When a Chinese takes an English course – These are the expressions you are going to hear


Chinese language is categorized into various different types of sub-languages and dialects, for example, Wu, Cantonese and Taiwanese. About 70% of the Chinese population speak Northern Chinese; also known as Mandarin, which is also an authorized language for all the Chinese people. English and Chinese have marked variances as they belong to entirely different groups of languages. For people who speak Chinese, this difference makes picking the correct course for English very problematic.


Chinese language comprises of symbols instead of letters. This system of writing gets known as logographic and is used to represent different characters, which make up the symbols. This marks the biggest difference between English language, where alphabets are used to from words.


The English language results in a lot of difficulty for Chinese in learning English. There are a few English phonemes that are not present in the Chinese language. The expressions for stress and pitch are diverse. Chinese language gets expressed through tone and pitch, unlike English. The higher and lower note of a word is used to differentiate the meaning, entirely. English does not have that.

English contains more vowels than Chinese. This leads them to the wrong intonation of the words containing vowels, for example, “ship” becomes “sheep”, “it” becomes “eat” and “full” ends up becoming “fool”. When two vowels are combined to make diphthongs, the words usually become shorter.

It gets hard for the Chinese people to differentiate between I and R, which results in them pronouncing these words wrong. “Rake” becomes “Lake” and “rice” becomes “lice.” The same trouble happens to be present among Southern Chinese people who mix the letters I and N.

They cannot comprehend the words that end with a consonant, as this feature does not exist in Chinese. This result in them not adding the consonant or putting another vowel with the last alphabet of the word, for example, “hill” may end up without the double L or some other vowel being added to it at the end, something rhyming with “killer”.


The verb and tense carry a significant meaning in English language, such as is/are/were, eat/ate/eats/eaten, etc. However, in Chinese, this isn’t the case. It is an adjustable language that shares the information through a sequence of words, adverbs or communal decisions regarding the situation.

The following is a list of very common verb/tense errors:

  • What do you do? (i.e. what are you doing?) (incorrect tense)
  • I will call you as soon as I will get there. (wrong tense)
  • She has got married last Saturday. (incorrect tense)
  • She good teacher. (omitted copula)
  • How much you pay for your car? (omitted auxiliary)
  • I wish I am rich. (indicative instead of subjunctive)

Modal verbs are used in English to indicate different levels of meaning and expression of a person. Note the tone in the commands given below:

  • Open the window, please.
  • Could you open the window, please?
  • Would you mind opening the window, please?

As Chinese language does not have such levels of modal verbs, the Chinese people fail to understand its importance in English, resulting in them being abrupt and rigid about giving proposals or expressing demands.

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