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Say It Right Series

Chinese or Chinese person?

Posted by xiaophil July 14, 2010 in the Group General Discussion.

Okay, English lesson time.  It may sound like a stupid question, but should we say 'Chinese' or 'Chinese person'?  Until I came to China, I always would say 'he is Chinese' or 'he is a Chinese person.'  I probably would prefer the former.  It sounds just funny to me to say 'he is a Chinese.'  It sounds like saying 'he is an English' to me.  But you know, almost all Chinese people say 'I am a Chinese.'  I know it is anything but unusual for Chinese people to make English mistakes, but since it is so common, I feel that it is likely this is what their textbooks teach them. 

 

I also feel using 'Chinese' in a plural way is odd.  For example, I would normally say 'Chinese people use chopsticks.'  I feel strange saying 'Chinese use chopsticks,' but somehow it feels less odd than saying 'Chinese' in a singular way as mentioned above. Regardless, saying 'the Chinese are happy with the new American policy' sounds okay to me as this time 'Chinese' refers to the Chinese government.

 

Is it just my local variety of English from my hometown that makes me feel this way ?  Am I just wrong?  Or is it that I'm right, and Chinese people are getting it messed up?

 

If I am right to think that these useages of the word Chinese are wrong, then it is best for me to know now.  After being in China for five years, these useages are starting to sound correct to me 啊啊.

 

 

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