Chinese: 您好

Distribution: Countries include but not limited to: Republic of China, Taiwan, Singaore, and Malaysia

Introduction: Chinese belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language family.  The language is a collection of numerous dialects, which may be classified into eight dialects, including Mandarin and Cantonese. All dialects share a written language and important basic features at all structural levels. 

Cultural and Rhetorical Influences

  • Show high respect for authoritive figures: 
    • Students may only listen and take notes. 

    • May have difficulty collaborating in tutoring sessions.

  • Sharing others' ideas is acceptable; citing and plagiarism are not strictly enforced.

  • May feel uncomfortable and hesitant working with others.

  • Used to more formal atmospheres of learning and self studying.

  • Activities which are 'pleasurable' and 'fun' may not be conducive to proper learning.

  • Chinese education focuses on the learning method of rote memorization: a technique based on repetition and eventually leading to the recollection of the meaning of the material.

  • Voicing opinions may be difficult due to language barriers or respect for authority.


  • There are structural differences in paragraphs, which may seem incohesive in English writing.

  • Writing is not straight forward and it reiterates many points, producing wordy and repetitive paragraphs.

  • No latin alphabet:

    • Uses symbols to construct words, making it even more difficult for students to learn English.

    • Word usage is also difficult.

  •  Stress, tone, and pitch are all used to say a specific word:

    • Difficulties hearing differences and pronouncing r and l:

      • rake/lake

      • rice/lice

  • There are no articles.

  • Conveys meaning through word order rather than verb inflections (is, are, were).

  • Trouble with tenses:

    • *She has got married last Saturday. (wrong tense).


Chang, Jung. "Chinese Speakers." Learner English: A Teacher's Guide to Interference and Other Problems. Ed. Swan, Michael and Bernard Smith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. 310-324. Print.

Shoebottom, Paul. A Guide to Learning English. 1996. Website. 27 Apr. 2014.