Say It Right Series
speak chinese like a native

Formalities

Posted by simonpettersson December 22, 2009 in the Group I Have a Question.

Tags: formality, formal, politeness, polite

Sweden is, nowadays, a very informal country. If I go see a doctor, talk to my teacher or meet the prime minister, I'd call them all by first name. "Mr." this and "Dr." that sounds quite archaic to my ears, though I'm more used to it in English.

In Chinese, however, there seems to be quite a bit of this formalness left in the language. This frightens me somewhat. How will I know whether I can use 老王 or whether I should use 王先生, for example? Or just use the full name? I'm a bit fearful of offending people, since I have no experience to go by. Is there a CPod lesson or Qing Wen on this?

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