etiquette will serve to safeguard harmony and face.

Confucius, born in 551 BC, was a great philosopher whose thought held sway as orthodox ideology in China for some 2,000 years. One of his famous sayings goes: “In carrying our rites, it is harmony that is prized.”  (礼之用, 和为贵。Lǐ zhī yòng,  hé wéi guì. )

–Humility and modesty 客气 (kèqi)

Chinese people do not consider it polite to be arrogant and boast about one’s achievement and connections. Keqi is the concept of humility and modesty that is illustrated through being considerate, polite and well mannered. Ke means guest and qi means behavior. It not only means considerate, polite and well mannered, but also represents modesty.

–Reciprocity 礼尚往来 (lǐ shàng wǎnglái)

This concept can be defined as individuals and groups exchanging favors. People will ask for favors from those with whom they have guanxi.

–Collective vs. individual interest

Another deep-seated social belief is that of the collective interest being of greater importance than that of the individual. As a result, individuals should sacrifice their own interests in order to serve the needs of the majority.

Can you tell about the common expressions in mandarin Chinese fluently? If not, please contact ChineseHour Course Advisor (http://www.chinesehour.com ) right now, they are ready online to help you with Chinese learning all the time.

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