“Wow! Your Mandarin is Awesome!” Decoding Chinese Politeness (Podcast)

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Anyone who has learned Mandarin will be familiar with how encouraging Chinese people tend to be towards those of us who take an interest in their language. For the most part this is great. All we have to do is say 你好 in order to be showered with praise and encouragement.

But at times it can also be quite tricky to navigate the unwritten rules of Chinese polite culture. To the new Mandarin learner it isn’t always clear when praise is sincere as opposed to merely small talk. Throughout my learning experience I’ve also found it a challenge to get honest feedback on my Mandarin as opposed to exaggerated and undeserved praise.

On today’s podcast I invited three of my language buddies, Helen, Mingna and Katherine. Helen, like me, is a fellow Mandarin learner while Mingna and Katherine are both students from China. Together we explore how Chinese politeness can impact language learners in both positive and negative ways.

What have your experiences been like? Let me know in the comments.

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