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Wippen (inactive)

主席 vs full name

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Wippen (inactive)

Someone recently complimented me for using  毛主席 as opposed to the full name 毛泽东 when I was referencing 毛主席 in a conversation.

They said it shows that the person respects him.

 

Can a native speaker just confirm that it is respectful to use it this way?

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889

I'll just say that absent some special circumstances, I would not use 毛主席, especially not with older people who may have bitter memories of the Chairman. (Those Mao restaurants -- the ones over-decorated in 文革 style -- are always packed with customers far too young to remember the real thing.) Seems to me it's a term best reserved for Party talk.

 

Of course it's possible your friend was more cautioning than complimenting you.

 

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Wippen (inactive)
Just now, 889 said:

Of course it's possible you friend was indirectly cautioning not complimenting you

That was not the case.

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Lu

Not a native speaker, but I agree, it shows respect. And in the case of Mao, you perhaps want to ask yourself whether he deserves it. Of course, if you were giving a speech at a CCP function, you'd always want to use 毛主席, but in personal conversation, I don't think I would.

 

Generally Chinese is pretty big on titles (something I didn't find out until later in my studies). In formal context, someone is rarely 张三 or 张先生, but rather 张主席,张主任,张院长,张老师,etc.

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Wippen (inactive)
12 minutes ago, Lu said:

personal conversation, I don't think I would

 

Thanks Lu for your comments on this. I had made the reference in a personal conversation. My friend stopped and said "wow you really love China when you use it like that"

She herself was a party member incidentally but a normal member and recently joined.

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Publius

She makes a mental note: This laowai is a Mao admirer.

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Wippen (inactive)

@Publius @889 interestingl points. Actually "she" used it that way as she had been fed so many texts with that wording.

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陳德聰

In any case, I would find it weird to refer to another country’s leader (past/present) along with their title.

 

The only time I’d prefer 特朗普總統 over 川普 is in a news broadcast, for example.

 

When I talk about Xi Jinping, in English and in Chinese, I will always call him 習近平 or Xi Jinping, and literally never 習主席, unless maybe I’m addressing him for some reason (“could you please pass the salt, Chairman?”).

 

I don’t call my Prime Minister “Prime Minister Trudeau,” I just call him Trudeau or 土豆, and 杜魯多總理 is reserved for broadcasts and when Chinese people might address him if they don’t speak English or French, or maybe if I feel like having a more pompous conversation than usual.

 

I think it’s fine, but 毛澤東 is someone whose 馬屁 I think I’d cringe to hear non-Chinese people 拍.

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Publius
5 hours ago, Tøsen said:

Actually "she" used it that way as she had been fed so many texts with that wording.

By whom? Her former Red Guard parents? Actually it's pretty hard to find contemporary texts that even mention Mao, let alone with that title -- unless you are a) a historian researching that particular period or b) a radical neo-Maoist or leftover paleo-Maoist.

 

P.S.

Despite what 889 and Lu said, if you do give a speech at a Party meeting, the most appropriate appellation is 毛泽东同志.

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Wippen (inactive)
24 minutes ago, Publius said:

By whom? Her former Red Guard parents? Actually it's pretty hard to find

"She" is me here. I have been fed many texts on Chinese history, particularly one school. So I automatically say Chairman.

 

2 hours ago, 陳德聰 said:

country’s leader (past/present) along with their title.

 

I think he was more than a temporary leader. So it would be more comparable to how you refer to a king or a Queen or Princess. For example Diana Spencer became Princess Diana. And probably always will be called that. 

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889

“ . . . if you do give a speech at a Party meeting, the most appropriate appellation is 毛泽东同志."

 

Yep, that's what he was using:

 

"毛泽东同志属于中国,也属于世界。他不仅赢得了全党全国各族人民爱戴和敬仰,而且赢得了世界上一切向往进步的人们敬佩。"

 

That's from 2013, believe it or not.

 

http://www.globalview.cn/html/societies/info_22002.html

(just scroll down till you see Mao greeting a war criminal)

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陳德聰

I mean perhaps it’s off-topic, but really comparing Mao to a monarch seems a bit absurd.

 

Also, I’d say we are pretty selective about which monarchs we use King/Queen/Prince/Princess with in common speech after their reign/death. Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Marie Antoinette, Charlemagne, Alexander the Great, the various Nicholas and Alexander I, II, III...

 

If anything, I’d say our recent English monarchs get special treatment because of their global soft power efforts.

 

P.S. 武則天 is another one I thought of that we don’t really ever need to say 皇帝 for.

 

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Publius
12 hours ago, 陳德聰 said:

I don’t call my Prime Minister “Prime Minister Trudeau,”

"Sherry, Minister?"

"Jim."

"Oh, gin?"

"No. Jim. Call me Jim."

"Oh, I think if it's all the same to you, I would prefer to call you Minister, Minister."

"Minister Minister? Oh, quite, quite. I see what you mean. Does that mean I have to call you Private Secretary, Private Secretary?"

"No. Do call me Bernard."

:mrgreen:

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Wippen (inactive)
1 hour ago, 陳德聰 said:

monarch seems a bit absurd.

I was comparing "given titles" in the case I mentioned.

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陳德聰

And how exactly do you define “given titles”?

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Wippen (inactive)
10 minutes ago, 陳德聰 said:

And how exactly do you define “given titles”?

I am not going to enter into further discussion on this. It is clear we disagree.I enjoyed the discussion. You have got insightful comments as always.

 

Incidentally I was just reading the speech given by Xi Jin Ping at the closing of the Liang hui. His very first opening sentence mentions 主席。I though it was a coincidence given our discussion here. I am not inferring meaning 

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Lu
13 hours ago, Publius said:

Despite what 889 and Lu said, if you do give a speech at a Party meeting, the most appropriate appellation is 毛泽东同志.

Ah right, of course. I meant it as 'if you are speaking of Mao at a place where you would show respect to him as a matter of course', but of course within the CCP 同志 is better.

 

As to monarchs etc, I always call the king (and before him the queen) 'de koning'. I never say 'koning Willem-Alexander', and not just because it's such a mouthful, it just sounds weird. I'd only perhaps say that if I was talking about various different kings. The prime minister on the other hand is always 'Rutte', never 'de premier'.

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imron
10 hours ago, 陳德聰 said:

but really comparing Mao to a monarch seems a bit absurd.

Emperor in all but name I guess.  Bit like that Xi bloke these days.  *sigh*, the thing about Chinese politics is everyone wants to be the emperor.  Where are the statesmen (and/or stateswomen).

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Zbigniew
On 3/20/2018 at 12:21 PM, Tøsen said:

My friend stopped and said "wow you really love China when you use it like that"

There's some dubious logic going on there. I know many Chinese and non-Chinese who on the one hand love China but on the other do not love or respect Mao or his present-day avatar Xi.

 

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