A Comparison Between Chinese Etiquette and the Western Etiquette

Topics: Culture, Song Dynasty, China Pages: 14 (5197 words) Published: April 15, 2013
With China entry the WTO and will hold the Olympic games in 2008, the relationship between China and Western in politics, economy, culture will become more and more close. It is undoubtedly that the etiquette will play an important role in this process. To the definition of etiquette, China and Western have a different understanding. As Chinese thinks that the etiquette is the common behavior standards that all the members must obey, and its purpose is to keep the normal living order of the society. In ancient China, a famous philosopher thinks that etiquette is a principal to deal with the relationship between man and supernatural beings, man and ghosts, man and men. There are also many words about etiquette in English. For example, courtesy which means courteous behavior, good manners; protocol which means system of rules governing formal occasion, e .g, meetings, between governments, diplomats, etc. And these words are all from the same French word etiquette. Of course, more spread and more profound cultural comment of  the western etiquette is from the Classical Period, i.e., old Athens and Roma culture. Today, etiquette become the reflection and manifestation of one country's politics, economy, culture in people's social contact. And it include the principal and moral that people should obey in daily life. Etiquette formed in the process of the deposition of culture and social contact. So every nation have their own etiquette standard which created with the spirit of this their nation. Because of this formed the cultural difference between different nations. As languages is the carrier of the human culture. This difference must reflect in the language of different nations. So in the following, we will take china, British and America as the representation of Western, to look at some cultural difference in etiquette, and then analyze the reasons. Furthermore, we will discuss how to learn western culture. 一.

Cultural differences on politeness between western and Chinese can be found in many aspects of daily communication, including addressing, greeting and parting, compliments, apologies, thanks, etc. In the following, we will look at some cultural different between China and western. 1.Greeting and Parting

When people meet acquaintances or friends, people usually greet each other. The purpose of greeting is to establish or maintain social contact. So formulaic expressions are often used, but such formulaic expressions often causes conflict because of the great cultural differences between Chinese and native English speakers. In English, people often employ the following expressions to greet each other "Good morning/evening/afternoon.

"Fine day, isn't it?
"How is everything going?
" Have you eaten yet?
" What are you going to do?
" Where have you been?" etc.
Westerners treat them as real question. While in Chinese, we always say "你吃了吗?""你上哪里去?""你干什么去?"to show our consideration. Parting may be divided into two steps. Before the final prating, there is usual a leave-taking. Western and Chinese cultures have diverse ways to deal with leave-takings.  Firstly, in English society, during the closing phase of an encounter, from "I" perspective, reasons for terminating the encounter are presented in mitigatory comments. Typical comments are associated with expressions of apology,such as "I" am afraid I must be off, I have to relieve the baby-sitter" etc. Western people believe that to be willing to visit and converse with someone is to have respect for him.; to terminate the visiting is not of one's own free will, but because of some other arrangements, therefore they always try to make their leaving sound reluctant by finding some reasons and apologize for it to make the leaving acceptable for both parties. English speakers often signal several times before leaving. "Well, it's been nice to see you again. I do enjoy our talk and the lovely dinner, but I must be going soon". Thank you very much for asking...
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